Several years ago, while working with Youth With A Mission in Madison, WI our whole staff read Now, Discover Your Strengths and it was a real eye-opener for me. Included with that book is a test that helps determine what your top strengths are.
Briefly, the Gallup organization conducted a 40-year study of human strengths, created a language of the 34 most common talents and developed the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to help people discover and describe these talents. They discovered that “people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”
They found that they “were tired of living in a world that revolved around fixing our weaknesses.”
So am I.
I’m always asking people what their strengths are because it helps me to get a better picture of who they are and how I can best connect with them. Here are mine…
Input – This means that I am constantly feeding on information of anything that’s interesting to me. I’m online ALOT and reading stuff all day. When I’m not online I’m probably listening to a podcast or some kind of teaching or audiobook on my ipod. These days I fall asleep listening to the How Stuff Works podcast. It’s the only way I can keep my mind focused on one thing so I can drift off.
Context – This means I love telling and hearing the long version of a story. I love history and would be perfectly happy to read and research all day long. It also means that I’m pretty long-winded in conversation (and I have to watch that). I always say the reason my wife and I got together was because we both found someone who could stand talking and listening to the other long enough! We’ve had many marathon sessions – some up to eight hours. Of course, that was before kids came along!
Belief – This means that the things I believe – I believe them strongly. I may appear to many to be pretty quiet and easy going but if you touch on an issue that I believe in it’s like a whole other person awakens inside me. My heart is to let out that passion all with a flavor of love. This strength pretty much fuels (or is the foundation for) the rest for me.
Connectedness – This means that I see the connections in everything. I love to network with people. I love to find people who need something – help, resources, books, etc. – and get them connected to the right stuff. It also means that I am incredibly excited about this internet age we live in. The internet and social media is the ultimate playground for someone with the connectedness strength.
Intellection – This means that I love to think. A lot. It’s really hard for me to do much of anything significant without spending quality time thinking on it. It’s frustrating when I’m unable to get that time. In conversation with others sometimes I won’t chime in for a long time because I’m processing information. I think sometimes people think I’m not paying attention but the wheels are definitely turning inside. I’m not too great at thinking on my feet but when I’ve had time to intellect on something I have plenty to say.
Have you taken the Strengthsfinder test? Tell me about your strengths in the comments! If you haven’t, get thee to a bookstore and take the darn thing. Seriously, you’ll thank me. You have to buy a copy for yourself and use the code inside the cover when you take it online. I believe there is a code for couples so that you don’t have to buy two books for the same household.