The strengths finder test was developed by Gallup to help people uncover their talents. You buy the book (it's relatively cheap - usually $12-ish), take the online test using the code that comes with your book, and then read what your results mean.
And for me, it was life changing. That's not an exaggeration.
After you take the assessment, you receive a profile of your top 5 strengths. You only get 5, but trust me, that's enough. According to Gallup's statistics, there are only 8 other people in this world that have the same top 5 strengths in the same order as you do. Eight. And one might be a 93 year old woman, or a six month old little boy. Want to get really crazy? In the entire world, there is not one single other person who has the same 12 strengths as you do in the same order. NO ONE. As if you needed another reason to believe that everyone is here for a purpose (and the stress that comes along with finding out what that purpose is. Oh, is that just me??).
Here are my top 5 strengths with their short definition.
- Responsibility. People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
- Activator. People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
- Individualization. People who are especially talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.
- Achiever. People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
- Input. People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
If you have a similar experience to me, reading this list will be very validating to you. Your strengths are likely things that you value, and also things that you assume everyone else has because you have them so strongly.
The most amazing part is really focusing on where your strengths show up. My responsibility strength is probably why I feel so guilty if I don't blog on a regular basis. Individualization? The amount of time I put into picking out the perfect Christmas gift for everyone. Responsibility + Activator + Achiever + Input = my inability to say no to any opportunity. Ever.
Focusing on my strengths has been tremendous for my happiness, my career, my marriage, and my civic engagement. I've been able to narrow down opportunities that don't play to my strengths and focus more time and energy on things that do, which makes me happier and more productive (which makes my Achiever happy).
Most recently, the life coach I've been working with (who is a close friend of mine) helped me work through what's next for me professionally. I had applied to a PhD program to continue my social work studies on a part time basis. Would it feed my Input and Achiever needs? Absolutely. Would it be energizing to me otherwise? Probably not. Together we were able to work through that it wasn't what was best for me at this point, and the weight I felt lifted after making that decision was tremendous.
Do I sound excited? I want you to catch my enthusiasm. Hopefully you don't think this is too hokey, and I also hope that you'll purchase the book for yourself. Oooh - Gallup, if you read this, maybe you should donate some books for everyone who wants one!! Worth a shot, right?
If you do figure out your strengths, make sure you use them. We'll talk more about that, don't worry. Tomorrow I'll fill you in on the exhausting process it was to get Zac to take the test, and how it's been really awesome to understand each other's strengths. Don't lose sleep waiting for it...