Exercise: Experience Your Natural Strengths and Adapted Strengths Simultaneously

Posted in

For You To Think About

Each individual has been gifted with natural strengths. These qualities with which you are born are your unique way or manner of going about the tasks of daily life. Some may even refer to your strengths as your “personality.”

Adapted strengths, on the other hand, are adjustments you make in order to succeed in a particular environment. For instance, you may use one of your strengths more than another or you may even develop one of your minor strengths, bringing it to the forefront, in order to accomplish tasks in your work life, home life, or ministry life.

right and left hand writing

Image: Science Daily

While you may be able to perform well using your adapted strengths, you maximize your abilities by using your natural strengths.

Consider what might happen if you and the members of your team were able to consistently use their natural strengths – rather than continually adapting – to contribute to your work, home, and ministry.

For You To Do

This exercise helps you and your team experience using both your natural strengths and your adapted strengths in succession and compare how they align.

What You Need for This Exercise

  • A pen or pencil for each participant
  • A piece of blank paper for each participant

What To Do

  1. Ask participants to sit at a table or at a place where they will be able to write.
  2. Give each participant a sheet of blank paper and a pen or pencil. Ask each participant to draw two horizontal lines, about an inch apart, on his piece of paper.
  3. Ask participants to grasp a pen or pencil in their dominant hand. Invite them to lift up that hand and hold it high in the air. Then ask them to raise the other hand high and transfer the pen or pencil from the dominant hand to the subordinate hand. Participants can lower their hands but are to keep pens and pencils grasped in their subordinate hands.
  4. Tell participants to place the point of the pen or pencil on the first line on the paper. Using their subordinate hand, they can write their first, middle and last names in cursive.  Have participants switch the pen or pencil to the other hand – the dominant hand – and move the pen to the second line. Tell them to write their first, middle and last names on the line.
  5. Process the exercise together. Ask participants to share the following:How did you feel when you tried to complete the first task? What was the result?
    How did it feel when you switched hands and completed the second task? What was the result?
  6. Help participants connect the idea of writing with subordinate and dominant hands to using their natural strengths and their adapted strengths. Ask:How does this exercise illustrate the power of allowing people to lead from their natural strengths?
    What can you learn about using your adapted strengths from this exercise?
  7. How can you apply this experience to your home life, work life, or ministry life?


For You To Take Away

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. (Romans 12:6, ESV)


Ministry Insights Exercises offer best practices to put profile data into practice in the workplace, home, ministry, and relationships. How was this exercise a meaningful interaction for you? Share your story with us here.Leading From Your Strengths (LFYS) Profiles empower Christian leaders, churches, and ministries to discover and use your God-given strengths and be stronger for it individually and together.


More Exercises to Help You Use the Profiles

Lead Your Team Through the Profile, Part 5: Checklist for Communicating

Lead Your Team Through the Profile, Part 4: What Value Do You Bring to Your Team?

Lead Your Team Through the Profile, Part 3: My Strengths, Your Strengths, Our Strengths

Lead Your Team Through the Profile, Part 2: Understand Differences

Lead Your Team Through the Profile, Part 1: Group Devotional

Coffee Debrief: An Exercise in Meaningful Interactions