Ten Things I Have Discovered About Strengths

business growth career development professional growth Jun 01, 2022

Hi there 

I’ve just created my newest career building How to Discover Your Strengths Course.

It’s all about how people can take the first steps in developing a career and life which is based upon their unique talents. 

By applying their strengths in their work and life, we can build confidence, develop a positive mindset and gain a clear understanding about who we can be in the world.

In the fifteen years since I first discovered my strengths, I have learned and taught thousands of people in how to discover their strengths and so I have written some - what I hope are - interesting reflections on what I now know, that I didn’t back then.

So here they are. 

Ten things that I now know and didn’t know then.

1 How was the Strengths Finder Assessment created ?

The Gallup Strengthsfinder was created by a psychologist called Dr Jim Clifton who, after inventing it, thought that it would be best used as a tool to support relationship counselling. It’s first use was therefore in the field of marriage guidance ! Now it has been completed by over 25 million people all over the world who have discovered their top strengths. And it is now used in many different aspects of people and organisational development to support people and business growth.

2 What exactly is the assessment ? 

The assessment takes just twenty minutes to do, but after this you will discover your top five strengths, of a total of thirty four possible strengths. The assessment focusses on strengths only and so doesn’t identify weaknesses. Even if you have all thirty four strengths identified, the lower down strengths are still strengths. They are just not as strong as your top ones and therefore may need more work and focus to maximise them.

3 What are the thirty four strengths and four domains ?

The thirty four can be separated into four strength domains. Jim Clifton noticed that the thirty four strengths can one organised into what he called - Strength Domains. These four are Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, Influencing and Executing  Strengths. By looking at domains in this way we can very simply identify our most dominant strengths characteristics. For example, my top five are spread amongst Strategic, Executing and Relationship Building. This really does sum me up us a person. You’ll notice that I don’t have a top five Strength in Influencing and this is where I have to work the hardest. Instead of this being a weakness, it shows me where I have an opportunity to develop and also where possible blindspots may be.

4 What is the least likely strength ?

Gallup data which shows, of the 25 million people who had takes the Strengthsfinder, Influencing Strengths come out the lowest in frequency. This is really interesting as Influencing strengths are incredibly important when putting our point across and being heard at work and at home. So perhaps this is one area to develop in, if we are in the corporate world.

5 What are strengths pairings ?

Another fascinating observations that Gallup provided is that some strengths act as magnets for others. For example my top Strength is Strategic, and the most common strength to occur if we have Strategic is Learner, with a 30% probability of it being in our top five. I have Learner as my number three. Why may that be ? In my case, I am always looking at options of what to learn and my job is to work out things so that I can share them with others. My mum always said that I was a natural born teacher !

6 What about our Strengths and Weaknesses ?

For every high strength, there is a corresponding low one. For example my highest reported Strength is Strategic. According to data provided by Gallup, the least likely Strength to appear in my top five is Harmony. And for me that is true. Harmony is my 33rd Strength out of 34 ! So the data is correct, for me at least and the intriguing question, is why would this be.

7 Is there a ‘most commonly occurring’ top five strength in the world ?

It’s important to remember that out of the seven billion people in the world, just over 25 million have take the StrengthsFinder. So that is roughly 1 in 300 people. And about half are in the United States. 

The most common strength occurring strength out of all those who have take Strengthsfinder is Achiever  and the lowest occurring strength is Self Assurance. A good question to ask is why would this be ? Achiever high and Self Assurance low. May be a topic of another blog, I will focus on Self Assurance in coming weeks but question 8 gives a little insight to this rare strength.

8 Is there a ‘least commonly occurring’ top five strength in the world ?

Of all 34 strengths, the least commonly occurring in the top five is Self Assurance, with 4% occurrence in the top five. This makes it 34th on the rankings list. 

Self assurance is similar to self confidence. In the deepest part of us, it is about whether we have faith in our strengths. It is the knowledge that you are able to take risks, able to meet new challenges, stake a claim and most importantly, able to deliver. For me, Self Assurance is 15th, so just above the mid way point in my list of 34, which feels about right. This this feels about right and reflects me quite accurately.

9 How can you use your strengths ?

You can use Strengths to guide your career and life. The data from Gallup is pretty convincing. 

  • People who focus on using their strengths are THREE times more likely to report having an excellent Quality of Life.
  • They are also SIX TIMES more likely to be engaged in their job.
  • People who work with their strengths, look forward to going to work, tell their friends that they work for a great company and achieve more on a daily basis.

This all adds up to improving our lives, and our jobs. Plus this is a very good thing for our wellbeing too.

10 What about wellbeing and Strengths. Any connection ?

The book group that I run have just read Martin Seligmans book called Flourish which is all about the psychology of living a life that gives us Happiness and Wellbeing. 

He has created a five part model called the PERMA model - with PERMA being a five letter acronym. The E in PERMA stands for Engagement and Martin points towards the achievement of Flow. Flow is when we achieve a psychological feeling of being lost in time, of totally absorbed in what we are doing. Martin says that discovering our strengths can be a key part of getting to a Flow state. So from this we can learn that strengths can support our wellbeing too.

I know that learning about mine has moved me to a place where I use my strengths every single day in my work and I think that with a little work, most people could do this too.

And hence collectively, raise our wellbeing.


So in summary, there are many things that I have learned about Strengths over the years and since I became a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

If this is of interest then please just sign up to my blog to learn more in the coming weeks.

Until then !


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