Alissa Daire Nelson spent the first 30 years of her life, perpetually asking herself, “What’s wrong with me?” That was until she discovered the StrengthsFinder assessment, which completely transformed her life.
Instead of focusing on her shortcomings, as we all do at times, Alissa learned how we can tap into our strengths and embrace what makes us uniquely and unapologetically awesome!
Today, she’s regularly featured on television news segments, inside major blogs and publications, and on podcasts from all over the globe, as an accomplished Success Coach, Speaker, host of the Maximize Your Strengths podcast, as well as published author of the new book; From Frustrated to Frickin’ Awesome: 4 Steps to Achieve the Success You’re Wired For.
Just as Alissa suggested, this is an explosive conversation that will teach you how to realize your own strengths and pay attention to the things that bring the most energy to your life. You’ll learn all about the StrengthsFinder profile and how you can use it to become the best version of yourself.
Ready to stop beating yourself up over what you’re not good at, so you can start focusing on your biggest strengths?
- How the StrengthsFinder assessment transformed her life and how she can help you do the same!
- The ROI of focusing on your strengths.
- The major differences between skills and strengths.
- Where you can take the StrengthsFinder assessment.
- And much more…
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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[00:00:31] Jon: Hey, look. We’re going to talk about strengths today. And the reason why we’re going to talk about strengths is because we are here with Alissa Daire Nelson. Alissa is going to talk to us about strengths. You may have seen her in on TV. You may have read her blog. You may have been coached by her or you may have just stumbled on to this and you’re about to have a great time hearing our conversation.
[00:00:55] Jon: So, Alissa, I’m looking forward to this. Are you ready to go?
[00:00:59] Alissa: I’m ready to rock. I’m ready to launch let’s say.
[00:01:02] Jon: Okay. Very good. You know, right after you said that, I thought if you were to pick one word to describe how you feel about the conversation we’re about to have, what word might that be?
[00:01:12] Alissa: Actually, the word that comes to mind is explosive.
[00:01:14] Jon: Explosive?
[00:01:15] Alissa: Yeah.
[00:01:15] Jon: Hey. I like that. Who’s ready to explode? If you’re listening, if you’re watching right now, if you’re ready to explode, don’t take this the wrong way.
[00:01:23] Alissa: Brains exploding.
[00:01:25] Jon: Brains exploding, business is exploding, results exploding, outcomes exploding. Your muscles will explode. Your bladder will explode. Your bank account will explode. The teams over here just waiting to hear what’s going to happen next. I think people need a little explosiveness in their lives today. Alissa, I’m looking forward to this. Alissa is an expert in connecting people with their strengths. I believe we live in a day and a time where people really need to become aware of the power of their strengths. It’s a big deal. There’s a ton of evidence. In the last 20 years, it has proven out that when we connect to our strengths we become better, smarter, faster, sexier, healthier, wealthier, happier, more peaceful and anything else you want to add. So, Alissa, super pumped to have you here. This is going to be awesome. How do you feel?
[00:02:17] Alissa: I feel really excited. This is going to be great. And this is my favorite topic. I’m already like heating up and getting all sweaty because this stuff just excites me so much.
[00:02:24] Jon: I like that. I’ve never sweat during a podcast episode but now that you’ve said that, I’m looking forward to the first time I can work up a sweat on a podcast episode.
[00:02:35] Alissa: Yeah. So, here’s what’s funny. So, I’m perpetually cold like my entire family makes fun of me because I’m always cold but the second that I get on a client session or a podcast interview whether I’m on the host end or on the guest end and I know that this is the stuff that I get to talk about, I always just like I’m boiling hot and I just kept – because it’s so exciting. This stuff it really does heat me up.
[00:03:01] Jon: Well, so let’s talk about this. Tell us a little bit about the work that you do, why you’re passionate about it, why does it matter.
[00:03:07] Alissa: Yeah. Well, so often the message that we are sent to put out in the world is the one that we need to hear the most and I spent the first 30 years of my life perpetually asking the question about what’s wrong with me. And if something didn’t go right, I’m like, “Oh crap, what’s wrong with me?” or something, you know, I failed at something. While it couldn’t it be the path I took, it must be me. So, when I found the StrengthsFinder Profile, and the StrengthsFinder is all about what’s right with you. So, instead of asking the question what’s wrong with me, instead, it completely flips the script and says, “Hey, what’s right with me?” And it very quickly became just my jam. I love it. I studied the stuff.
