Those of you in the business world or members of Grace Church are probably very familiar with Strengths Finder. I was first introduced to Strengths Finder as an intern at Grace Church in the Summer of 2010. The basic premise is that you should, as much as possible, operate out of your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Rather than focus on improving your weaknesses, the majority of your energy should be spent on maximizing your strengths.
As an athlete, this concept makes so much sense to me. We first learn the “basics” of a sport with everyone playing lots of positions. Then, as the work and skills required become more difficult, we specialize and maximize the specific talents of each individual on the team. Henry Ford’s assembly line manufacturing also took advantage of this principle. Still, it wasn’t until I was almost finished with college that I learned to think about it in terms of my personal and professional life.
I recently took the Strengths Finder test again for work and I was surprised to find 4/5 of my strengths have changed, probably reflective of my seasons of life. I’ve listed my strengths below. Learner was the only crossover (duh, I’m a nerd no matter the situation), but it moved from first to third.
Last week, we asked all of the Mill Community Ministry interns to take the test and then we shared our results with the group. We defined strengths as something when you do it, you feel strong. You may be good at it, but if it drains you and makes you weak then it may not be a strength.
Joey Espinosa led our conversation and we talked about how our strengths are to be used first for God’s glory and purposes and second to serve others. When we are aware of our strengths we can actively seek out ways to use them for God’s glory and others’ benefit while also finding people whose strengths match our weaknesses. Together, we are a complex masterpiece reflecting God’s image on humanity.
So what do we do when the game changes? We’re no longer a baseball player, but a soccer player. (You know I’m refraining from making a snide soccer>baseball comment!). Our previous strengths may not be as applicable or we may need other strengths. The risk of knowing too much though, is that we can use our strengths (or lack thereof) as an excuse. It’s not in my gifting, we say. I’m not called to do that; it’s not how God made me. Yet sometimes, we must serve and work outside our strengths knowing God is most present in our weaknesses.
For me, in my new job, this has included thinking a lot about the best way to grow Nasha Lending. The main part of my job is working with entrepreneurs to help them start their businesses, including connecting them to resources (personal and financial). Perhaps this is why strategic and relator are now busting through the top.
Now, more than ever, I’m thankful I have clarity about my strengths, community to bolster my weaknesses, and grace to cover all. After all, my greatest strengths are often also my greatest weaknesses.