One of the most important and useful tools we’ve ever used in both business and our marriage was the Clifton Strength Finder test. This assessment measures your talents, your natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving — and categorizes them into the 34 Clifton Strengths themes.
Initially, we took it as we were building with our network marketing team to see what our strengths were, so we knew how to best serve the team. But quickly, we discovered that this was going to be way more impactful.
Sundays Funday & Strengths
After we took the test, every Sunday we grabbed the Strength Finder reports and a pitcher of mimosas. We sat in our local eatery and read about each others top 5 Strengths. The way that the Strength Finder describes each strength was literally like peaking into each other’s brains. It was like reading a really specific horoscope that was a flaming arrow through your personality. The more we read, the more we began to truly understand each other, why we do the things we do and why we do not do other things.
In marriage, people often say “marriage is work”. For us, this is the “work”. It’s understanding each other, how we think DIFFERENTLY. And not only understanding it, CELEBRATING IT.
Your Filter for Life
As humans, we see the world through our filter and believe, this is the way everyone sees it. I had a friend that was in a rocky marriage, and she would often complain about all the things her husband “did wrong” according to “her”. I put this in quotes because, she couldn’t seem to understand that “her way” was not the only way. And that maybe her husband wasn’t wrong, maybe he just used a different filter or lens to see the situation.
Our Strengths are our filter. It’s how we think. And, when you have two people with different strengths, you see things differently. For Rob and I, learning how each other sees the world allows us to understand different perspectives and lean into each other’s strengths.
Considering we work together, live together and raise a family together… it’s a lot of “together” time. And if we didn’t understand how each other processes issues or even excitement… we’d be in big trouble.
Strengths & Blind-Spots
Now, this is where the fun really begins. Your strengths are definitely what makes you tick. They make you successful and help you thrive. BUT, they can also get you in trouble. Strengths have what I call, blind-spots. It’s where your strength can actually work against you. Simply understanding how your strengths work both FOR and AGAINST you, will make you a better friend, spouse and business partner.
Rob & Kim’s Real Life Examples
Kim’s TOP Strength & Blind-Spot
My top strength is Ideation. This means I’m fascinated by ideas, creating ideas and creating connections between phenomena. I naturally find new ways of doing things. I’m innovative. I thrive on helping people connect the dots and develop seeds of ideas.
This seems like an incredible tool right? And, yes, it is.
But, it has a few blind-spots.
I’m an IDEA person. But… I struggle with the follow-through. (in a few minutes, you’ll see why Rob and I are perfectly matched).
If you have a problem, I will come up with 400 ways to solve it. Why is this a problem? In business, it’s less of an issue – in friendships or marriage, it can be annoying. This really helped my best friend understand me better and helped me understand that sometimes, friends want to vent. My top strengths of ideation and strategy are my filter, I don’t typically “vent” without looking for a solution. But, apparently, not all people are like this (lol).
Now, when someone tells me their problem, instead of launching into my ideas for solutions, I simply ask, “Do you just want me to listen, or do you want help solving this problem?” In addition, my friends now preface our conversations with, “I need to vent” or “I need help” so I know my role. I even use this with Sofia, because often our kids don’t want help, they just want someone to listen.
Rob’s TOP Strength & Blind-Spot
Rob’s top strength is Futuristic. People exceptionally talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. This is why he is a VISION master and can really see and develop potential in his coaching clients. People who are not in love with their present, seek out people like Rob who have natural VISION for what could be coming down the pipeline. They need HOPE and vision provides that.
The blind-spot of being SO futuristic?
Rob’s high Futuristic, makes it difficult for him to celebrate the current moment, because he’s already envisioned it, it seems like the past. This realization caused him to put more focus into the present moment and enjoying it, and not always being stuck in the FUTURE vision.
How this Works in Relationships & Business
As an entrepreneur, knowing your strengths allows you focus on what you’re good at, and let you outsource the rest.
His #2 strength is discipline. Pairing him, with a high discipline, with someone like me who struggles with follow-through – could mean disaster! If he used his filter of discipline, and judged my lack of follow-through, we’d not be approaching our 20th year together!
Instead – we see each others strengths AND acknowledge (and not judge) the blind-spots. My Ideation, plus his Discipline equals SUCCESS in both business and life.
As entrepreneurs, knowing our strengths allows us focus on what we’re good at, and lets us outsource the rest. Also, if you have a team or staff, knowing their strengths is KEY to working together effectively. Even in our physical medical clinic, before we hired anyone, they took this test to make sure their strengths aligned with the job description.
The Bottom Strengths
There are 34 strengths. Your Top 10-15, are typically what creates most of your personality, how you think etc.. These can be developed and improved, where as your last 10-15 are a bit harder to “improve”. However, it’s not necessarily about improving your weaknesses. If you can have self-awareness of your weaknesses, that’s a massive step in the right direction.
Here’s how I deal with my biggest weakness.
Of the 34 Strengths, my last one is Harmony. People with a high harmony, which both my best friend and husband have, look for consensus. They don’t enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement.
I on the other hand, could care less to find harmony IF it means compromising on what is right. I’m a very caring person and truly try to help as many people as possible, but I simply don’t value Harmony OVER my sanity or doing the right thing. I am not afraid of the bully, I won’t back down on doing the right thing and I won’t allow myself (or the people I love) to be taken advantage of. That’s the positive (in my opinion lol).
However, seeing that my harmony is literally #34 and for Rob and my bestie, it’s very high – I will take a pause and talk with them before going to war on their behalf. I realize that harmony is important for them, and don’t allow my lack-of-harmony to make them uncomfortable.
If we hadn’t taken this test, both Rob and my bestie could just think I’m extreme, don’t care about other people feelings etc.. but now, they get me, and because I understand this weakness, I’m able to curb it… sometimes 😉
The Goal with Strength Finder
The goal for us with Strength Finder is to learn about each other and ourselves. Self-reflection can be difficult, but seeing it through Strength Finder make sit easier. If you choose to take the Strength Finder, go all-in and get all 34 strengths and not just the Top 5. Then, don’t just read the list. Truly take the time to read the reports that guide you through the positives and blind-spots of each Strength.
And, if you’re doing this with your spouse, make it fun, non-judgemental and learn how the person you love truly thinks!