My background is actually in healthcare so I had two four-year degrees and both in healthcare and so I love the evidence-based like that is super, super important to me. It’s kind of a prove it to me. I take a pragmatic approach to most everything. So, the StrengthsFinder Profile went through 40 years of research before they ever even published the profile and that was really important to me because it didn’t feel so woo-woo. It felt like I could really trust the results. So, that was also super important to me.
[00:04:25] Jon: I want to dive into and pick a part what you’re talking about and how people can tap into their strengths and why that matters but the evidence is massive. I saw this like a week ago. I was preparing for a presentation and I needed to verify some study that I quote all the time and I thought, “I got to go find the source.” And I was on one of the strengths assessment websites and it had a list of like it was literally dozens and dozens and dozens of studies. In some of those studies, we’re actually aggregating hundreds of studies that have been done on what happens when we connect to our strengths. So, in that spirit, before we get into this and give people some ideas they can use, are there any statistics or data points that might be of most interest to somebody to convince them to reschedule the meeting that they have in 20 minutes to keep listening to our conversation?
[00:05:17] Alissa: Yeah. So, here’s what’s interesting. When you start to even recognize your strengths, there is a 7% increase in your own productivity like just by knowing what they are. Like, forget cultivating and growing them. Just by knowing. Now 7% isn’t like blow your mind out of this world but if you can increase your productivity by 7% in 30 minutes like that’s not bad, right? Now over time as we look at themes and things like that, we’re talking revenue and profit increases by like two-thirds is what a lot of these studies will show. I don’t have all the specific numbers in front of me but it’s massive. It’s massive, the ROI you get when you focus on your strengths. And the reason for that is that when we’re focusing on the things that are wrong with us, our weaknesses and we’re putting all of our energy there, it’s like we’re digging this giant hole in the ground and to get down to fix these things instead of just going, “Oh, the flowers right on the surface. I could pick that and now I have a beautiful bouquet.”
So, if we put our energy into things that are going to suck us dry all of our weaknesses, well no wonder we’re not having the productivity nor the joy that we’re looking for versus the things that we’re already great at. Let someone else do those things that don’t come naturally to us. I just want to say what I think one of the most common fallacies that’s in our culture is that everyone says we’re supposed to be well-rounded like that is through and through what our culture tells us. We’re supposed to be well-rounded. We’re supposed to be independent. And so, the problem as human beings we’re meant to be in community. Like there are species out there that live on their own and they don’t live in tribes or they don’t live in groups and that kind of thing. But human beings are not one of those species. So, the reason that that is, is because we can’t do it all ourselves. And I think from a very spiritual standpoint that’s why we don’t have all of these strengths in equality.
[00:07:17] Alissa: Because if I did, Jon, I wouldn’t need you and you wouldn’t need me and we wouldn’t need anybody else but that’s not the case. So, now we get to honor each other by going, “Hey, this is what you bring. It’s brilliant and I love it. And guess what, here’s what I get to bring. And so, I’m great too and I love to collaborate with you.” And now we have this beautiful synergy that is like no other and that we could not ever have on our own.
[00:07:41] Jon: So, I love about your own story, Alissa, that you said earlier the messages we send out are sometimes the ones that we need to hear the most. That’s something that I have started to recognize and realize in my own world that things that I become good at, my own strengths that I’ve developed I’m realizing are often solutions to problems I’ve had for a long time. So, I thought that’s just a cool comment. What’s a good place for someone to start? If someone was listening to this conversation and maybe they are aware of their strengths, maybe they’re not but what’s a good starting point for someone to get maybe more clarity, more awareness around what their strengths are and how do you even define strengths like there are so many ways to look at that?
[00:08:24] Alissa: Yeah. So, first I’d like to define strengths because I think this is key. So, many people think that their skills are their strengths. So, we can become skilled at really most everything if we put our minds to it, but our strengths are how we go about doing things. So, naturally there’s going to be some things, some skills that we’re drawn to because of our strengths but they’re two very different things. So, knowing that, data collection might be something you’re really good at in organizing data. That doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s one of your strengths. Now it could be related to one of your strengths but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
So, as you’re looking at and let’s just say you’re not going to take the StrengthsFinder Profile. Fine. I would recommend it. It’s super great and easy and so do it but even if you haven’t taken it yet and you’re starting to try to figure out where are my strengths, where do they lie? Look for the places that you gain energy from. We’ve all had that post-lunch low where we maybe ate too much at lunch and now we just feel like we want to take a nap and something happens and all of a sudden, you’re like wide-awake and you’re ready to go. Like that, what is that thing that gives you that kind of energy that excites you and that helps you just kind of get up and move? Also, what are the things that when you contribute that other people are like, “Oh that’s so good. Yeah, can you bring more of that?” So, it’s the things that give us energy and it’s the things that give others energy from our behavior.
