120. Play to Your Distinctive Strengths

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It’s time for something a little different.  Instead of interviewing a guest today, I’m going to do a dive deep into one of the accelerants outlined in my seven-point framework for personal disruption that I discussed in Episode 80, as well as in my book, Disrupt Yourself. In Episode 100 I did a deep-dive on accelerant #1: taking the right kinds of risk. Today, we’re going to talk about accelerant #2: play to your distinctive strengths.

Continued below…

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Play to Your Distinctive Strengths – Worksheet

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First, we’ll define what a distinctive strength is, and then provide you with eight clues to help you find some of your hidden strengths. We’ll talk about how to use your strengths in distinctive ways, how to leverage the strengths of people around you, and how to speed up your current S-curve of learning, becoming a high-growth individual by focusing on what you do uniquely well.

As we begin this journey, I respectfully request that you be honest. Be honest with yourself about what you want. Don’t edit. It’s okay if you don’t know what you want. That’s part of the fun. Focus on being a creator, not a competitor, not going after what others have, but creating what you want. Leverage what you do well, what you do uniquely well, and play to your distinctive strengths.

Listen using the player below, or download the episode on Apple Podcasts. If you enjoy what you hear, or even if you have constructive criticism, please leave a comment. I love hearing from my listeners about what you want—especially on these deep-dive episodes! What do you want me to focus on in the future? What is most helpful to my audience? What gave you an “ah-ha!” moment?

Thank you for listening, and enjoy the show!

Takeaways from this episode:

  • At a high level, a distinctive strength is something you do well that others don’t.
  • Eight clues to help you find your strengths:
    • What skills have helped you survive?
    • What makes you feel strong?
    • What exasperates you?
    • What made you an oddball as a child?
    • What compliments do you dismiss?
    • What are your hard-won skills?
    • What do you think about when you have nothing to think about?
    • What are your values?
  • Often “superpowers” are things we do effortlessly, almost reflexively, like breathing. When you ask people to use their genius they may very well think, “But that’s so easy. It’s too easy!” So instead of feeling like you value them, they think you don’t trust them. As a leader, it’s your job to not only spot talent, but to convince people that you value their strengths—and they should, too.
  • Sometimes it helps to identify strengths as a team. Don’t think too hard; it should be top of mind. When your team feels strong, they will be more willing to venture into new territory––to take market risk and consider ideas for which there isn’t yet a market. (We’ve created a worksheet to assist you as you identify each team member’s superpower)
  • Some assignments for this week:
    • Listen to the episode every day for a week, and write down any ideas that come to you. Pick one a day that you will act on.
    • Write down compliments as soon as you get them.
    • Be aware when you are exasperated! Make a note of what is “just common sense.”
    • Observe how you spend your time. Are you spending most of your time doing things that make you feel strong?
    • Observe the strengths of people around you. What can you do to nudge them toward using those strengths more deliberately?
    • Does your big goal, your grand plan, play to your strengths? How can you “tweak” it to better leverage your strengths? Evaluate if it is the right goal.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

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