“When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

This saying is often used for developers who want to use their favourite technology to solve every coding issue, even when it’s not the best fit. But this saying is actually relevant to us all.

Strong suits are a concept from Landmark Forum that encapsulates this idea. Strong suits are something everyone has… favourite parts of their personalities that they are good at, and that they like about themselves. This could be that they are smart, loving, loyal, attractive, friendly, analytical, resilient, resourceful, tough, romantic, logical, etc.

Generally speaking, people use their strong suits to get through life, and the more they do it, the more practice they get at it, and so the more it becomes their comfort zone.

The dark side

Usually, using your strong suits is fine, and there’s a reason they’ve gotten you this far in life. But the problem is that people have a strong psychological urge to be consistent and “true to themselves”, and this manifests in an inability to stray away from their strong suits.

Here are some examples:

  • If you are loyal, you may have trouble letting go of toxic relationships
  • If you are logical or analytical, you may have trouble being romantic
  • If you are smart and focused on details, you may tend to be righteous in arguments, and not look at the big picture
  • If you are friendly, you may avoid conflict, even when it’s necessary
  • If you are independent, you may not accept help when you need it
  • If you are resilient, you may have trouble letting yourself be vulnerable


Your strong suits tend to develop when you are a child or teenager, during times when you felt you weren’t good enough, didn’t belong, or were powerless.

These traumatic events would have made you decide something about yourself and/or the world, and over time, these develop into strong suits. The reason it’s useful to know the origin of your strong suit is that usually, with the benefit of hindsight, you can see that the decision you made about the world at the age of 5, may not actually be 100% nuanced and correct. This knowledge can allow you to let go of the certainty that you MUST always be a certain way.

  • It can let the people pleaser stand up for themselves
  • It can allow the tough person to seek help
  • It can let the likable, friendly person put their foot down when needed

What you can do

The good news is… identifying strong suits is usually quite easy… just think about what you like about yourself, and what qualities have most helped you in life.

Next, think about how, if taken too far, these strong suits could have adverse effects on your life.

Lastly, and this is the hardest part, you need to identify this AS IT IS HAPPENING, and change course.

Congratulations, you have just identified a self-limiting belief… now anything is possible for you.


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About the speakers

About the speakers

Ulysses Maclaren

Ulysses is the General Manager of SSW and has been managing the team since 2006.

Used to working under pressure, he is Adam Cogan's 2nd in charge, and keeps the company running smoothly while also dealing with SSW's clients and the development and design teams. His passion is making sure that all the guys at SSW feel like a family, while always improving their skill sets and challenging them to constantly expand their horizons.

Ulysses is the Scrum Master for internal development teams, the design, video, and marketing teams, as well as client projects. Integrity, transparency, and a smooth running team are all very important to him. He's also a Power BI guru.

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