[00:09:59] Jon: Wow. That’s so cool. I’ve never heard that definition before and I love that. I kind of love it because I got to just sit here and think about what are the things that give me energy and that’s really cool and what gives others energy. I like that a lot. All right. Cool. So, if we think about that, what else? What’s next? What’s the next step I should take? So, let’s say I answered that question, “Hey, I get energy from this,” or when I see that I contribute this or I go take – and if someone is going to take the assessment, where should they go take that? Can you give the URL for that?
[00:10:29] Alissa: So, I’m not an affiliate but you can go to Daire2Succeed.com/Profile and it redirects to the Gallup website. The Gallup website is actually a little bit confusing so Daire2Succeed.com/Profile and it redirects you to the site.
[00:10:46] Jon: Perfect.
[00:10:46] Alissa: So, don’t go to StrengthsFinder.com. It’s a little bit harder to get through to it that way. And $15 – actually, no. I take it back. They just raised the price but it’s still absolutely worth it. It’s $20, 30 minutes and you’ll have your profile right there. Okay? So, that’s where they can take it. Do make sure that when you take it that you have 30 minutes undisturbed because all the questions are timed. I mean, we can kind of get into what the profile looks like and how to take it in a little bit there but just a little tip on that. And then what was your second question? What did they do next, right?
[00:11:16] Jon: Yeah.
[00:11:17] Alissa: Okay So, the next thing after is really focusing on all the things that really give you energy and excite you and make you just smile, just really fulfill you, just give you that feeling of like, “Oh yeah,” that. I want you to then take a look at what frustrates you, what stops you in your tracks and note those things. Because those are probably areas of non-strength. They’re not necessarily there are all sorts of other things, limiting beliefs and some of those other things that get involved there. But the stuff that you’re just like, “Ugh,” like look at a datasheet like that is the last thing on the face of the planet that I want to do. Can’t someone just tell me what the results of this thing mean? So, what is it that sucks energy out of you? Those are typically areas of non-strength. So, you’ve got these two lists now and now it’s really pretty simple. Do more of what give you energy and what gives others energy and find other people who do get energy out of the things that suck energy out of you.
[00:12:21] Jon: Yeah. I’ve got to make sure I don’t confuse these words when I’m explaining this to somebody else because I’m seeing myself talking about this person sucks, this person out of you. It just didn’t sound right.
[00:12:32] Alissa: Right. Very true.
[00:12:34] Jon: I’m actually looking at my notes like if you’re watching the live stream I was writing down the sentences in a dyslexic way. I wrote it in a way that was ended up being…
[00:12:43] Alissa: Totally inappropriate.
[00:12:44] Jon: So, sorry about that. Normally this is a family show everybody but okay. So, I love what you just shared. First of all, it’s simple and I think sometimes we human beings overcomplicate things and I think there can be something profound about how simple this point is of, hey, what gives you energy or when you’re giving energy to others. That’s a great distinction, find ways to do more of that and less of what doesn’t. Can you speak more to that? Like because I’m imagining if someone is listening and they’re thinking, “Okay. I like where this is going. I like the idea of more of what gives me energy and less of what doesn’t,” and then I could see people maybe now wondering well what’s the first step I do to do this because can I ever get to a point where I’m only using my strengths or do I still have to work with these areas that aren’t my strengths? What are the thoughts that someone might be having right now or that you’ve experienced when you’re coaching people through this or maybe some of the obstacles they run into that you could help them through to figure out how to implement this?
[00:13:50] Alissa: Yeah. So, I work primarily with solo entrepreneurs so this comes up a lot. Like, “Well, that’s fantastic but I am just me so now what? Like, yeah, great advice but I don’t have an assistant and I don’t have an employee and I don’t have a business partner. So, now what?” And the answers for everybody is just a little bit different depending on what their strengths actually are. But part of that solution is, okay, so if you need support with X, Y or Z there are, I mean, how many software programs out there for just about everything? And again, like I said you’re often sent to solve the problem or to send the message in the world that you were meant to learn yourself. There are people out there that are like you and that have created software to solve that issue.
So, when you figure out the things that really take all the energy out of your kind of grab the oxygen out of the room. You just feel like, “Ack.” Find a solution to that in a software program. And maybe it is going to cost some money and that’s okay because think about that investment what is going to pay you in return when you can go over here and you can put yourself in the stuff that does give you energy. Typically, those things that do give you energy will monetize some folks. Go make money doing what gives you still a ton of energy. Then it’s no big deal to have a $99.00 expense for X, Y or Z software program.
