Transform your performance: how to play to your strengths

If you use your strengths daily you are 6x more likely to be engaged on the job and 30% less likely to suffer from stress and anxiety, according to research by Gallup. Moreover, to make a strong and lasting impact, you need to understand and play to your strengths. This article is probably the ultimate how-to- guide on the Web for understanding yourself from multiple angles and developing an action plan to better use your strengths.

Warning: you may prefer the eBook version!

This post is very detailed and has lots of information. It is probably the most complete guide on the entire Internet as regards finding what are your strengths.

It will be immensely valuable to you, but it is more than a two-minute read, and taking action on it will take considerable time. However, the rewards of truly understanding your strengths and resources are very great.

To help you gain those benefits, you can enter your name and email address and immediately:

  • download a free workbook to find what are your strengths (to work through these exercises and process your findings) and to
  • download the entire article in an easy-to-read and easy-to-print PDF ebook format, for simpler storage and referral

A. Why you need to understand your strengths

Playing to your strengths is an idea to which we often pay lip service, but in reality we so often focus on fixing our weaknesses.

Almost 80% of parents (in the USA) think that a student’s lowest grades deserve the most time and attention: you are much more likely to receive remedial attention on your low grades than mentoring in those areas where you have the most potential for greatness. At work, whilst management theorists now accept the premise that the best managers focus on harnessing team strengths, most performance feedback systems still focus on requiring employees to address their less-strong competencies.

Whilst shoring up our weaknesses has value, doubling-down on your strengths is surely the best way to make your greatest contribution to the world. Successful leaders consistently say the same thing:

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Is pursuing my calling actually selfish?!

A very honest friend said that his #1 question relating to purpose and direction in life was simply this: “How can I overcome the sense of responsibility to maximise wealth for my family?”

It’s a good question. Many books on finding your dream job or your ideal life treats the entire enterprise as an individualistic endeavour. It’s all about you, they assert. All about finding YOUR place in the intersection of what you love, what there is market for, and what you are good at.

But for those of us with a family to support, it’s clear there are other considerations – and my friend put his finger on a biggie. Might pursuing my calling be actually a selfish endeavour that puts the financial security of my family at risk? Continue reading

Nic Villa: career planning for maximum impact

There are a lot of authors and entrepreneurs out there who tell us that a corporate job is likely to be unfulfilling, meaningless and devoid of impact… and that a better life is to be had as an entrepreneur or a freelancer. Others will tell us that the path to fulfilment is in social enterprise, charity work, church work, community work.

Well, perhaps.

However, there are many paths to impact and to meaning. My friend Nic Villa is great case in how to strategically plan your career for maximum social impact. 

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Tape Breakers Review & Jim Akers Interview

How can you make the biggest impact in the most important areas? This is the question at the heart of Purposeful People, and Jim Akers has written an excellent book on the topic called "Tape Breakers". You'll find my review below in this post.

The book is so relevant to our mission here at Purposeful People that I snagged a 10-minute interview with Jim Akers to find out more. Here's the video, along with 4 must-watch highlights.

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Agile leadership: a new approach – Change-Agent’s Compass

Why you need a new leadership tool

You may be a business, non-profit or church leader; you may be an entrepreneur or someone with a message to spread: but one thing is sure - there is an element of breaking new ground in what you are doing.

But leading breakthrough change is hard. Pioneering is difficult and messy. There are dead-ends and discouragement as well as breakthrough; valleys as well as mountaintops.

There are no maps for the ‘purposeful person’ – the terrain is new and constantly shifting. Reaching your mission or goal is more like an ocean-journey – requiring adaptability and course correction – than a safe, predictable highway.

success journey for pioneer leaders

It's become a cliché, but it's true

And as the leader-pioneer, you know there are many things to do, many practices to adopt, many leadership skills to apply. Many things on your to-do list. And there’s the problem: it can be hard to focus on the right thing to do at the right time.

Normally there is one key thing we need to be doing, but often we don’t recognise it and focus on something else instead. The terrain has shifted but we haven’t responded. And the price of this?

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Find your strengths: Skills & Temperaments

So - knowing your strengths is vital, and you've probably made some mistakes in the past when examining your strengths.  But how should you actually go about capturing a rounded view of your unique talents and assets?

This article looks at the first two areas of the "S.T.R.E.N.G.T.H." framework - Skills and Temperament.  We will look in depth at exactly how to understand your strengths in these two critical areas.  In a subsequent post we will look at the remaining 5 angles.

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Four mental barriers that narrow our life options

There are times when life brings so many options, so many possibilities that it can be hard to choose or even narrow them down. Other times we suffer the opposite: not enough possibilities that really seem attractive and so we can feel trapped in our situation.

Very often we keep doing what we are doing due to a lack of compelling alternatives. Here are four mental barriers that limit us from living into all the possibilities that are open to us. Continue reading

3 steps to answering the ‘where do you see yourself’ question

In the last post, What if you don’t know where you see yourself in 5 years?, I suggested that when we can’t envision what we want to be doing in the next five years, it means that we’re not longer living our professional life within a compelling story. The story that we used to live has ended, and we have yet to inhabit a new story. So … no vision, no goals, no purpose.

So what to do about it? Here are 3 ways to find a better governing story for the next chapter. Continue reading