I coach people for a living as a PCC – Professional Certified Coach and GALLUP-Certified Strengths Coach.

And in every case, I have a simple goal: to help my client achieve a personal and professional breakthrough. In my view, nothing less than a significant breakthrough is worth the effort.

Of course, many times breakthroughs take some incremental change over time in their behavior, or a modest boost in sales, or even to become a marginally better leader.

I coach people who want a significant and substantial, dare I say life-altering, positive shift in their life and business.

I coach with people who have the courage to strive for and achieve a breakthrough.

The type of breakthrough is entirely up to them. Some want a personal breakthrough—to carve out substantially more time for family, to travel to exotic locations with the family, to expand career direction and success. Others want a professional breakthrough—to triple their sales, to lead a major new project, or to step into a senior leadership position. I challenge people to grow stronger, work smarter and live richer.

I have a relatively new client who told me that she doesn’t “believe” in assessments.  She believes that assessments actually pigeon hole people and can hold them back instead of propelling them forward because they think that whatever the assessment says that is what they are period, end of the sentence. 

Though she didn’t want to be pigeonholed, she took the CliftonStrengths assessment knowing in her words “it won’t work.”  When she received her results her top 5 were:

1.    Empathy

2.    Connectedness

3.    Input

4.    Developer

5.    Strategic

Her response was something along the lines of – how did they do this?  How did they get me like this?  After 40 years of studying human strengths, the CliftonStrengths assessment has it right, and she was amazed to see that.  Breakthrough #1

Even after breakthrough #1, there was still some hesitation as she wasn’t sure, even after reading through the reports on the Gallup, what should she do with these strengths.  Even though she agreed with the assessment, she wasn’t sure that they were strengths.  In her mind, if it was a strength, it had to be perfect.

In doing research as part of my Strengths Champion Certified Coach® Masterclass, she gained information regarding how CliftonStrengths looks at talents and strengths as potential.  It was then she realized that by identifying her top themes of talent, the CSF provides a starting point for her not an endpoint.  This assessment was not telling her – here are your top strengths now you need to use these some specific, prescribed way to improve your life.  She now saw her strengths as a pathway to grow in the things that she does well in life. She can take the things that she has learned about her strengths in all her reports and refine her strengths into a powerful part of her skills and knowledge.  Breakthrough #2

When I challenge people to grow stronger, work smarter and live richer I am talking about monetizing your strengths with my “live richer” part of my coaching system.  For her when she read this article she shifted her mindset from I know my strengths, to, I need to get to work using them.  She began to see her strengths as a growth opportunity, and especially that others would pay her for her strengths.  A new way to live richer.  Breakthrough #3

What about you?  Where do you want a breakthrough? To Grow Stronger, Work Smarter, or Live Richer?

Go ahead and schedule your complimentary Ask Brent Anything call to help you breakthrough in 2019.

One of my favorite quotes says “What makes you STRONG sometimes makes you STRANGE. What makes you STRANGE, also makes you STANDOUT.” Give that a minute to sink in. Most of us don’t want to think of as strange but we do want to be strong, and we do want to stand out. With the new year here a lot us are making resolutions and setting our goals for the next year. When you are trying to decide what you should do during 2019 that will make you strong and stand out on what are you basing those decisions? Are you looking at what makes you strange to make those decisions?

My guess is probably not. What would happen if you did? What if you stopped for a minute and took a look at you and took inventory of what makes you “strange” – what makes you uniquely you and thus gives you your unique talents. When you begin to tap into your unique talents, you will find insights into your life that will change the way you live and have a fantastic impact on how you will live the rest of your life.

We have a tendency to see creating resolutions or setting goals as an opportunity to “fix” what is wrong with us. Our financial situation, our weight, our relationships, our jobs, and the list goes on and on. We seemed to be able to look at what is wrong with us a lot easier than we look at what is right. After the first few weeks we give up on the goals and resolutions, and we are right back where we were. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we try to motivate ourselves out of our perceived weaknesses?

