#023: Operating in Your Strengths Zone [Podcast]

In this episode, I discuss discovering and using your strengths, based on the StrengthsFinder assessment developed by the Gallup organization. I first took this test back in 2003. It was a major turning point in my leadership philosophy.

Cliff Hanger - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MichaelSvoboda, Image #18733740

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MichaelSvoboda

One of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself is this: “What are my strengths?” Knowing the answer is the key to job satisfaction and effectiveness.

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Unfortunately, most of us have been trained to think first about our weaknesses. For example:

  • Teachers pointed out our errors and marked them with a red pen.
  • Parents scanned our report cards and focused on those subjects where we needed to improve.
  • Employers have noted our weaknesses and discussed them at our annual performance review, often under the heading, “Opportunities for Improvement.”

I used to do the same thing with my direct reports. I thought I was being helpful. As a leader, I thought that this was my role.

Everything changed when I read, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton’s bestseller, Now, Discover Your Strengths. At the time, both men worked for Gallup. The book was based on their research there.

They had a simple but powerful thesis. The best way to get ahead in your career and be satisfied in your job is to focus on developing your strengths. No matter how hard you try, you really can’t improve your weaknesses. You are wasting time and energy trying to do so. The best thing you can do is discover your strengths and then find a role that allows you to use them.

In their extensive research, Buckingham and Clifton identified thirty-four different strength themes. They also developed an online strengths assessment that identified your five top strengths. Since the book originally came out, Buckingham left Gallup and went on to write several more bestsellers. Sadly, Donald Clifton passed away.

However, Tom Rath, another Gallup employee, picked up the torch and refined the research. He used the results from the four million people who took the first test to develop an even more accurate, reliable, and faster assessment tool.

In 2007, he wrote a follow-up book called StrengthsFinder 2.0, documenting his research. Gallup then made the new assessment available online, renaming it “Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0” in honor of Donald Clifton.

We have a misguided maxim in our culture that says, “You can be anything you want to be, if you just try hard enough.” Rath tells the story of Rudy Ruettiger as an example of this. He became a cultural icon for this philosophy.

After much research, Rath suggests a better principle: “You cannot be anything you want to be—but you can be a lot more of who you already are.” This is a major key to success.

Here are seven steps you can take to discover your strengths and start operating according to your unique design:

  1. Step #1: Buy the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book and take the test. Inside the book, you will find an “access key” that enables you to take the online assessment. (If you buy the Kindle edition of the book, Amazon e-mails you the key after you complete the purchase.)
  2. Step #2: Review your customized report and reflect on your strengths. Ask, “How well do these strengths describe me?” In other words, do they resonate with you?
  3. Step #3: Share your strengths with those who know you best. Ask, “How well do you think these strengths describe me?” What do they say in response?
  4. Step #4: Evaluate your current job in light of your strengths. What strengths does your job require? Do you have these strengths? On a scale of 1–10, how satisfied are you in your role?
  5. Step #5: Develop a strategy to align your strengths and your job. This will likely require you to start focusing on those aspects of your job where you can express your strengths. What do you do with the other aspects of your job?
    • Negotiate with your supervisor.
    • Delegate them to someone else on your team.
    • Partner with someone who has the strengths you are missing.
    • You might have to look for a new opportunity.
  6. Step #6: Share your strengths with your colleagues. Tell them you want to focus on your strengths, so that you can make your greatest contribution to them and the team. If they know your strengths, they can help you find opportunities to express them.
  7. Step #7: Have your entire team take the test. If you want to build a strengths-based culture, this is essential. You can map your team’s strengths on a grid. Then ask:
    • How can we use our collection of strengths? Like a symphony conductor, you can call up the various instruments as you need them.
    • What is missing from our collection of strengths? What strengths do we need to recruit, given the nature of our business or the function of our operating unit.

Update: I just discovered that you don’t have to buy the book to take the test. You can buy the test only at the Gallup Strengths Center for $9.99. You can also get your full panel of 34 strengths for $89.00.

Listener Questions

  1. Travis Dommert asked, “What is the biggest breakthrough you had in discovering someone’s strengths? How did that change your view of that person? How did the discovery change that person’s role or their impact on the organization?”
  2. Frank Dickinson asked, “I believe your strengths are already built in and all you need to do is develop them. How do you feel about this?”
  3. Gail Hyatt (that’s right, my wife) asked, “I see how this applies to people in business, but how does it apply to stay-at-home moms?”

