In the first part of How I Leveraged StrengthsFinder to Complete a 100-Mile Ultra Marathon, I laid out the foundation for why I was completing a 100-mile Ultra Marathon. Now let me show you how by naming, claiming, and aiming my Top Five Strengths, I was able to complete a 100-mile ultra marathon.
First, my number one Strength is Achiever. By nature, Achievers work hard and possess a great deal of stamina; they take immense satisfaction in being busy and productive. For me, it was honestly as simple as adding the training runs onto my daily calendar. The mere fact that the runs were on the to-do list was enough to get me out of the bed and onto the road. I’m not going to lie- it took me a few weeks to actually add the actual 100 mile run on the calendar, but once I did, I knew there was no turning back!
Activator is my next most prevalent Strength. Activators make things happen by turning thoughts into action and can sometimes be impatient. I’m positive that I’m not the first person to conceive of running 100 miles to test their physical fitness boundaries, but I am also positive that the majority of them don’t actually do it. My zest for starting out on new adventures is what set me apart and allowed me to take the first step of 200,000!
Input used to be my most misunderstand Strength. It wasn’t until I saw how it served as the foundation that all of my other Strengths were built off of that I started to truly appreciate Input. People that possess this Strength have a craving to know more and often like to collect and archive all kinds of information. I never realized it, but I subconsciously accumulated a rolodex of knowledge on running- training guidelines, what to wear during different weather scenarios, how long different routes took me, how much to eat to keep my body functioning, the list goes on and on. The best example of utilizing stored information is what happened at mile 25. For the first time in my entire life, I got a cramp. And it was a DOOZY. When I reached over to rub it, I literally fell over in pain. Thankfully, it was onto the nice grassy golf course embankment on my left and not the stream of oncoming traffic on my right. As soon as it happened, I leveraged my Input database and remembered the amazing power of pickle juice (yes, pickle juice) in relieving cramps. I also remembered the jar of pickle juice sitting in my refrigerator a mere five miles away. With those pieces of knowledge, I was able to will my body to get back up and down the road where I happily chugged the pickle juice and continued on my quest.
My number four Strength is Futuristic, which is having the ability to energize yourself and others with visions of the future. I am continually inspired by the future and the possibility of what could be. I spend a good chunk of time each day envisioning the future, but my visions are very concrete and detail-oriented. When prepping for this event, I could easily picture what supplies I needed to stay properly fueled, what routes I would run to ensure the correct distances, and the pace necessary to finish within my goal. I further refined this Strength by jotting down notes from my visions to ensure that I followed through with the actions I envisioned and to communicate clearly with my husband, who was my support during the event. Additionally, when I needed a little extra motivation during the run, I would imagine how it would feel to run that last ten miles, then last hour, and finally last mile. The vision would leave me smiling and ready to continue on!
Finally, there was the backbone of it all- Focus. People with exceptional Focus can take direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize and then act. I tapped into this Strength throughout the entire run. I had my plan fixed in my mind and was able to continually check in with my pace, distance, and fueling situation to ensure that I was able to complete the distance. There was absolutely nothing that was going to stop me from achieving my goal of running 100 miles and honestly, quitting or stopping short never once crossed my mind.
I think it is also important to understand what is not in my top Strength profile to understand why I was successful in this particular instance. Competition, for example, is very low in my profile. Measuring my progress against the performance of others, striving to win first place, and reveling in contests does not come naturally to me and explains why I am perfectly content to run 100 miles completely alone with no fellow runners or cheering fans. There is nothing wrong with those things, but they just don’t fuel my fire. Understanding that different people are motivated by different things factors is a critical interpersonal factor, especially in management.
I understand that not everyone wants to run 100 miles, or even 10 miles, but everyone has a goal that they want to accomplish, something they want to do that they had previously thought impossible. I truly believe that by investing time and resources into understanding and utilizing your natural Strengths, you can achieve your wildest dreams!