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couple-looking-at-a-laptop2_460x300He was so strong, straight forward, and controlling. She was so sensitive, passive, and wounded. They came to my coaching office as a last ditch effort to save their marriage while they were separated.

In the past I would have tried to fix their weaknesses. Now I immediately spotted their strengths. What if they could have a language to call their talent themes? What if they could both embrace the value of each others strengths? What if they both could begin to leverage each others strengths in their love relationship?

Sure enough my hunch was confirmed. After taking the StrengthsFinder assessment and coming to the next session his #1 talent theme was command and her #1 talent theme empathy. Command is defined as having presence, being direct, and exerting control in situations that seem out of control. Empathy is defined as being sensitive to others feelings and bringing emotional intelligence.

I showed them my Strenghtometer analogy how 1-40 MPH is coasting (under using a talent), 41-80 MPH is cruising (appropriately using a talent) and 81-120 MPH is speeding or (over using a talent to a detriment). How could they both drive their talent themes appropriately with each other, their blended family, in each situation?

That was the work in the next three coaching sessions.

As an intentional way of softening his commanding presence, he shaved off his duck dynasty beard he had grown for years as a surprise for her in the next coaching session. She had never seen him without his beard. You could feel the tender energy in the room when she gently placed her hands on his cleanly shaven face for the first time. This act of empathetic affection drew them closer in love and emotional intimacy.

The journey of leveraging their strengths at being a great spouse was now starting to cruise.

My StrengthsFinder mentor, Curt Liesveld wrote “How to Aim your Talent Themes at Being a Great Spouse” for all 34 StrengthsFinder talent themes.
Read below.

Command – I could use this theme to fight for my marriage by confronting external threats and by dealing directly with internal pressures.

Empathy – I show my love to my spouse by sensing their emotions, accepting and valuing their emotions, and encouraging their expression.

If you and your love partner want to learn how to aim your talent themes at being a great spouse then join me for the https://brentobannon.com/strengthsfinder-in-love-and-relationships-conference/ (actually webinar)
on Sunday February 9th 6-9 PM CST and Monday February 10th 6-9 PM CST from anywhere in the world.

Recordings will be available from this webinar.

What talents are you and your spouse speeding with?
Are you aiming your strengths at being a great spouse?

Please like, share, and discuss your comments and questions below.

When I facilitate strengths coaching and workshops I share this quote and the three stages of strengths transformation.

Everybody Is A Genius - StrengthsFinder Coaching

1. Strengths Appreciation

Can you imagine this discouraged fish struggling with strengths blindness and strengths envy. Like many of us we can’t see our own strengths genius and we value others talents more than our own. We focus on what’s wrong with us rather than what’s right with us.

The first stage of strengths transformation is to fully embrace who we are not and appreciate our strengths package.

2. Strengths Application

The school of life is where we gain knowledge, learn strategies and skills, then practice until a talent is transformed into an applied strength.

Einstein was a genius in the area of physics and specifically the theory of relativity however he had a weakness in social intelligence and relationships.

Individual Strengths coaching is the best way to take your intellectual understanding of strengths into a deep emotional application of strengths into your work, your relationships, your leadership-communication, and your entire life.

3. Strengths Aspirations

What are your burning aspirations? After getting clear on what you aspire to then you can point your strengths development in that direction. What do you aspire to?

Is it to be a thought leader? A novelist? Or maybe the best CEO of your own company.

When you deepen your strengths appreciation and strengths application, you will be able to swim faster and make the big leap into your aspirations.

There is always a tug a war going on between our weaknesses and our strengths, as well as a tug a war between not over working IN our business and neglecting to work ON our business. Today we will focus on weaknesses and how to plug your LEAKS.

Maybe you think the strengths approach is one-sided. Nope. As a coach I realize we all have weaknesses in our personal life and business. Weaknesses are like water leaks in a sail boat and if we don’t plug our leaks, we sink.

First, we need to identify our weaknesses (leaks) as well as discover our top five signature strengths to help us plug our leaks. Strengths guru Marcus Buckingham paraphrased the military strategist Sun Tzu, saying, “Keep your strengths close and your weaknesses closer.”

Use my acronym below to help you identify your top personal and professional leaks (weaknesses) today.

L: LOATH

What activity do you hate to do with a passion? You’re are going to laugh when I confess this but I loath and hate dealing with the cable TV remote control or anything related to hooking up a DVD and cables. When you loath an activity you will find a way to…

E: ESCAPE

What activity do you want to avoid and get someone else to do? You guessed it, I ask my wife to take care of the remote control and hooking up any electronics. Similarly, she hates installing the toilet paper so for 27 years I’m the one who puts it on the roll.

In business, I loath and avoid entering data and dealing with Quickbooks so I’m frequently singing, “Help me Rhonda, help help me Rhonda.” Oh, I’m determined enough (whether I’m smart enough is questionable) to learn how to control a TV remote and figure out Quickbooks, but I will always be…

A: AVERAGE

What activity is a weakness in your life or business that, no matter how much you learn or practice it, you will only be average or below average in performance? Many professionals despise public speaking and try to get better by reading books or going to Toastmasters (which I recommend). The truth is, they can get better but they will only be average or below average in performance because it’s not their strength.

