There IS Something Special About Knowing Your Strengths

Seeing my top 5 strengths in writing shifted the way I view myself. Like every one of my coaching clients, I assumed that there was nothing special in what I am naturally good at. It is natural to trivialize our strengths until we take that deep dive into Clifton Strengths. 

When I saw my top 5 strengths I realized this beautiful combination of 5 strengths is that makes me unique, and that I’ve used these strengths since my earliest memories.


  1. It is in my strengths that my resilience sits. The combination of my futuristic, strategic and ideation explains why I come up with the most out of the box connections between ideas and ways to solve problems. Plus, I always found myself creating options regardless of how grim the present issue could seem. I was prototyping before the word was part of my vocabulary!
  1. Another of my strengths is Relator. (Yes, Gallup does have some made up words!) Rather than believing that not wanting loads of friends was a weakness, I realized that having a few very close friends is actually one of my strengths. Looking at my career and life, early on I developed a couple of good friends, and in a work context, I can see how I develop close relationships with people who assist me when I need help and I enjoy returning the help when needed. 
  1. Going deeper, I looked at my top ten strengths and saw how they perfectly align with how I process and categorize information, how I engage in problem solving, and how I get things done. I realize now I can see solution options that others may not, and as a consequence, I’m much more aware of how to temper this strength when needed.  
  1. Sometimes, especially when I worked in higher education, my strengths could irritate other team members because in that environment I was an odd duck. Knowing my strengths helps me to see my potential blind spots- both with others and myself. Having this awareness reminds me to slow down, be more sensitive to the reaction of others, and learn about the differing strengths of the people around me.
  1. Another of my strengths is Activator. I like to get started on things and don’t enjoy spending loads of time talking about options. I like to begin and shift direction as needed. I’m very comfortable making adjustments (also known as change) along any journey. I think this strength more than any other, drives lots of people insane. Most people dislike change and therefore when I move fast and then change direction, I’ve often left a trail of unhappy people behind me. 

As for myself, I love new things and experiences. My homes and living environments immediately come to mind.   I’ve lived in five different cities in my lifetime- some more than once. In each city, I lived in multiple homes. This pattern has not always had the best financial outcomes, so I now lean on colleagues or friends who don’t share this strength. ANY strength overdone and used in isolation can quickly become a blind spot or even a weakness. 

Learning more about our unique strengths combination can be incredibly valuable as you embark on your next life stage. Not only will you gain valuable insights into what you do well, how you best problem-solve and get things done, but you’ll learn how to use your strengths to successfully accomplish your goals, find who to partnership with along the way, and have a great time in the process. 

Let’s go on this strengths journey together. 


Author: Sharri Harmel

For over 20 years, I have coached professionals from the C-Suite to middle management and millennials to new professionals. I now coach individuals who are focused on creating something better in their next career stage and truly inspired and committed to getting started!