Give Your Best Where You Have Your Best to Give



“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” — Unknown

How do you give your best where you have your best to give?

You leverage your strengths for the greater good.

Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses to realize your potential.

You’re special, for real.  But to realize it, you need to hone in on and focus on using your gifts to grow your greatness.

You’re an individual with a unique set of strengths, weaknesses, and experiences. Maybe only your closest friends know your true strengths.

Maybe you don’t show your strengths at work.

Why not?

No matter what the task is, you can leave your mark.

You have your signature strengths. Use them.

In Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance, Marcus Buckingham writes about giving your best where you have your best to give.

The Greeks Called it Endaimonia

There’s a feeling you get when you give your best and it pays off. It’s like euphoria. The Greeks called it endaimonia.

Buckingham writes:

“The Greeks coined a term to describe this feeling. They called it endaimonia, which translates as the feeling ‘of giving your best where you have your best to give, and of reaping the rewards of this excellence’ – or more simply, and in all sense of the world, the feeling of flourishing.

So, yes, at these times work can be wonderful because at work we can flourish.”

You Give Your Best by Spending Time in Your Strengths

You give better, you get better, and you grow faster when you use your strengths.

Your personal strengths are your natural patterns for thinking, feeling, and doing. These are the activities you can do all day long. You get energy from doing these activities rather than get drained.

The activities that drain you are your personal weaknesses. They can rob you of realizing your potential if that is where you spend all of your time. 

While you can improve your weaknesses, spend more time improving your strengths.

Don’t live a lifetime, losing out on your potential, because you spend all your time in your weakness.

Limit the time you spend in your personal weaknesses.

As a target, try to spend 75 percent of your time on your strengths and 25 percent on non-negotiables.

Learn Your Strengths

Learn how to find your strengths.  Do the work to figure out what your strengths really are.  Ask the people that know your best what they see as your strengths, that you might not see. Really do the work to figure out what your strengths are because it is your strengths that will open new doors and create new opportunities.

And learn the language of strengths so you can understand, develop, think about, and even just talk about your strengths.  Learn how to talk about your strengths in simple ways so that others know what you bring to the table and so they learn how to work with you best.

For example Martin Seligman, might say that some of your character strengths are Bravery, Critical Thinking, Gratitude, Humor, and Teamwork.  Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, might say that some of your strengths are Achiever, Empathy, Ideation, Inclusiveness, and Maximizer.  That language may be helpful to understand patterns and themes, but you will also need to develop simple ways to talk to others about how to use your strengths in ways that they understand and with practical examples from experience.

And most importantly,  learn your strengths so well that you know when and how to use them, and how to find more ways to use your strengths in any situation.

The more time you spend in your strengths, the more value you create for yourself and others.

When You No Longer Feel Strong, Get Back to Your Strengths

Sometimes we get knocked off our horse. We may not have realized how beautiful the ride was or how well we were riding. We were caught up in the ride and it was great.

But something changes.

The ride no longer feels right and we no longer feel strong.

This is a very important signal to you that you have to get back on your path of strength.

To do so, start spending more time in your strengths.  Do whatever it takes to do what you do best, no apologies.

You help others better, when you help yourself, and you help yourself by using your strengths.

Buckingham writes:

“Then something changes.  Sometimes the change is obviously negative, such as an annoying new boss or a company-wide downsizing.

Sometimes it is superficially positive – we are offered an exciting new promotion or the chance to participate on a high-profile project team.

Sometimes the change is sudden – we’re fired. 

Sometimes it’s imperceptible – a client slowly grows, and its requests of us shift and morph.”

Don’t Veer from Your Strengths Path

Find the activities that strengthen you. Don’t let the changes around you, cause you to lose sight of the activities that make you strong.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in activities that weaken you.

Get back on your strengths path.

Make a list of your strengths.   Know them cold.  Add stories from your lifetime of experiences to make them real and to remind you how you use your strengths.

Buckingham writes:

“However it occurs, this change fills our weeks with different activities. Some continue to call upon our strengths, but many do not. If we are not especially vigilant, we find that we are carried along by these new activities; they take up more of our time, demand more of our attention, and, after a while, we wake up and discover that we have veered far off our strengths path.”

Push for Activities that Strengthen You and Watch for Those That Drag You Down

Build habits that keep you strong.  You’re the architect of your life. Build a firm foundation. Design how you spend your time effectively.

Spend your time on your strengths. 

Limit your time on your weaknesses.

Nobody else in the world will do this for you.  You are your one champion in this world to fight the good fight to spend more time in your strengths.

Buckingham writes:

“To keep on it for our entire career, we need to stay clear-headed.  We need to build the right habits, so that week in, week out, and year upon year, we stay in control, always pushing toward activities that strengthen us, ever watchful for those that drag us down.”

Give Your Best Where You Have Your Best to Give in the Service of Others

How can you really level up in the game of life?  Play the game your way, by playing to your strengths, AND…do so in the service of others.

