This is mash-up post! Part book review and part inspiration, both thanks to Whitney Johnson and her latest book, Disrupt Yourself:  Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work. Be prepared to answer “yes” to Whitney’s question, “Are you ready to jump?”


jump on strengthsOne of the most insightful and telling exercises I do in my workshops with women leaders is asking them to list their personal strengths.

It’s amazing to see powerful women pause, either uncertain of what to list or fearful of appearing too brash and bold for knowing what they do well.

Whitney Johnson, author of Disrupt Yourself, defines a distinctive strength as “something that you do well that others within your sphere don’t.”

A distinctive strength is something that you do well that others within your sphere don't. ~Whitney Johnson Click To Tweet

For anyone, regardless of gender, who is uncertain as to what they could identify as a personal strength, Whitney provides a thorough list of questions, all guaranteed to trigger thoughtful self-reflection.

If, at this moment, you’d be stumped in identifying your distinctive strengths, use Whitney’s six questions to spur your thinking.

6 questions to ask yourself to identify your strengths

  1. What skills have helped you survive?
  2. What makes you feel strong?
  3. What exasperates you about others?
  4. What made you different, even an oddball, as a child?
  5. What compliments do you shrug off?
  6. What are your hard-won skills?

Were you successful in determining some things you do well?

This personal development exercise is but one many available in Whitney’s book—and all apply to all genders. Her book outlines how to take the framework of disruptive innovation and apply it to our personal lives.

As she notes, “We are living in an era of accelerated disruption; no one is immune. If you want to be successful in unexpected ways, follow your own disruptive path. Dare to innovate. Do something astonishing. Disrupt yourself.”

Dare to innovate. Do something astonishing. Disrupt yourself. ~@johnsonwhitney Click To Tweet

For years, I liked the comfort zone of my corporate job. It made me feel secure. I knew I had a “place” and I knew where that place was. But eventually that comfort zone made me feel stuck.

For those who feel stuck and are unsure of how to chart a going forward path, Whitney’s principle of disruptive innovation applied to our personal selves is a smart—and practical—method to assure forward movement. Relevance and freedom, too.

As Whitney asks, “Are you ready to jump?”

Image credit before quote: