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3 Reasons Discovering Your Strengths Will Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet

3 Reasons Discovering Your Strengths Will Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet

At the end of 2016, many of us probably reflected on the year gone by and how we can be more successful in 2017. Some of us have set clear goals for ourselves, others a clear vision of what the future might look like, or focused on the people in their lives they want to connect or spend more time with in the year ahead.

We will all approach these goals in very different ways. Every single one of us is different because we all have unique strengths. According to Gallup, the chances of us having the same top 5 strengths in the same order as someone else is 1 in 33 million. We all see the world through the lens of our strengths. It informs what is important to us, the relationships we have with other people, what we value in our life and what we expect.

Here are the 3 ways understanding your strengths will help you make 2017 your best year yet.

1. You will understand how you are brilliant.

Understanding your strengths and where you are most brilliant than anywhere else gives you the opportunity for the greatest success in your work and your personal and professional relationships. When individuals understand and are able to use their strengths, their happiness and well-being increases, and organizations see increases in productivity, profitability and employee engagement for their businesses.

People who love their work always have a deep connection with their strengths. They know what it is they have to do because it pains them not to. It’s the things they enjoy doing so much they would do them for free all day long if they had to.

[Related: Please Step Forward: Claiming Your Place as a Leader]

Helping change the landscape of the work place through understanding, developing and applying individual and team strengths is my passion. It’s too depressing to have a world where over 80% of people go to work every day hating their jobs because they don’t get the opportunity to do what they do best. It doesn't have to be that way. Great results never happen when people are disengaged. It’s what I can’t not do because passion is something you can’t hide from, however hard you might try.

When individuals connect to their strengths they have an opportunity to get results they are looking for, both personally and professionally.

2. It will help you let go of judging yourself and others.

Whether we know it or not, we judge people based on our strengths. If you have the Clifton StrengthsFinder talent of of Empathy, like me, you go about your day putting yourself into the shoes of other people and thinking about how they feel. And because you do that you expect everybody else to be able to care and feel other people’s feelings. As someone with a husband with low Empathy, I spent a long time judging him for not caring and not being aware of my emotions. Discovering our strengths become a way to understand each other and our needs better.

Working with teams I’ve seen a lot of communication challenges because when we have a strength we expect everyone else to have it too. For example, if you have the strength of Responsibility you expect everyone to be on time, get the job done and to get it right. When you’re managing people in a team who don’t see the world in this way who don't appear as committed as you, it’s frustrating. The person reporting to you, who doesn’t have the same Responsibility strength, might think you’re obsessed with your work and feel micromanaged.

When you understand how you both see the world based on your strengths it breaks down the judgment between you and helps you appreciate each other for what you bring, rather than being frustrated by it.

[Related: It's Time to Change the Way We Talk to Ourselves]

3. You will learn to accept your weaknesses.

When you understand your strengths you have an opportunity to learn about you at your best. It’s exactly the same for your weaknesses. If you understand what they are and accept them, through understanding your strengths, you have a superpower.

Every single one of us has weaknesses. They zap of us of both our time and our energy. It’s the things we dread doing. The things at the bottom of our to do list that never seem to get done. That give us a headache and fuzzy our brain when we’re trying to do them.

As I climbed the career ladder in the corporate world I was forever being told I needed to be more ‘Strategic’. The mention of the word would send me into a spiral of confusion where I felt inadequate and not good enough to succeed.

After taking the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment I saw Strategic is an area of non-strength for me. I don't naturally think in a big picture thinker or particularly enjoy brainstorming. Because of my strengths I’d prefer to help gather information and make sure something useful happens with it.

When you’re not afraid of your weaknesses it’s powerful and liberating. It’s the place where true learning and growth comes from. It allows you to be open to the amazing contributions of other people around you and their strengths that will complement and support you in your weaknesses. When you hide or are afraid of your weaknesses you push people away and isolate them because of a fear that you’re not good enough. Today I actively seek to work with people who have amazing Strategic thinking strengths because they can help me see a perspective that doesn't come easily to me.

Every single one of us has strengths and superpowers that we might not know. Why don’t you make 2017 the year you discover yours?

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Vicki Haverson is the Director of Strengths-Based Development at Sparks International Training. She's passionate about helping change the landscape of the work place through understanding, developing and applying individual and team strengths.

This article previously appeared on Sparks International Training.

To take the StrengthsFinder assessment visit www.gallupstrengthscenter.com


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