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Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

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  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    One of my weaknesses is leaving a positive first impression and convincing potential employers that I might be a valuable asset to their organizations. I must confess I’m oddly relieved to hear that my weaknesses cannot be improved. 

    Whatever you think is wrong with you is your biggest strength in disguise. 

  • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

    I’ve used both Strengthfinder and DISC.  What do you see are the pro’s and con’s of each one.  Should they be used differently?

    PS.  Check Step #7– TYPO:  “team” in there twice.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I am not an expert, but I see DiSC as more of a work-style assessment. Both are valuable. In fact, I regularly use them both with the guys I coach and mentor.

      • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

        I use lots of different assessments in coaching @mhyatt:disqus . Strengths Finder is a reflection of the areas where you have strength/proclivity/ability.  DISC is a psychological profile that is more of a reflection of who you ‘are’. It may seem like just a subtle difference, but the difference exists. Both are great tools that I have used with clients and teams.

  • http://gilliscoaching.com/ Gillis Coaching

     Very powerful philosophies! I will be sharing this with my team. Thx, Michael!

  • Hopeful Listener

    Is anyone else having problems listening to this podcast?  I haven’t been able to open the file yet – it always comes up with ‘File not Found’. Same problem in iTunes. 

    • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

      Sorry, I had no issue downloading from iTunes to my iPhone.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry for this. Yours is the only complaint I have had. I hope you got it figured out. Thanks.

  • http://www.gailbhyatt.com/ Gail Hyatt

    Knowing each other’s strengths has been hugely helpful in our marriage! I remember when we first took this test. No big surprise, but we discovered that you and I are SO different. But seeing those differences as strengths, rather than annoyances to be endured, we realized that we were doubly strong because of each other. We’ve really learned to value the strengths and differences in each other. We’re so much stronger together. I LOVE that!

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      That’s synergy Gail. The interaction of agents that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual. Great marriages produce synergy. God bless yours!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Agreed. I love exactly who you are. I NEED you strengths!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Troy and I read the book and took the test a few months ago. Talk about eye-opening! Very helpful to see our individuality and how we can both compliment and bump into each other.

  • Connie Almony

    I’ve always loved the idea of the Body of Christ in the Bible. We are not meant to be all alike. It’s important to know what role you are best suited for in the Body and play it.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      It also means understanding that others have strengths that make them different from you and incredibly useful.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I also love how no one strength is considered more worthy than another. Each valuable, each needed. It’s not a hierarchy of strengths.

  • Hometej

    I will admit that I haven’t read StrengthsFinders nor taken the test.  Over the years, I have taken other — I’ll call them similar — tests, though.  I find it hard to accurately answer the questions on these types of tests.  “would you rather work independently or with a group?” “On a Friday night would you rather read a book or go out with friends?” “Do you like to see daily progress in your work or wait for the big breakthrough?”  Well, it all depends.  Depending on the task and the group, I might prefer working one way or the other.  Depending on what I’m doing early Saturday morning I might prefer staying in to going out.   There is also the challenge of what you are vs what you perceive yourself to be.  “Are you a leader or a follower?”

    How does one answer the questions so the results give relevant insights?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The very fact that you react this way reveals some of your strengths. I am not sure what they are, but the test will tell you. I think you just have to do the best you can, and check the one that is closest to how you feel. (I feel this way about some of the questions too.)

    • http://www.dianeyuhas.com/ Diane Yuhas

      I’m the same way. “It depends” is nearly always my knee-jerk reaction to these kinds of questions.

  • http://www.nlp-pm.de/ Goetz

    Michael, I’ve tried to locate the Kindle version of Strength Finder 2.0 and turned Amazon almost upside down but haven’t been successful. Would be great if you can share the link. Many thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You bet. You can click here.

      • Goetz

        Thanks. Now I know why I wasn’t able to find it. The Kindle version isn’t available for european customers :-(

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          That is so frustrating!

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    Best question ever  Gail Hyatt! Thanks! I think I must have the positive strength as well, and it can be annoying to those that think we are “PollyAnna.” But I think it’s more the joy of the Lord. 

