The CliftonStrengths Coaching Blog is a resource for those who want to help others truly understand their strengths and learn how to use them. Gallup experts and outside contributors share tactics, insights, and strategies to help strengths coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams, and organizations everywhere.
Putting the “I” Back Into Responsibility: Harnessing the Power of This Talent
By Angela Davenport
All my life, others have trusted me to get things done. Dependable and loyal are words that others repeatedly have used to describe me. I enjoy being known as a person who keeps her promises, who follows through on every commitment. I do not like to disappoint others. I always give my best. I take personal ownership for everything I do, and I value the trust this creates with others. I love my Responsibility theme, yet over the past few years, this talent has created a great deal of inner turmoil for me. As my career advanced and my responsibilities as a mother of three young children increased, I wanted to do it all -- excel at work, volunteer for the class party at school, contribute to the bake sale, and be a great wife and dear friend. Unfortunately, I found myself sacrificing my well-being to fulfill commitments to others. Even though I have a deep commitment to my physical well-being, I saw myself slowly losing ground on reaching my goals. It was becoming more and more difficult to “find time” for my workouts. They were inconsistent or nonexistent at times, and I started to feel out of balance.
Then one day it hit me: I never let my commitments to others slide, and I must do the same for myself so I can be the best mother, wife, employee and friend I can be. That realization shifted my entire perspective. I needed to put the “I” back into Responsibility. So I told myself, “Honor your physical well-being commitments and goals the way you honor your work commitments.” The Responsibility theme is all about honoring external commitments, so making a promise -- even one to myself -- greatly increased the likelihood that I would deliver. So I began adding my workouts to my work calendar, and I honored those appointments with the same commitment level I placed on my work-related responsibilities. Once I began this new routine, rather than feeling out of balance, I found a beautiful rhythm in my life. My stress levels went down, the joy I felt in my life went up, and I surpassed well-being goals that I never imagined I would achieve. It has been a little over a year since I harnessed the power of my Responsibility theme, and now I am in the best shape of my life. My time in the gym no longer is a “nice to have” or an activity I do only when things are “not too busy.” Instead, my workouts have become a cornerstone to a productive workday. I find myself protecting my physical well-being commitments because I know that when I take care of myself first, I have so much more to give to those around me. As you coach others who have Responsibility in their top five, help your clients recognize areas in which their talent may be causing them to be out of balance. A few possible questions to ask include:
Are there areas in which you may be minimizing your talent or over amplifying it?
How do you honor commitments to yourself?
Is this commitment level similar or different than the level you extend to others? Why?
Today, I view the three I’s in Responsibility as the best of myself that I desire to give -- the first represents me, another represents my family, and the third is for my colleagues and friends. Those three I’s remind me that Responsibility is not a theme that demands I stretch beyond my limits to satisfy others. Instead, they show that I am part of the mix of people who deserve my dependability and loyalty -- because the only way to execute efficiently and offer value to others is to remain invested in myself.
Angela Davenport is a Learning Design Consultant at Gallup. Angela designs transformational learning experiences based on Gallup’s strengths and engagement research. Angela partners with Gallup’s expert coaches to develop coaching curriculum for both internal and external audiences. Angela earned her bachelor of arts in communication from the College of St. Benedict and her master’s degree in leadership education and communication, with an emphasis in instructional design, from the University of Nebraska.