My Strengths

For almost the past two years at work we have been doing a devotional Monday mornings to start our week off right. The past few months we have been going through the book The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. This week we started a new one called StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, which was really interesting.

There really isn’t a whole lot to the book itself, but where it gets you is with the online assessment that you take to find out what your top five strengths are. After taking the assessment and reading through the description in the book and the insights in the PDF, I thought that four out of the five were dead on. I’m not so sure about the fifth …

1. Empathy

Empathy was listed as my top strength. I thought it was interesting to get this one after the really nice message one of my co-workers sent me on my birthday where she mentioned my being empathetic.

Points that stand out from the insight:

  • Want others to see the good qualities in one another and in situations
  • Natural aptitude for overcoming difficulties
  • Called upon to locate trouble, make needed repairs or implement solutions
  • Ignore distractions
  • Sense when a person can benefit from support, kind words or deeds
  • Sympathetic to the idea that money cannot buy you contentment, peace or well-being
  • Awareness and insights into the moods of individuals
  • Rarely distance self from those who you sense need to be there for them

What stands out the most to me in that list is the “awareness and insights into the moods of individuals”. I really can feel it when the people around me are in certain moods and it can quickly put me in that same mood as well or make me wish I could go hide in a hole.

2. Learner

I have always enjoyed learning and teaching myself new things, so I really like that I got this one. If I could get paid to, I would definitely be a professional student. I do know that one of my goals is to go graduate school and earn my Master’s degree … in what, I do not know.

Points that stand out from the insight:

  • Sometimes frustrated until you figure out why things happened a certain way
  • You may need to explain why particular events unfolded as they did
  • Able to ignore distractions to concentrate
  • Occasionally dedicate self to acquiring new skills or knowledge
  • Equate education – formal and informal – with understanding more about something today and yesterday

There are a couple of things that stand out to me from this list. The first is the need to explain why particular events unfolded as they did. I always feel like I have to explain myself with everything I do – especially when someone asks. The other is dedicating myself to learning new skills. I do this a lot when it comes to coding. I learn something new every week at work or at home just playing around with Web design.

3. Intellection

This is probably my favorite one. In the book, it says, “You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection.” I feel it validates the amount of time I spend alone, which may or may not be a good thing. I really do spend a lot of time thinking, reflecting, dreaming, wishing, hoping … and I like that.

Points that stand out from the insight:

  • You reflect on tomorrow’s possibilities and their potential impact on your life
  • Certain thoughts are treasured even though they might not be immediately useful
  • You reflect on some of the good events, experiences or opportunities you have had or people you have known
  • Pausing to consider things that you are grateful for

From this list I like the reflecting on good experiences and opportunities I’ve had or people I’ve known the most. There are many experiences and opportunities I’ve had that I like to reflect on, one of which is my semester abroad in Rome. That is an experience I am eternally grateful and wouldn’t trade for the world. The other item in that list is reflecting on tomorrow’s possibilities. I do like to dream about my future and pray about it. I have high hopes!

4. Responsibility

Responsibility doesn’t surprise me as being one of my strengths. This is a trait that my parents instilled in me at a pretty young age, and it shows in the fact that people don’t seem to hesitate to ask me to complete certain tasks for them.

Points that stand out from the insight:

  • You expect to be held accountable for productivity, profit, behavior, comments and actions
  • You strive to be a dependable person
  • You willingly assume accountability for tasks, projects, assignments, commitments
  • You accept additional obligations and perform these duties in a friendly and reliable manner
  • You find yourself contemplating your obligations
  • Promises to others are important
  • Exploring different angles before acting
  • Consistent in your core values and predictable in your actions
  • Go to great lengths to do things right and to behave in an ethical manner

There aren’t just one or two items in this list that stand out to me. All of them do. I do expect to be held accountable for everything I am involved in, and I hate the thought of letting people down – it turns my tummy upside down. I have a tendency to feel guilty if I am questioned about why I did or didn’t do something in a manner that sounds upset, because I don’t want to disappoint a person. I know how much people rely on me and that can be a lot of pressure at times.

5. Maximizer

Okay, at first I didn’t buy this one, but after reading through the insights again I can see this in me. I think that this strength has developed over the past couple of years, just because of the job I do and the people I work with.

Points that stand out from the insight:

  • You strive to honor everyone’s unique qualities and preferences
  • You are likely to do your best work when someone truly recognizes your strengths
  • You want to be appreciated for the talents you own, the skills you possess, and the knowledge you have acquired
  • You may concentrate on what you do well
  • You might feel that by using your talents, you enhance your chances of success
  • You progress faster or accomplish more when you give yourself permission to do what you do well

There are a few things in the list above resonate with me. The items about being recognized and appreciated for my strengths stand out a fair amount. Who doesn’t like to be recognized and appreciated for their strengths? I have felt this a lot in the past couple of years, because I can see how my bosses and coworkers do value my strengths and have allowed me to expand and build on them. I feel so much success and satisfaction in what I do, because I’m doing something that I love to do.



So there are my strengths … I think it will be very interesting during our devotional tomorrow to go over this with everyone, and hear what they have to say about it as well.

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