    Really enjoyed this podcast Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Gail. Our family members used to always kid Gail as the PollyAnna. But guess who everyone (including me) goes to when they are discouraged or down? That’s right, Ms. Positivity. She is such a gift to me and the girls.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Kelly, my friend, this is why we like you. :)

      • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

        Yes, I figured it wasn’t my charm or beauty. ;-)
        (Proverbs 31:30)

  • Ana Anselma

    What a great article!.  Both of my children have autism and this is how we discuss that challenges that come with having autism. Dr. Tony Atwood (Asperger’s Expert) strongly encourages discussing with children who have autism what are their strengths and weaknesses. I educate parents on autism this is also a great non-confrontational way that I use to encourage  parents to discuss their children’s strengths and weaknesses.  Many parents are so wrapped up on the weaknesses they have never considered their child with autism may have strengths. 

    I am my children’s life coach and we always discuss how they can use their strengths to manage and overcome some of the obstacles presented by their weaknesses. 

    Ana Anselma
    http://www.autismmind.com 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I love your perspective, Ana. Very inspirational!

    • Galina Fedorova

      Hi Ana, if your children are high functioning, Gallup offers Strengths Explorer test for ages 10-14. I worked on implementing  strengths approach in special education  classrooms as a part of my Gallup MBA. It worked nicely with these children. In fact, they were happy to learn that they do have strengths, as they are so often hear otherwise.

  • http://twitter.com/JoyVanOeffelen Joy Martinez

    I completely agree with the StrengthsFinder assessment – LOVE the book. Strengths-based Leadership is a great addition for leaders who want to understand their employees strengths, for teams, and management. I personally have taken SF three times over the last 3 years (once during my MBA – 1.0, once when 2.0 came out, and once for work)…all three times have very similar results b/c our strengths don’t really change over time. 2 of the 5 top strengths occurred at the top of my list all three times! This assessment has not only taught me so much about myself, but also about others, how to work with people of varying strengths, find my true passion, in my marriage, when interviewing & in my resume package (previously), and more. I can’t tell you how how much I love the philosophy of StrengthsFinder. It, like you, has changed my leadership philosophy. I would recommend it to anyone – and I have many times!! Thanks for sharing, Michael!

    • Jim Martin

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with StrengthsFinder, Joy.

  • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

    Focusing on strengths makes so much sense, but it is something I have just never done. Obstacles? Time. Effort. Interest. But I am sure that the time and effort that goes into developing a plan can save me in the long run.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Absolutely. Nothing wastes time and resources more than operating from your weaknesses rather than your strengths.

  • http://www.personal-success-factors.com/ steveborgman

    Hi, Michael.  I love both of the strengths finder resources you talked about.  For a long time, I knew what my strengths were, but felt that I should be strong where I was weak.  Ironically, some of my strengths I actually considered weaknesses!  It’s a relief to actually accept, embrace, and apply those strengths instead of looking down at them.

  • Helen SH Lee

    It’s again a timely podcast to me as I just finished my Strength Finders 2.0 self-assessment last on Aug 9 2012, exactly two weeks ago.  My favorite author recommended this book. Guess what are my 5 strengths?
    http://kamah.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/strengths-finder-2-0/ 
    1. Focus 2.Competition (unbelievable!) 3. Achiever 4. Analytical and 5. Futuristic. 
    Now, I’d better follow Mic’s advice to share my results with my boss and my friends.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You have a great list of strengths, Helen. Watch out, world!

  • http://www.professionalcontentcreation.com/ Rebecca Livermore

    As a self-employed person with multiple clients and service offerings, this is incredibly helpful to me because it helps me see why I’m happy or unhappy in certain working relationships. Some clients have done a great job of allowing me to play to my strengths, and others not so much.

    It also helps me to see the value of offering “a la carte” services that are very specific to my strengths, rather than trying to do everything that every client needs.

    • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

      Rebecca, I’m in the exact same situation. I’ve taken on 1-2 projects as I’ve launched my business that I maybe didn’t want to take or weren’t in my strengths. The good news is that I’m early enough in my business where I can really identify my strengths, so I can develop my niche and marketing message around my strengths without really harming my business. I want to get to the point where I’m always working in my strengths (Learner, Winning Others Over, Input, Activator, Communicator). 

