Instill Your Strengths into Your Passion

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There's one thing that I've been consistently passionate about for the last eight years...strengths.

In fact, I started becoming obsessed with strengths-based development in 2009 after reading Now, Discover Your Strengths in my MBA program. So, it was only fitting when Western Michigan University (my MBA alma mater) reached out to me to be featured in their 2013 WMU Haworth College of Business annual magazine—I just had to say yes.

The issue was centered around innovation, and I knew just what I wanted to write about: corporate culture and strengths. 

You see, when I was earning my MBA, I worked for a company that had a very toxic work environment. Sure, it had its plus sides (including being a coach for members in a $50k/year mastermind program—more on that some other time), but mostly I learned a lot of what not to do. Which, by the way, is just as powerful to learn from!

Meanwhile, I'd go to my Organizational Behavior class at night and had my mind blown! I couldn't believe how awesome some companies culture was and how it impacted employee engagement and morale, productivity, and profitability.

I knew from that second on that I needed to find a company like that to work for. And it made for a great topic for this magazine article on how culture drives innovation for the organization. So, I got published for my very first time!

Check out a quote snippet from the article (and click here to read the whole thing):

Employees who use their strengths every day will be more satisfied and engaged in their work, which will ultimately drive innovation.
— Joy Martinez, MBA

This quote is true for entrepreneurs too—the more you can use your strengths every day, the more satisfied and engaged you'll be with your work!

The biggest lesson from this, though?

Instill Your Strengths into Your Passions

I've been asked the question, "If I have these strengths (fill in the blank), what careers will I be good at?" or "If I don't have these strengths, does that mean I won't be a successful entrepreneur?" 

The answer? It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter one single bit what strengths you have. Your strengths do not determine what you will be good or not good at. 

The thing you'll be most successful at is something that you are so uber-passionate about, you could do it forever, for free, in your sleep...because you love it that much. And THEN, take your natural talents and put investment into those talents in order to turn them into strengths so they can benefit your passion (especially if you're monetizing this passion as a business), and it doesn't hurt to mix in some hard work. 

Your strengths enhance what you're capable of. They don't determine what you're capable of. 

Working in your strengths helps you to be your best self, to reach your fullest potential, and to perform at a high level.

My 8-year passion of strengths has not diminished over the years; in fact, I've only grown more and more passionate as the years have gone on. I put investment into my talents - time and energy putting my own talents to work, gaining skills and knowledge around those talents - so that I can turn them into strengths and instill those into my passion, which is my business today.

And while I've only been in business since February 2016, it feels like I've been at my business even longer when I consider the eight years of investment and passion for strengths-based development that I have had. Eight years of instilling my strengths into my passion, and finally monetizing it in early 2016 and officially forming my LLC and taking on clients. (Note: This WMU article was written in 2013...that's three years before I finally started my business! See, I wasn't kidding when I said I've been passionate about this for a long time. And that's how I knew it was the right business for me. It wasn't a fly by the seat of my pants idea I had. It was a then 7-year passion coming to life).

So, instead of thinking that you can't do something because you don't think you have the *right* strengths for it, ask yourself: "What strengths do I have that I can instill into my business and passion to make this successful?" and "What areas do I think I need to find support in so that they don't get in my way of achieving greatness?"

What's up with this #MyStrengthsStory hashtag? Read all about it here.

#MyStrengthsStory: How My Strengths Impact My Life or Business

Dear {fill in your name here},

I'm about to real and raw here.

I've let you down. Big time. (or at least that's how I see it)

And let me tell you why.  

You see, it all starts with my strengths. 

I am really, really good at connecting with people one-on-one. In fact, Relator (on the StrengthsFinder® assessment) is in my top strengths which means I really like getting know people on a deep level (small talk isn't really my thing). If you've gotten on the phone with me before, you and I are likely still good friends today because I love building deep friendships. 

