Sunday, October 31, 2010

StrengthsFinder 2.0

I think I read about StrengthsFinder 2.0 in AARP. Someone(a newscaster?) took the StrengthsFinder test and discovered a new self-image. I think most of us have enough self-awareness that we do not need a book or a test to tell us what we are good at, but rarely do we even think about our strengths.  Instead, we scrutinize our shortcomings, wind up in careers that don't utilize our talents, and in general feel pretty crappy about ourselves at least part of the time.

My copy of the book came from the library, and a previous borrower had already used the access code that came with the book.  Consequently, I could not take the test at, so cannot comment on that.  I will comment on the book, though.

The book starts with a brief explanation of why we need a "language" of talents, why we cannot become anything we want to be if we just work hard enough, then offers a list of strengths that read sort of like star signs, but we get to pick what matches, not be doomed by our date of birth.  

So what am I? I am an Achiever. At the start of the day, I plan what I want to accomplish. At the end of the day, I take inventory to see if I met my goals, even if those goals were just doing laundry and vacuuming. I keep lists, not only to remind me of what I want to do, but because I enjoy crossing off each item. Sometimes, when I have been busy but not doing things on my list, I will add my current activities to the list, just so I can cross them out and feel like I accomplished something that day.

What else am I? Analytical, that's for sure. That is one reason I went into software development. I suspect it is also a contributing factor to my inability to make that "leap of faith" required by most religions. 

What else? I am Competitive, but not always in a good way. I am constantly comparing myself to others. Consistency is important to me, but I think this goes hand-in-hand with being Analytical. I get bored easily, so Intellection seems to apply to me, but this conjoins with being an Achiever. Responsibility is another trait that seems to do me more harm than good, because I feel responsible for things that are not my responsibility, or at least, not mine alone.

Besides helping identify one's strengths, this book offers advice on putting one's strengths to work and for making the best use of the strengths of others. These "ideas for action" are rather naive and assume that we all have the talent of people skills.  However, keeping my strengths in mind is helping me change the way I think about myself and reframe my so-called problems.

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