    • Jim Martin

      Rebecca, I have worked for many years with churches.  I find that I feel the greatest satisfaction when people in these churches encourage in me what I perceive to be strengths.  I have felt great frustration, however, when I sense that some really want me to spend time doing things that I am just not gifted to do.  Thanks.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    I have found the strength’s test to be very helpful. We brought it in and had our leadership team take the test on my previous job. It really helps the team see who the go-to person is for different tasks. My top strength is ideation, which is helpful to know, not only from a strengths point of view, but also from a weakness viewpoint. Having others do things that I’m not good at and being able to focus on my key strength’s area, can help the whole department.

    I also enjoy Sally Hogshead’s Fascination test. Her multiple choice exercise shows how other people view you. The combination of both of these tests can give you great insight when interacting with others. A great team activity!

  • http://www.dianeyuhas.com/ Diane Yuhas

    Operating out of my strengths zone would result in a new career for me! Right now I’m home full-time caring for my elderly mom. Before this I worked in nursing for about 25 years. I always knew that nursing was not my passion, but didn’t really know why. I was a good nurse, but not a great nurse. Listening to your podcast made me realize this was probably because nursing, especially emergency nursing, required that I work out of my weakness rather than my strengths. Thanks for a great podcast.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You’re welcome, Diane. I have had similar revelations about myself.

  • http://www.karisslynch.com Kariss Lynch

    I spent a summer at a college leadership program where we took the Strengths Finder. It was one of the most beneficial tools I have ever had at my disposal, especially as I looked to begin a career  that would utilize my strengths. I highly recommend this resource!

  • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

    What a great podcast! I’ve been really interested in this topic since 2006. It was at that time that I realized my job as a corporate accountant was disconnected to what I really enjoyed doing. I’ve taken a number of personality assessments like DISC, StrengthsFinder, and the new Buckingham StandOut assessment. Every single one of them showed I was a learner and an influencer. I’m an ID (Influencing, Dominating) on DISC and had these strengths in the StrengthsFinder:

    Learner
    Woo
    Activator
    Input
    Communicator

    I’m a Learner/Pioneer in the StandOut assessment. Neither one of those say “Corporate Accountant” to me. It’s heartwarming to see a successful CEO who can look inside himself and see the same things. Thanks again for showing the way.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Dallon. Great list.

  • Lynda

    While I like the Clifton StrengthsFinder and appreciate the opportunity to buy the services of the Gallup organization, I have found the Values-In-Action Institute and their strengths survey to be scientifically based and helpful in all areas of life.  I enjoy using my signature strength of “love of learning” to consistently grow in all the character strengths, even those I do not possess as abundantly.  Check it out at authentichappiness.org or in Martin Seligman’s book “Authentic Happiness”.  

  • http://www.michaelgholmes.com/ Mike Holmes

    When Strengths Finder came out that soooooo changed my life! I’m actually glad it came out before I had children. Cause unfortunately I came up in a real nitpicking environment. But thank God I’ve learned to look for the strengths in my children and the people around me. And I can saw without a doubt that has made a HUGE impact in my own personal life.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Good for you, Mike. I wish I’d had this about 15 years ago. It would’ve changed how I mothered.

      • http://www.michaelgholmes.com/ Mike Holmes

        Well…the cool thing we serve a God of 2nd chances…who gives us more than enough chances to get it right :)

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Nothing better than that.

    • Jim Martin

      Mike, I love your point about looking for the strengths in your children and the others around you.  I look back at times when I focused on their weaknesses and failed to grasp or appreciate their many strengths.

      • http://www.michaelgholmes.com/ Mike Holmes

        I’ll never forget this incident with a parent (I wont name any names out of respect). But they would constantly criticize how I wrote…the neatness of it. Anyhoo…this went on for years. Then one day a cousin of mine came over and this parent was going on about my writing. My cousin then said, “I don’t see anything wrong with his writing…I think he writes neat as a matter of fact.” The parent then replied, “I know I just tell him that so he’ll get better.”

        Like I said, I didn’t want to name names, and obviously this person has matured since then but it goes what poor thinking and ignorance have in the lives of people :)

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    Thank you Michael.  I like how you point out how none of them are bad and we must work on them for growth to occur.  We all have muscles, but we must work on them for growth to occur.  We focus on different ones, depending on our work and our desires.  I will add this test to my list of reading.  I should also do the DISC also.
    Thank you again Sir.

