I can still remember the day I called my sister-in-law, Annie, and broke down on the phone, confessing something I had never allowed myself to say out loud: I was depressed.
My oldest son was about one year old. I absolutely loved being a mom and was so in love with my new baby boy. My marriage was strong, my husband loved me well, and I had been working out regularly. However, I couldn’t make sense of some of the feelings I was experiencing. I couldn’t pinpoint anything specific and say that it was the cause of my discouragement and sadness. I just knew something was off. It was evident in how I treated my husband and the inner dialogue I found myself speaking. Annie was so reassuring and encouraging and simply told me that sometimes our brains need a little extra help, and that’s ok.
With the support of both my doctor and my husband, I started taking low-dose anti-depressants. It was another one of those emotional moments in life when I had to let go of my expectations of what motherhood SHOULD be like, and instead allow myself the grace to accept that motherhood won’t be perfect. Everyone has different struggles, and if we can’t be honest with ourselves and others, we’ll never survive the hard parts.
A few months later, I knew I had made the right decision when my husband said, “you seem happier today.”
With the ability to look beyond the depression and discouragement I had been shouldering, I was able to begin doing some internal growth. I started learning more about who I was, how I was created, and why many of the parts of me that I once thought were bad were actually good.
I first took the CliftonStrenghts assessment back in 2008, but at the time, I didn’t truly understand my results. Years later, I learned about CoreClarity, a framework that uses a person’s CliftonStrenghts results and dives waaaaay deep into who they are, giving the results more clarity and impact.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of CliftonStrenghts and/or CoreClarity, here’s the reader’s digest version: the CliftonStrenghts assessment figures out the unique order of 34 talent themes in a person. Everyone has all 34 talents, but the order is unique to each of us!
So if you’re out there thinking you’re not good at anything or have no talents, guess what, you DO!! After taking the assessment, CliftonStrenghts orders them unique to each person, 1-34. The talents that show up the strongest and most naturally are the top 5. They influence our lives the most and show up the most instinctively to us.
My top 5 talents in order are:
To put it in a nutshell…
I am an authentic, compassionate person who is very open, honest, and trusting. I enjoy celebrating people and their successes and crafting compelling messages that inspire people. I am unwaveringly driven by foundational core beliefs, with a spirit of service toward family, community, and humanity.
Sounds great, right? What the heck did I ever have to be insecure about?? Ha. Just kidding. Like so many others, I fell victim to judging myself on how our culture views success.
Climb the ladder.
Be the mom who juggles it all.
But that just wasn’t me. I’m not super task-oriented. I love to open my heart to people and hear their hearts. And that’s not going to get me up the ladder y’all. Clearly, I believed some lies about myself and our culture’s pressures on moms and women to do it all and be it all.
CliftonStrenghts was created by American Psychologist Don Clifton, who is known as “the father of strengths-based psychology.” Dr. Clifton wanted to discover the specific qualities or talents successful people possess. He thought that every successful person would exhibit the same or similar strengths. So he started interviewing successful people in a variety of jobs and careers. Anyone from CEOs to project managers, mechanics, teachers, hotel maids, to working moms.
And what he found blew him away. They didn’t all possess the same strengths or talents. There were no specific “success talents.” Nor was there a cookie-cutter combination of talents to create success. The key was this…and this is important, so turn up the volume: each person WAS AWARE of their talents and the things in which they were naturally gifted, and they worked and lived out of those talents.
Huge, right? Should I say it louder for the people in the back? THIS IS HUGE!
It’s also great news for those who have talents different from the stereotypical successful person. We can be successful too! All we have to do is figure out what our talents are and use them in a way that moves us toward our definition of success.
You might be wondering how someone can find success in being empathetic, welcoming to strangers, enthusiastic, and good with words. Someone who celebrates others and THEIR successes.
Let me tell you, I wondered the same thing for a long time.
But as I’ve studied my talents, it is clear I’m on the right path to follow not only my passions but also where my natural talents would direct me.
It’s been a long journey, but it led me to start Jenn Grand Consulting. A personal, relational, and team development business, all about taking others through the same journey of self-discovery. I’m passionate about helping others learn their talents and strengths. And then giving them the space to figure out how they can put their talents into practice to make them successful in whatever field they choose.
I also coach people through the enneagram, entering into their past, their hurts and wounds, and the experiences that shaped them into the person they are today. That takes a massive amount of empathy, grieving their wounds with them, crying tears over the parts of their childhood that they never should’ve experienced or aspects they should’ve experienced. Understanding why they are the way they are and giving them the grace necessary to heal.
There are innumerable ways to use different types of talents, and it brings me immense joy to help others figure out their niche. Their passion. Their unique contribution to the world. It took me a long time to do that, but a whole new world was opened to me once I did. [Cue Aladdin and Jasmine singing atop the Magic Carpet…]
This post is not a sales pitch for you to hire me as your CoreClarity or Enneagram coach, [although I would love that!] but my heart is to share more of who I am, why I am passionate about CoreClarity, and why this all matters. We may not look or act or have the same capacity, jobs, or life as someone around us, but we were created on purpose. With intention and love. It took me a long time to figure that out, but now I know I matter precisely how I am. And I want everyone to feel the same way.
Do you know your top 5? Do we share any top talents? Have you figured out how your top talents impact your life and how you can use them to propel yourself forward and make positive changes in the world? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! And if you don’t know your talents, please reach out! It’d be my pleasure to work with you and find out what makes you uniquely remarkable!