Growing Our Strengths

I like how the Gallup CliftonStrengths assessment reveals what is good and right about us! There is so much positivity and potential in our themes.  Discovering your Top 5 Strengths Themes is like being given a bouquet of five beautiful flowers.  IMG_20180514_125628087

Roses in a vase can really brighten a room!  They are full of life and color and luscious scent.  They only take a bit of water, which is easy.

But they won’t last long.  After a few days, you toss them and move on.  This is like taking an assessment, which is fun and informative, but we don’t do anything with it.

In contrast, a rose bush can be planted and will grow as you care for it over time.  Each blossom also lasts longer, and there will be many more blossoms as the bush grows and  the seasons come and go.

There is all sorts of potential!  When we not only learn what our strengths are but begin a journey of awareness and growing them, they become like a rose bush.  There is potential for them to benefit us and other people in countless ways over time!IMG_20180514_125616964.jpgFor the rose bush to grow, it needs proper care.  You have to invest in it, planting it in the right environment, buying some fertilizer and tools, then trimming, and watering it regularly.  You’ll receive much more benefit from this rose bush – and can clip roses to bring into your home or give to others to brighten their day!

Like the growth of a rose bush, growing our Strengths Themes is a developmental journey over time.  At first, we start with our talents, which are the various things we’re good at or naturally drawn to.  Our talents are grouped into themes, which are clusters of talents that are likely to show up together.  These themes reveal where we have the most potential to grow into strength.  When our themes are true strengths, we consistently use them productively and to benefit other people.IMG_20180526_123155595With attention and investment, our Strengths Themes bloom and grow over time.  We start with awareness, and then use this to lean into areas where we have the most potential to develop and really shine!

The benefit of this can be felt in all areas of our lives – including career, home, relationships, spiritual life, and emotional well-being.  In addition, the other people around us will benefit from the beauty that grows in our lives!

What can we do to invest in our Strengths Themes?

  • Learn about your themes.  Like roses, you need to know what is needed in order to flourish!  Read your CliftonStrengths reports you receive after you take the assessment.  These insightful descriptions of your themes from Leadership Vision are also really helpful.
  • Discover how you uniquely use your talents.  1) Talk with people you know and share what your themes are.  What do they affirm?  How have they seen you use them?  2) Ask yourself, “When have I used this theme successfully?”  This gives you a glimpse of how to use them more in the future!  Both of these ideas help you discover and understand how you uniquely live out your talents.
  • Water your themes with ongoing attention and intentional practice.  Look for ways to use them throughout your day.  When you have a project to do or problem, think about which of your themes would be most helpful to use.  Practice using them!
  • Fertilize, or add something new, to add new energy and growth.  Invest in it with learning, maybe from a book, a class, a new experience, or finding a mentor whom you can learn from.  How could you learn and try new things related to your themes?
  • Give roses to others!  Think of ways to benefit others with your strengths, and then live it out in your words and actions.
  • Trim and prune. Focus on how to use your strengths in a way that helps you to grow and be healthy.  We’ll explore this more in a future post.
  • Invite a coach to join you in this journey!  We grow best in the context of relationship.  As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach I can help you understand and grow in your strengths with conversations, resources, and exercises.

For Mother’s Day, I was given the roses in the pictures above (my daughter cut some roses from the bush in our yard).  They reminded me of an analogy in a post by Leadership Vision, using a bouquet and potted plant.  See their post for more thoughts on how our themes can be generative, or life-giving and productive.

We are on a journey of growing so our talents and potential become true strengths in our lives!  We are called to use the gifting and abilities God has given us, which includes growing them and using them.  When we use what he has given us, it honors Him!

“… walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God …”

~Colossians 1:10


What is your next step to invest in your Strengths Themes so they bloom and grow?   To find out your themes, take the assessment!


Kathryn Featherstone is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and a board-certified Christian Life Coach. She’d like to encourage you in your journey! Write her a note or see her Coaching page.

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