    K, bye

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I agree on DiSC. It is also very helpful.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I think focusing on strengths is an excellent idea and can help us to grow.  I did note a sentence that said that there’s no sense focusing on our weaknesses because we can’t change them anyway.  I disagree with that and believe that our weaknesses should not be overlooked.  I know I have developed some of my own weaknesses into strengths over time.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think it’s a matter of overlooking them, Dan. I think the issue is that in a world of limited resources—especially time—where can you get the biggest return on your investment? Trying to improve a weakness or trying to develop a strength. Thanks for your comment.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        I see what you’re saying, Michael.  I believe it depends upon the importance of the attribute or talent you need for the job you do.

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Great episode Michael, I left my 5 star review on ITunes :)

  • Jill Farris

    This is my answer to Gail Hyatt’s wonderful question, “How does this apply to moms?” It’s an invaluable question to ask ourselves because mom’s often compare their weaknesses to others strengths.

     I seem to attract friends who are visually gifted. Their homes are very pleasing to the eye and they always have a gorgeous homemade wreath hanging on their freshly painted door.

     As a young mom, visiting those homes made me feel like a failure…until I began accepting myself as someone made in God’s image and gifted in a special way by Him for a special purpose. I needed to find my niche.

    My niche actually doesn’t always align with that Suzy Homemaker picture I have in my mind. I struggle to sew, I don’t particularly like to cook but I love my children, my home and my husband.

     Our home is decorated with piles of books, my children (8 of them) sit around with their noses in books and it makes me very happy.

    My passion is words; speaking, writing and reading. My job is to serve others within my passion and make sure they all don’t starve to death while I’m raising them …oh, but God in His great wisdom gave me a husband who is passionate about food and cooking! So our children all read and discuss new recipes at the same time!

    It’s all part of God’s good plan; accepting His gifts, doing our duty to be godly moms and raising up the next generation to unleash on the world!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great example, Jill. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • http://twitter.com/TMPisarczyk Tristan Pisarczyk

    I enjoyed the episode. I have taken the Strengthsfinder 1.0 in the past. I recently took the Standout strengths assessment.  Anyone have experience with both? I am curious if the 9 strength roles in the Standout assessment are easier to comprehend and use in a team versus the 34 roles in the Strengthsfinder 1.0/2.0 .  I’m trying to decide to use one with my team, is one better than the other?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have taken them both. I didn’t find Standout quite as helpful.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Approve.

  • http://twitter.com/RichardPierog Richard Pierog

    Thanks for a great episode, Michael! I’m going to get the book and take the test and have my wife take it too. I’ve often wondered why leaders so often focus on weaknesses when they can focus on strengths. In job interviews, for instance, the strengths-weaknesses question inevitably pops up. I’m soon going to be going through interviews (for a teaching position), and I’m wondering (thinking ahead here, upon reading the book and doing the test), how best to answer the weaknesses part of the question. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I wish I had a good answer for you. Gallup does make available to you the full panel of all 34 strengths, showing where they rank in your profile. But they charge more than $500 for this, along with a one-hour coaching session. That’s a little more than I was willing to spend, but it would be awesome to know.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I just discover that you can buy the full panel of 34 strengths here for $89.00.

  • Pingback: #023: Operating in Your Strengths Zone | Michael Hyatt | Utah Metals and FabricationUtah Metals and Fabrication

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    Love this topic!  Went through StrengthsFinders’ assessment the first time in 2002.  It was incredibly powerful and transformational.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       What are your five, Thad?

      • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

        1. Strategic 2. Activator 3. Maximizer 4. Arranger 5. Responsibility.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    Strategic, Achiever, Context, Input, Developer. Since I’m an achiever, I memorized my list. Then crossed it off. ;) Seriously, as a strategic/achiever, my biggest challenge is staying within my strengths, rather than trying to do all of them. I have to always rein myself in, accept my lackings, and move on. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is why you and I get along so well. We share Achiever and Strategic. When we’re not making ourselves and others crazy, we get a lot done!

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Ha! True!

