If seeing is believing for some, believing is seeing for those that have the Belief talent. Their choices are made through the lenses of what really matters to them. If you have this talent in your Top 5 there is probably a bedrock grounding in your life that guides and directs you in your decisions, focus and direction to live life on task. You have core values that you will stand by and often speak up for. This grounding shapes how you do life and often, who you do it with.
People often make the mistake of associating Belief with faith. Though Don Clifton said that Belief is a talent that can have a “spiritual” component to it, that does not relegate it to a faith or religious system. Faith involves a hope, trust, or loyalty to a person, deity, or transcendent truth. Belief is an intrinsic drive or motivation that comes from values or pre-determined purposes. It can often look like a code of conduct or philosophy for life. How you live out that code towards others can often engender a “spirit” of generosity, good-will, or inspiration towards others.
The Kryptonite of Belief is that it can come across rigid or dogmatic to those without the same convictions or combative to those who have a differing set of values or philosophy. The phrase “she will die on every hill” was directed at someone with overactive Belief.
One arena where we see concentrations of this Talent is in the non-profit sector where people are on a mission to change the world in ways that align with their convictions and passions. We can see the best of the commitment and sacrifice this talent brings out in others. I did some team building with a non-profit that did phenomenal work with inner city young people, significantly increasing the graduation rate of students who participated in their programs. When I processed their CliftonStrengths results, Belief was the number one talent with 75% of the staff having it in their Top 5. It was easy to see how this talent energized and motivated the team to make a life-changing impact in their community.
To prepare for our workshop, I asked the team leads what was one of their greatest challenges. “It would be great if we could get through a staff meeting with an agreement on what our priorities are for the week. We have a hard time coming to a consensus because everybody feels so strongly about their opinions of what is most important and how it should best be done.” It was a classic situation of differing beliefs colliding.
The solution for this team was helping them move from a posture of seeing different views as either right or wrong, good or bad, or my way or the highway. Though we may not agree, we can still show respect for other people’s perspectives. If I have learned anything about my number one talent it is that most people don’t care what you believe until they believe that you care. And that belief has made a huge difference in my Belief talent becoming a strength.