If you truly want to realize your potential and more fully come alive, then give your best where you have your best to give in the service of others.

Find a way to serve others or the greater good, beyond yourself. 

This selfless purpose is a selfish way to bring out your best and rise and shine in ways you never knew possible.

And, the ones you choose to serve will help you grow as you explore your boundaries, find new limits, and create new breakthroughs as you forge a better version of yourself.

You will have the light of purpose on your side and the strength of meaning that will inspire your higher powers to help yourself and others when you need it most.

When you give in the service of something bigger than yourself, you tap into your higher power.

When you make it your mission, you make it more meaningful.

That meaning will inspire you to greater depths and will help lift you when you need it most.

Imagine doing what you do best, getting better at it, and helping the world and those around you at the same time.

That is the power of living your strengths, and that is the power of giving your best where you have your best to give…in the service of others.

Key Takeaways

Here are my key takeaways:

  • Give your best where you have your best to give.   Focus on the vital few activities where you can really give your best.  Focus on strengths over weaknesses.  You’ll get more results by improving your strengths than improving your weaknesses.
  • If you get knocked down, get up again.    Stay the path.  Focus on finding your strengths and finding ways to leverage them.  Expect a learning curve, but know that this is the high ROI path.
  • Spend more time in your strengths.  Design your time to spend most of your time on your strengths.
  • Spend less time in your weaknesses.  Limit the time you spend in your weaknesses.  Find ways to off load more of your weaknesses so you can spend more time in your strengths.
  • To level up your game, find a way to serve others with your strengths.  If you want to really make the most of your strengths and accelerate your growth, then use your strengths to help others.

You Might Also Like

3 Fears that Hold You Back – Fear of Weaknesses, Fear of Failure, and Fear of Who You Are

3 Myths About Strengths and Weaknesses

4 Signs of a Strength – Success, Instinct, Growth, and Needs

6 Steps for Putting Your Strengths to Work

How To Bust a Myth with 3 Questions

How To Find Your Strengths

How to Play to Your Strengths and Add Value to the Team

Spend 75 Percent on Your Strengths

The Strengths Movement – Shift from Weaknesses to Strengths


  1. Hi J.D.,

    Very nice post there. I thought that whole notion of strength/weakening activity is a good illustration for climbing up the ladder of healing and growth, which happens to be post I just made. Check it out:

    I think that people get used to weakening activities. We get sort of forced into them while going to school, and we unconsciously seek and accept similar-feeling places in our jobs and families, too. It’s the whole notion of we having to do what we’re being told to — we’re all free and can do what we want, but there aren’t that many people who really realize and practice that.

    I guess we still have much to learn.


  2. Hi J.D.,

    Flourishing environments move us forward and provide us with opportunities to give best. Identifying particulars of those environments and recreating them wherever we go works like magic. This is what I practice. And yes .. the feeling is definately euphoric 🙂

  3. It is a good idea to give from a position of strengths. We can reach out to others much more. It is less of a struggle. Our creativity flows naturally and weaves into actions that are focused, strong and inspired, based on our god-given abilities.

  4. @Ari – Thank you. You’re right — it does happen gradually and it’s easy not to notice. I checked out your post. I like the emotional guidance scale.

    @Khaye – Thank you. I think optimisim helps. I think taking massive action helps (lots of little actions.) I fail a lot, but I learn and move on. Failures’s just lessons. You should see how many things I learned how not to do 😉

    @Avani – Euphoria is the way to go. I like the way you put it. It’s a reminder that wherever we go, we bring ourselves with us. It’s also a reminder that we’re the directors of our lives.

    @Evelyn – Focused, strong, and inspired has a powerful ring to it. I like your choice of words.

  5. Hi J.D.
    Thanks. BTW, I always wanted to mention that I really like the “take away” section. I pretty much read that first. If I have time I will read the rest but I always read the take aways.

    One challenge is to find the strengths? sometimes there is just a bunch of average skills or talents (nothing special! just good not great). How can one systematically approach finding his/her strength?


  6. @Kash – Good question.

    Try this. At the end of each day, ask yourself, what was your favorite part of the day. Write it down. Do that for a week. You’ll notice a theme.

    Next, start finding as may ways possible to apply your theme in work you already do. Your strength will go from good to great.

  7. […] Give your best where you have your best to give.   Design your time to spend most of your time on your strengths.  Limit the time you spend in your weaknesses.   Play to your strengths.  When you play to your strengths, if you get knocked down, it’s easier to get up again.  It’s also how you unleash your best.  See Give Your Best Where You Have Your Best to Give. […]

  8. […] Give your best where you have your best to give.   Design your time to spend most of your time on your strengths.  Limit the time you spend in your weaknesses.   Play to your strengths.  When you play to your strengths, if you get knocked down, it’s easier to get up again.  It’s also how you unleash your best.  See Give Your Best Where You Have Your Best to Give. […]

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