  • Katie

    This is a powerful article. I’ll be reading it twice over to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Really want this to soak in. AND I appreciate all of the resources you provide, thank you! I’m grateful that your strength is obviously building others up and encouraging them.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Katie. I appreciate that.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Awesome

  • 48DaysDan

    Mike – enjoyed the podcast.  My Eagles group just did the Strengths Finder and discussed those at an overnight retreat.  It reminded me how infrequently leaders get honest feedback.  It was an amazing experience (and one more note to myself that I need to be intentional about relating to others). I can hide out with my Strategic, Focus, Intellection and Ideation strengths but live in a vacuum.  Yes, I’ve thought about being a monk but am not thrilled about the “poverty” and “celibacy” vows.     

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m with you on that, Dan! I look forward to seeing you tonight.

  • Sarah Pfeuffer

    You got me so interested in finding my strengths that I bought the Strengths Finder book 2.0. Thank you for always brining such interesting and quality content. You have helped me grow for sure.

  • http://somewiseguy.com/ ThatGuyKC

    Fantastic podcast! I always look forward to listening each week and am grateful for the insight and practical advice. Keep up the good work.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks so much.

  • Jarrid Wilson

    Love this post.

  • Jim Martin

    Great podcast Michael.  It make so much sense to focus on one’s strengths instead of weaknesses.  Before I began doing this, I wasted so much time and energy trying to do things I really wasn’t gifted for.  Thanks.

  • http://www.reasonredefined.com/ Dylan Dodson

    Great post! Thankfully I learned this principle very early on with a school analogy. If a student has an A in English but a D in math, the typical response is to work harder in math and not so much on English. However, the student who struggles with math will always struggle with math, and will also lose out on the opportunity to excel in English by neglecting it.

    We should do our best to manage our weaknesses, but it is our strengths that will make us succeed (as long as we focus on them)!

  • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

    about 15 years ago I heard John Maxwell talk about playing to your strengths. It was so liberating. Then Buckingham’s works (and others) further punctuated the fact that I need to stop being what others have pushed me to be and instead what I am great at!

  • http://UntanglingTales.com/ Amy Jane Helmericks

    Will my whole family be able to use the assessment code if I buy the 2.0 book? Is there a limit to the number of times a code can be used?

    Concerning the SAHM/D, I get just a *tiny* bit panicky, because I already know details are not my strength, and running a home requires attention to so. much. detail.

    (I know this because when I reach detail-exhaustion thing get even crazier, and when I’m able to batch-work a bit, like meal-planning or housekeeping, life is more peaceful for a while.)

    With such a blatant hole in the home-related strengths, is there any encouragement for someone like me?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      No, I’m afraid not. The assessment code is only good for one test by one person.
      With regard to your strengths, the test helps you work in alignment with your strengths not against them. There is no right or wrong strength. They are just different.
      By the way, I don’t think there are home-related strengths. Every strength can be positively expressed in a home context. Thanks.

      • http://UntanglingTales.com/ Amy Jane Helmericks

        “Every strength can be positively expressed in a home context.”
        This is a useful reminder. I’m still stuck on noticing my weaknesses most, so I need the reprogramming.

        I can see my tendency to discount strengths just because they’re easy, and that’s why I asked specific things about homelife/management ideas. Details are my bane, and there’s no one to delegate them to. But I understand that’s not what we’re talking about now.

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  • Daniel Trinidad

    I really appreciate how Strength Finders clarify your “hardware”. I just want to hear your thoughts about how your character (attitude) can affect your strengths. Thanks Mike, I have been listening to you since day one and I appreciate your great work!

  • http://www.selfemployedmoneymanagement.com/ Ryan Eidson

    By working out of my strengths I can honor God by serving others to the best of my ability. I won’t be frustrated all the time, and people will enjoy working with me. I will also be a good steward of what God has entrusted to me. This also means I don’t just walk around and do what other expect–I am intentional in my life and work. When I use my strengths, I’m doing the best possible work I can do.

    I really liked Buckingham’s StandOut assessment over the Strengths Finder one. In StandOut I’m a Creator-Provider. Have you taken the StandOut assessment, too?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have. I am an Equalizer/Pioneer.

