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Careful Not to Overplay Your Strengths

by Beth on June 25th, 2015

Knowing and using your strengths is a great strategy for increasing your happiness and success. But it’s important to find the “golden mean” of your strengths by using the right strength in the right amount in the right situation.

There is a “shadow side” to every strength. People with the strength of intellect can seem aloof and people with the strength of analytical can fall prey to paralysis by analysis.

Here are some examples of how I have to be careful not to overplay my strengths. Harmony is my top strength. I really dislike conflict. Because of this, I try to avoid situations where conflict might arise and I don’t always stick up for myself. At times I have to push myself to face conflict, despite how uncomfortable it makes me feel.

Another of my strengths is Maximizer. Maximizers seek excellence. The downside of Maximizer is wanting things to be perfect. I spend way too much time on just about everything. I have to work to recognize when something is good enough for me to move on. (I just rewrote this last sentence 10 times!)

Discipline is also one of my top strengths. It helps me to get things done, but I can be too rigid in sticking to my schedule. My husband and kids are good at encouraging me not to overplay this strength and to be more spontaneous. I have to remind myself that the work will wait and nurturing relationships is more important than following my plan. I can finish my blog after we get ice cream at Woody’s.

People who have Woo as a strength love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. That’s me! I am totally energized by going to a big party and talking to lots of different people. But I have to be careful not to appear superficial as I move from one conversation to the next. And I have to control my tendency to interrupt people. If someone mentions something we have in common, I want to jump right in and point it out as a way of connecting.

My final top 5 strength is Learner. The biggest problem with overplaying this strength is that it hurts my productivity. Spending too much time learning can keep me from doing.

What about you? Can you think of ways you need to be careful not to overplay your strengths?

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