I’ve talked with several people recently about figuring out what it is they do best. I decided to point you to the same resource I’ve sent them to.
Several years ago, I took a test called the StrengthsFinder.
I bought a book. I entered the code that was inside the book. I answered a bunch of questions. I hit “Submit”. I got an email that said that my strengths are
- Strategic: People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
- Empathy: People strong in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.
- Ideation: People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
- Intellection: People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.
- Connectedness: People strong in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.
Those of you who know me know that these are pretty accurate. I include them to suggest that this instrument can return results that reflect the person taking the test.
But why is this so interesting? I mean, didn’t I know these things about myself already?
I did. But I never thought of them as strengths. A couple of them I’ve actually thought of as weaknesses, as ways in which I was odd. A couple of the others I’ve assumed are what everyone did.
Not everyone can do what I do, or what you do.
These five are my strengths out of a list of thirty-four. Other people don’t have these five. They may have strengths in actually doing things, in learning, in leading.
This test grows out of an approach to leading and managing and teaching and relating that emphasizes strengths rather than weaknesses. We spend huge amounts of time working to improve things we can’t do, things that we struggle with. But what would happen if we poured that same energy into what we can do well, sharpening it, improving it? We would be more challenged, less frustrated, and more effective.
We would also be more aware of our need for other people.
If you are part of a team or a relationship, having each person take this test can let you see how your strengths can mesh. I’ve taken it in two settings with others. In each, it provided clarity. In one, it explained why we never got things all the way to done-there were a couple strengths that no one had.
Here’s a link to a book containing the code: StrengthsFinder 2.0: A New and Upgraded Edition of the Online Test from Gallup’s Now, Discover Your Strengths. (Affiliate link).
For those of you who have taken this test, has it been helpful?
If you haven’t, do you see the value?