[00:15:19] Jon: Yeah.
[00:15:20] Alissa: So, that’s one solution. The other thing is collaboration, is people. So, you may not have a business partner but you got a friend and you bring to the friendship something that they don’t have and they bring to the friendship something you don’t have. So, you can collaborate together with another person to get to that solution. The whole key is honor in yourself what you are, who you are, how you’re wired and then you can externalize. So, internalize and then externalize. You can then see in other people, “Oh wow, you’re really great at this,” and now rather than being jealous of that thing, now you can just appreciate it and say, “Hey, why don’t you bring that out on over here because I could use a little bit of that.”
[00:16:02] Jon: Yeah. This reminds me, here in our business what I really enjoyed about having Trent and Laura on our team is, one, they provide different types competencies. And one interesting example for me of where Laura resolves a gap of mine is and you’re talking about for someone who is a solo entrepreneur solving problems with technology, well, for me one of my challenges is and I don’t know if the right way of framing this is talking about my introverted nature but what takes a lot of energy from me is social settings. It just takes a lot of energy away. It doesn’t mean I can’t do it and I can’t enjoy it. It’s just when I am at an event so here’s what makes this a little bit crazy is I’m usually running the event and so people go, “How do you do that when you’re introverted?”
Well, it’s different when you’re facilitating hundreds of people where I kind of have a job to do and I’m moving through a process, whereas when I’m not on stage I actually get really drained in social settings. I’d rather be like hiding in the back corner reading a book or outside throwing a frisbee or something. And so, it’s so fun having Laura at these events because she’s great socially. She loves to talk with people. So, it’s almost to the point now where I could just send her out and she is representing our firm and I can disappear and it’s almost just as good. In the end, I think they’d rather talk to her anyways because she’s enjoying it and I could enjoy it but it gives her energy where it doesn’t for me.
[00:17:38] Alissa: Yeah. Can we talk about your strengths for a minute? Can we put you on the spot?
[00:17:43] Jon: Happy to.
[00:17:44] Alissa: Okay.
[00:17:44] Jon: Why not?
[00:17:45] Alissa: Okay. So, your top five strengths are maximizer, learner, relator, intellection and connectedness. And everyone’s like, “Yeah. Great. Those are big old words,” right?
[00:17:56] Jon: A lot of syllables.
[00:17:57] Alissa: Yeah. Super a lot, especially intellection which isn’t actually a word. I’m pretty sure it’s a made-up word but in any case. So, what you said was, “Hey, being out in public setting actually sucks energy out of me and what I’d rather be doing is I’d rather be sitting in the back of the room reading a book and thinking.” I don’t know if you said thinking but that goes without saying. So, to pull out where some of these strengths thrive is intellection is a high level deep thinking strength. And it’s like it’s philosophical and it needs, it actually physically needs time and space to just think. People with high intellection typically are introverts. That’s where they thrive is just give me some space to think. Learner is all about the process of learning. So, it totally makes sense that while you don’t want to be out in this big social setting, facilitating a workshop totally gets you jazz because you’re helping people with the process of learning. So, something in that even though you’re out on a stage is giving you energy and allowing you to use to contribute to other people by helping them to facilitate that learning process, and also why you love reading books.
And relator is a strength that is a relationship building strength, how you build strengths with one another but what it loves to do is connect with someone and then go deep. Whereas I have one called WOO in my top five which stands for winning others over and I, like Laura, I love going into a room full of people and I’ll talk to as many people as I possibly can. A stranger is just somebody I haven’t met yet and that gives me energy. I walk into a room full of strangers and I’m like, “Let’s go. Where are all my new friends?” Relator typically doesn’t get jazz that way. It would much rather find somebody that they can connect with and then go deep.
[00:19:56] Jon: Yeah.
[00:19:57] Alissa: So, all of what you said makes so much sense based on where your strengths are and it doesn’t mean like you said, you can’t get in front of people. You can’t get on a stage but that whole like mix and mingling that’s not going to be your jam, right?
[00:20:12] Jon: Yeah. So, I’d be curious, do our strengths, can they change or evolve or shift? Can we consciously change them or is it the kind of thing where we should just continually try and get more clear on what we are good at and maybe those things don’t change a whole lot? What’s your thought on that?
