“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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.