You will find the most significant areas of growth and the desire to live in those areas if you begin with your strengths in mind. In your strengths, you will find your most natural self, and you will not be trying to improve what you see as a weakness but work in the areas of your life where you are strong, and your natural rhythms flow. What sets your soul on fire? What makes you want to learn more about it and grow in it? What connects you to you at a deeper level than ever before? That is what you are looking for. Author and founder North Point Ministries Andy Stanley says “Your time is like currency it is limited, and it is valuable. You need to invest it and not just spend it.” Just like you invest your money in yourself, invest your time in yourself.

Now that you have found these elusive things – what do you do with them? Use them to inspire your actions. Take your top five strengths and create your action plan to reach your goals. How will each of your strengths support the work you want to toward your goal? Work in those strengths not to fix something broken but to become the person you want to be and be that person every day. Don’t look at them as these are my goals and I have to meet but view them as an intentional part of your life from this day forward.

Where do you want to invest in you in 2019? Think about your top 5 strengths and create your action plan based on these strengths to move forward on this investment. Need some assistance re-framing your mindset this way and get moving on that action plan? Need to know what your top 5 strengths are? Set up your Ask Brent Anything call and let’s get you started strong for 2019.

I’m a father of two—a daughter and a son—and it amazes me how their personalities are so different. Tara early in childhood seemed to enjoy spontaneity and loathed routine. She disliked structure and would rather go with the flow. Her #1 talent theme is Adaptability. My son, Trent seemed to be attracted to the best brands in clothes, sports equipment, and cars. He would rather spend time teaching tennis to the great tennis players polishing their game to become elite. He would rather pay top dollar for the best brand of baby gear for his newborn, because he’s motivated toward quality and excellence. His #1 talent theme is Maximizer.

Psychologists say that about fifty percent of our personality is genetic, or what we’re born with. The other fifty is nurture, what can be attributed to the environmental influence of the world around us as well as the people and caregivers in our lives.

There’s no doubt that, when we are born, we possess a genetic “code” for certain abilities. These talents are in our blood, our brains, and our genes. However, a strength is not limited to hardwiring. Over time, we acquire knowledge, information picked up from our environment and the people in it. Next, we turn this knowledge into skills. The three components of any strength are talent, knowledge, and skills.

So, what if you wanted to boost your strength in any one area? My advice is to focus on any one of the three—talents, knowledge, or skills. Take knowledge, for instance. There are four levels of acquiring knowledge—learning, applying, teaching, and relearning.

First, we learn new information, whereupon we are called to do something about it by applying the information in some way.

After that, teaching is the best way to deepen our understanding of new information. Finally, in order to avoid growing stagnant, we must continue to seek new knowledge, often through relearning what we thought we already knew. And what’s exciting is that we never really stop learning—there is always new information to process or knowledge that we can gain from deepening our understanding of “old” info.

Individualization is my #2 talent in CliftonStrengths.

Individualization is the act of being intrigued with the unique qualities of people. It’s a relationship strength, the ability to look for one-of-a-kind stories. A person with Individualization is a keen observer of other people’s strengths. They have the ability to personalize information, or how they will work with you.

In my case, I was an only child and therefore had to seek opportunities to connect. For the first part of my life, I grew up in a metropolitan environment. In our diverse neighborhood, there were all kinds of people to meet and experiences to be had. It’s where I developed a taste for acquiring knowledge about different cultures, different mindsets, and different ways of thinking.

I spent the second part of my adolescence living in the country, in a small town in East Texas. I went to a little school called Grand Saline and was able to experience the country life.

When I talk to people, I love to ask questions—what is your background, what are your dreams, what are your goals? I love to discover each person’s one-of-a-kind story. Each of you reading this blog has your own story. Some of you are motivated to apply this to your work. You may want to use this knowledge to help your children, or to transform your sense of personal satisfaction.

For me, with Individualization in my hard wiring, I’m not only sensitive to people’s strengths, but also their emotional ups and downs, body language, and moods. I pick up on the little things that make up a person’s personality.

When I’m talking, coaching, or even speaking to a large audience, I have an ability to personalize whatever I’m sharing with the people in front of me.

In college I studied psychology, sociology, and communications. In grad school I studied counseling, where I deepened my knowledge and understanding of people, their personalities, and how to help people grow, work, and live. For the last ten years I’ve been learning professional coaching. I’ve taken courses on coaching, hired a mentor coach, put myself through the ICF (International Coach Federation) certification process, and teach Strengths-Based Coaching. As I write this, I realize I’ve been Individualizing for twenty years, each day improving my talent, knowledge, and skills.