[00:20:31] Alissa: I love that question because there are two things that people will typically say when you say, “Well these are your strengths so maximize those, cultivate those, don’t worry about the rest.” Some people would hear that as a copout like, “Okay. So, just because my strengths aren’t here, I’m just going to be a jerk?” No. Like so just because your strengths are here doesn’t give you an excuse to sort of quit on all the rest. That said, as you cultivate those things more and more, the rest of the weaknesses don’t matter as much. Now can they change over time? To some degree and there are some discussions about unconscious bias. So, if you take the Strengths Profile and then a year later you take it again, you have an unconscious bias that causes you to shift some of your answers and so what they say and, again, I’m not a researcher and all of that stuff so bear with me but what they say is that the first test is the most accurate. So, have you taken it more than once, Jon?
[00:21:31] Jon: I don’t know if I have. I have those results that we shared earlier but I don’t think I’ve taken it more than once.
[00:21:36] Alissa: Yes. So, a lot of people do take it more than once and what happens usually is one or two, maybe three of them fall out of the top five but we lean into our top 10 to 15 strengths in a fairly regular basis. So, if you think about what is in our front view, what are our easy buttons, that’s like one through seven. So, those are the ones that are in our front view, super easy, this is what we’re totally great at. However, 8 through 15 are like right here in the periphery and you guys can’t see my fingers but I can see my fingers moving in the periphery and at any moment I can grab my number seven or my number nine and I can pull it in here. So, if we retake the test what happens is depending on our stage and lot in life at that time, what might happen is that you’re pulling in number nine and so that it lands in your top five. So, that can happen too but typically your top 10 or 12 don’t actually shift.
[00:22:32] Jon: So, I’d be curious to know, do you have an opinion on is it important to figure out how to get clarity on not our strengths but our weaknesses? What role does that play? Like is there a place for getting clear on what our weaknesses are or is there some way to do that or does it even matter?
[00:22:52] Alissa: Right. So, there are lots of different philosophies out there. I will give you mine. I think there is incredible value there. A, so you can stop beating yourself up over it and you can just give yourself some grace like that’s just not how I’m wired. My number 34 of 34 for me is a strength called consistency, which consistency is all about fairness. So, it treats every single person in the same way and also, it’s consistency of schedule. So, very often these people have a very solid routine on a day-to-day basis. My Miracle Morning changes every morning. And sometimes I brush my teeth first, sometimes I floss my teeth first. Like there’s just not – it’s just not how I thrive. And forever and ever I beat myself up over why can’t I just be consistent? If I could just do my Miracle Morning the way I’m supposed to, then I could dah, dah, dah.
So, for me knowing and learning that my number 34 was consistency was like, “Oh, I can let that go now,” and now I can use the strengths I do have to get to my perfect Miracle Morning. And yeah, maybe some days I’m going to do my reading first and then I’m going to do my meditation and some days I might do my visualization and then I’m going to listen. Sometimes I might totally forget my visualization. And I can give myself a lot more grace on that. Also, what you can do when you do know what your weaknesses are is rather than trying to fill those gaps yourselves, you can seek out those things in other people. So, that’s where I see value in knowing what your weaknesses are. I think there is a lot of value in having your full strengths profile. Again, not so you can beat yourself up further because we’re already really good at that. But it’s so that we can seek out people who can actually fill in those gaps for us.
[00:24:41] Jon: Yeah. I once heard somebody say he was a mentor of mine for a period of time and he taught me a lot about the concept of humility and one of the things he said to me is he said, “You know, everybody thinks that humility is about knowing your weaknesses,” and he used to always say that humility is actually about knowing your strengths so that you know when you’re not playing in your strengths. And I always thought that was an interesting perspective. I was also just reminded just now when you are talking, Alissa, about the value of knowing what you’re good at, what you’re not good at, of how big of a role this plays in partnerships, partnerships of all types and I’m thinking about some of my business partnerships and how I’ve had times where I partnered with people who had similar strengths that I did but we also had similar weaknesses in that when I look back I realize, wow, that really disabled us from optimizing what we created.
And then when I look at partnerships that I have today, fortunately, there’s three different ones depending on how I slice it up, all of them it’s so clear where I have a specific strength that complements one of their strengths. And in some cases, like the work that I do with Hal like he and I in some ways we are dramatically different and the interesting thing is it’s in those ways that we actually make the most magic happen. So, it’s really cool to see how this concept plays out in how people choose to align with others. I’d love if you give any your thoughts you have on the importance of that or any suggestions on how to be thoughtful in how we choose to partner or collaborate with others. I’ve just seen personally the difference it makes or when it’s done right.
[00:26:30] Alissa: And that’s just it when it’s done right. And the value of having it in black and white is that it takes emotion out of it. So, I just sat down with a married couple last weekend and that they had both of their entire profiles and I put them on a grid so they could see where they match up and where they didn’t. And where I pointed them out to each other was where one of them had a strength down at like 27 and the other one it was in like their top five. So, they’re like, “Oh, I understand like I hated this thing about them like I didn’t understand why they couldn’t get what I was saying,” and I’m like, “Yeah.”
