As we journey together beyond as an organization, one of our five strategic intents is to “Focus on our Strengths.” We look at this as an organization, considering our collective competencies, unique opportunities, and “sweet spots,” as Dela Adadevoh puts it in this informational video. Reinforcing our strengths, building on them, and leveraging them, starts with each individual knowing, growing, and showing their strengths. This concept comes from a CoreClarity workshop on CliftonStrengths (formerly known as StrengthsFinder).
For me, CliftonStrengths is not just “one of those” personality tests out there. Instead, it is a tool that helps me bring words and significance to how the Lord created me, uniquely and with value. Before I discovered this tool, I did my best to consider my spiritual gifts, passions, and the specific parts I played in life and ministry. I generally enjoy the self-awareness process, but I never felt like one tool truly hit the nail on the head. When I learned about this tool, I was a mother of three very young children, and at a point in my ministry when I felt a little lost, maybe a little useless, and likely burned-out.
CliftonStrengths suggests that all successful people do not possess the same traits making them successful for the same reasons. Instead, they understand their unique, innate talents and build off of them to be successful in their own right. This premise also applies to organizations. An organization can leverage its top contributions to be more effective in its purpose. When people focus on their strengths, they will find their output more life-giving than draining.
After completing the assessment, I received a report of my top five talents – out of 34 possible – explaining the talents’ motivations, interactions, and internal or external focus. CoreClarity designed excellent graphics and color-coded explanations that helped me visually and conceptually understand it all.
After just one coaching meeting with another staff member and some challenging self-reflection exercises, I embraced this new vocabulary. The words gave me better descriptions of things I may have known in the past and put it all together so that I could see myself in a new way. Maybe most important, my usually critical self was motivated by the idea of focusing on these top five talents instead of immediately feeling defeated by my bottom five talents.
As a result of digging into this strengths toolbox, I discerned my unique contribution, not just in ministry but also in my personal life. I formulated a meaningful phrase that depicts my contribution, and it helps me sit more confidently at any table with that clear. When I am aware of what I bring and can build upon that, when I find opportunities to exercise my unique contribution, I realize my value and thank God for the unique way He made me. This perspective does not come naturally for me, but I know it’s true that I honor God by leaning into how He created me. I shifted my ministry focus (and my approach to parenting and marriage) to better encompass my strengths.
It is powerful to understand more deeply that not everyone thinks or acts the same way. We have unique, natural-born qualities that make us who we are and affect how we operate. What could sometimes be frustrating becomes an opportunity to consider how God distinctively made each of us. As I help lead teams and individuals through strengths-based workshops and coaching, I love to see people grow in awareness and confidence of how God created them. It’s beautiful when eyes light up at seeing a picture of what makes the team or person unique. So as we focus on our strengths, let’s also thank God for His individualized and beautiful design, honoring Him as we live that out.
I was born and raised in Vienna, Virginia. I’m married to Tabo, mamá to Enzo, Max, and Tessie. I have a special love for Argentina and feel deep roots there, having spent formative early adulthood years there, as well as my husband and two of my three kids being born there. From a young age, I’ve been interested in people, languages, and cultures. I love a good sunset, coffee, trivia, a great laugh with good friends, and time with my husband and kids.