When we are stressed, we crave control.

The easiest way to feel in control is to default to what we do best. What feels most familiar.

If you’ve have taken the Clifton Strengths assessment you know what your top 5 strengths are.

The problem is when we are stressed, we may use one or two of these strengths WAY TOO much!!!

When stressed, there is a tendency to reach for our strengths and using them like a hammer even if a hammer is not quite the right tool for the job.

How to stop driving others crazy

And if we always reach for a hammer and bang it as much as we can, we may start to drive others crazy.

Using one strength in overdrive also exaggerates our differences and we may face clashes with others causing us even more stress.

Here are 3 examples.

Thinking strengths

Imagine if your greatest strength was to think.

When stressed, we may turn up the volume on these strengths so much that we end up spending far too long sitting in isolation thinking. Maybe we start asking too many questions to fuel our thinking before we can get going.

Whilst we would be in our element thinking, we risk irritating people around us with our physical absence and endless questions.

Communication strengths

How about if your greatest strength is to communicate? When we’re stressed we might start talking way too much.

Maybe even say things we would later regret because we are nervously filling the silence.

We continue talking and may forget to listen to others. Could this drive those around you crazy?

Getting stuff done strengths

The last story I want to share is about those of us that have strengths which mean we are great at getting stuff done. We get energy from taking on new jobs, picking up tasks from others and completing tasks.

This is what I do when I’m stressed.

I become a crazy ‘doer’, I frantically collect jobs and tick them off my task list just as quickly. I have a false sense of control because I’m busy.

But to those around me it’s likely I have lost my mind and don’t actually want to deal with the problem at hand.

What’s the solution?

We don’t want to stop using our strengths.


Because when we use our strengths, we feel stronger.

But we do need to find balance.

Next time you are faced with a stressful situation try and notice which strength do you automatically start using.

Or if you haven’t yet taken the assessment try noticing which part of your personality is coming out the most.

Take a minute to notice what impact your greatest strength may be having on those around you. Is it possible you may be causing others stress?

Then remember you have a whole toolkit of strengths to choose from. Not just a hammer.

Ask yourself if you have another strength that you could also use in this situation.

Maybe you have a strength that could help you stress less and not drive others so crazy.

If you are thinking about how useful it would be to know what your greatest strengths are to help you stress less?

You are right!

Knowing our strengths is key to getting life balance and avoiding stress.

Why don’t you contact me today to set up a call – gemma@gemmamcfall.com

Let’s find your greatest strengths so that you can stress less.

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For more information send me a message, I’m always happy to hear from you gemma@gemmamcfall.com