At one time or another we have all been on the quest to find out “Who you are” in work, business or life. Who you are is generally determined by your beliefs, your character, and your values. These qualities are forged over time; through the influences upon our lives; our upbringing; our education and reactions to things that life has presented to us.
While knowing who you are is important, knowing why you are the way you are can provide a higher level of understanding about yourself and deserve further exploration.
Over your lifetime through experiences of trial and error, you consciously and subconsciously demonstrate your talents and subsequently when you use those talents they influence the outcomes in your life. Using your talents is a process of discovery not invention. When I was growing up, I played basketball with my friends and eventually found out that I was never really ever going to be that good at the game. On the other hand, swimming came more naturally to me and I used that talent to become a lifeguard. The same thing happens with our ability to communicate, to build relationships, to influence outcomes or to execute complex task. Just as I worked to develop my swimming talents into strengths that ultimately allowed me to pass the lifeguard test, developing talents into strengths in these other areas will promote success in other facets of your life.
Have you ever thought about why you are in the position that you are in? Why you are in the relationships that you are in? Why you have the successes in your life? My work has led me to propose that the answer to “why you are…” (YUR…) is determined by your talents and strengths. With our talents being a natural way of thinking, feeling or behaving and our strengths being the ability to consistently provide near perfect performance, these elements are major determinants of why you are the person you are. When we identify and apply our strengths, we act within our circle of competence. We use our strengths to navigate challenges, effectively. When we act within our circle of competence, we become more efficient, productive and successful. Your “YUR” is your collective talents and strengths that denote why you do what you do, react the way you react and respond the way you respond to life’s stimuli.
The “YUR…” is the combination of the drivers that push you to take certain actions or to respond to certain situations. These drivers are your strengths. As an illustration, Superman sees a person in a burning building with his x-ray vision then crashes through the wall and saves them. Because Superman knows his strengths; he knows that he can spot the person in trouble through the wall, break it down without getting hurt and save the victim in the fire without getting burned is an example of his “YUR…”
If he didn’t know and have those strengths his choices of rescue options would be quite different, he would have to find another way to attempt the rescue. While we don’t have super human abilities like Superman, we do have human abilities that we can make super. In Simon Sinek’s book, "Start with Why", Sinek talks about the importance of understanding why individuals and organizations do what they do and that by knowing the right question will drive them to the right purpose. Understanding your strengths manifest in the understanding of why you do what you do and the choices we make. This understanding is key to mapping out success strategies, making decisions, solving problems and enjoying life. When it comes to the question of “Why?” we may ask, why am I inclined to “go with the flow” in most situations? Why do I have a tendency to take control of a situation so easily? Why am I so competitive? - Why do I have such a strong desire to learn new things? Why do I love meeting and interacting with new people so readily? These are all examples of themes that drive us to react and behave in the ways we do.
Learning what your talents are is easy. The Gallup Corporation developed the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment that measures 34 distinct talents. When you take the assessment, you are shown how the 34 strengths themes line up for you. Those of us in the StrengthsFinder community often focus on the top 5 themes which tend to be our most dominant and those that we go to most often. These are the areas where you have the greatest potential to develop strengths.
The Gallup Corporation indicates that there is a 1 in 33 million chance that someone else will have an identical top 5 theme sequence. That means that your strength themes make you definitively unique. Your “YUR…” is equivalent to your DNA. It is your thinking combined with your actions. Just as your DNA determines your physical makeup, your abilities and attributes; in other words, “who you are”. Your talents and strengths makeup the “why you are” in life. What determines this extraordinary uniqueness is how your strengths work together. It is akin to a quantum theory explanation. The quantum analogy depicts the idea that your combined strengths work independently and collectively to fulfill a purpose. As an example, imagine two sports car drivers that are preparing to race each other. One driver’s car has five gears and she is skillful at switching from one gear to another. The second driver has five different cars, each equipped with only one gear. For him, his potential outcome is limited in having to choose a car that is confined to only one gear. This illustrates how when we are not working in our strengths we are less likely to be consistently successful.
For example, my top 5 strengths are Maximizer, Arranger, Strategic, Analytical and Responsibility so whenever I go out to run errands, I analyze the situation then I strategically arrange my trips responsibly to maximize what I can accomplish. Consequently, with all 5 of my strengths working in concert, I achieve the best outcome – this is my “YUR...". For those of you trying to find out who you are, I wish you the best of luck. For those of you that would like to know why you are… we have an answer for you.
If you are ready to find out what shapes your ability to achieve and you are ready to maximize your “YUR…” by discovering your talents, declaring your strengths and developing them into dynamic tools for success then V1H Consulting will help you to evolve your “YUR…”