Develop your core strengths by turning them from raw to mature strengths

I read a book recently that really helped to explain the importance of living in your strengths. The book, The Gap and The Gain: The High Achievers’ Guide to Happiness, Confidence, and Success by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy, explores the concepts of the “Gap and the Gain.” Simply put, the Gap is when you think about how far you are from your goal, and the Gain is when you think about how far you’ve come. These concepts are closely related to mature strengths (the Gain) and immature strengths (the Gap).

The key to moving your strengths from an immature state to a mature one is developing them. Like any talent or task, no one starts on the top floor. You crawl before you walk. You scribble before you write. You babble before you sing. The same concept applies to all of your top CliftonStrengths themes. An immature strength is often focused only inward, on what the strength means for the individual. A mature strength focuses on ways that strength impacts the world around the individual.

The challenge is learning how to actively engage with our strengths in a way that uses them to their full potential.

Improve Your StrengthsHow do you improve your strengths?

To develop your top CliftonStrengths themes, you need to live in your strengths. If reading that seems a bit confusing to you, you’re not alone. After all, since our strengths are a core part of us, aren’t we always living in our strengths? Sure, every day we carry around our strengths (and weaknesses). The challenge is learning how to actively engage with our strengths in a way that uses them to their full potential. To help illustrate the concept, I’ll detail a few themes and show how the immature strength can be transformed into a mature one.


Achiever is one of the most common themes that appears in the initial CliftonStrengths assessment. Unsurprisingly, the people who choose to be actively engaged in understanding their strengths and weaknesses are often high achievers! The immature manifestation of this strength is someone who keeps themselves busy at all times, often to the detriment of productivity. (See our recent post on burnout for more on that topic!) The mature achiever, however, is driven to produce the necessary results for a team. They take the lead in organizing and executing a plan. To call back to a previous example, they don’t scribble. They write.


I see you out there. You said “WOO!” when you saw one of the themes I selected was Woo. An immature version of this volatile strength is a person who seems to seek out the approval of others constantly. Charismatic and engaging, this strength can overwhelm people if not tailored and understood. A mature understanding of this strength is someone who understands that they enjoy people and uses that innate sense of social intelligence to craft a healthy and productive peer group. A mature Woo theme can be vitally important in getting a team motivated. They don’t crawl. They walk.


Taking a flying leap in another direction, we land with the Deliberative theme. It’s alright, I’m here to help. Raw, immature, Deliberative strength can often look (and feel) like anxiety and fear. Undeveloped, this strength tends to lead to overcaution and hesitation in the face of big decisions. This strength can be a game changer when developed. That cautious nature can be refined into a skill set that allows for well-thought-out decisions that tackle problems before they fully surface. They don’t babble. They sing.

Improve Your StrengthsLook for the Gain

The authors of The Gap and The Gain said it well: “Everything in life happens FOR you, not TO you. Nothing can stop you so long as you transform every experience into a GAIN.” Living in your strengths is like looking for the Gain; it’s the practice of intentionally applying each of your strengths to all aspects of your life.

Each CliftonStrengths theme can be broken down into immature and mature expressions. When you look at your report, you must see where you can improve and develop them. You may have already become highly effective with one of your talents, but you may need help somewhere else on your list. If you’re committed to improving your strengths, working with a strengths coach is a surefire way to succeed. We’ll walk you through all of your top themes and explore which of them might be mature or immature. Anyone genuinely working on their strengths will tell you there’s always room to improve. The magic of strengths-based philosophy is in the process, and that process is ongoing.

To take a deeper dive into your CliftonStrengths report, and start improving on your strengths, take these next steps:

  • Schedule A Call: Set up a complimentary 15-minute call. We’ll discuss how the CliftonStrengths assessment can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Evaluate your results: We will help you analyze your results to better understand where to improve.
  • Carry It Forward: Consider implementing a broader strengths-based philosophy in your company