What knowledge, skills, or practice do you want to invest in to turn your talent into world class strength?

Americans have more credit card debt than ever before. According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. households collectively hold over a trillion dollars in credit card debt. The average American family owes $8,377.

In talking with one of my coaching clients, they expressed a goal to pay off their debt in two years to prepare for retirement.  The obstacles to this goal are they owe 67% of each of their paychecks to credit card and loan debt, their job raises are determined by the legislature, and there is no overtime at her workplace.  Once you reach the max of your pay grade, you either have to find a new job within the company or leave.  They want to pay off debt and be in a good place for retirement in a couple of years, but it all feels overwhelming.

Another option for more money to pay on bills is to get a side hustle leveraging her strengths.

The question I asked was “Which of your strengths can you call on to help you get out of debt and make more money? “  Their top 5 strengths are:

  1. Empathy
  2. Connectedness
  3. Input
  4. Developer
  5. Strategic

The first four are relationship building, and they use them exceptionally well in working with people. She loves showing empathy, connecting people to resources, and developing people. Why not become a life coach? Building a life coaching business on the side is a great way for this person to pay off debt and create a fulfilling revenue stream with her strengths.

Do you see that 5th strength – Strategic?

According to Gallup “The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large.”  Doesn’t that seem like the perfect strength to use when they are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know how to move forward?

Using their Strategic theme will support them in sorting through the disorder of their current financial situation and plan the best path to work their way out of their financial situation. Using this strength, we began to look for patterns to bring some order to feeling overwhelmed.

Once the patterns began to emerge, they began to play out different situations, asking them self, “What if I do this? What would happen if I do? Using these questions over and over it helped them see what they could do and what could happen if they do.  From that place, they could evaluate their plan and the potential of obstacles.

Armed with this strategy they began to view what felt like an overwhelming situation in their life as something that they could manage.  Looking at the patterns of what they do in their life as it pertains to their finances they were able to find the changes to make in some, the ones that they could not change and the patterns that will be discarded.  A plan began to emerge that would take them to their goal of paying off their debt in two years in time for retirement.

What emerged was strategically offering her technology and writing services for another entrepreneur and building her life coaching business.

What had been at the beginning of the call an overwhelming situation in their life was now taking shape as a manageable situation, the work was not all done, but the action plan was in place to get out of debt and build a side hustle to make more money with her strengths.

What strengths can you call on to get out of debt?  Knowing what your strengths are is important but knowing how to use them is essential.  (click here to view all 34 strengths and their characteristics) We talk a lot about using our strengths in corporate settings and how managers need to honor employee’s strengths.

But what about you – how do you get out of debt with your strengths? What kind of side hustle could you start with your strengths?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do I know what is expected of me at work? Everyone’s initial reaction is – of course I know what is expected of me at work, I do it every day.  It does seem like a pretty simple and straightforward question but is it? What was I hired to do?  How do I know what is expected of me in my work?  Who decides what is expected of me?  When you start to unpack that question, it is not as simple as it appears.

Your manager probably thinks that the answer to you is obvious.  If management is not clear in their communication about the goals and objectives in your job expectations how are you supposed to be successful?

Do you ever have those moments when you have gotten a new assignment, and all you can think is  “I have no idea what I’m supposed to do.”   If you are a new employee, you might be afraid to ask for help because you don’t want the company thinking they have made a bad hire.  If you are a seasoned employee, you might not want to ask for help because you don’t want your boss or co-workers questioning your abilities since you have been in the job a while.  New or seasoned employee – doesn’t matter – we can all end up in the position of not knowing what is expected of us at work.

When you are in that position what do you do?  Wing it and hope it works out? Fall into analysis paralysis and not make any progress?  The simple answer is to ask for clarification from the person who made the assignment.  But it isn’t always that simple.

How can you as a manager create an environment where employees input and ideas are valued?  How can you as an employee create an environment where your manager value your input and ideas?  It takes some work on both sides to make sure everyone can answer the question “Do you know what is expected of you?” with confidence. Always remembering that you both want to create a culture of trust.

