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How I Apply My Strengths to My Priority Projects

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I was speaking for a leadership group and asked, “How many of you know what you’re good at?” All of them raised their hands.

Then I followed, “How many of you think about using what you’re good at to do your work?” None of them raised their hands.

By not connecting their strengths with their work, they’re leaving so much value, efficiency, and power on the table.

I think this happens a lot in the workplace. We move to the next task on the list, attend to what’s most urgent, and go about our work without thinking much about how we’re working.

But your strengths are your best resources for great performance! This connection between work and strengths doesn’t happen automatically. It takes thought and effort to aim your strengths in the right direction. One of the things I teach is how to thoughtfully apply your strengths to the work that matters.

Let’s look at three of my priority projects and how I use my strengths to be successful.

Projects

First, here's a rundown of the three projects:

  • Split out the work of Chris Heinz Co. and Christian Life Calling Institute
  • Publish a book on life calling
  • Start life calling classes in September 2022

Next, here’s more detail so you know what each project entails:

Split out the work

We’re going to split out the work between Chris Heinz Co. (CHCo) and Christian Life Calling Institute (CLCI). CHCo will remain as my business for speaking, consulting, coaching, and providing resources primarily around CliftonStrengths® and employee engagement. I’ll serve mostly academic and corporate clients from here. We’ll update the website with these changes. CHCo will be the umbrella organization that powers CLCI.

CLCI will be our organization for the topic of life calling around a Christian worldview. We’re working now to build out ChristianLifeCalling.com, which will be the online home of CLCI. Our mission is to help restless and ready Christians to find and live their life callings. We’ll provide programming in the form of online events, onsite events, coaching, and curriculum. Blog posts, podcasts, and resources on life calling will move here.  Live classes will start in September.

Here's our new logo:

Publish a book on life calling

Earlier this week, I sent a book proposal to a publisher who’s interested in me writing a book on life calling. The working title is, Finding Your Life Calling: A Guide for Restless and Ready Christians. Although it only took a week to put the proposal together, in a way it has taken 20 months to put together.

It's been that long since we:

  • seriously started studying the topic of life calling (Sept 2020)
  • launched the beta version of the Life Calling Institute (Jan 2021)
  • prepared to start the Life Calling Bootcamp (Feb 2022)
  • refreshed our vision to Christian Life Calling Institute (March 2022)

I would love to publish a book to support the programming we have planned for CLCI, including online classes, weekend workshops, and special curriculum. We’ll have to see what path this book takes.

Start life calling classes

Once ChristianLifeCalling.com is up and running, we’ll take signups for our live, online classes. Starting in September, these classes will run weekly for 12 weeks, focused on “Finding Your Life Calling.” (This is the new version of the Bootcamp that we had previously promoted.)

We’re only taking 20 students per class and are offering two sections, so there are spots for 40 students total.

Included in the class are:

  • 12 live, online classes
  • Access to class recordings for three months after class ends
  • Small group coaching @ 2 times per month (six sessions total)
  • Coaching by CLCI coaches across the globe
  • PathwayU calling assessment based on predictive science
  • Downloadable learning resources
  • Access to 1:1 coaching sessions
  • Messaging channel direct to me
  • Facebook group for community building and support

Applying My Strengths

Now that I’ve laid out the projects, we can talk about aiming strengths in the right direction.

I use a simple, four-step formula:

  1. Focus on the outcome
  2. Choose type of work
  3. Select specific strengths
  4. Use strengths on purpose

This may sound mechanical at first, but the more you do it, the more automatic it becomes. You’ll start doing this in your head.

Step 1: Focus on the outcome

Get clear on what you must produce. Is it a meeting to plan, a high stakes email to send, a job interview to lead? Is it a building blueprint to draw, an angry parent to calm down, a budget to create? The first step is starting with the end in mind; without it, you don’t know where to aim.

Step 2: Choose the type of work

Decide which type of work will be most useful in producing the outcome. It’s here that I think about the four categories of strengths, called strengths domains. There are four choices: executing tasks, relating to people, thinking intentionally, or influencing people. Which type/s of work will drive the outcome?

Step 3: Select specific strengths

Identify specific strengths from the strengths domain/s you just chose. If you think an executing approach will work best, then choose executing strengths. If you think an influencing approach will work best, then choose influencing strengths. If you decide a mix of domains will work best, then that’s okay too.

Step 4: Use strengths on purpose

Think about how you will use the specific strengths. It’s not enough to pick out a strength or two; you need to decide how you will use them in service of your outcome. The more direct you get about how you will use your strengths, the more likely you are to actually use them.

That’s the four-step process I use to apply my strengths to my work. Now let’s look at which strengths I’m using for my priority projects.

My top five CliftonStrengths® are:

CliftonStrengths Quick Definition
Belief® doing work around my values
Maximizer® taking things from good to great
Responsibility® psychologically owning my work
Empathy® picking up on the feelings and perspectives of others
Developer® helping people learn and grow

The main CliftonStrengths I’m using for the projects are:

Splitting out the work

  • Belief – deciding to take on a Christian worldview for the life calling work
  • Maximizer – making sure the new website is excellent in look and content
  • Responsibility – delegating tasks appropriately between specialists and myself

Publishing a book on life calling

  • Empathy – understanding the needs of readers
  • Belief – writing content that I believe in
  • Maximizer – crafting words and stories in the right way

Starting life calling classes

  • Developer – creating classes that help students grow
  • Responsibility – offering benefits that deliver on our promises
  • Empathy – appreciating the perspectives and views of our students

Conclusion

At first, these projects seemed too big to tackle, but when I thought about aiming my strengths at them, they didn’t seem too big anymore. Do your projects feel impossible? Try aiming your strengths in the right direction. That’s an advantage you’ll have over many in the workplace, and a way to truly treat your projects as priorities.

CliftonStrengths® and CliftonStrengths® theme names are registered trademarks of the Gallup Organization.

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