And now you can honor it in such a different way because what’s below, what’s in their last or bottom 15, 20 strengths those are really our blind spots like it’s just not how we see the world and it’s just not how we’re wired. And when someone else is, we’re going to look at them and like, “What? I don’t get it. It’s just not how I think.” And I love the interaction between you and Hal too because you guys are very different and you can see your intellection and your learner come up when you’re like, “Let’s think about how this next move we go,” and you’re thinking and you’re philosophizing and you’re processing and then you laugh and you’re like, “And Hal’s texting somebody already,” and like it’s already in action.
[00:27:48] Jon: Yeah. He’s done executing and I’m just getting my voice warmed up for a three-hour conversation about it and he’s all done making it happen.
[00:27:55] Alissa: Exactly. Now, and the beauty in that is that you guys can be that balance for one another and it’s beautiful when it works that way and when it’s honored and respected where it goes all awry is when you’re just like, “Dude, like no, we’re not doing it that way because my way is the best,” instead of going, “Hey, so help me understand what you’re thinking and how you’re working and all of that.” So, when you have it all in black and white, now you can just point to it like, “Oh, Hal’s activator is just like it’s on fire. It’s going.” And he might go, “Okay. Well, so JB’s intellection is at work here. Maybe we could have some space for it.” Now you have a different conversation asking for what you need like, “Hey, Hal, I need some time to process this,” and his activator is like, “All right. Well, where’s the deadline like when can we get going on this?” You’re like, “Hey, give me 24 hours.” “Cool.”
So, activator can now rest because it has a deadline and it knows that this isn’t just going to be some open-ended something because that’s really triggering to activator when they’re just like no movement but there’s no like deadline to when we are going to get moving. So, it changes the entire conversation, makes it immensely more respectful and honoring and now you can collaborate. And like people talk about synergy in their businesses or in their marriages, now it’s kind of a catchword but that’s where the synergy occurs is when both people are allowed to and encouraged to bring both of their strengths to the table and they’re not shut down or shut off or rejected.
[00:29:23] Jon: Yeah. I like the way you’re pointing out that when we’ve realized our strengths and the strengths of others that we work with that we can be more respectful. Because as soon as you say that, I’m realizing that I have some partners I worked with not just Hal but just other people I collaborated with where if I’m not thinking of it in a healthy way, I just become judgmental like I just project, “Well, why can’t they do it the way I’m doing it?” And in doing that, I’m creating a judgment that is completely disempowering and really even unnecessary and really just misplaced because the thing I’m judging them for it’s really, they have a strength. Sometimes I realize I’m even judging somebody for their strength because it’s not a strength of mine and everybody should be like me.
[00:30:11] Alissa: Yeah.
[00:30:12] Jon: Hal and I have had these conversations where I’ll get upset at him, “No, Hal, come on. We got to think about this. You can’t just take action.” And then he’ll – in our relationship is one where we never really get upset like we try to but he’ll come right back and he’ll be like, “Yeah, we did it your way JB. I never would’ve sold a book and no one would be at our events.” And then we fall into the ground laughing because we realize we’re both right in that if we did it his way he keeps selling books and run events but then when people show up he wouldn’t know what to do but if we did it my way there’ll be nobody at the events. And so, we’ve come to learn how to really respect each other’s differences and you just said it too that talk about an important thing not only to remember at work but at home too. It reminds me of my kids too. I’m also learning. Let me ask you that. In your work around strengths, have you ever worked with anybody around helping them to develop strengths within their kids or is that something you thought about?
[00:31:10] Alissa: Yeah. It’s so exciting. I love this stuff so much. So, there’s actually a version of the StrengthsFinder Profile for children. It’s called the StrengthsExplorer and it’s geared for kids ages 10 to 14. That profile is not timed and there is a less than half of a number of questions as for the StrengthsFinder. And now this one they give the names of these strengths as tendencies because kids brains are not fully developed yet but you can see the tendencies. And very often even adults can look at their strengths profile and go, “Oh yeah. I saw that. I have memories of that behavior when I was five.” So, these things show up so early in life and what’s interesting at just as a short rabbit hole is we develop our limiting beliefs and most of our lifelong beliefs before the age of five or six, five, six, seven, something like that. And if all of these strengths are showing up there and we don’t know how to control them at that time, we don’t know how to cultivate them, how to actually give other people energy, we’re just doing our thing.