Gallup’s Q12 survey includes 12 questions to measure engagement that link to important business outcomes, such as improved productivity, profitability and customer ratings. This survey provides a company a clear picture of their work environment and how successful each manager is in meeting employee needs.

Gallup’s analysis of the link between achievement, accountability, and accessibility and employee engagement, showed that managers who are successful in fulfilling employees’ needs on each of the 12 questions would have employees that are more likely to be engaged:

  • Among employees who strongly agree with the statement, “My manager helps me set work priorities,” 38% are engaged. Among employees who disagree, only 4% are engaged.
  • Among employees who strongly agree with the statement, “My manager holds me accountable for my performance,” 28% are engaged. Among employees who disagree, only 6% are engaged.
  • Among employees who strongly agree that “I feel I can approach my manager with any type of question,” 31% are engaged. Among employees who disagree, only 2% are engaged.

When employees are engaged, they will perform at a higher level and bring passion and interest to their job, which often leads to innovation in the workplace. If an employee is engaged in the workplace, they will feel they have a real stake in the organization. Open communication and collaboration between engaged employees and management can lead to a culture of trust and growth.

Where are you in this discussion?  Manager, seasoned employee or new employee, do you know what is expected of you at work?

After studying Sigmund Freud, Abraham Maslow developed a different type of psychology—a “healthy” psychology, as he deemed it. In fact he was the first to use the term “Positive Psychology”. Positive Psychology is part of the roots of the modern strengths movement. Maslow believed all humans have a drive to succeed and fulfill their human potential that we’re not simply reacting to crisis.

Maslow, was a second-generation Jewish immigrant from Russia and the eldest of seven children. Maslow was born in Brooklyn, New York, a timid, awkward young man who confronted heavy anti-Semitism growing up. He writes about being picked on by gangs, called names, and pelted with rocks over the course of his young life.

Of course, Maslow himself wasn’t perfect. He was a human being just like all of us, struggling with the ghosts of his past and a difficult relationship with his mother, a woman who never loved him, according to Maslow.

You may have heard about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

 

 Each of us have five levels of needs—physiological, safety, belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. If you travel to a developing country, for example, you’ll see how the majority of its population concentrates on meeting basic physiological needs—food, water, and warmth—making it difficult to focus on anything else.

Safety encompasses not only physical security, protection, and shelter, but a sense of emotional security as well.

Belonging is the need for relationships, love, and, most importantly, unconditional acceptance. You can satisfy this need with family, friends, or another type of “family” that you consciously create. When I was a teenager in high school, a family I knew would take me to church every Sunday—something I had never been involved in before. This adopted family connected me with positive influences in my youth group and, though I had a great relationship with my parents, their presence added to my sense of belonging and being part of a community.

Self-esteem is that part of us that wants to gain mastery over ourselves, to achieve, and to make a difference. We want to know that who we are is important.

Self-actualization is our highest need and, according to Maslow, the pinnacle of life. It involves using our creative talents, having a mission in life, making a difference in the world, and pursuing a goal worthy of our talents.

Maslow was the first person to perform case studies on healthy, successful people. Instead of focusing on mental illness and abnormal psychology, Maslow studied historical figures who were successful—inspirational leaders like President Thomas Jefferson or psychologist and philosopher William James. He then moved to case studies on his contemporaries, all while fleshing out his own theory on success psychology, which eventually led him to develop the thirteen characteristics of self- actualizing people.

The 13 Characteristics of Self-Actualizing People

  1. Self-actualizing people are comfortable with reality and have a clear view of it.
  2. Self-actualizing people have a natural sense of spontaneity and simplicity without pretension.
  3. Self-actualizing people are mission- driven. Instead of focusing on themselves, self-actualizing people direct their attention to fulfilling a mission or purpose for the world around them.
  4. Self-actualizing people have a healthy sense of detachment and a need for privacy.
  5. Self-actualizing people are autonomous and not too reliant on others. The self-actualizing individual is strongly independent.
  6. Self-actualizing people feel deeply grateful.
  7. Self-actualizing people have peak experiences.
  8. Self-actualizing people have a feeling of kinship with the human race.
  9. Self-actualizing people have strong relationships, though they tend to limit deep, intimate relationships to a small number of people.
  10. Self-actualizing people have a democratic character structure; they want to treat others fairly and be treated fairly themselves.
  11. Self-actualizing people have ethical discrimination between means and ends.
  12. Self-actualizing people have a great sense of humor.
  13. Self-actualizing people balance the polarities in their personality. For example, a self-actualizing person who is serious can also be playful and childlike.

