Play to Your Strengths

I wrote in a recent post about my love for personality tests, and one of the tests I cited was Strengths Finder.  Soon after I started working in London, post uni, I read Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton and what I discovered changed my perception about how I view myself and my job.

The premise of the book is that rather than focusing on improving your weaknesses, it is far better to invest in your strengths.  Our strengths are the things that set us apart from other people.  They make us unique, and ultimately a strength used to its full potential will fill you with joy, satisfaction and a sense of purpose.


Now, I know as Brits we don’t tend to shout about our strengths, and volunteering information about ourselves without being pressed for it is cultural suicide.  In fact, even when we are asked to share about our strengths, the mere thought of it sends us recoiling.

Lemon Nails

Imagine the interview question – ‘what are your strengths?’.  We are instantly faced with the dilemma of wanting to promote ourselves enough to get the job but being so unrehearsed at talking positively about ourselves that our minds go blank.  Which are the safe adjectives to opt for?  Hard working, fast learner – characteristics that are cloaked in humility so as not to draw attention to ourselves, but most likely do anything except make us stand out from the crowd.

The beauty with Strengths Finder is that someone else tells you what your strengths are, based on some sort of formula, which means you can legitimately claim them as fact.  With that addressed, I thought I’d share my strengths with you:

  • Maximizer – one who seeks to take people and projects from great to excellent
  • Developer – one who sees the untapped potential in others
  • Positivity – one who has a knack for bringing the light-side to any situation
  • Achiever – one with a constant drive for accomplishing tasks
  • Harmony – one who seeks to avoid conflict and achieve success through consensus

Before I’d read the book I probably wouldn’t even have thought of them as strengths.  Yes, I’m positive but isn’t that a fairly basic characteristic?  My assumption was that everyone was good at these same things, but it’s not the case at all.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Nails

I’ve realised through discovering my strengths why I’ve loved my jobs so much, because they’ve each incorporated these traits in some way.  And if I do ever struggle to enjoy an aspect of my work I try to utilise a strength in order to feel more enthusiasm towards it.  I’ll set myself targets or try to improve the processes I use in order to get the best out of myself and the situation.

So what does all this mean for nailart?

Well, as you know, I want to develop the nailartist in you and inspire you in your nailart endeavours.  I also want to improve and maximise my own skill.  And I set myself goals and push myself to achieve success with new and increasingly challenging techniques.

Pink watermarble nails

All this adds up to concrete reasons why I love nailart so much.  But in addition, through recognising these strengths in my daily life, I have been able to locate that same satisfaction when I identify strengths within the world of nailart.

For example, I am not great at using striping tape, rather I am better at free hand.  And my patience is fairly limited if I have to wait for my nails to dry completely before moving onto the next stage, however if the pattern just has to be done slowly and with great precision, for some reason I find I have enough patience.

Like these geometric nails.

Geometric Nails

This design requires free hand painting and a fair amount of time and accuracy but the process of painting them filled me with a huge amount of satisfaction.

So, I recommend finding out where your strengths lie – both with nailart and in life – and hone those areas.  You probably already love using them even if you don’t know what they are exactly.  Invest in them, and you’ll experience great enthusiasm, joy and purpose.

After all, if you do what you love, you’ll love what you do.


For this design, in addition to your base coat, you will need a white nail polish, a black striper and nailart pen and a red nailart pen (or you could use acrylic paint and a small brush) and I finished mine off with a matte top coat.


I used White on White by Revlon, a black and a red nailart pen both by Rio and Matte Magic by China Glaze.


1. The first step is to paint your base coat and follow up with two coats of your white polish.

2. Then, using your black striper, paint three parallel stripes along your nail.

3. Next, taking your black nailart pen, draw trapezium shapes either side of the stripes so it ends up looking like a line curving in and out of each stripe.

4. Fill in the trapezium shapes using your black nailart pen.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 but on the opposite side of each stripe, using your red nailart pen and finish off with a coat of matte nail varnish.

There you have it – an eye-catching design.  It takes patience and precision, but if that’s where your strengths lie then why not give it a go?


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