  • EOdorczyk

    I work in production so alot of mine and my co-workers tasks are fairly repetitive. How would you keep someone from getting burned out if all they were doing all day, everyday was something they are really good at doing? Is it just as simple as that person doesn’t have the strength of doing the same monotanus task all day long?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/73D7HN524T6LQZYTM7PCRB6A7Y tmabie

    Michael,  Thanks for this podcast. It was great!  In answer to your question, operating in my strengths would give me a greater sense of purpose and peace in my life.  I would feel that I am living my life more in balance.  Question- I’m assuming that if you’re having the family do the strengths finder that each person would need a copy of the book.  BTW, I’ve ordered and purchased the book.  I have to also mention that I frequently find myself telling others about your blogs or podcasts and find myself saying, “My friend, Michael …”  I feel like we’re friends with all that I know of you.  Well at least we’re brothers.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Actually, if you revisit the post, I put a link, so you can buy just the access key without buying the book. Thanks for your kind words!

  • http://twitter.com/JohnSug John Sugden

    err, didn’t mean to post twice…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It’s so much fun to go through with your spouse.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnSug John Sugden

    Loved the podcast!  I just ordered two copies of the book–can’t wait to go through the test and results with my wife!

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  • Samer Abukwaik

    Thanks Michael for the podcast ….. I have few questions
    1. How accurate is the strength finder assessment? Don’t we have to the assessment serveral times, because there are different factors that might affect the way you anwer the questions? And therefore, the results might not be that accurate.

    2. Are there other different ways to discover our strengths?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The test is very accurate. More than 4 million people have taken it. If you know anything about the Gallup organization, they are meticulous in their research.
      No, you should only take it once. The first time will be your most accurate. It takes into account various life circumstances and filters those out.
      I don’t know of any other strengths tests, though there are many personality tests.

    • Galina Fedorova

      Samer,  a great question. I took the  assessment 3 times, first two times i only knew my top 5 strengths, three out of 5 were the  same both times. When i did assessment for the third time (a few years later) and saw all 34, i was amazed to see that all 5 were in the top 7 :)  

  • http://twitter.com/JohnSug John Sugden

    Just wanted to thank you again for this podcast.  Just completed the assessment with my wife — we both had one strength that was a little odd (we think we both misunderstood a few of the questions) but everything else was spot on.

    (At first, I didn’t trust my all results, neither did my wife hers, but after discussing with each other, the strengths made sense.)Looking forward to crafting my life with this new information.  Thank you so much!

  • http://www.erintarr.com/ Erintarr

    They also have a strengths based assessment specifically targeting the 10 – 14 year old crowd.  I am using it with my teen coaching clients.  http://www.gallup.com/consulting/education/106762/clifton-youth-strengthsexplorer.aspx

    • http://www.erintarr.com/ Erin Tarr

       I also have to say, I laughed OUT LOUD (lol – for real) when you shared about completing something that wasn’t on your “to do” list and then going back to write it down and cross it off.  I thought “WOW… I thought I was the only one!”

      Having completed the StrengthsFinder 2.0 over three years ago, I couldn’t remember if Activator was one of my top strengths, so I looked back and sure enough … Number 1! 

      I really have enjoyed every episode of the podcast and PLATFORM.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge, wisdom and passions. 

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, Erin. I appreciate that.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/73D7HN524T6LQZYTM7PCRB6A7Y tmabie

    Hi Michael,
    I’ve purchased the book, Strengths Finder 2.o, taken the test and reviewed the report.  You mentioned doing this with a team and even doing with your spouse or family (as your team). Where can I get more information about this and how to do it?Thanks Michael,  Tom

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The best resources are on the StrengthsFinder website, though I am not sure they cover taking it with your spouse. Maybe I will blog on this.

  • http://www.designercam.com/ Cam

    I just took the test yesterday after my book arrived a few days ago.

    I’m curious what my full 34 breakdown is because I was surprised at 1-2 of the results. I’m suspicious that some of the strengths I thought would be there are hiding in the 5-10 range.

    But with that said, I’m a Futuristic, Focus, Achiever, Connectedness, Ideation kinda guy. :)

    Thanks for sharing this podcast and for updating it with the link to the less expensive profile-only purchase. I will have to get an extra key for my wife so we can identify her strengths now. :)

    This has probably been my favorite podcast episode so far. Keep up the excellent work!

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