Strengths…..Let’s kick it up a notch!


Two weeks ago, I wrote about strengths. Last week, I encouraged you to “dare greatly” and act on the strengths you have. A few students came to ask for examples of what would be considered strengths within the context of leadership. This is definitely a fair question and some tangible descriptors may make it easier for us each to recognize these in ourselves.

Here are 10 descriptors used by Gallup’s Strength Explorer used with our middle and senior school students.

ACHIEVING – You have more energy and more goals than other people. You love a sense of accomplishment.

CARING – In your heart, helping other people is very important. You want to make the world better by helping people in small ways or big ways.

COMPETING – You see many things in life as a game, and you feel great joy when you win. You truly hate to lose because you are always striving for first place.

CONFIDENCE – You believe in yourself and what you can do. This helps you take on challenges because you feel sure you can succeed.

DEPENDABILITY – Trust is important to you, and you care about being seen as responsible and trustworthy. People count on you to do what you say you will do. When you make a promise, you mean to keep it.

DISCOVERER – A thinker and learner, you are excited about exploring ideas and making connections. You like to ask the questions “How?” and “Why?”

FUTURE THINKER – Your mind loves to think and dream about the future. You are a person who thinks about what is possible, not what is impossible.

ORGANIZER – Scheduling, planning, and organizing your world makes life better. People count on you to get the details right and pull a plan together.

PRESENCE – You were born to be at the front of the room telling stories and taking the lead. Other people watch you and listen to you.

RELATING – You like to start friendships and keep them for a long time — maybe even your whole life. You widen the circle of friends for yourself and others.


What feels right to you? Surely you can see the value in each but perhaps there are one or two that really feel like they are describing you. Write down the one or two that are describing your natural strengths.

Actions to take to become confident in your strenghts….


When you are working within a group setting, take note of your performance and behaviour. How do you use your strengths? How does it move the group forward? If you are sitting on your hands, how ca you dare greatly to utilize your strengths? See what happens.

Find a good buddy.

Learn what strengths work well with yours. We can buddy up with someone who has strengths that we don’t have to produce something better together than we could on our own. For example – I work well with ORGANIZERS and ACHIEVERS who keep me on track and on a schedule and appreciate my strengths in RELATING and FUTURE THINKING. It benefits us both.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision… It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Andrew Carnegie.

Embrace Failure

You are not going to get it right every time. That is not the goal.

“Failure is the hallmark of success. It can be the starting point of a new venture such as when a baby learns to walk; it has to fall down a lot to learn the new skill.” Entrepreneur Dave Anderson, the founder of the Rainforest Café.strengths

So for now, after a week of media focusing on the life and journey of Nelson Mandela, I want our students to really reflect on their own strengths. What are they? Seriously! What are they? 

Action: Here are some prompts to get your strengths juices flowing….

When do you have feelings of clarity, enjoyment, excitement, energy, ease, incredibly useful and inspired?

What are you doing when you lose track of time?

Often our strengths are evident when we understand that our aspirations show up in our admiration. Who do you admire?

Mother Teresa’s mystical devotion? Madela’s resilience and compassion? Your grandparents’ integrity? Your sister’s patience and perseverance?

Get clear on how you want to feel….

Then, do those things that make you feel that way. 

What is your motivation? If you are truly motivated to focus on your strengths and build on them, you will make it happen and that combination: knowing your strengths + building on your strengths = incredible potential! 

Would you rather be sufficient or masterful?

Would you rather be bright or a supernova?

Would you rather be well-rounded or on your own leading edge?

~Danielle Laporte


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