Do more of what you love and less of what you hate

Written by Laurie Hillis

Hi, I’m Laurie Hillis, I love what I do: the learning, the process, and above all, seeing how my clients grow as leaders.

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March 26, 2024

Job interviews, performance assessments and development plans often centre around our strengths and weaknesses. They tend to be a little tricky to identify and trickier to communicate without sounding fake, insincere, or like we’re trying to “pad” our self-view and save face (and get or keep the job!).

What are strengths, anyway?

Some of my favourite research about strengths comes from the Gallup® organization and its CliftonStrengths® Assessment, because they look at things a little differently than the average Joe. Gallup defines a strength as “the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance in a specific task.” While I cringe a little at the use of “near-perfect,” (I’m not bold enough to declare I am near-perfect at anything), I love this sentiment. It allows me to more easily pinpoint what I’m good at. When I consider my strengths using Gallup’s definition, I envision the activities I can do without having to really think about them; they come naturally to me and it feels good to do them.

What do you consider your strengths to be, using this definition? To help, combine the concept of flow, from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, with this idea of strengths. Csikszentmihalyi defines the meaning of flow, as “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.” I wrote about flow in a previous blog, with respect to setting intentional goals. Read that blog here.

I know, both from taking the CliftonStrengths® Assessment and from validating my own feelings and experiences, that my #1 strength is Learning. Learning encapsulates the group of activities that I can perform quite naturally and find the most joy doing. The idea of flow resonates with me when I think about anything having to do with learning – acquiring new learning for myself and passing it along to others. I have chosen the perfect career for my biggest strength!

Now, what are weaknesses?

The CliftonStrengths® Assessment defines a weakness as “anything that gets in the way of your success.” There are lots of obstacles thwarting my success every day, but when I dig below the surface, I can easily identify the activities that make my days feel like sludging through mud because I would rather not do them and I push them down my priority list often. When I do them, I feel the opposite of flow; I’d rather do anything but. They are activities that require analysis or extreme detail. I’m a “bigger picture” kind of thinker, so tasks that require me to look at data or details suck the life out of me.

Use knowledge of your strengths to feel more energized

There is great power in reframing your strengths and weaknesses this way and not only to perform better in job interviews. This new mindset allows you to make different decisions and find more energy at work.

Identify your strengths (the stuff you’re really good at and you love) and work those activities into your day more often. On the flip side, figure out what your weaknesses are (the stuff you’d rather never do again) and minimize how often you do those things. HOT TIP: find someone whose strengths are your weaknesses. They’ll be energized by the things you hate doing. It’s a win-win!

Of course, we all have to do things we don’t enjoy sometimes and we can’t simply delegate them all, but acknowledging that these things aren’t weaknesses, as in we are bad at them; they are things we aren’t particularly good at and we don’t enjoy, so we are bound to not develop strength in them. I will never develop a strength in filing taxes, nor do I ever want to. They can continue being a “weakness” and I will continue hiring someone whose strength it is!

Now it’s your turn

  • What do you identify as your strengths and weaknesses using these definitions and insights?
  • How can you build more of your strengths into your daily activities?
  • How can you minimize tasks that you consider weaknesses?
  • Who can help you with this?

Let’s connect:

If you want to know more about Megatrain and how we can work together, drop me a line:

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