The message of unique giftedness and talents has been a oft-repeated message of mine for years. When the concept of “spiritual gifts” was first addressed in churches I was first in line to teach the concepts that each person has grace gifts to use for the purpose of honoring God and building up others. I had the privilege of teaching this to hundreds of people from teens to those in their golden years.
A few years ago a friend of mine introduced me to the strengths-based movement; the culmination of the work of Donald Clifton and his scientists as they offered a precise tool to identify the top five innate signature talents of individuals. Today we know that as StrengthsFinder 2.0. Since that introduction I have helped over 150 people interpret their results from the on-line test (the code is in the back of the book). After the initial reaction, “Could I have some different talents?” people become enamored with how this test could “know them this well.” With wide-eyed enthusiasm they scour the pages describing each of five signature themes. Some will push back for a time. All of them are aware they’ve been given a tool to help them going forward.
The question is, “Will they choose to use the tool?” For those who do, they discover they now have language to describe their talents. They intentionally look for ways to engage their life from a strengths-perspective. For the daring, they even begin to rethink the way they approach their work. While their specific job may not change, they begin to think about ways to accomplish the same tasks with their specific strengths.
Recently I’ve added a segment to my coaching. I now offer people the “Genius” of each of their top five talents. Dr. Edward “Chip” Anderson – the father of the strengths-movement for education – wrote a piece entitled, “The Genius and Beauty Found Within the Clifton StrengthsFinder Themes of Talent.”
Anderson shared this as the last piece he wrote before he died, “From my experience, each of the themes of talent identified by the Clifton StrengthsFinder Inventory has a stroke of genius within it. The genius of our talents reflects what those talents enable and empower us to do to potential levels of excellence. The concept of genius refers to an extraordinary ability to do certain things, and as such there is great beauty in seeing what is done by the genius within individuals.”
It is such an honor to point out the “genius” of the talents I see in people. Their eyes light up. They sit up straighter. They look at me as with a moment of hesitation as if to say, “Wow! Thank you for noticing! You see that?”
What if we spent more time looking for what is good, noble, and right with people…and actually shared with them some of what we see?
To learn more about this check out the “Strengths” tab near the top of the page.