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"A" Is For Achiever: Leveraging Your Strengths

“Be all you can be.”

That’s the Army’s motto. They "do more before 9:00 a.m., than most people do all day.”

How cool is that?

Are you one of those people on an endless reserve of energy? If so, you might have the CliftonStrengths "Achiever" strength.

Have you heard about Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Finder? As a Strengths coach, I enjoy introducing people to CliftonStrengths and coaching them in individual sessions or group workshops. The CliftonStrengths assessment helps people understand the power of identifying and acting from a place of strength. It measures an individual’s exclusive top talents and ranks them into 34 themes. The themes represent your most dominant natural traits. According to CliftonStrengths, “those themes are your talent DNA,” and the chances of you and someone else having the exact same top 5 strengths is extremely rare. I mean, after all, God create you. You are unique, one-of-a-kind, special YOU! “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:10

If you know your strengths, you know what you are naturally good at, you are able to communicate your natural talents, and you know how to leverage them. The more that individual’s understand their own natural abilities, the more they can also understand and appreciate the talents of others in their careers, marriages, families, and friendships. When we are aware of our talents and how we can use them, we are better equipped to engage, support, and bring value within our community.

"The Achiever theme helps explain my drive.” I use my energy to be productive every day. Being productive means that I keep a system that keeps me on track. This can be in the form of a planner, a to do list, post it's, or some type of system that will measure my progress. It is a system that is visible to me every day. It has to be something tangible where I can see my growth and development. Seeing how far I've come not only makes me happy, it gives me even more energy to do more.

Let’s say I had a boring, unproductive day at work. I get home and want to do “nothing.” In contrast, however, if I had a busy day at work, I can’t wait to get home and continue the theme of my productivity. I know what you’re thinking. That does not sound logical. But, it’s true for me. Being bored zaps my energy, while some form of activity energizes me to be more productive.

Understanding and knowing how to leverage your strengths can give you the advantage you need to be more successful in your career, in your academic goals, and in your personal objectives. It can also help you in your relationships with colleagues, family, and friends.

My friend Cherie and I both have the Achiever and Responsibility strengths. I call that a dangerous combination. I mean that in a very positive way. What it conveys is that if we commit to doing something, we are going to get it done, even if it means pulling an all-nighter or working over the weekend. We'll do whatever it takes to accomplish our goals, tasks, and projects at hand. Our Achiever theme gives us the energy we need, while our Responsibility theme makes us good at our word. We don’t like to disappoint others.

Career Success

I need to be able to measure my progress. See tangible results. It’s more than being busy, or getting things done and off my to-do list. I need to be challenged to feel successful at what I am doing.

Achievers need to know when a project is done. There has to be a point where what I am working on is finished in order for me to feel like I've accomplished something.

It's also important to understand that every strength has a weakness. For instance, work meetings are boring to me. Since I have a lot of energy I need to be doing, not sitting. One way I can combat my time while I am in a meeting is by writing notes and seeing what tasks I can do that come out of the meeting.

Educational Aspirations

Academically, it can be as simple as crossing off the classes I completed in a semester. Seeing the progress I have made and the material I have learned. Knowing I am smarter today than the semester before I started and that I am a semester closer to graduation day.

Continuing my education also gives me a sense of accomplishment and helps me to push my own boundaries to do more. The more I learn, the more I set goals to push myself to “be all I can be.”

Personal Goals and Relationships

My friend, Cherie, and I have been Relay for Life partners for years now. Working with her is easy and fun, because we both think alike when it comes to getting things done. We are change makers. We can form a team and know the objectives and set high goals for ourselves. Setting goals helps us reach our objectives and achieve success for a winning team.

We not only push each other to do more, to get team members and raise funds, we are also able to leverage our strengths because we know each others weaknesses. Knowing that we both have the same themes, means we understand each other better and we can both support each other through our strengths, as well as knowing when we need to rely on each other in our areas of weakness.

Knowing your strengths let's you and others know when you are at your best. It helps you understand yourself and others. It also gives you the language to say, "This is what you can count on me for and this is where I could use your support."

Knowing your strengths and your spouse's strengths gives you the tools to have a healthy and thriving marriage. It gives you the language to communicate and understand each other. For instance, if I have Empathy as one of my top strengths and I am able to put myself in other peoples shoes, and my husband does not, he can appreciate why I feel or respond a certain way and he is able to be more caring and compassionate toward me. If for example my husband has the Includer theme as his top strengths and I do not, it helps me to understand why people are drawn to him. He has the "ability to be a friend to almost anyone."

In a nutshell, Achiever’s normally function as though they are striving for an “A” every day. Achievers are driven and crave being productive and accomplishing their goals. They need to be challenged and pushed to do more, to achieve, to succeed.

Do you know what you are good at and where your talents lie?

How are you leveraging your strengths for career success, thriving relationships, and reaching your goals?

Are you able to do more than most people do all day? You might just have the Achiever theme.

Knowing your strengths can help you choose a college major, decide upon the right career path, or strengthen your marriage and relationships. Take the Strengths assessment here and schedule an individual or couples Strengths session with me today at

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:13


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