Comparing and contrasting the strengths that we see in ourselves to those that others identify in us can be quite inspiring. My chosen strengths included: belief, empathy, fairness/consistency, learner, and positivity. The attributes that my friend, my mother, and my co-worker each chose had some similarities, but also included some unexpected differences. I think the variances provided me with an understanding of how they each see me differently based on the role that I fill in their lives. There are 34 themes to choose from, and the attributes that were identified were humbling.
My friend chose responsibility as my number 1; responsibility is described as a person who takes psychological ownership of what they say they will do. The other themes she chose included empathy, learner, positivity, and deliberative. We had 3 in common. However, what she identified as my strongest talent didn’t even make my top 5. I asked her what influenced her to choose responsibility as a word that she felt best described me, and her answer surprised me. She said that she has always admired my ability to take ownership and accountability of my own thoughts and actions, and she values that I always follow through on my word. I take pride in being someone that others can count on, and I was elated that this attribute positively impacts others’ view of me.
My mother had a different idea about what she thought my top strength was. She chose discipline as my number 1; discipline is described as a person who enjoys routine and structure. Her other 4 included belief, fairness/consistency, achiever, and learner. We also had 3 in common. Again, I asked how she decided on her number 1, as this characteristic didn’t even make my list. She said that she has seen me happy, sad, tough, vulnerable, successful, defeated, and everything in between. And despite the challenges in my life, I have always had the determination to persevere and better myself. She said I was able to use discipline to become the person that I am today, the person she is proud to call her daughter. That comment alone was worth this whole process!
My co-worker saw me very differently than both my friend and mother. Her number 1 was arranger; arranger is defined as a person who can organize, but also has the flexibility that complements this ability. The other themes she identified included discipline, empathy, developer, and woo. We only had 1 in common. At first I found it quite interesting that someone could see me so differently than I see myself. I then realized that because I only interact with her at work and know her on a professional level, she sees a completely different side of me than everyone else. It makes sense that she would identify with different characteristics to describe me.
It was these differences that I found very interesting and inspiring. I appreciate that I can be viewed in so many various ways, and that I mean different things to different people. I think being able to acknowledge and understand these varying roles is important to recognizing one’s own abilities. I really enjoyed this part of the Strengths Finder process and looked forward to what themes the assessment would discover.
It is now time to take the assessment to see what the Strengths Finder identifies as my top 5 strengths. To take the assessment, you will need to buy the Strengths Finder book, which will provide you with a personalized code that is required to access the assessment.
Once you have the book, you can log on to www.strengthsfinder.com to take the assessment. The idea of this assessment is to measure the presence of one’s talents, specifically the way in which we naturally think, feel, and behave as unique individuals. There are 34 general areas of strength, and this assessment will identify your top 5 talents based on your answers to the questions. The assessment will take no longer than 30 minutes to complete. The Strengths Finder will present 180 items, which each consists of a pair of potential self-descriptors. There are no right or wrong answers. You will simply choose the statement that best describes you and to what extent. You are only given 20 seconds to answer each question. This time limit is set so the answers are based on your initial gut response. I definitely think this assessment helped me learn a lot about myself, and I was surprised by some of my responses.
Once you are done taking the assessment, a report will be generated. This report is designed to identify your top five themes, present the standard theme description, provide examples of what the theme sounds like, give ideas for action, and offer tips on how to work with others who have strong talents in that theme. The idea is to help people learn about and build upon their greatest talents and to create strengths that will enhance all aspects of their lives.
Now that we have the report of the themes identified by the Strengths Finder, we can begin to assess what these themes mean to our way of life. According to Tom Rath, author of Strengths Finder 2.0, “Far too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction. Every human being has talents that are just waiting to be uncovered.” Discover your strengths and unlock your potential with Strengths Finder.