So, if a little kid has the strength of communication which is all about storytelling and it’s often very flowery and it’s often very verbal and that child gets reprimanded like, “Would you just shut your mouth. Stop talking. You talk too much. Dah, dah, dah,” on and on, they can internalize that that’s a bad piece of them. So, now they think, “Oh well, if I talk it’s bad,” when it’s actually one of their gifts. And so now we can fast-forward and recognize where some of our limiting beliefs are and how we have to reframe some of those things because it was sort of set as a kid. So, there’s huge value in taking a strengths approach to parenting. In fact, there is a strengths-based parenting book out there. I did not write it. It’s incredible. Definitely, you should get it. I’ll get the link to it but it’s just called Strengths Based Parenting.
[00:33:09] Jon: Yeah. We’ll send it out.
[00:33:12] Alissa: So, I had my girls take this profile. One was eight and one was nine. But they both could read and they both could answer the questions. And so, we have what their tendencies are and they’re totally different. In fact, in episode 49 of my podcast, Maximize Your Strengths, I actually had my girls on the podcast to talk about their strengths and how that’s helped them communicate with us as parents and how it’s helped us as parents understand the better angles to take with them and just understand who they are and how they’re wired in a different way. My older daughter, Avery, she has a theme called competing and again they’re framed as more adjectives than strengths at that point. So, and one of the most frustrating things was that she would start a game like a family game. It’s supposed to be a fun family night and everyone’s having a great time and the people would get ahead of her like the Game of Life or Sorry! or whatever and she would quit and she would walk away. Because competing or competition loves to win and in her mind as soon as she couldn’t win then she was out.
[00:34:21] Jon: Yeah. You just described our oldest exactly.
[00:34:24] Alissa: Yeah. So, as we learn that, now we’re like, “Hey, Avery, can you find another way to win in this scenario?” and it also helped me as a parent go, “I understand like in her mind I can’t win here, why would I put more energy there? That doesn’t make any sense.” So, it’s allowed us to become much more effective parents and be able to honor and respect our children in a way that doesn’t put them like they’re not our friends. We’re not friends here. We are their parents and it’s our job to raise great adults but part of that is helping them to cherish who they are.
[00:34:57] Jon: Yeah. That’s so good. I wish I would’ve heard this podcast about eight years ago which wouldn’t have been possible but you get what I mean which is before we had our first of our three kids, I remember, and anyone who’s had kids can relate to this especially if you had more than one child, because your first one you have no idea what you’re doing. You basically screw everything up.
[00:35:20] Alissa: Yeah.
[00:35:21] Jon: And you keep doing it at least for me. I mean, we kept screwing things up. But I remember with our first kid, Ace, he’s seven now and I remember just projecting onto him everything that I thought a human being should be like well he should be like me and he should like the things that I like and have my strengths. And then it wasn’t until we had Sierra where she was this completely different human being and I was really bothered by her weaknesses so much so that even her strengths I’d consider them weaknesses. Like she would draw everywhere in the house and the problem is when you’re four and you draw everywhere, it’s really not enjoyable to look at what a three and four-year-old draws.
I mean, there’s not a lot going on there and my wife Mara who had the wisdom to see this, she’s like, “You realize that what Sierra is doing is expressing what might actually be like a form of intelligence or one of her strengths.” And of course, as things would play out when she’d learn how to actually put the colors together and keep them on a piece of paper or wherever she was supposed to do it, her art has become this incredible strength of hers. And now the way it’s developing as she is now five is she has a sense of like fashion and design and this visual understanding of how things come together. And if it was up to me, I would’ve squashed all of that years ago because I just thought she was a crazy kid drawing on the walls.
[00:36:47] Alissa: Oh, this is such a perfect example because here’s the thing is that our kids we can’t let them draw all over the walls like it ruins the walls, there’s a lot of work, all of those things but when you recognize that same thing as a potential strength. And I’m wondering if Mara has developer which is like it sees all the potential in people and wants to grow that.
[00:37:06] Jon: Yeah. That’s her.
[00:37:07] Alissa: Yeah. So, you see that but you still have to cultivate it. So, you can see that talent and that is really what the StrengthsFinder is measuring is where is your talent. Now it’s your job to cultivate it.
[00:37:19] Jon: Wow. It’s a good point.
[00:37:21] Alissa: Right. So, Sierra has got all these amazing talents with colors and whatever. That was not quite cultivated and then once you taught her, “Hey, sweetheart, this goes on a paper and here you can color all you want on this piece of paper inside these four walls here.” That’s great. You’re teaching her to cultivate that strength into something that now will give other people energy because what it was doing was it was sucking energy out of you. Why? Because you had to clean all the walls.
