If you’ve taken the CliftonStrengths assessment, you may remember that at the end that you are given a list of your Top 5 talents. These are the traits that you are most likely to display based on how you answered the questions.
A lot of times, when we look at the list, we immediately identify with our talents and see how we have already been using them in our lives. Sometimes we now can put a name to a trait that we always knew we had but didn’t have the language to describe.
But what if you find yourself saying, “I don’t like my Top 5 talents?”
Wanting What You Don’t Have
I have encountered this many times when coaching clients. It’s common, after we get our talent report back and look at it, to begin to judge ourselves. We wish we had a certain talent or that we didn’t have another one.
We may not think the talents we have are as important as the talents we see that others have. Or, perhaps we wish we had talents that make it easier for us to communicate with others or a more rounded mix. Regardless, it is often easier to see what we lack than appreciate what we have.
This way of thinking misses the point of learning this information. Your talents are yours and are unique to you, and what matters most is how we choose to use them when we understand them.
Your individual talents and most importantly, the mix of them, make you unique. When we gain knowledge and use them very intentionally in our lives, it makes the path we travel much more enriching and fulfilling. It also allows us to help others along the way, by improving interactions, and being able to offer assistance in areas that align to who we are, naturally.
Learning To Love Your Talents
I once worked with an individual who wasn’t sure she liked her Top 5 talents. Her first talent was Positivity. This talent is a naturally uplifting, glass-half-full way of looking at every situation. Her second talent was Woo, which stands for “winning others over.” It is a charm talent that makes every stranger a potential friend. Individuals with this talent make natural connections with just about everyone they encounter. Her third talent was Communication, which is all about being able to find the right words in the right moment for the right person.
When you add those three together, you come up with a person who talks a lot and loves to converse with other people. She felt bad about that because she felt that those were “fluffy” talents. She felt that she was missing some of what she thought of as the “more useful” talents, like Strategic and Achiever. She liked the image that she created in her mind about what it means to be strategic and to be an achiever.
She had been criticized in her life, both at home and at school, for talking too much. Seeing those traits in her Top 5 brought back some of the hurt from the past.
A past history of hurt seems to be common when someone doesn’t like one or more of their talents. Often, they were criticized about that trait in the past and have spent time trying to change or tamp down the expression of that talent.
However, the reality is that because of her mix of talents, she can go into any situation and break the ice. On a team, she is the person who is the cheerleader and who looks for the silver lining. She brings energy to her team and always knows the right words to say. These traits are because of her mix of talents and are all wonderful and important things to have in a team.
In addition, when we looked at her next five talents, she had talents in the Reflect or “thinking” category that she could pull out of her tool belt to use.
By the end of the conversation, she realized that her talent mix had positioned her to have the skills to be successful. She was able to suspend some of the judgment that she had about her Top 5 talents and reflect on why she had felt that way.
And most importantly, by understanding the power of each of those talents and the mix of her talent profile, she began to see the unique value they bring to her and that she can then bring into the world.
All Talents Are Needed
That is what this work is all about. If we all had the same talents the world wouldn’t be very interesting and would cease to function effectively. We need all types of people with all mixes of talents to build personal, work, and community units that work together at the highest level.
There is no such thing as a “bad” talent. Understanding them and knowing how to use them to your benefit will increase your happiness and fulfillment. Remember that what you have to offer is needed and that there is probably someone out there who is wishing they had your talents.
When we embrace who we are, we can turn our talents into true strengths.
Talent DNA Tool
If you already know your Top 5 talents, and you’re curious about what that talent mix means, I have a free tool for you to use. It’s the only one of kind that I’ve seen.
If you haven’t taken the CliftonStrengths Finder Assessment yet, click here to take it. You only need your Top 5 report to use this tool and you can always upgrade later if you choose to see your full report.
All you have to do is enter your Top 5 talents by choosing the icon for the talent. After you finish, enter your name and email address and it will give you a report that describes your mix of talents and some main points of what someone with your talent mix has to offer. You’ll also get an email with these results.
This is a fun way to learn more about yourself and it can be interesting to do with friends, family, or co-workers so you can better understand each other.
When you’re doing something that allows you to channel your strengths—whether that’s at home, work, or in your hobbies—you are your best self. Take the time to learn more about yourself and embrace who you are!