As many of us are finding isolation time on our hands, now is as good a time as any to invest in some #selfcare. Personal growth, professional development, annual reviews, whatever name you call it… taking time for yourself to be the best you can be is something we all NEED to do if we ever want to achieve our dreams. Every person’s journey will look different, but that does not mean we need to re-invent the wheel. Here are some free or cheap strengths tools to support you in your journey!
1- Your personal CliftonStrengths reports
If you have ever completed the CliftonStrengths Top 5 assessment, you have a free user account with tons of free resources on Gallup’s CliftonStrengths website. https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/home.aspx
Before you get discouraged because you don’t remember you username, email address, or password, you are NOT alone. This issue happens with clients all the time, and I am pleased to say that Gallup’s “forgot password,” “forgot username,” and help desk functions are all EXTREMELY USER-FRIENDLY and (believe it or not) helpful. So, do what you need to, then log in and got to the reports tab. Each account will have a personalized strengths insight guide, a signature theme report, and a theme sequence report. These are great tools to review your personal top 5 talents!
While you are logged in, there are a few more free resources at your fingertips. The most complete resource is the O.G. “StrengthsFinder 2.0” e-book from Gallup and Tom Rath. It gives a solid description of strengths history, theory, research, and philosophy. It then goes on to provide descriptions of all 34 CliftonStrengths. If you aren’t super excited to read about all 34 talents, I highly recommend this next resource.
3- The Gallup Strengths exploration playlist
Free on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxDaK7wIyw9609RQuIcVwcCtJ6j17hmO4), these roughly one-minute videos show someone explaining how they use their own talent. There are 34 videos to represent all 34 talents. You can watch all 34 at once using the playlist feature on YouTube. There are two add-on’s that could really liven these videos for you. First, if you have a team strengths grid in which everyone’s talents are mapped, I’d pull that out and reference it as you watch. For each video, see who has that strength on your team and ask yourself if you recognize it in that person(s).
To take this exercise to the next level, turn it into a viewing party! YouTube, Google, and Facebook all have features to watch videos live together. Why not watch remotely with your team, a few colleagues, or a professional association? After each video, you can deliberate together and discuss how you see that talent in action (or not in action). If you have the talent, speak up about how it applies to you. Make it fun!
4- Blog posts
Do you not have a team member with that talent, but still want a real life example? Check out the Stronger Not Harder blog posts. Most of the 34 strengths have posts about famous people that have reached success maximizing that talent. Peruse the categories bar on the right side of the screen to find posts on a specific talent of interest. For example, the previous post is on Context and Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Still want to go deeper? Gallup’s newest feature is free online e-modules. Log back into your Gallup account and go to the resources tab to find a whole world of strengths lessons with articles, videos, and guides to help you implement strengths in your day-to-day life. Many of the resources are ones that I use with my coaching clients, and they are here and FREE for you! Put them to work! They can really challenge you (in the best way possible) to work stronger not harder with your strengths.
6- Personal reflection
This is the best tool and it is conjured up by no one other than YOU! One way to be more intentional with your thought processes is to write them down as you reflect. One basic question to keep asking yourself, in multiple aspects of your life, is: Am I overfeeding, feeding or starving my strength? And, what can I do to be on the balcony with my strength in x situation?
For instance, am I over-feeding my Empathy within my family relationships? How can I feed it less so I can be on the balcony? Could I use another one of my strengths to help me with this?
Some other strengths tools that are not free, but still inexpensive are:
7- Top 5 CliftonStrengths codes
Does all of this strengths reflection have you wondering about the strengths of your colleagues, family, or friends? While the Gallup website offers top 5 codes for $19.99, I can provide clients codes at $11.99 each. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in purchasing some.
8- Full 34 CliftonStrengths report
Most people use their top 10 talents on a daily basis. And, talents 30- 34 can show us our blind spots. Do you want to learn more about the talents that you are (or are not) using? Without needing to take another assessment, Gallup can provide your full 34 report with personalized information on each of your talents. The Gallup website offers the CliftonStrengths 34 upgrade for $39.99. For a short time, I can provide clients upgrade codes for $34.99. Email me at email@example.com if you are interested in purchasing some.
Acquiring more information on your full 34 CliftonStrengths tool is helpful. But to make the most of this helpful tool, I always recommend coaching. The full 34 report is like getting a full blood panel back from the doctor. It’s a helpful tool, but it is much more meaningful if someone can walk through the results, their meaning, and what actions to take next with you.
Do you know that there are some talents that pair well together and others that repel one another? Do you know that some talents are oriented for different speeds and times? Do you know there are some talents that frequently occur in different cultures?
Coaching can answer these questions and more! And, coaching can be provided online or over the phone! Here is more information on Stronger not Harder coaching. https://www.strongernotharder.com/coaching/ Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Well, there you have 9 free or cheap tools to personally develop your strengths. If I could have one wish during this time, it would be that everyone has the tools to take care of themselves, so we can, in turn, take care of each other. This is my way to support everyone’s investment into self care. I hope it helps! And as Jerry Springer (of all people, I know) says, “be good to yourself and each other.”