Create Success Using Your Strengths

by Kim Shiver, M.Ed, Speaker, Communications Strategist


What if you could use your strengths, build on them, and focus them in a way that would make you more successful? That’s the idea behind CliftonStrengths (formerly known as StrengthsFinder).

What is CliftonStrengths?

CliftonStrengths was created by Psychologist Don Clifton. He identified a set of 34 Strengths (traits) that people use to be successful in work and life. This program includes an assessment that ranks your strengths as well as resources to help you understand and use them.

In this case, we’re examining a strength as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, “a positive quality that makes you more effective.”

Why Focus on Strengths?

While many businesses focus their performance reviews around weaknesses and improving weaknesses, surveys of employees show more engagement and job satisfaction when the focus is on using strengths for success instead of improving weaknesses.

Based on his work, Clifton said, “There is no more effective way to empower people than to see each person in terms of his or her strengths.”

How to Discover Your Strengths

The CliftonStrengths assessment is a series of questions that uncovers your strengths. It provides options for two reports. You can receive your Top 5 or all 34. It is a single assessment. The report you receive depends on which one you order.

For most people, I recommend starting with your Top 5. After implementing success strategies around these Top 5, then unlock the complete report and integrate strengths 6 – 34 into your strategies.

Understanding and Using Your Top 5 Strengths

When you receive your Top 5 Strengths Report, you will receive detailed information about each strength along with notes on how it may show up in your daily life.

It’s important to not only learn about your strengths, but to identify how you can use them to succeed.

It may help to with a coach who can give you a deeper understanding of how these strengths can help with your specific goals and can help you create and implement a plan around these strengths.

A Strength Example

As an example, my Top 5 Strengths are Communication | Maximizer | Activator | Focus | Positivity.

Communication Strength Highlights

People with communication as a strength love a narrative. They want to know your story and tell you theirs, and they often can find the narrative in what seems like disparate information. They will take static facts and events, wrap a tale around them and bring them to life.

Want to learn more about CliftonStrengths, how they can help you be more successful, and how I use my Top 5 to coach others to success? Visit for a podcast episode and more.

Kim Shivler is a Gallup Certified CliftonStrengths Coach, Communications Strategist and Consultant. She helps individuals, businesses, and teams, achieve their goals, improve communication, increase sales, and deliver stellar customer service.