In fact, you can become average in a weakness and still feel a…

K: KINK

What activity, no matter how much you improve (and I recommend improving your weakness to a point) there is still a kink in your stomach? A feeling of stress and strain.

My wife gets a feeling of stress and a kink in her stomach just thinking about dealing with conflict personally or professionally. It is a weakness of hers, however she has learned how to plug that leak (and lean on me to help since this is one of my strengths). In 27 years of marriage we have had a couple (okay, our fair share) of conflicts, big and small, but we are still afloat.

We have found a way to PLUG our leaks so we don’t sink.

Our top 5 signature strengths are like a SAIL that create momentum in life and business.

S: Success

A: Authentic

I: Invigorating

L: Love

S: Success

Ask yourself what successes have you had in your past or present life–any prizes or awards that you have been given are indicators of strengths? Maybe you won the science project in 7th grade, which could point to an analytical or ideation strength. What about winning homecoming queen or voted most popular in school? These could indicate WOO (winning others over).

But a history of success is not the only marker of success.

A: Authentic

What comes naturally to you, or, what is your authentic gut reaction?

One of my golfing buddies loves to drive the golf cart. I’m amazed by how easily he finds shortcuts around the golf course. He has a strategic strength. That strength helps in his golf game as well as running his home health care business.

I: Invigorating

When utilizing your strength, you will feel energized. If you are good at something but still feel drained doing it then it’s not a true strength. One CEO I coach says, “If people lined up at my door all day long to help them fix their problems, I would be in heaven.” But people with the maximizer strength would likely hate that job. Maximizers get an emotional charge making something already good into something great.

Determine what activities drain you and what activities make you feel invigorated.

L: Love

If you look forward to an activity or want to learn more about an activity then it is likely a strength. Tennis, coaching, and speaking are three activities I love. I get excited when I’m scheduled to do these activities. I’m constantly reading, watching, and learning how to do these activities even better. These three activities allow me to use my top 5 signature strengths–focus on the ball, my coaching clients priorities goals and priorities, and the topic in my keynote.

Individualization is the ability to come up with a unique strategy with my tennis opponent, my coaching client, and speaking audience, whether its made up of corporate clients, business owners, church group, or youth campers. My achiever and competition strengths help me work hard to achieve goals and win as well as help my clients to win in life and business. My command strength enables me to to take charge on the court, help my coaching clients face conflicts, and be charismatic when speaking to a large audience.

A great tool besides the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment to discover your character strengths is the free online assessment at www.viasurvey.org. Or you can list your top 5 activities that answer the SAIL concept.

Our second key to holding onto happiness is to celebrate strengths.

Each of you were born with your own set of signature strengths. You already have your own brilliance and greatness inside of you. Self help guru Brian Tracy says, “Life is like a combination lock; when you get the right numbers in the right order, you unlock your potential.”

It’s up to you to discover, name, and maximize your strengths.

Some of you are wondering how to discover your strengths. One informal way is to complete this sentence: I feel strong when…add whatever comes to your mind.

I feel strong playing tennis. I feel strong speaking in front of a 1,000 people. Those two strengths are named focus and command.

Some of you might say, “I feel strong learning a new language” or “I feel strong analyzing the stock market.” Those two strengths are named learner and analytical. Most of us were taught we can be anything we want to be or do anything we want to do if we just work hard enough. Sorry, I don’t believe that anymore.

What I’ve discovered is that “we can be more of who we already are.” Who you are is good enough if only you would be it openly.

I flopped in Spanish and computer classes at GCC. I barely passed my statistics and research courses in my masters program. But I discovered my strength in tennis and helping people achieve their dreams through coaching and speaking.

What I’ve stumbled upon in my coaching career is the strengths revolution. The Gallup Poll reports that 77% of people focus on improving weaknesses rather than maximizing their greatest potential, their strengths. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to maximize your potential and hold onto your keys.

Relish the key of small beginnings and get moving in the direction of your dreams by celebrating your strengths.

Do you use your strengths in your marriage?

Marriage is like a combination lock; your job is to find the right numbers, in the right order, so you can unlock your love potential. Famous management consultant Peter Drucker once said that “Most Americans don’t know their own strengths. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare.” Drucker was dead on. When it comes to understanding our strengths most of us are in the dark. Yet the fastest way to marriage success is by discovering and applying our strengths.

How then, can you focus on your strengths if you don’t know what those strengths are?

The short answer is: you can’t.

Through the Strengths Finder 2.0, I can help you and your spouse discover your top 5 strengths.
For example if your spouse is a LEARNER, then sign her up for yoga or piano lessons or a class at the local college. Take her to a book store or a movie or the opera, any place she can learn new ideas and activities. For learners, life is one long deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. Understand this much about her and you’ve just connected in a meaningful way you and she never thought possible.

If one of her strengths is HARMONY then be on the lookout for areas of agreement. Find common ground. Steer clear of debates and lickety-split you find your own life in perfect harmony.

If you husband has the ACTIVATOR strength then utilize it to help you make improvements around the house. They can transform ideas into immediate action.
Maybe your husband has WOO (Winning Others Over). This strength can bring fun, energy and more socialization to your relationship. This strength also can naturally use humor to put the conflict with the teenagers at ease.

So as you approach Valentine’s Day how do you jump over weaknesses and flow in your strengths?

You need a coach to teach you how. And now you have one!