A potential employer?
A leader of a club or organization?
This summer, I gave this question a LOT of thought. I was required to the "Strengths Finder" on Strengths Quest before my trip to Cape Town. I really encourage anyone reading this to click the link and complete it yourself. My results and their descriptions...
“When can we start?” This is a recurring question in your life. You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real. Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, you cannot not act. Others may worry that “there are still some things we don’t know,” but this doesn’t seem to slow you. If the decision has been made to go across town, you know that the fastest way to get there is to go stoplight to stoplight. You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green.Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning. You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. This learning informs your next action and your next. How can you grow if you have nothing to react to? Well, you believe you can’t. You must put yourself out there. You must take the next step. It is the only way to keep your thinking fresh and informed. The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done.This does not frighten you. It pleases you.
“Wouldn’t it be great if . . .” You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow. While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests—a better product, a better team, a better life, or abetter world—it will always be inspirational to you. You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you. They can energize others, too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future. They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits. You can paint it for them. Practice. Choosey our words carefully. Make the picture as vivid as possible. People will want to latch on to the hope you bring.
Excellence, not average, is your measure. Taking something from below average to slightly above average takes a great deal of effort and in your opinion is not very rewarding. Transforming something strong into something superb takes just as much effort but is much more thrilling. Strengths, whether yours or someone else’s, fascinate you. Like a diver after pearls, you search them out, watching for the telltale signs of a strength. A glimpse of untutored excellence, rapid learning, a skill mastered without recourse to steps—all these are clues that a strength may be in play. And having found a strength, you feel compelled to nurture it, refine it, and stretch it toward excellence. You polish the pearl until it shines. This natural sorting of strengths means that others see you as discriminating. You choose to spend time with people who appreciate your particular strengths. Likewise, you are attracted to others who seem to have found and cultivated their own strengths. You tend to avoid those who want to fix you and make you well rounded. You don’t want to spend your life bemoaning what you lack. Rather, you want to capitalize on the gifts with which you are blessed. It’s more fun. It’s more productive. And, counterintuitively, it is more demanding.
You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges. You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle. You love all these ideas because they are profound,because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary, because they are bizarre. For all these reasons you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days this is enough.
You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information—words, facts, books, and quotations—or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls,or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather,to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Why are they worth storing?At the time of storing it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable
Woo..I know...that was long! But cutting out any of it would not do it justice in showing you the capacity of which it reveals you...it goes into such depth, which is what makes it different from just any old personality test that you can find on the web. This is a tool that professionals use ALL THE TIME. I had my officer squad on the dance team that I coach complete the activity, and then we had a discussion about how each person is going to be able to bring something different to the table.
So, why am I telling you this?
I was in the kitchen with my sorority when one of our advisors started talking to us about strengths. She said to the whole room..."what are your strengths?" Because of this activity with Global LEAD, I feel like I was one of the only people in the room who could confidently tell her my 5 central strengths: I'm an Activator -- I take action. I'm Futuristic -- I have a vision. I'm a Maximizer -- I strive for excellence. I have Ideation -- I am energized and fueled by creativity and new ideas. I value Input -- I am a lifelong learner, and I archive information.
I knew how to respond to her question right away. But if I hadn't given this question some serious thought, I would have been like everyone else in the room and stared at her blankly. You see, strengths go far beyond being "organized" or "articulate" or however else you might describe yourself. They hold a different capacity than just any old adjective. They are powerful, they are what separates you from the crowd, and they are integral to who you are as an individual and what you will contribute to a group.
In the future...I will be prepared to present this to a future employer or to anyone who asks me this question.
Now, if those are my 5 strengths...what are my weaknesses?
I haven't quite figured this out yet. I need to think about this with a central theme in mind: what are things that I consistently struggle with? I know what I need to improve upon on the surface, though, and from that, I have created three goals for the upcoming school year:
1. I strive to be a better student. I want to get a 4.0 GPA this semester. Straight A's.
2. I am motivated to keep a clean room, bathroom, and closet.
3. I want to be better at correspondence.
These are three things that will really improve my life and make me a happier, more successful, and more organized person if I can use my strengths to give them an extra push, particularly my strength of "Activator," by staying focused, exercising better time management skills, and prioritizing.
Challenge: I encourage you to register for an account on Strengths Quest, complete the Strengths Finder, and read through your reports and assessments. I challenge you to choose three goals for the upcoming school year based on your weaknesses, and strategize how you will achieve those goals based on your strengths!
Have a POSITIVE and SUCCESSFUL weekend!!! I know I will!