Edward "Chip" Anderson, Ph.D. was "known to many as the 'father' of the strengths movement in higher education" (Azusa Pacific University). He co-authored, along with Don Clifton, StrengthsQuest: Discover and Develop Your Strengths in Academics, Career, and Beyond. His commitment to helping people develop their talents was truly inspiring. During his lifetime, he wrote one of the best resources for discovering the potential in each theme: "The Genius and Beauty Found Within". One thing we particularly like about this paper is that he focuses on the positive aspects of each theme.
He had a passion for taking groups through all 34 themes so that they could gain an understanding about their unique abilities and about the thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns of others. We encourage you to first read through your top 5 themes. Then, take time to read through the remaining themes.
I was inspired to create a list of things that engage and energize each theme. This idea came from a conversation I had with my brother. His #1 is Communication. While we were talking, I could tell he was in a low moment and feeling overwhelmed. He said he didn't want to talk about it (but I could tell he needed a shift in his energy) so I hacked into his themes without pushing. I merely laid out the bait and said "okay, we can talk about it later, but just give me a few highlights of what's going on." Within minutes his energy mounted as he articulated what was going on. When our call ended (an hour later) he was in a much different place--full of energy, optimism and resolve. It made me realize that with our themes, we often just need to lead them to water and they will drink on their own. Themes are abundant sources of energy if we can tap into them. So, this list is my attempt to articulate the water for each theme. This is just a first draft and I welcome insights to make the...
In 1786 the poet, Robert Burns, wrote a poem upon seeing a louse on a woman’s bonnet at church. The most famous stanza is translated here in standard English:
Oh, would some Power give us the gift
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!
At the risk of oversimplifying, if we can see ourselves as others see us then we could better see our imperfections and correct them.
Dr. Clifton was worried about the opposite problem: the inability to see ourselves objectively and in our entirety makes our greatest qualities invisible to us as well. If we could see our strengths then we could harness them to live more efficaciously and with greater joy.
Dr. Clifton believed everyone possesses strengths—things they can do better than any random group of 10,000 people, things they can do consistently and near perfectly. Other people can see our strengths that we, ourselves...
In his book Soar With Your Strengths, Dr. Clifton shared a little passage that seemed so casual that at first I almost missed its significance. In chapter 8 on the topic of celebrating strengths, Dr. Clifton suggests ways to acknowledge people’s strengths. One way is to simply watch people. “As you watch, you take a mental photograph of what a person does. Like listening, watching is a form of recognition and appreciation. We see this in children begging ‘Watch me, watch me’ as they play soccer, dress dolls, stack blocks, play Little League, or dive off a diving board.”
The next sentence caused me to rethink how I relate to other people, “That longing doesn’t disappear with the years.”
It’s true! We haven’t lost our need to be watched. We haven’t lost our need to be recognized and appreciated. What is more natural than to want others to see us when we feel at our best? Isn’t that when children ask to be watched,...
At T2S we look for ways to bring the CliftonStrengths themes to life. One way is to provide lists on various topics. Here is our first list where we look at the themes through the lens of change. These lists have not been reviewed or endorsed by Gallup. They are simply our interpretations. With this list, see how well our descriptions describe how your themes respond to change.
You may see that our business name is Talent to Strength, because that describes the essence of what we do. We provide people with the tools, knowledge and resources to learn and understand their talents and apply them to become a strength. Now, why didn't Dr. Clifton just create an instrument that could tell you what your strengths were? As I mentioned in the last issue, there's an infinite number of activities and there's various performance levels among them, so it would be impossible to create an assessment to identify your unique strengths. So instead, he focused on helping people to identify talents, because Dr. Clifton came to realize that in order to perform something consistently and near perfectly, in other words a strength, we needed to harness our talents.
It's our talents that really energize you and cause you to engage in certain activities in such a way that you find them enjoyable, you want to learn more about that activity, you enjoy it while you are doing it, you...
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