Sunday, January 29, 2012

How To Find Your Strengths

Last week, as part of  Get Out of The House week, I signed up for a Living Your Strengths class at our church. The class is based off the Clifton StrengthsFinder test and if you have never done it before - YOU NEED TO! I swear this test has given me so much insight. I've even actually taken it before, 5 years ago in the business setting, and because my life has change significantly (quitting my job) it has given me even new perspective.

To summarize, the test basically identifies five overlying themes/strengths that "energize you." These are things that you are naturally good at and are innate to your personality. In class, we were told that 1 in 33,000,000 people have the exact same five themes in the exact same order and only 1 in 275,000 have even the same five regardless of order. Essentially, YOU ARE UNIQUE and HAVE SOMETHING SPECIAL TO BRING TO THE WORLD. I love this message because I truly believe that I have something I was meant to do here.

So these are my signature themes, in order, Significance, Responsibility, Input, Learner, Achiever; and they make SO much sense to me, especially once I read more about them. (At first when I read Significance, I felt super insecure because I felt like it made me sound like an attention-hog, but I don't really think I come off that way and if I do, I don't mean too!) When you read the descriptions of each strength, they explain that they each manifest differently in each person, for me, Significance means that I "see my work as a way of life rather than a job" and I want to be seen as "credible, professional, successful" and that I need "free rein" over tasks. I get stressed out "being admired", especially in front of people, so that part of the strength really does not align with me, along with a few other things. If you were blessed with Significance in your top five too, you might be attracted to "wanting to stand out" or "being an independent spirit" instead, and that is a great thing because you are able to capitalize on those elements.

These strengths 100% explain the rise and fall of my inner-city teaching career, to the degree where I actually think they were a dangerous combination. I could go on and on about how I "see my work as a way of life rather than a job," that's one of the reasons I worked 12 hour days 7 days a week; combined with my Achiever strength, "working long hours without burning out" I just COULD.NOT.STOP.  Choosing teaching came naturally because of my Learner and Input strengths, because I "love to learn" and overwhelmingly wanted to share it with my students. My Responsibility strength explains why I felt "emotionally bound to follow through," my "obsession for doing things right," "that my good name depends on it," and why I had was unable to leave even though I was truly starting to burn-out. I know if we hadn't moved, I would have not been able to leave and could have been in a really bad place. Pushing your strengths to their breaking point can easily turn them into weaknesses.

*Although, when I think of teaching and strengths, all I want to do is make all of my students take this test and then teach to their strengths. That would be marvelous! JUST.CAN'T.STOP.

Now that I know this about myself, I need to search for jobs/experience that help me to maximize these traits. Along with the descriptions of these signature themes I was given a worksheet of action items, and as I said before, I took this class through my church, and so we received the Catholic Edition of the book, which also includes ways to get involved in your parish utilizing your strengths. I am so excited to explore some of these action items.

It's also surprising to me how well this blog fits my strengths right now. Even if only one person reads a post and gets something out of it, I feel Significant. I feel like I am dispensing information that might have some value (Input) and I get to Learn, a whole bunch of things, whatever and whenever I want; I am 100% Responsible. The Achiever in my enables me to achieve tangible goals, even like just posting once a day.

Essentially, buying this book, for $15, and taking this class has been enormously helpful for me and I totally recommend it to you. And if I'm not convincing enough, Einstein says it best.


P.S. - If you take/have taken this - SHARE with me! I want to know your strengths and how you use them!

1 comment:

  1. Jordan, I find what you are doing very important. I just might order this book tomorrow. The more you know about yourself the better, I don't think people take the time they should to look into their inner self. (myself included) I just started reading your blog and love it! Love you...Miss you, Phipps!