Welcome to Day 2 of 31 Days of Purpose! If you missed the beginning of this series, you can find it here!
I hope yesterday’s challenge left you energized after you rediscovered what inspires you and what you are passionate about!
Today’s focus for living your purpose is identifying your strengths and gifts.
Have you ever noticed it is SUPER easy to tell someone what your flaws are, but when asked what you are great at, it’s hard to come up with an answer?
I think there are different reasons why it’s hard for us to name our strengths. Some of us don’t want to seem over-confident. Others get caught up in the day-to-day of life and forget with all the chaos that these strengths are there because there isn’t time to pursue them. Others (like myself a few years ago) are trudging through motherhood and in the process forget about our individual self while focusing on being a mom, wife, and juggling the other 500 hats we wear each day.
A few years ago I was very fortunate to be mentored by a friend that attends my church. As we sat down at the local coffee shop one morning, she asked me what my strengths were. I’m sure I gave her a very blank stare because at that time, I still had 4 kids at home and hadn’t considered myself strong at anything at that point besides survival. I remember my face getting hot as the only strengths I could think of were from when I worked outside the home that really didn’t apply to my life anymore.
What had happened to me?
Can you relate to that?
She gave me an assignment to do before we met again. I needed to get online and take the Clifton StrengthsFinder® Assessment and print off my top 5 strengths. We would talk about them the next time we met for mentoring.
This was one of the better uses of $10 (it’s $15 now) that I have ever spent my money on. Here’s why: at that point in my life, I needed to be told by someone that I was good at something. (I know…it’s sad but with a new baby, a toddler, 2 preschoolers and a 2nd grader, there wasn’t a lot that I felt good about when it came to my strengths. I was sleep-deprived. My house was always messy and even simple tasks and errands like getting groceries or a hair cut was almost impossible toting around 4 little kids.) Taking that test encouraged me that there was hope, that I was worthwhile, and it helped snap me out of the funk of “what happened to me?”
(By the way, I’m not receiving any reimbursement from Gallup if you take this test. I’m simply telling you about my experience.)
When I printed off the results of my tests, my top strength was focus. At that point in my life it seemed hilarious because I couldn’t seem to focus on anything! But as I read through the reports that I received with the test, I instantly saw myself in the description. The same thing happened for the other 4 strengths.
When my mentor and I met again the next time, I excitedly reported my results and I remember feeling bubbly and excited. It was a turning point in starting this blog, which had been a long unfulfilled goal.
What are your strengths? Grab your notebook from yesterday with your passions and jot down all of your strengths.
If you have a hard time naming 5 here are some ideas for you:
- Get together with your husband, mom, or best friend. You could even call them if there is long distance between you. Ask them what they think are your top strengths.
- Take the the Clifton StrengthsFinder® Assessment. If you can’t afford the 15 dollars, I found 2 online tests that are free. Neither gives the detail of the Clifton StrengthsFinder, but both were good tests.
- The VIA Institute on Character offers a character strengths test with 120 questions. I haven’t taken this one yet, but will be this weekend!
- The Multiple Intelligence For Adult Literacy & Education has 56 questions that you answer online. This test gives your 3 top intelligences. It didn’t take long to complete and I’d say the results were accurate when I took it for myself.
- The Workuno Strengths Test has 170 questions that you answer online. It takes a little longer to complete but it gives your scores for each area. It’s comprehensive. You can also pay after that for further results but I was very pleased with the results I received.
- Think about what others have praised you for in the past. What makes you stand out from the crowd? Add these strengths to your list! Maybe you have quick turn around when you have an assignment to do for school or work, are quick to give praise or compliments, or are detailed and focused. All of these are strengths!
It’s important to know your strengths because instead of looking at yourself based on your weaknesses or on how the outside world views you, you can begin to look at yourself in terms of your strengths. Your strengths are tools to tackle your challenges because instead of looking at a challenge as a problem you can use your strengths (which you enjoy and are good at) to tackle that problem. After solving the problem, you will feel fulfilled and energized!
Your job today is to find your top strengths! I’ve included several free websites where you can identify your strengths. Check out one or all! Record your strengths in your notebook with your passions!
Harvard’s Extension School will be offering an academic FREE workshop on October 8, 2015, called Using Your Strengths to Succeed in and out of the Classroom (you will need to take the VIA before the workshop).
You can also check out the University of Minnesota’s site that offers a free tip sheet on all 34 strengths here for helping students!
**Some of the links in this post are my referral links. When you order a product through this link it may result in a small commission, which helps me pay the cost of running this site, but does not add any additional cost to you. Thank you for your support of my site and for supporting my family! You can read my disclosure policy here.
Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow I haven’t read this book yet (it’s on my to-read list) but according to Gallup’s website, Strengths Based Leadership “identifies three keys to being a more effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.”
Gallup also offers an Entrepreneurial Profile test you can take for $12 to help identify your entrepreneurial talents.
Resources For Kids:
Clifton Youth Strengths Explorer This is the version the Clifton test for kids. I’ve heard rave reviews about this test for teens who are trying to figure out what they want to study in college.
What are your top strengths?
Have you enjoyed what you read here today? Do you have friends or other women you know that could benefit from this resource? If so, please do me a favor! I have included the links below to share with other intentional women! They’ll be glad you did!