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Strengths Finder 2.0

December 13, 2009

I mentioned in a previous post that I had read Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. (They also have a website.)

I’ve been thinking about the results that I got from the “Online Assessment Test” that the book gives you access to, and how they might be useful as I make my way through The Pathfinder [On Reading The Pathfinder] or consider the stories in The Element [On Reading The Element: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3].

My results were:

1. Input

You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information — words, facts, books, and quotations — or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely becuase of its infitine variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories, but rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Whey are they worth storing? At the time of storing it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable.

This one fits me very well. It also fits the Scanner mentality that Barbara Sher discusses. I like to collect things. I and my Husband have several shelves full of books. My Father-in-law on coming over to our house, saw all those books and asked us why we have them. I just sort of looked at him, dumbfounded, thinking, ‘Why wouldn’t we have them?’ Not that he’s not learned, but he just doesn’t see the value of having ‘stuff’ everywhere.

I still have art supplies that I got when I was a little girl, and I occasionally still use them. I keep almost all the jewelry I get, even if it doesn’t go with anything I own at the moment, because of the number of times I’ve gotten a new outfit, opened up my jewelry box and re-discovered an old piece that is now perfect.

2. Futuristic

“Wouldn’t it be great if…” You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow. While the exact context of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests — a better product, a better team, a better life, or a better world — it will always be inspirational to you. You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you. They can energize others, too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future. They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits. You can paint it for them. Practice. Choose your words carefully. Make the picture as vivid as possible. People will want to latch onto the hope you bring.

My Husband and I were actually talking about this in the car on the way home from hanging out with some friends. This one fits me very well, as well. I am constantly looking to the future, be it sci-fi or my own future, or the future of the planet. The flip side to this trait is an almost inability to be happy in the present. My Husband has told me several times that I need to learn to take joy in the moment, and learn to enjoy the path that will take me from the Now toward the Soon to Be.

3. Individualization

Your Individualization theme leads you to be intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. You are impatient with generalizations or “types” because you don’t want to obscure what is special and distinct about each person. Instead, you focus on the differences between individuals. You instinctively observe each person’s style, each person’s motivation, how each thinks, and how each builds relationships. You hear the one-of-a-kind stories in each person’s life. This theme explains why you pick your friends just the right birthday gift, why you know that one person prefers public praise and another detests it, and why you tailor your teaching style to accommodate one person’s need to be shown and another’s desire to “figure it out as I go.” Because you are such a keen observer of other people’s strengths, you can draw out the best in each person. This Individualization theme also helps you build productive teams. While some search around for the perfect team “structure” or “process,” you know instinctively that the secret to great teams is casting by individual strengths so that everyone can do a lot of what they do well.

The first part of this one fits me better than the second. I definitely can see what is unique about people, what is at the core of them, even if they can’t quite. Also, too, many of my friends and family members tell me I’m good at explaining things to them in ways that they understand it.

But for the rest of it? I want to think that I can motivate people, and that I’m a good observer of people’s strengths. The latter part of this description makes it sound like I’d be a good team-leader, which is something I’d very much like to be true, but is rather untested in my life.

4. Lerner

You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and delibarate journey from ingnorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early effors to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered — this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences — yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work enviroments where you are asked to take on short term project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Lerner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”

The fact that I love learning is no secret, so in that, this description fits me perfectly. And I do like learning new things versus becoming a master in things. When I’ve considered getting a degree in Linguistics, I would almost want it to be a Bachelor’s degree, only because the breadth of Linguistics is so much more interesting to me that the depth of any one area of the subject.

I think sometimes I let myself be too pragmatic. I want to study Linguistics, but if I go back to school then it’ll cost more money and then what will the Husband and I do to pay the bills, especially since he wants to go back to school…? And so on. Studying Linguistics is something that has always fascinated me, ever since I learned that it was a possibility. I feel like maybe I should stop worry about the details and just go for it. I feel like that could be true of many things in my life.

5. Positivity

You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. Some call you light-hearted. Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be. But either way, people want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious. Lacking your energy and optimism, some find their world drab with repetition or, worse, heavy with pressure. You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit. You inject drama into every project. You celebrate every achievement. You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down. Your Positivity won’t allow it. Somehow you can’t quite escape your conviction that is is good to be alive, that work can be fun, and that no matter what the setbacks, one must never lose one’s sense of humor.

As with several of the others, the first part of this is very true, but as for the rest of it… I think this was more true when I took the test than it is now. I want to be positive and light-hearted and all the other things it describes, but I feel like I’ve moved away from that a little. It’s kind of sad, as though a part of me died. But maybe it’s not dead. Maybe it’s just hidden under a blanket of uncertainty and self-doubt. I hope so. I like being the bouncy, happy, contagiously enthusiastic person that people want to be around.

Maybe if I start working toward some of the things I’ve been dreaming of doing instead of worrying that I won’t have time to do them all, I’ll move back towards that place of sunshine and happiness.

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