So, and while that is an expression of parenting, it’s the same way if you have an employee and I don’t mean that in a condescending way. But when you see an employee or you see even a business partner doing something that is like, “I think that might be going down the wrong path there,” you can seek out the good in it and go, “But I see this good thing in it. What if we gave that boundary and let you fly there?” So, like we don’t let our dogs out of the house and just like out the front door and just go run because they get hit by a car. But if you fence in your backyard now they have the space to go play and have fun and get that energy out. So, we don’t want to cage your strengths but you do want to cultivate them to a point where they actually can have that freedom. So, that structure provides that freedom.
[00:38:37] Jon: Yeah. This all reminds me of I just came across this little story in a book recently and I’m going to butcher it because I read it once and I never told it so I’m certainly going to reinvent the story but who cares. They don’t…
[00:38:50] Alissa: We’ll get the point.
[00:38:51] Jon: Yeah. In fact, you should interrupt me in the middle of it if you’ve heard this because it really has everything to do with exactly what we’re talking about right now especially with kids. And it’s a story about a guy who dies and goes to heaven and when he gets to heaven he asked God a question something like who was the greatest general that was ever born? And God they looked down on earth and they looked down into this café and he says, “Oh, that man right there working in the café is the greatest general that was ever born.” And the guy says, “That’s not the greatest general who was ever born. I know that guy. He is just a server at this café,” and God said, “Well, yeah, he just never discovered that he was meant to be a general.” I remember when I read that, thinking, “Gosh, I wonder if I was supposed to be something else that I never discovered.” I mean, I feel good about having where I am and figuring out my strengths but it made me think just about people in general about how many of us and how many people, and it’s sad to say, go so far in life maybe all the way to the end and never really get connected to their strengths and that’s why I feel like the work that you’re doing in the whole strengths movement is a really important big deal.
[00:40:01] Alissa: Yeah. Well, and you can see how this fallacy of humility plays right into that. Because what humility tells us is we’re supposed to shrink away. We’re not supposed to stand up and say, “I am great at this,” because it’s seen as arrogant and not confident. But what happens when we all shrink away is that all of the candles get dimmer and there’s this saying just by letting your candle burn dimmer doesn’t mean it’s going to make everyone else super bright or something like that. I don’t know. I’m butchering that now. But imagine if we could give up – you were talking about judgment before. So, when we think we’re better than other people, we’re going to judge them. Like, “Oh, you don’t think the way I do, like I’m smarter, like I’m way better.” We’re going to judge them.
Now if we think that they’re better than us, we’re going to be jealous. So, when we’re comparing with other people, we have these two sides. It’s either judgment or jealousy. Now if we could replace that with curiosity and we might not ever know what their strengths are or what their strengths profiles are or anything like that, it doesn’t matter. We can approach them with, “I wonder what their strengths are.” Now it allows us to shine brighter because we can shine as bright as we want and it doesn’t take away from anybody else shining just as bright because we’re not worried about judgment. We’re not worried about jealousy. We’re just getting curious.
[00:41:21] Jon: Yeah. That’s awesome. Alissa, this has been great. This has been really great for me, I hope for our listeners. I would love to know where can people find you. I know we gave out a couple of resources but just to make sure we send them to the right place if they want to hear more from you about your work, where can they go?
[00:41:39] Alissa: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, I would love to give the Achieve Your Goals listenership my book for free. I just wrote a book called From Frustrated to Frickin’ Awesome which is all about being able to stand up and say, “I am freaking awesome,” and not apologize for it. And so, if people go to my website which is Daire2Succeed.com. It’s Daire2Succeed.com/AYG for the Achieve Your Goals podcast, Daire2Succeed.com/AYG, they can get my book for free, a digital copy of my book for free and I would love to give that as a gift and of course Daire2Succeed.com is also where you can find me if you want to get in touch with me as well.
[00:42:22] Jon: Awesome. Well, that is generous. Thank you. And I forgot to mention earlier, you are one of our Quantum Leap Mastermind members.
[00:42:29] Alissa: Yes, sir.
[00:42:30] Jon: And it has been so cool to be on a journey with you that is always evolving and growing. This is so exciting.
[00:42:38] Alissa: Yeah. And that’s certainly what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s taking it from good to great and great to greater and wherever someone is on their journey is the perfect place.
[00:42:46] Jon: Alissa, thank you. We’ll see you again. Talk to you really soon.
[00:42:50] Alissa: Sounds great. Thanks, Jon.
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