Those who know me well know that I am a serious nerd. I get totally geeked out on books and reading, research and analysis, studies and school.
Those of you who don’t know me beyond the blog, just know I always said if I could I’d be a student for like (I love school and learning that much).
The latest things I’ve been working on is what makes me me and how to make me the best me ever. Recently I read this fascinating book that has done some very interesting research into helping people determine their strengths and use them to be successful.
In the book it spoke how often times we’re so concerned about our weaknesses and constantly trying to figure out ways to make them a strength rather than simply acknowledging them for what they are, a weakness. Not good with communication or numbers? We’d rather spend countless hours (and often time money) to try to become great communicators or mathematicians. And even if we do learn to master our weaknesses, we’re still not happy with what we’re doing because it doesn’t come easy.
Ask yourself, What do you love to do? Now ask yourself this, How can I do this to make a living and a life I love?
This is the difference between Steve Jobs and someone who goes to work dreading their day. Steve did what he loved every day so it never felt like work for him. He recognized where he excelled (imaginative, foresight, communicator, activator) and where he did not, allowing him to create the best technology company known.
The difference between successful business men and woman and your or I is that they play to their strengths and manage their weakness. They created a way for themselves to do what they love every day, do what they’re good at innately, to live a truly amazing and successful life.
Think of it this way, remember in grade school when you didn’t do so good in a class your parents or teacher may have made you spend more time studying that subject to master it. Rather than acknowledging the fact that maybe you aren’t a creative writer or a biologist, we were told to spend more time trying to become what we ultimately are not. The same goes for our careers.
What if we did this instead? What if we learned to manage our weaknesses and created greatness with our strengths? Think of the joys and possibilities that would create.
That is what I’m creating.
The book also gave an online quiz created by researchers at Harvard and other impressive universities that would help me discover my strengths out of 34 determined themes. The quiz revealed no surprises to me, I already knew, but it was interesting to read what it had to say.
My strengths are: Relator, Context, Learner, Activator, Strategic. This is what it had to say about each (a shortened version).
Relator: Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people – in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends – but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours.
Context: You look back. You look back because that is where the answers lie. You look back to understand the present. From you vantage point the present is unstable, a confusing clamor of competing voices. It is only by casting your mind back to an earlier time, a time when the plans were being drawn up, that the present regains its stability.
Learner: You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the results, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered – this is the process that entices you.
Activator: “When do 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.
Strategic: This theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Ok, well what if this happened?” This recurring questions helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacle.
Knowing this inspires me beyond any other. Like I said, I already knew my strengths, but reading about them put more meaning to them and gave me a better understanding of what to do with them. Rather than feeling frustrated by my weaknesses, I can manage them and learn to deal with them, and focus on what is going to make my life even more awesome than ever.
I’m inspired. What are your strengths?
Tell me about you.
Be gentle. Be kind. Be loving to you.