“If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.”
What are your Strengths – How often do you hear that in order to be successful or happy you need to improve your weaknesses? Do you ever stop and truly think about what are your strengths? Do you ask others what they think are your strengths? Do you tell others what you believe are their strengths? These are thought provoking questions. We’d like to discuss the power of focusing on our strengths and illustrate how we’ve been able to make the most of focusing on our strengths both in sport, in business, and family life.
Why knowing and developing your Strengths is so Important – It’s our belief, that if you want to be slightly above average in life you should work tirelessly on developing your weaknesses. We hear you thinking, “above average isn’t bad!”. But what if you could be Great! We believe if you develop and focus on your strengths you will find your true purpose in life and you will find greatness! We are all unique, we are all one of a kind and we all need to optimize ourselves not only for the good of the individual but also for the good of the community and the world at large. We have all been given individual strengths. Some people are gifted caregivers, communicators, dreamers, athletes, energizers and some are task orientated get stuff done individuals. We need to find our own individual strengths and pursue them with vigor because if you are not living your best self then we as a global community are missing out.
Homework – We have some homework for you. We want you to ask yourself honestly, what you believe your strengths are. We then want you to ask 2-3 other family members or close friends who know you reasonably well what they think your strengths are. Offer to do the same for them. It is one of the most empowering exercises we can do. For those wanting the extra credit I’ll suggest doing the Clifton strength test – https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/ (We have no association or affiliation with this group but it is helpful).
A few examples:
Family business – Our family business – Bennett Endurance Inc. Is a business founded by the two of us almost two decades ago. It started as a business focused on the two of us as athletes and now focuses on us hosting workshops, talks and one-on-one training for others. Our strengths align together, Greg is a big picture, communicator, influencer and strategic thinker, and Laura strengths are task orientated, detailed, and responsible, Laura is analytical and a problem solver. Understanding and optimizing our strengths is what has allowed us to work together for almost two decades maintaining a healthy marriage and successful professional careers.
Laura – Sport Specific. Racing at the Olympic level in the sport of Triathlon (swim, bike and run) it was clear that Laura’s strengths were the swim, her transitions between events and her run. More specifically Laura’s biggest strength was her speed off the start in the swim and her finishing sprint finish in the run. So how did she optimize those strengths? Laura followed the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Series for most of her career as these events in this series required strengths in the area of swimming and running and to a less extent the bike. The reason the bike was less was the fact that in these races you could slipstream and ride right behind another cyclist to save energy. Now, if the bike was her pure strength then this series may not have been the best fit.
Greg – Sport Specific. Also racing at the at the Olympic level and winning several World Series titles, Greg had big decisions to make when the USA professional series became the world leading prize money series. More importantly, the USA series suited Greg’s strengths more than the ITU World Series described above. The USA series was non-drafting on the bike (no slip streaming behind other cyclists to save energy). This made the bike a much more critical component and as it would have it, the bike was a natural strength of Greg. No one could understand why Greg would not be focusing on the ITU series and the Olympics. But because Greg followed his strengths he managed to win every race in the USA series and collect the worlds largest ever prize purse in the history of the sport. It was the right decision but had he listened to everyone else’s advice Greg would have made the wrong decision and not optimized his strengths.
Enjoy the homework, we promise you’ll get a lot out of it. This homework will help you get a great understanding of who you are. Our next blog we will be discussing taking 100% ownership and responsibility for your life.
Until next time – be your best you. The world needs you at your best!