How will you use your strengths for each of the 13 characteristics of self-actualization? Please share an example below.

Monetize Your Strengths—This phase is often one of the most exciting, especially for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and executive teams looking to use their strengths in the workplace. Living richer means turning your strengths into money in some way. Ask yourself: How can I hone my marketing message, get more leads, and grow my client base, so I can make more money?

A strengths-based marketing and sales approach can transform a business from surviving to thriving. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve received numerous phone calls and emails from clients celebrating a major sale, new position, promotion, or small business success after tailoring their marketing strategies and sales techniques to align with their top strengths.

Justin was struggling to sell and articulate his worth. Leveraging his Strategic talent, he created three options of packages and pricing. In fact, he was blown away when a sales call with a client went exactly like we role played. They picked his highest package! He said, without a doubt that leveraging his Strategic® talent has earned him thousands of extra dollars.

Alex, a Singapore career coach, leveraged his hobby and strength as a magician to create three new coaching packages, effective pricing strategy, and compelling marketing funnel using Meetup to drive traffic to his website. Empathy® is his #1 talent.

My coaching protégé, Scott monetized his Futuristic® talent by creating StrengthsMugs which has since been leveraged by bestselling author Michael Hyatt.

Keep reading as I take you step-by-step through the process of making over your marketing strategy, so you can really sparkle, allowing you to reach more potential customers and close more sales.

Here’s a head start. Ask yourself:

What’s keeping my ideal client up at 3 a.m.?

Think how your unique combination of strengths can help your ideal client sleep better at night. Whatever the answer, you want your marketing to communicate how you and your services can solve your customer’s problems and add value to their life and business. A strengths-based marketing approach gives you a way to communicate why your special blend of strengths makes you the best person for the job.

Strengthen Your Customers—A strong business is based on loyal customer relationships. These relationships increase referrals via positive word-of-mouth advertising and glowing testimonials. Securing customers depends on making authentic, natural connections using your signature strengths.

Emotionally engaged customers pay 67 percent more per year for the service they purchase from you because they feel confidence, pride, and passion.

Flourish in Well-Being – My positive psychologist friend Judy helped create the PERMA(H) model that the Father of Positive Psychology made famous in his book Flourishing.

P – Positive Emotion.

E – Engagement.

R – Relationships.

M – Meaning.

A – Achievement.

H – Health.

How will you live and apply your talents to increase your positivity to negativity ratio? Aim your talents so you work in the strengths zone? Leverage your talents to build positive connections and relationships that broaden and build your life. Find meaning and purpose that goes beyond the superficial. Or achieve massive accomplishments while staying active, fit, and healthy.

Gallup research found that those who know and apply their strengths experience less stress, spend less health care dollars, and report a three times greater likelihood of experiencing an excellent quality of life than those who do not live intentionally with their strengths.

How will you apply your strengths to growing richer?  Which strength do you feel you will use the most?

Would you like to ask me a question how to live richer with your strengths? Set up our call at https://my.timetrade.com/book/8NY5S

I was recently talking with a friend of mine about engagement in the workplace.  She shared with me that in all her years of working she was more disengaged than she has ever been. She is not alone.  According to the Gallup State of the American Workplace Report 2017, only 33% of U.S. workers are engaged.

She has been in the workforce for over 35 years, so a comment like that carries a lot of weight.  It is not like she has just begun her work career and is unhappy.  She has many years of experience and being disengaged has never been an issue for her.  What caused her disengagement?

Her strengths are not even remotely considered when she is given assignments.  Some of the assignments are entirely out of her wheelhouse, but when she speaks up, she is accused of not being a team player.  When the assignment is not completed to her bosses’ satisfaction, then she is told what a bad employee she is and how bad her work is.  How can anyone expect to be engaged in their workplace if you can’t talk openly with your manager ?

