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For those of us old enough to remember this catchy Culture Club classic, it will come as no surprise that we are dynamic creatures who change over time. We've probably been through a lot of seismic shifts and minor alterations through the years... Like the chameleon, we change colour to suit our environment and preferences but, also like the chameleon, we are still the same person (or lizard!) at the end of the day.
This is why I love the Strengths Profile so much. It gives us a toolkit of colours to try out at any given time but we can change the blend whenever we like to inject more energy and satisfaction into our days.
If you've been a reader for a while, you may already know that I redo my Strengths Profile assessment every 6 months and that this gives me a massive amount of insight into what is going on for me right now and plenty of reflection points too.
Having just redone my Strengths Profile in March, here is what I've learned...
Our Trademark Strengths are those things that we're really good at, that we find energising and we use them regularly, ie they nearly always appear in our Top 10 Realised Strengths each and every time we take the assessment. Mine are:
If I were marketing myself as a coach or writing a CV, these would be showcased as my strengths because (i) I'm really good at them and (ii) they give me energy and therefore I want to carry on using them.
I own them. They feel like the real me.
As well as being dynamic, some of our strengths can also be a bit volatile. If we overuse them, for example, we can drain the energy out of what was once an energising activity. This happened a lot during the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. People were drained of trying to be optimistic, resilient and compassionate for example.
Sometimes, there is a particular strength that can serve you well and be energising BUT you need to be really careful not to overuse it. For me, this is Spotlight. This particular strength (you love to be the centre of everyone's attention) has to be managed with care.
If I'm honest, being the centre of attention is not my favourite place to be (I had two guests at my wedding - that's another story!). But I do love to share my knowledge and expertise and that often means presenting to large audiences. Now, if I reframe the "spotlight" with some of my energising strengths - eg I'm having an adventure, fulfilling my mission, offering a service - then I can feel energised by being in the spotlight. But, too much of it and it ends up in my pesky Learned Behaviours. This is when I know I'm doing too much.
Some weaknesses come and go and some are with you for life. My triumvirate of weaknesses is: Persistence (keeping going even when things are difficult), Competitive (wanting to perform better and be the best) and Planner (make plans for everything you do, covering all eventualities).
These are here to stay and appear in ALL the Strengths Profiles I've ever done. And you know what? I'm really happy with that. I have 57 other strengths in the profile that I'm good at and I don't want to be persistent, competitive or a planner. I can live without them and actually feel relieved that I don't need to work on them either. I work AROUND them.
So, some of my strengths are for life (not just for Christmas) as are some of my weaknesses. And one of my strengths I have to be careful not to overuse. The other 50 odd strengths in the profile are there for me to play with; to dial up or dial down depending on what I'm doing and where I need to find energy.
What a joyful piece of knowledge! I can be a chameleon and adapt to my environment and circumstances, making sure the version of me that I need in any given moment is there.
If you have previously done a Strengths Profile and would like to do it again (recommend a gap of at least 6 months), I have a great free tool that will help you to compare and contrast your two profiles. Just hit reply and say "I'd love the free tool!" and I will share with you by return.
And, if you haven't yet done your Strengths Profile, what are you waiting for? Just hit reply and say "Please I'd love to start my strengths journey" and I'll get back to you with a few options for how to do that.
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