Stemming from my motivational chat with a friend and a few other conversations I purchased StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and completed the Clifton test to see what my strengths are. Similar to knowing what motivates you, it is important to understand what your strengths are. After taking the test, the book provides great description of how you operate day to day due to your strengths, and how to leverage them in your favor.
I enjoyed how in the beginning of the book Rath talks about Rudy Ruettiger’s story, which you may be familiar with from the movie “Rudy.” He points out that although Rudy succeeded in playing football for Notre Dame (and he did so due to his focus and persistence), there is only so far you can go without talent. It is like a multiplier:
Talent (a natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving)
Investment (time spent practicing, developing your skills, and building a knowledge base)
Strength (the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance)
So if Rudy only had on a scale of 5 a talent of 2, even with his investment of 5 he only gets a strength of 10. Athletic greats we admire such as Micheal Jordan and Joe Montana have a talent of 5 and investment of 5 resulting in a strength of 25. What Rath is getting across is that these people leveraged their strengths in their favor. I will also note, this is one of the few math problems I truly grasped right away the first time. I therefore, will not be seeking a job including much mathematics (my score would probably be a 10 like Rudy).
So What I Learned About My Top 5 Strengths:
(The book goes into much further detail, but I do not want to spoil the fun so you will have to pick up the book yourself.)
I take charge which leads me to having presence. I take a stance on things. Once my opinion is formed about something, I feel the need to share it with others and similarly, once I set a goal I am restless until I have aligned with others around me. I am not frightened by confrontation, because I know that confrontation is the first step towards resolution.
I am in constant need of achievement – it is what explains my drive. I feel as if each day I start off at zero and I must achieve something tangible at the end of the day to feel good about myself (and each day truly means “everyday”). Similarly, my high school lacrosse coach once told me that each day you only get either better or worse, that appealed to my achiever mentality.
I am constantly thinking about where I am headed. I need a clear destination or I get frustrated. This is a good thing because I am constantly making goals and instinctively evaluating events as positive or negative towards these goals. I am very impatient with delays, obstacles, or even tangents which is good to stay on task.
I am intrigued by the unique qualities of individuals. I instinctively observe other’s style and motivations as well as how they think and build relationships. I love the unique stories each person has about their life. This trait helps me build productive teams by looking at what makes each person special for whatever cause. In short, I am a people person.
My world needs to have order and planning; I need to be in control. I break long-term projects into smaller series and work through them diligently. I feel best when in a routine, there is a timeline, and structure. I am not necessarily neat and clean, but demand precision. I am very detail-oriented. I stay productive in the name of progress. Like my Dad once joked about in regards to his father, “he enjoys spontaneity when it is planned ahead of time.”