At Microsoft, I learned to keep my energy strong while making things happen. The best ways I’ve found to do that are follow my growth and follow my passion. Another way, that’s very important, is to play to my strengths. Spending time in my strengths is the key to hitting the high notes and getting exponential results. It keeps me strong, my energy high, and produces more impactful results in less amount of time.
Whenever I find myself drained, all I need to do is take a look at where I’ve been spending my time. Sure enough, it’s always from spending too much time in my weaknesses and not enough time in my strengths. That’s the interesting lesson too … I can spend more time in my weaknesses, as long as I’m spending enough time in my strengths.
By strengths, I’m not talking about the skills I’ve learned. I’m talking about my natural strengths – the ones that I can count on no matter what. I didn’t find my strengths over night and it’s a continuous process of gaining clarity and precision. The key here is knowing the language. When you know what to look for, it’s easier to find your own strengths, label them, and use them to your advantage.
34 Key Strengths
Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. identified 34 key signature themes of strength. I have a brief description of each strength in my post, Finding Your Strengths. Here are the 34 signature themes:
24 Signature Strengths
Martin Seligman named a set of 24 Signature Strengths. You can find out more about Martin Seligman’s work at the Authentic Happiness Center. Here are Seligman’s 24 Signature Strengths:
- Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
- Bravery and Valor
- Capacity to Love and Be Loved
- Caution, Prudence, and Discretion
- Citizenship, Teamwork, and Loyalty
- Creativity, Ingenuity, and Originality
- Curiosity and Interest in the World
- Fairness, Equity, and Justice
- Forgiveness and Mercy
- Honesty, Authenticity, and Genuineness
- Hope, Optimism, and Future-mindedness
- Humor and playfulness
- Industry, Diligence, and Perseverance
- Judgment, Critical Thinking, and Open-Mindedness
- Kindness and Generosity
- Love of Learning
- Modesty and Humility
- Perspective and Wisdom
- Self-Control and Self-Regulation
- Social Intelligence
- Spirituality, Sense of Purpose, and Faith
- Zest, Enthusiasm, and Energy
How To Use These Strength Vocabularies
One way to use these is to take their tests and find out what they say about you. I do like the fact that they have framed and named the strengths which makes it easy to explore, test, and evaluate. Personally, I’ve found more value by simply exploring the labels and using them as lenses. I’ve been rationalizing them against the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as well as my own frames for strengths, looking for underlying patterns and practices.
At the end of the day, the most important thing for me has been finding where I get energy from, and finding what takes it away. This leads me to a personalized strengths frame that I can use as a lens for investing in my portfolio of strengths … and this is the key to exponential results.