The cause of her engagement is manager disengagement. I know that managers are the easy scapegoat sometimes for everything that seems to be wrong for an employee in their departments.  But a manager’s role in the workplace has the most significant impact on the individual employee and organizational performance. Great managers regularly engage their teams.  A team that is engaged with their manager will succeed in outstanding performance. This manager creates an environment where employees want to take responsibility for their engagement and make sure the rest of the team is engaged.

Unfortunately not every team is led by a great manager, and her manager chooses not to engage but to criticize (and she is not the only one criticized). In their State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders Gallup estimates that managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units. Managers have the most significant influence on employees they manage. They play a vital role in shaping the culture in which the employee must thrive.  If the manager is not engaged with the employee how can they shape a thriving culture?

The Gallup State of the American Workplace collected data from more than 195,600 U.S. employees via the Gallup Panel and Gallup Daily tracking in 2015 and 2016, and more than 31 million respondents through Gallup’s Q12 Client Database.  Sixty percent of employees that took part in the Gallup study said the ability to do what they do best in a role is “very important” to them. This ability to do what they do best in their role being very important crossed gender and generational lines as the greatest importance on this aspect of a job.

With all this information at their fingertips, why do managers still choose to ignore what is going on?  What would it mean to my friend if the management team that she works under would choose to know and honor her strengths?  What if she were put into a job where she could do her best in roles that enable her to integrate her strengths?  What if her manager matched her with the right role and the right culture instead of being mismatched for her role and struggling to succeed?

When I asked her that question, her response was she wouldn’t feel that her days were wasted, along with her sense of purpose.  She would enjoy going to work again and not constantly be looking at the clock to just go home now.

Are you a manager or a leader in your workplace?  Are you engaged with your employees enough to know if any of them feel this way?  What are your best practices to engage your people?  Please share with us in the comments below.

 

 

Discovering your strengths is a process. Donald Clifton taught that the strengths’ theory is based on the premise that every person can do one thing better than any other 10,000 people. And this process allows you to access and use your many talents, so you can best achieve your dreams and respond to the challenges that await you on your route.

Stronger. Smarter. Richer.

Over the next few weeks in my blogs we will be going through the three phases of my Let’s Talk Strengths Coaching System—Grow Stronger. Work Smarter. Live Richer©. This system includes everything you’ll need to identify and then accomplish any goal in your life.

Sound good?  One of my colleagues has a small sign taped above her desk which reads: “Which strengths am I going to use today?” Looking at these words centers her and helps her maintain a strengths-based mindset.  What can you do to center and help maintain your strengths-based mindset so you can grow stronger, work smarter and live richer?

Grow Stronger

Identify Your Strengths—The first step to growing stronger is to identify your signature strengths using an informal approach of Strengths Spotting with my S.A.I.L. method. Ask yourself the following question and then write your responses. “Share a story you love of your most significant project, success, or accomplishment in your life or career to date that you are most proud of and why.” What S – Successes did you spot? What felt A – Authentic in your successes? What felt I – Invigorating to you in your success stories? What did you L – Love in your successes? Share several success stories with a coach, colleague, or mentor and get feedback on what strengths, patterns, and best practices they heard in your stories.

The second step is taking the Clifton Strengths assessment. Purchase your assessment code on my website at https://brentobannon.com/cliftonstrengths.
You have the option of discovering your top five signature strengths or your full thirty-four strengths report, which also reveals your dominant top ten talent themes, supporting themes, and your bottom lesser strengths.

If you’ve already taken the StrengthsFinder assessment many years ago, go to the updated gallupstrengthscenter.com site to create a new dashboard and access all the resources, tools, videos, and blog articles.

To grow your foundation for the Strengths Revolution, I also recommend you read the books that started it all, Soar With Your Strengths and Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Donald Clifton.

Next, you can dig even deeper by exploring the wide array of supplementary strengths assessments available to help you diversify and define the language you use for your strengths.

This process will expand the number of practical techniques you can use to put your talents into practice. The VIA Survey, for example, measures twenty-four character strengths, broadening the context in which you see and use your values and signature strengths. Why not check it out at https://www.viacharacter.org/www .

