Growing the Strengths Explorer Theme of Achieving


Writer's Note: This is one of a series of 10 articles on the Clifton Youth StrengthsExplorer themes. For more info on StrengthsExplorer, click here.

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth, World-Renowned American Major League Baseball Player

Students with Achieving in their Top 3 Strengths Explorer results value a sense of accomplishment. They generally have more energy and goals than other people, and they find joy in getting things done. Like worker ants that labor tirelessly to build the nest, look after the queen, and find food for everyone, those with Achieving in their Strengths Explorer results enjoy feeling productive and keeping things moving.

For those with Achieving, it’s very likely that they have a list in their mind of the things they want to get done. The more they get done, the more successful they feel. And the more successes they have, the more they want to have. Because of their high energy, it’s not uncommon for someone with Achieving to be the first one to complete all his or her work. And when their efficiency and hard work are recognized through awards, good grades, or praise, it feels really good.

While the Competing Strengths Explorer theme feels most satisfied when they can say, “I won against [my personal best / the other team],” the Achieving theme feels most satisfied when they can say, “I hit every goal that I planned to hit.” And while the Confidence Strengths Explorer theme would say, “I know I can do it,” the Achieving theme would say, “I will work hard to do it.”

What does the Achieving talent theme look like?

“The more I do, the more energized I feel. I’ll plan my week out by listing down everything that I’ve got to get done, and then spreading it out over the entire week so that every day is manageable. Each day, I’ll have maybe 5-10 things to complete, from little things like clearing the garbage bins to bigger items like an essay that I have to submit. If I manage to check off everything on my list for that day, I feel really great about my day. If I get sidetracked with a whole bunch of random things that I didn’t plan for, I’ll feel bad – even if I was very productive and completed a whole bunch of those random tasks. My goal is always to be productively moving towards my dreams, so I aim my Achieving theme in that direction.” – S. T.

As a teacher, how do I develop a student with Achieving?

  1. Identify the areas that this person cares about, then suggest ways or provide opportunities for this individual to take on more tasks and grow in those areas. For example, if she enjoys reading, you could suggest a list of age-appropriate books to read, then have her check back with you and give you a quick review each time she finishes a book.

  2. Help the student develop a way to track his or her accomplishments. This could be as simple as asking about what he or she did that day and affirming those things, or perhaps putting up a task-completion chart in the classroom to measure progress during big school projects.

  3. Recognize that those with Achieving pride themselves on being hard workers. This means that they will feel most satisfied when grouped with others with similar work ethics, and may become very frustrated when grouped with those they consider lazy.

As a student with Achieving, how do I grow it to maturity?

  1. Set a list of goals for yourself. These could be big goals like learning a new musical instrument, or smaller goals like scoring 6 points at your next basketball game. Then, decide which of these goals you would like to hit first, and think about what new things you could try to achieve this goal. You feel happiest when you can use your energy to reach new goals, so set goals that are achievable and that will make you feel really proud when you hit them.

  2. Channel your energy into play and relationships in addition to work. As someone with Achieving, you are likely to work harder and longer than most people. However, school is as much about the friends you meet and the memories you make as it is about the things you accomplish. Recognize that fun and rest are just as important as work, and learn to slow down and celebrate each accomplishment instead of simply rushing from one achievement to the next.

  3. Do your best to be an example and motivator when working together with others, but recognize that everyone works at their own pace. You naturally work harder than many people, so your energy can bring a lot of momentum to the whole team. However, do not fault someone if they do not seem to be working as steadily and quickly as you; instead, encourage and affirm them for what they have already accomplished, which will give them a boost of energy that can keep things moving.

Concluding Thoughts: Those with the Achieving Strengths Explorer theme have an incredible stamina and energy. When this energy is wisely directed to every area of their lives, they can be a powerful source of energy and momentum to those around them.


Written by Tan Meiling


As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, Meiling is passionate about helping people discover their innate potential and celebrating who they are. She enjoys reading, learning, and sharing her knowledge through writing articles. Meiling is also actively giving Strengths coaching to individuals and facilitating workshops in Singapore.


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