“Greatness belongs to those who have mastered their internal world.” — Brendon Burchard
This is one of my favorite quotes from Brendon Burchard’s Motivation Manifesto. In the quote, Burchard’s point is that greatness comes from within. You need to understand yourself before you can contribute anything truly wonderful to the world.
"You need to understand yourself before you can contribute anything truly wonderful to the world."
I coach and have coached CEOs for many years, and among the most common topics we’ll discuss, regarding leadership, is their individual strengths and weaknesses. This comes as no surprise, because the personality of these visionaries influences so directly how they and their companies progress. Do they succeed or fail? Do they apply their time and energy to the tasks that best suit their companies?
I always suggest three frameworks for understanding what these strengths and weaknesses are. By taking the three assessments below, you can actually maximize your own personality traits and apply your strong suits to pursuits that can make you and your team successful.
Here are the Three Approaches for Understanding Your Strengths and Weaknesses:
First, your chemicals
In Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek devotes a full chapter to discussing the chemicals that influence our happiness. The four key positive chemicals are these ones:
Serotonin — The Pride Chemical
We feel serotonin when our superior compliments us. This can be a parent complimenting a child or a boss recognizing his employee’s good work. Interestingly, the person giving the compliment also feels a rush of serotonin when giving the compliment. This chemical works both ways.
Dopamine — The Pleasure Chemical
We get dopamine when we achieve. Solving problems, completing projects, hitting a home run — all of these activities release a rush of the pleasure chemical in you. You may be able to tell if you have a lack of dopamine by these symptoms:
- Lack of motivation
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Low libido
- Sleep problems
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Inability to concentrate
Oxytocin — The Love Chemical
Oxytocin is the love chemical. This chemical gets released when we receive human contact. When we touch, hug, or hold someone’s hand. This could be between a parent and child, a couple, or others.
Endorphins — The Relief Chemical
Finally, we all know endorphins as the chemical that gets released when we do intensive exercise. Endorphins help us not feel pain.
Take control of your potential by understanding how your mind and body work.
Each of these chemicals can be created organically, and it wouldn’t be worth mentioning them if we don’t also mention the stress hormone, cortisol. You want to increase the above four chemicals in your system, while reducing your cortisol chemical. There are some easy and key ways you can do this. Increasing dopamine can be as easy as consuming more of these products, for instance: almonds, apples, avocados, bananas, beets, chocolate, coffee, green leafy vegetables, oatmeal, sea vegetables, turmeric, watermelon, wheat germ, and more. To learn more ways to take control of your chemicals, try this article.
Second, your 5 love languages
The Five Love Languages is both a book and a framework for understanding how we give and receive love. Gary Chapman wrote the book many years ago and his ideas still resonate because of how clearly they explain how we all experience love.
The thesis of the book is that as humans, we give and receive love in five different ways, or languages, that communicate our feelings to one another. These languages are
We can express our love for someone through compliments and other meaningful words.
We can express our love by offering gifts. This could be a birthday gift, for instance.
Some people perform acts of kindness, such as mowing a friend’s lawn or painting your child’s room.
Many individuals find touch to be a form of love. This could be a pat on the back, for instance.
Finally, spending time with each other can express one’s love. This could take the form of paying a visit to an old friend or organizing a family outing.
Oftentimes we communicate using the love language we would like to receive. It can be very helpful, therefore, to identify your own love language. This will help you understand how you show your love, and how you would like to receive your love. You can communicate this to the people in your life who want to love you. And conversely, you can improve how you show your love to others by understanding they may not share your primary love language. A husband who enjoys time and a wife who enjoys deeds may find that he is happiest when they spend time together and she is happiest when he performs kind acts for her. A couple like this would be very happy, for instance, if the husband mowed the lawn and did the dishes, and then they both went out together for a nice meal and walk around town.
You can learn more about your love language through Chapman’s website.
Third and lastly, your character traits
Finally, to understand your character traits through a personality test, the VIA Institute on Character offers a free survey you can take to identify your 24 character strengths. They even offer a specific survey version for youths (kids aged 10 to 17). The survey is so highly recommended, it’s been translated into 35 languages. Here’s why.
Understanding your specific character strengths help define what makes you unique. The theory is that this is a form of positive psychology. That means that just by understanding your strengths better, you can actually seek out the type of tasks that make you feel engaged and fulfilled.
The survey itself is free. Then, for an extra $20, you can download a full report that shows your strengths in detail. I highly recommend doing this, because you’ll learn things you might not have considered.
As you unlock the power of self-discovery, you can gain a better understanding of why you pursue the types of goals you do, and how to make the most of them. If you can practice some of what you learn through these self-assessments — by increasing your positive chemicals, understanding your love languages and those of others around you, and discovering your character strengths — you can make real changes to the way you pursue the goals you set out to achieve.