Another well researched, British based assessment is called the Strengths Profile formerly called Realize 2. It reveals sixty different strengths, your unrealized strengths that you’re underusing, your learned behaviors, and your weaknesses. Explore more at https://www.strengthsprofile.com/ .

Also, I’d recommend discovering your strengths edge in your work through the StandOut 2.0 assessment created by Marcus Buckingham. It reveals nine different strengths roles and your top two that make you stand out at work. Find your edge at work at https://www.tmbc.com/standout-2-0-assessment/.

In my twenty years as an executive coach, I’ve always believed every human being has their own code for success—their own combination of potential. This combination is not something you search for outside yourself, it’s already inside of you. And it’s your responsibility to access your potential.

The way to access your potential is via your talents, your natural patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. When you identify your top strengths and begin to understand how these strengths apply to your personal and professional life, this knowledge will unlock your potential.

This happened for me several years ago, when I created a business mastermind group composed of a handful of entrepreneurs from my community. I wanted to learn from their successes and, to my delight, they jumped at the chance. In an early meeting, a member of the group—an executive coach—encouraged all of us to take the StrengthsFinder assessment. With my background in psychology, I’d taken piles of psychological assessments, and I dismissed the StrengthsFinder assessment as a fad. I was, at the time, a classic know-it-all.

Another member of the group took the assessment and shared with us how inspired he was by the results. That’s when I purchased the StrengthsFinder assessment and answered the questions. My results were inspiring.

From that moment, I’ve been a passionate advocate of discovering your strengths, applying them in your life, and building your life around them. As you might guess, many of my coaching clients—as well as my wife and two adult children—have also discovered their top strengths.

Which assessments mentioned have you used?  What did you learn from taking these assessments? Please share below.

 

Have you ever searched for books about financial matters on Amazon? Or gone into a bookstore and browsed the financial section?  It is mind-boggling how many books have been written on the subject.  An internet search leads to countless other articles on the topic of finance.  We are a society greatly concerned with our finances. How much financial control do you feel you have?

The Gallup Global Financial Health Study Gallup defines three levels of financial control:

  • SECURE – 33%

Respondents are considered to be financially secure if BOTH of these situations apply to them:

  1. They could cover ALL of their basic needs, like food, housing, and transportation, for more than six months if they lost their income and had to survive only on their savings or things they could sell.
  2. Making payments to pay back the money they owe does not make it difficult for them to pay for the other things they need.
  • STRETCHED – 39%

Neither secure nor insecure

  • INSECURE – 29%

Respondents are considered to be financially insecure if EITHER of these situations applies to them:

  1. They would be able to cover ALL of their basic needs, like food, housing, and transportation, for less than one month if they lost their income and had to survive only on their savings or things they could sell.
  2. Making payments to pay back the money they owe makes it “very difficult” for them to pay for the other things they need.

According to Gallup and their partner MetLife Foundation “The study interviewed more than 15,000 people in 10 very different countries to help leaders, organizations and countries worldwide make more informed, evidence-based decisions about how to help people lead financially healthy and secure lives.”  But what about you?  How can you take this information meant for “leaders, organizations, and countries worldwide” and make your own informed decisions about making financially healthy and secure lives?

Read over those three categories again – secure, stretched, insecure. Where do you fall in these three categories?  Be honest – not where would you like to be but where are you right now?

How would you answer Gallup’s two questions: first, how long respondents could cover their basic needs (through savings or by selling assets) if they lost their income; and second, whether making repayments against debts does or does not make it difficult for them to pay for other things they need?

Are you in control of and can influence your financial situation?  Are you using formal financial services? Is your employment secure? Have you saved enough for retirement? Do you have the ability to pursue your financial dreams?

My long time business mentor and friend, Latham, has inspired me how he has used his #Learner strength to increase his prices and profitability in his Ghostwriting business, be completely debt free, save reserves for emergency and retirement, as well as live the life of his dreams traveling with a minimalist lifestyle.

My business tag line, “Grow Stronger – Work Smarter – Live Richer” is partly about getting control of your money with your #CliftonStrengths themes.

You can grow from insecure or stretched to secure in your financial well-being. Are you ready to think strategically, execute plans and accomplish your goals for your finances?   Then let’s talk about how to help you live richer.

Sign up for a complimentary Ask Brent Anything call here.