You know those days when we don’t feel like doing anything? We want to be motivated, but we just can’t find what will trigger our energy and make us want to get moving? We feel stuck. It’s no fun. Hopefully, eventually, we get moving again, but it still feels kind of mysterious. What got me stuck? Am I going to get stuck again?

Or maybe you can recall a day in which you were doing what you love. You lost track of time, caught up in the energy and satisfaction of the moment and when it was over, you just wanted to do it again. What was that about? Unpacking our Strengths will often reveal valuable clues toward removing the mystery around what motivates and energizes us.

Strengths-Based Motivation: What Is It?

Motivation is the magic that propels us forward from being emotionally or practically stuck. It’s the energizing source that leads to creativity, innovation, persistence, ambition, action, and positive anticipation of the future.

Strengths-based motivation is a way of looking at our Strengths to discover those core values that translate into energizing motivation. While it may seem that each of us obviously knows what motivates us, the truth is we can be strangely unaware. A deep dive exploration of our Strengths invites us to approach circumstances of life with more confidence and enthusiasm to actively contribute the best of who we are. I’ve coached people who are genuinely surprised to discover their ability to trigger emotional energy by seeing themselves through the lens of these newly discovered motivations.

Why does It Matter?

  • Honor: Nobody really likes to “be motivated” by someone else. It often feels like manipulation or control and can end up having an unintended opposite result (see Reactance Bias). But when we know and understand our Strengths, and those of our family and our team members, we can positively partner together to discover and cooperate with each other’s natural motivation, resulting in high levels of satisfaction, confidence, and engagement. This results in a deep honoring of one another, as we move away from judgment, comparison or shame and instead, engage in deep appreciation, love, and celebration of each other and the unique contribution each person brings to the table.
  • Effectiveness: Strengths-based motivation results in greater team engagement and effectiveness by aligning assignments, ministry descriptions, and responsibilities, as much as possible, to each individual’s specific Strengths. This leads to internal, self-sustaining and satisfying motivation, rather than relying on external motivation that has to be maintained through repeated rewards or increased compensation. Internal motivation makes for a much more effective individual or team.
  • Values Clarification: Values shape motivation. Strengths bring clarity to those core values, and therefore clarity to clues about our motivation. As an example, consider how my and Harmon’s different values shape our different motivations. I have the strength called Context. I deeply value an approach that gives adequate attention to the back-story of a situation or person, so I am highly motivated when given opportunities to gather background information, listen to people’s stories, research their history and consider patterns that may have led to current circumstances. Harmon has the strength called Futuristic. He deeply values vision and long-term impact, so he is highly motivated by opportunities to dream, to envision anticipated outcomes, to consider what the future might look like, where we could go, and what might we accomplish. Now that we know this about ourselves, we can bring energy to our days by aligning our values and moving toward those opportunities we know will be energizing and rewarding for us.

What can we do about it?

  • Get Aware: Take the Strengths Finders assessment! Contact me to get a code and instructions, or go to the Gallup website and purchase a code online.
  • Get Coached: An experienced and qualified Strengths Coach can partner with you to understanding how your strengths reveal what is most motivating and energizing for you. Exploring the dynamics of various strengths interacting and coming alive inside us is the topic of these coaching conversations. There are several people on the Asia Pacific region who are certified to coach in Strengths and are willing to engage in a discovery conversation with you. Contact me to get connected with a coach.
  • Get Moving: Learn how to intentionally activate this built-in motivation and then, practice, practice, practice. This will transform Strengths from just “head-knowledge”, into “heart-habits” that are exciting and motivating. As we cooperate with the One who created us, stretching beyond our comfort zone and finding deep satisfaction in living out the reason we were made, we’ll begin to discover, in a fresh way that “we are God’s handiwork, created [and designed] in Christ Jesus to do good works, [those] which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph.2:10)

Upcoming topics: Strengths-Based Partnerships and Teams, Strengths-Based Grace, How Strengths Help and Hinder, Strength-Based Stress Management.


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A deeper exploration of each of the 34 Talent Themes

The Clifton StrengthsFinder Technical Report: Development and Validation

Asia Pacific Strengths Coaches:

Gallup Certified Strengths Coaches: Harmon Schmelzenbach; Cindy Schmelzenbach

Nazarene Strengths Institute Certification: Ingrid Lustana

Strengths Champion Certified Coaches: Kafoa Muaror; Gail Dooley

If you are a certified Strengths Coach and are willing to provide coaching to your Asia Pacific team members, let me know!

– by Cindy Schmelzenbach, Regional Member Care Coordinator