Have you ever seen a grouping similar to this on someone’s LinkedIn profile or under their business signature and wondered what it meant? How do you respond when you’re asked, “What are you really good at?” or “Tell me a little bit about yourself?” or “What do you really like about yourself?”
In order to be able to answer these questions well, we need to have a depth of self-awareness that goes beyond our roles in life, like business owner, mom, wife or first born. I think most of us who are solopreneurs do so many different tasks to keep the business running smoothly that we don’t really take the time to figure out what our real talents are. And we end up burned out and disillusioned.
Donald O. Clifton, honored by the American Psychological Association as the Father of Strengths Psychology, wanted to switch our obsession with trying to fix our weaknesses to one of helping people realize they have much more potential for growth when they invest in developing their natural talents so they become strengths. A team of scientists at Gallup, along with Tom Rath and Clifton, used this philosophy to create a list of 34 common talents using over 40 years of data on human strengths. From that information they developed an assessment tool called CliftonStrengths, which is now known as Strengths Finder 2.0. Their study “indicated that people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life.”
Myers-Briggs, DISC and Strengths Finder 2.0 are tools used by psychologists and many in the business world to help determine your personality type, how you will fit in a specific role or department, and what your natural talents are. When I first started coaching with Michele Williams, she recommended I take the Strengths Finder test. It’s fairly short and for $29.99 you receive the book and assessment along with thorough explanations of your top five strengths or talents. As I learned more about what each of my top five strengths were and how they interacted with many of the other 29 strengths, I experienced a fireworks display of “aha’s!” Life, and my life in particular, began to make sense in a unique and enlightening way.
Many of the things I thought were quirks or negatives about me were actually natural talents that, over time, were developed into strengths. For instance, I am a problem solver (restorative) and like to find the best solution within a given set of requirements (learner) and find it difficult to make a decision until I’ve turned over every stone (learner) and am certain it’s the best one (belief). I also like to find the similarities (connectedness) and differences (individualization) about products to compare and contrast. These strengths are well-suited for someone in the design and fabrication business who desires to provide people with excellent customer service and beautiful end products. On the other hand, I can exhaust myself with all of the options and possibilities I find to present clients with the best two or three options! Now, when I see myself going down the road to quirky, I laugh and ask, “Can I just make a decision already?”
To really grasp what your top five strengths are and how they show up in your life both as strengths and weaknesses takes some time and reflection. However, I truly believe that when we know ourselves well enough to know when we’re working in our sweet spot, we can contract out other parts of the business that we aren’t in alignment with. After all, even Wonder Woman grew in her influence and what she could accomplish as she united with other superheroes.
Kathryn Dillon owns and operates Kathryn Dillon Drapery & Design, LLC, a full-service window treatment and soft goods design and fabrication business based in Marietta, GA. Over the past 24 years she has created lasting relationships with repeat clients and those that value attention to detail throughout the design and fabrication process. Her latest launch is in traveling to other workrooms to provide an extra set of hands or by providing customized education to workrooms to fill a knowledge gap. Kathryn has been a local and national WCAA member since 2005 and she currently serves as the Atlanta Chapter for the Young Professionals Coordinator.