Success doesn't come by trying to do EVERYTHING. (Actually, that's a great way to burn yourself out....) Success is about focusing & channeling your efforts strategically....
Nearly 10 years ago, Gallup polled the nations and asked them a question: "To succeed, should you build upon your strengths or improve in the area of your weaknesses?"
Survey respondents overwhelmingly voted that improving weaknesses was the key to success.... But Gallup's studies revealed the EXACT opposite: Workers that focused on their strengths (worked in areas where they were BOTH skilled AND passionate) got nearly twice as much done as the worker next to them. Workers who were employed in using their strengths were more efficient, effective and happier at their posts.
Your strengths are areas that God has given you extra grace to thrive. They're skills & abilities that you have that can work for your benefit and the benefit of others...and you enjoy doing them. (Note: If you are a whiz at taxes, but you hate doing them... this is NOT a strength. And if you LOVE crochet, but it takes you three hours to make a stitch, this is a hobby - not a strength...or, not yet anyway.) Sure, there will be things that you'll have to work on - but in general, your strengths are areas that come naturally to you, others recognize that you have a gifting in this area, and you enjoy doing it. In the professional realm, these are called "core competencies"....The main things you do to serve others and that you are equipped to do well....
Knowing your strengths doesn't limit, confine or define you... We literally can conquer any impossibilities in our midst. We can always change or grow (and in life, we should), and we shouldn't make excuses not to do work simply because we don't want to - but in the words of Bill Johnson, "The grace that's on our life is meant to be exercised on behalf of others." The first step to using that grace is KNOWING what that is...
Our team uses strengths every day to benefit people all over the world. We use our communication & design gifts to raise money for groups in need, draw attention to worthy businesses, elevate perceptions of important issues, recruit volunteers to causes, appropriately solicit donations & sell items that will ultimately make this planet a better place. We love what we do - and we work with some of the most inspiring people on the planet.
Recently, we helped Blessed To Give Ministries find their strengths as a nonprofit. Through several questions in two meetings, we found their areas of expertise (surgery & giving), previous history of service (multiple trips to foreign countries to pray, equip medical staff, give medical help & provide for others), and their goals for the future. We often do this for other artists & ministries in our business consulting sessions. Ultimately, we helped them turn that into a tagline so that donors and those in need would understand the core purpose of their ministry: Heal the sick. Equip the leaders. Provide for the poor.
We'd love for you to feel and experience the thrill of using your strengths in a meaningful, rewarding way. With this post, we want to help take the big-picture problem of finding your strengths and break it down to some practical steps:
If you feel lost, like you're starting over or need direction, get out a sheet of paper and write down the answers to these questions:
1. What is that you LOVE to do and that others say you do well?
2. What activity can you do for hours on end without tiring? (If you sit down to do this activity, hours and hours can pass without feeling like any time has gone by at all...)
3. What skillset, product or service do you provide that draws others to you, your business, your ministry?
4. Revisit early memories: Can you remember a singular moment in your past when someone complimented you on your work or a project? What was it? What was it about that project that you loved? In what particular part of the project did you succeed or do well?
5. Ask two of your closest friends: In what skills or type of work do I do really well? Where do I excel and thrive? When have you seen me exercise my passion towards a task or cause?
This next part is about using your strengths with PURPOSE - directing your talents towards a people group or serving others with your talents.
6 Is there a people group that is drawn to you on a continual basis? Or a type of story that ALWAYS catches your attention? What about a situation that always causes you to pray? Or a skill you keep using over and over to help others get ahead? When you watch the news, scroll your social media feeds or catch pieces of conversations - do stories of abused children always catch your attention? Do you pray for victims of sex trafficking or single moms? Do you find that wealthy women are drawn to you in conversation? If you're at the beginning of your journey, keep a journal of moments that impact you - and see if you can notice a trend. The likelihood is that you will find deeper meaning to your talents, skills & strengths HERE....
7. If you only had one moment left to live - and you were allowed to think back on your life - what would you regret NOT doing? (What would you wished that you had done, if you had been given the opportunity?)
8 Now ask God, "What do you want me to do with these skills/products/services?" Listen. Write down what you hear. (Even if it seems silly. You might be surprised!)
9. Find organizations, businesses, and ministries that are compatible with your heart and passion. Find positions where they need your strenghts and skillsets. Get to know a few people from the organization. Does it seem like a good fit for you and their needs?
If you need more than just an Nine-point question & answer session, try these resources as well:
Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
This super-practical tool is actually a quiz designed on gallup poll information. After taking a quiz & assessment, you can discover some basic practices & trades where you might excel, read stories of how others apply similar skillsets to their jobs, and begin making practical lists of things to try
Imagine by Andre Rabe
Knowing what to do flows from knowing who you are. For "bigger picture" and "deeper meaning" folks, this book shares with you what God was imagining about you when He created you and the truth of who you are. Reading this book can free you to love your whole self, lose your fear, live fully and run after what you were born to do.
1 Corinthians 12 & 13 by Paul the Apostle
Hard to imagine that you could find your current strengths by looking at a foreign thousand-year-old manuscript, but the truth is that you can discover things about yourself in surprising places. There are certain gifts given to humanity to exercise for one another - and then the most important gift of them all - Love.
Did this article help you? Share with us any stories that resulted from reading this post. We'll read every one!
Simply Heaven Design is a graphic design, web design & social media company that is helping people just like you change the world. We help ministries, businesses & artists get the attention they need and get the resources they need to change the world. Book us for marketing consulting, social media, graphic design, web design & branding by contacting us through www.simplyheavendesign.com.