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How the 34 Strengths Deal with Stress

We previously led a weeklong series of webinars on the topic of managing stress. We looked at four different approaches to managing stress because each one offers something distinctive—Coaching Approach, Strengths Approach, Enneagram Approach, and Christian Approach.

In this post, we’ll talk about the Strengths Approach. By the way, if you want to watch any of the recorded videos, click on the words above. When taking a Strengths Approach, you can ask three questions:

  • What are my strengths?
  • How do they help me manage stress?
  • How can I help others to manage stress?

By strengths, we can mean the general definition, "activities that lead to positive outcomes.”

Or we can mean a more precise definition, “consistent, near-perfect performance in a specific activity.” This is Gallup’s definition referring to the 34 CliftonStrengths®, which the popular talent assessment is formed around.

Since I’m a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and do remote and onsite workshops using this assessment, we’ll keep the CliftonStrengths® in mind, but if you’re not familiar with them, you can think of strengths as activities that lead to positive outcomes, because whether you’ve taken the assessment or not, you’ve got talents that can be directed toward powerful goals and outcomes.

Of course, not every talent you have is a strength yet. That requires growth and development to turn your raw potential into near-perfect performance, but that’s a topic for another time. In this post, we’ll just call them all strengths for the sake of simplicity.

To be successful in life and work, you use your strengths to accomplish what you need to do. That may be leading an effective meeting, dealing with conflict or having clear communication. It can also be managing stress effectively.

A Strengths Approach to managing stress means you:

  • are aware of what triggers your strengths because each strength feels stress in a different way
  • aim your strengths toward relief because each strength can bring you relief in a different way
  • aid others with their stress by using your strengths or helping them see why they’re triggered by theirs

For example, here’s what commonly triggers three of my top strengths:

  • Responsibility®: Letting others down, not having clear expectations, less autonomy than desired
  • Communication®: Unclear point of view, no outlet to communicate, no data about audience
  • Positivity®: Negative people, pressure to always be positive, seeing no clear upside If

I’m feeling stress, it may be because one of these strengths is being squeezed in any of the ways above. Sure, stress may not come because of these reasons, but it could, and considering your strengths’ stress response is part of the discovery process we discussed in the Coaching Approach blog post or video.

Here’s what commonly brings relief to the same three strengths:

  • Responsibility®: Following through, clarifying what is expected, delegating to trustworthy people
  • Communication®: Understanding point of view, stating what is important, information about audience
  • Positivity®: Maintaining hopeful spirit, release oneself from pressure, freedom to not fabricate upside

When you identify stress, you can find relief from pursuing these relief activities. And, you can help others deal with their stress by paying attention to the triggers and relief.

We compiled a list of triggers and relief activities for all 34 talent themes, plus space for you to personalize it. Download it here and may you deal with your stress effectively!

Each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

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