Episode 004 – Writing to Your Strengths

This week I dig into CliftonStrengths!

This personality assessment is something I’m extremely passionate about and now use in my coaching services.

In this episode, I cover what CliftonStrengths is all about, the research behind it and how to use it as a creative entrepreneur.

Take the assessment here.

If you already know your top 5 Strengths, pop them in the comments below and let’s nerd out about them together!


Hello Navigators. Welcome to Writer Roadmap, the podcast for writers seeking inspiration, guidance, and support on their creative journey. I’m your host, Holly Lyne, and in today’s episode, we’ll be embarking down the rabbit hole of Clifton Strengths. I did warn you that this was coming!

Clifton Strengths, also known as StrengthsFinder, is a personal development framework developed by Donald Clifton and now administered by Gallup, a research-based consulting company. It is based on the belief that individuals achieve their best performance and personal fulfilment by focusing on their natural talents and strengths, rather than trying to fix their weaknesses. The framework is designed to help individuals identify and understand their unique strengths and leverage them for success in various areas of life.

The foundation of Clifton Strengths is rooted in the concept that each person possesses a set of talents or natural abilities that can be developed into strengths. These talents are the recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behaviour that individuals exhibit consistently and effortlessly. Gallup identifies 34 distinct themes of talent that people can possess, such as Achiever, Learner, Empathy, Strategic, and Maximizer, among others.

To discover their strengths, individuals can take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, a comprehensive online tool that presents a series of questions and scenarios to help identify their dominant talents. The assessment is designed to uncover the unique combination of strengths that make each person exceptional. It provides individuals with a personalized report detailing their top five strengths, along with a deeper understanding of how they can apply these strengths to excel in their personal and professional lives.

One of the key principles of Clifton Strengths is the idea that individuals should focus on developing their strengths rather than trying to improve their weaknesses. While it’s important to address areas of improvement, the Clifton Strengths framework suggests that investing the majority of one’s time and energy into enhancing natural talents yields far greater results. By building upon existing strengths, individuals can increase their performance, engagement, and overall satisfaction.

In his research, Donald Clifton discovered that children who were already gifted at reading quickly, were able to increase their reading speed by a factor of ten after completing a speed reading course. Whereas the children with average reading speeds only became three times quicker. And so the concept of focusing on developing our natural strengths became the bedrock of the Strengths framework.

Another important aspect of Clifton Strengths is the notion of complementarity. The framework acknowledges that no single individual possesses all the strengths needed for success in every situation. Therefore, it encourages individuals to collaborate with others who possess different strengths to form strong teams and partnerships. By leveraging the strengths of each team member, organizations can achieve better outcomes, foster a positive work culture, and enhance productivity.

Clifton Strengths also emphasizes the power of self-awareness and self-reflection. Understanding one’s strengths can help individuals make better career choices, build stronger relationships, and enhance their overall well-being. It allows individuals to align their personal and professional lives with activities that bring them joy and fulfilment, leading to increased motivation and satisfaction.

Furthermore, Clifton Strengths encourages a strengths-based approach to leadership. Effective leaders not only focus on their own strengths but also recognize and leverage the strengths of their team members. They create environments where individuals can thrive by assigning tasks that align with their strengths and providing opportunities for growth and development.

What does all of this have to do with writers and creatives?

Well, if nothing else, understanding our Strengths can relieve a huge amount of stress and conflict about our writing process. When we understand our own personalities in more depth, we can learn to embrace how we do things, rather than constantly comparing ourselves to others and thinking that someone else’s process is the only correct one. Releasing ourselves from comparisonitis can greatly improve our creativity.

It can also help us to navigate running an author business when we understand which activities we will be more likely to excel at. We can reduce decision fatigue by ruling out courses of action that aren’t right for us, rather than believing the myth that we need to do all the things. We do not and we will be better for accepting that playing to our strengths is the best option.

Personally, I’ve found that Strengths have changed my life, improved my relationships and empowered me to make decisions. Now I coach writers using Clifton Strengths. It’s become a huge part of my life and a cornerstone of how I communicate with others.

Speaking of coaching, I’m running a special live round of Goal Setting for Writers in June. Each week, I’ll guide you through a part of my proven system for setting the right goals. There will also be a live call with me every Thursday in which we can discuss your progress. By the end of the month, you’ll have a customised plan for the rest of the year to help you on your author journey. To find out more and sign up, head to writer roadmap.com/goalslive

That’s all from me for now. I’d love to hear from you. Have you taken the Clifton Strengths assessment? What are your top 5 Strengths? Let me know on Spotify or Instagram @hblyne.

Thank you for listening and happy planning.

Writer Roadmap intro and outro music used under license from Pixabay. Music track “Salangseuleoun” was Created by “Dayfox”.

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