"…specific areas where we can do things, see things, understand things, and learn things better and faster than 10,000 other people…" - StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work by Marcus Buckingham
Areas where we have the greatest potential for success. - StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Traits we might see "as disabilities and try to work around them to fit in." - Mastery by Robert Greene
"Your most valuable currency [because they are] what comes most naturally to you." - The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms by Danielle LaPorte
Human performance in complex environments can be modeled using an exponential curve. That means a large proportion of any output is created by a small percentage of the people working, and the rest is pretty-well evenly completed by everyone else.
In some industries as much as 25% of the output is generated by just 5% of the employees.
Flipped around the other way, that means that you have areas where your strengths completely outshine everyone else around you. It is undeniable.
Strengths are talents, traits, capabilities, or competencies that are far beyond average. They are the things you do better than everyone else, the things that come most naturally to you. And - this is important - they are things that you also enjoy doing. Put simply, your Strengths must also strengthen you.
Understanding and aligning your strengths to the achievement of your goal is how you create competitive advantage. It is how you stand out from the crowd. It is how you shine.
Strengths are also tricky, because your Strengths might actually be hard for you to see.
Our - US - education system measures cogitative performance and knowledge retention. And that's great. But it does not do much to help students understand where their deep talents lie. Many of the Strengths that you rely on may never have been tested in school. And because they come so naturally to you, you might not even notice you're actually doing anything.
That is actually the perfect place to start when you begin to uncover your Strengths.
What do people come to you for when they need help? Because they know that you're good at it, and they know you like it enough to tell them yes?
What annoys you about other people? Because they don't get it or don't even know to do it - even though it is so obvious?
In what areas of your life do people tell you that you're lucky? Because you did something and they can't quite figure out how you did it?
What about you annoys others or brings out their envy? These are clues to uncovering your Strengths.
But remember, your Strengths must also strengthen you. They may require hard work, or the full force of your attention and effort, and the often do! But if you hate it, it is not your Strength.
When you uncover your Strengths, if you realize you haven't had an opportunity to put them to good use because of how your time is structured, or how they align to your current objectives, you're not alone. Two-thirds of Gallup respondents said that they do not have an opportunity to use their Strengths every day.
What a waste.
If you want to make a real difference, if you want to overturn the status quo - that you can no longer stand - if you want to accomplish more than you ever thought possible, you must become part of the other 33%.
You must first access and then redesign your efforts to fully engage your Strengths.
Want to keep the conversation going? Sign up to receive my weekly Rise & Shine! Monday morning email. Over the next two weeks, we'll work to turn this piece of The Activated Genius Method into practical, actionable steps to access and engage your Genius so that you can improve your life, your work, and our world.
Mastery by Robert Greene
StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work by Marcus Buckingham
Star Performers in Twenty-First-Century Organizations (Article) by Herman Aguinis and Ernest O'Boyle
StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath