CliftonStrengths® 34 talent themes – what does it mean?

by | Jan 6, 2019 | Strengths

The 34 Talent themes

One of the many things that I love about the 34 talents is that it tells you a story of how you’re uniquely wired, much like your DNA.

What I have found is that transformational work doesn’t impact these talents. That’s pretty profound. So, even if you change a lot as a person, HOW you approach, life still remains.

I’ve taken the assessment a couple of times, different versions, and when I finally revealed the ranking of ALL 34 11 years later that included massive transformation, ALL, except one theme, was in my Top 10. That theme, by the way, happens to be Achiever® and while I’m still driven, there are other themes at play.

If you’re drained, it’s not a dominant talent

While getting things done drives me, it’s not Achiever® (#14) in action for me; it’s my Activator® (#5) rearing to get things started together with other themes. Kicking off a project and managing short-term projects to completion inspires and energizes me way more.

Achievers tend to do much better at long-term project management, which drains me. In my ideal world, I’d kick things off and let other people run the day-to-day operations. Sometimes that’s the subtle difference, how a “theme” impacts you.

The key to identifying your dominant talents is to ask yourself, “Is this me, all the time? Like 24/7?” As you start looking into each theme there will be a point when you say, “yeah that’s me but not all the time”, that’s when you’ve entered the “supporting talent theme zone”.

To find out where that “line” goes, imagine me saying that you can’t keep that talent and watch your gut reaction.

When it’s a dominant talent, you will fight for it; when it’s supporting talent, it isn’t as significant, and when we reach the last “line” that divides our supporting talents and lesser talents, you’re often happy to let them go. When you find yourself skipping a theme and claiming the next, you’ve already crossed the line to the “lesser” talents.

It’s a process

Once you realize that you don’t have to be a pro at everything and that other people would thrive by doing what you hate doing, then it becomes easy to let go of those tasks.

The lesser talent themes are areas that are in your blind spot that you don’t even think to consider or have the energy to do. Sure, you can do it, but it would drain you, and why not invest time and money into the talent themes that energize you?

I’ve found that some of the people that trigger us in life may have our bottom themes as their dominant ones. At other times, it’s simply someone in party pooper mode that is not focusing on what makes them thrive. Also, our dominant talents are more likely to trigger us than the lesser themes.

If you find yourself getting pissy, cranky, off-balance, or unhappy, … then look at your dominant talents to identify if they are being nurtured. Often there’s one or two, or more, where the needs are not being met, hence the mood.

Could it really be that easy?

Several teachings speak of some sort of version of “What you focus on expands”; in other words, you get more of whatever you think of.

Why not think about or do more of what energizes you? What comes easy to you? What explorations are FUN?

What if delegating all the stuff you h-a-t-e doing to people that thrive on it and making their day and yours in the process? Freeing up time for you to do what you do best.

I’ve found that not investing in my dominant talents is what will get me stopped. All the different talent themes have needs; please prioritize them for the sake of your own well-being.

Be your best you. Shine as the unique person you are. Everyone around you will thank you, and those that don’t may NOT have your best in mind.


For more information about CliftonStrengths® CLICK HERE.

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