However, (and this is where the "I've let you down" part comes in), I'm not that great at sharing my whole self with you. If we're connecting one-on-one, no problem! If I'm coaching a small group, great!

But, when it comes to me showing you the *real* me, in a larger group setting, on a larger platform. Yikes! Not my natural cup of tea!

The funny thing is, I have a huge (and I'm talking huge) passion for making a difference in your life. I crave to do really significant work and change lives, not just businesses. Not surprisingly, Significance is another one of my top talent themes. I hate doing work that feels like it's not important. And sometimes I wonder if all of my content is even helping anyone. Is anyone really listening? I love doing significant work with my paying clients, but I want to do significant work with all of the lives I come in contact with. I want to impact your life and business. I want you to look back on your journey with hopefully a thought that I made even a small difference.

Speaking of content, another top talent themes of mine is Learner. I absolutely love learning, and therefore I love teaching as well! But, I will be honest, it's easy for me to teach. In fact, I almost became an adjunct faculty at a local University near me a few years ago, but held off on class selection and starting due to various factors.

Sometimes, it becomes a veil of sorts—because it's so easy for me to put on my teacher's hat. And when my community asks me something, I want to deliver, which sometimes causes me to want to do too much teaching, which may get in the way of your own personal growth journey.

What I've worked hard on this year, and will continue to improve on, is to empower my community to find the answers within themselves by asking powerful questions, instead of giving my two cents. After all, that's what coaching is all about, right? 

While I am also a consultant at some times, I'd rather put on my coaching hat more often than my consulting one. Plus, I really believe *you* are the expert on you and are fully capable of being the CEO and making decisions in your business.

What does all this mean?

  1. I'll be sharing more stories about myself and how my strengths play out in my life and business, letting you in to really get to know me. The real me. 
  2. I'll be sharing more stories as I see strengths play out in other people that I think would be beneficial to share. I see strengths in play all day, every day!
  3. I'm putting my coaching hat on more, rather than my teaching or consulting hat, to empower you to find the answers within yourself. (Disclaimer: Sometimes I'll do some consulting/teaching, but my goal is to stay in my coach zone 95% of the time because I think it will serve you the best).


In an effort to help you find my personal strengths stories in the community or on my blog (or other social media), I'll be using the hashtag #MyStrengthsStory for anything personal I'll be sharing that I think you can draw a lesson from.

My Challenge to You

I'm also going to challenge you with something.

Your challenge is this: I want you to join me in sharing your strengths stories with your communities (and in mine) using the hashtag #MyStrengthsStory when you share. 

I want you to show people who you really are, where your strengths shine, how you put your strengths to work, how you discover more about your strengths every day, where your weaknesses get in your way, if (and when) your strengths were untapped or underutilized, or when they went on overdrive and frustrated you. Be real, be raw. 

Life and business aren't perfect. Neither is your strengths journey and learning how to leverage your strengths. 

For some of you, this may be easier than others. Especially if you naturally have talent themes such as Woo, Communication, or Empathy. It may be easier for you if you're an extrovert (trust me, Introverts, I get it! I'm one too!).

But, I truly believe one of the best ways we can grow as a human being is to learn from others and to focus on our personal development. Being real and honest will help you do both.

I also think sharing these stories is great reflection for your business and will allow you to better leverage your strengths in the long run.

So, who's up for the challenge?!

3 Ways to Leverage Your Strengths for Business Success

You’ve probably heard it a million times in business: Leverage your strengths.

Gary Vaynerchuk talks often about betting on your strengths.

Tim Ferriss said, “You don’t succeed because you have no weaknesses; you succeed because you find your unique strengths and focus on developing habits around them.” 

But what does it really mean to leverage your strengths, why does it seem difficult to do, and how can you leverage yours?

I recently wrote a guest blog post for Amber Aziza's site (which, by the way, if you aren't following need to be!) where I shared what leveraging your strengths really means and three ways to start leveraging your strengths today.