We’re in the midst of an unprecedented strengths movement. Folks are eager to discover their areas of strength, and what’s more, they’re expecting to use their strengths every day. There are more laborers than ever before focused on helping others to use their strengths. And what’s more, technology around strengths is burgeoning.
In a general sense, I think of strengths as “your best means of contribution and contentment." You’ve got all kinds of strengths within you—talents, traits, skills, knowledge, values, and more—that can be put to good use. The problem is, few of us really understand what we have to offer and how to offer it.
We’re blind to the broad repertoire of our individual strengths. We may focus on one kind of strength—our talents, for example—then neglect the others. But you cannot make your fullest contribution this way. I say therefore, seek out your full set of strengths. Discover your essential resources. Explore what you really have in you.
A greater strengths movement is coming to the world the likes of which we haven’t seen. It will be vast, it will be grand, it will be magnificent. But when it comes, may an additional movement come with it, one as vast, as grand, as consequential. May it be a movement of humility.
Seek your strengths but put on humility as you do.
In his book, Humilitas, author John Dickson defines humility as:
“the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources, or use your influence for the good of others before yourself.” Further, he writes, humility is, “the willingness to hold power in service of others.”
I’ve seen power used in service of others through a man named Roy, who is from the Philippines. Born in the slums of Manila, Roy was abandoned by his parents and lived on the streets, until an older woman took him in. She made sure he got an education, and because he did well in school, Roy earned an advanced degree.
With an advanced degree, Roy finally had options for where to live and work. He could finally get out of the slums. You wouldn't blame him if he did.
Roy is from Tondo, which is particularly notorious for being so full of people, some consider it to be the most densely populated place on Earth. There’s no running water and no working electricity in this community of shacks hobbled together with boards and tin and cardboard. There's no security, virtually no privacy. You’ll find eight-person families living in a single room.
And you’ll see garbage, plenty of it. The kids play with it, trash for toys.
So what did Roy do when he obtained the power to leave? He chose to stay to build up the people and create a better community. Since then, he has launched several programs to improve the conditions of Tondo. He has brought hope and light into this notorious slum. Roy used his power in the service of others. That’s humility.
Any mighty strengths movement needs a corresponding movement of humility. Without humility, strengths become an end in themselves. Without humility, strengths become all about you. Without humility, strengths forget their ultimate purpose—to make contribution. On their own, strengths puff up, but humility keeps you grounded.
Bring on the strengths! But as you do, be like Roy—use your power in service of others.