Occasionally I will find a book online recommended on a blog and then go to the Toronto Public Library’s website and put it on hold. Then months (or weeks) later I hear it’s available at my library and I forget why I cared. Such is the case with “Strengths Finder 2.0”
Self-improvement or whatever the initial motivation was aside, I thought I would nevertheless disclose the findings.
PROBLEM: Apparently this book is best done when you BUY it, because there is a packet in the back of the book with an access code to go online and take the test (this packet has been removed from the library edition – BOo). You can’t find free access codes online, I checked, but you can buy an access code for $19, which DEFEATS THE PURPOSE of picking up this book in the library (library = free).
SOLUTION: Because I couldn’t do the bona fide test, I did a similar test that I was able to use as a basis for figuring out what I might’ve scored highly for in Strengths Finder. That test was called the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. Apparently it’s comparable. After taking the test, I would say it did feel legit, but what do I know.
Here are my results from the VIA Survey of Character Strengths test:
Rated #1 (out of 24): Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith
You have strong and coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe. You know where you fit in the larger scheme. Your beliefs shape your actions and are a source of comfort to you.
Rated #24 (out of 24): Industry, diligence, and perseverance
You work hard to finish what you start. No matter the project, you “get it out the door” in timely fashion. You do not get distracted when you work, and you take satisfaction in completing tasks.
My Second Strength Perspective (wisdom)
Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.
My Fourth Strength Social intelligence
You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease.
Fail strengths – should’ve scored higher on these:
Strength#6 Humor and playfulness
Bringing smiles to other people is important to you.
Strength#9 Bravery and valor
You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions.
You excel at the tasks of leadership: encouraging a group to get things done and preserving harmony within the group by making everyone feel included. You do a good job organizing activities and seeing that they happen.
Strength#21 Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible. I think while answering these questions I was thinking of morals… I have very traditional, “do-things-the-way-they’ve-always-been-done-because-the-Bible-says-so” morals. But even there, I’m creative in how I reach the truth, preferring to study and discover and discuss with others rather than just take what someone else has said.
The strength that explains why I hate working alone:
My Third Strength Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty
You excel as a member of a group. You are a loyal and dedicated teammate, you always do your share, and you work hard for the success of your group.
Strengths Finder has 34 categories, as opposed to VIA’s 24. They initially seem different, but there is definitely cross-over. I’m probably off on what I selected as my “themes”, because no one’s really that great at self-awareness, and even doing tests like this don’t necessitate accuracy (look where creativity ranked in the last test, I mean, really), but I think it’s still useful.
Actual Strengths Finder categories
If you possess a strong Belief theme, you have certain core values that are enduring. These values affect your behavior in many ways. They give your life meaning and satisfaction; in your view, success is more than money and prestige. They provide you with direction, guiding you through the temptations and distractions of life toward a consistent set of priorities. Your friends know where you stand. Your beliefs make you easy to trust. It also demands that you find work that meshes with your values. Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you.
Ideas for Action:
- Actively seek roles that fit your values.
- The meaning and purpose of your work provides direction for others – remind people why their work is important.
- Your Belief talents allow you to talk to the hearts of people. Develop a “purpose statement” and communicate it to your family, friends, and coworkers. Your powerful emotional appeal can give them a motivating sense of contribution.
- Don’t be afraid to give voice to your values. This will help others know who you are and how to relate to you.
You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write. You take the dry idea and enliven it with images and metaphors. You know most people have a short attention span.
Margret D., marketing director: “I once read a book about giving speeches that gave two suggestions: Talk only about things you’re really passionate about, and always use personal examples. I immediately started doing that, and I found lots of stories because I have kids and grandkids and a husband. I build my stories around my personal experiences because everyone can relate to them.”
Ideas for Action:
- You will always do well in roles that require you to capture people’s attention. Think about a career in teaching, sales, marketing, ministry, or the media. Your communications talents are likely to flourish in these areas.
- Practice. Improvisation has a certain appeal, but an audience will respond best to a presenter who knows where she is headed. The more prepared you are, the more natural your improvisations will appear. Hmm. Right. Should do this.
- Your communication talents can be highly effective when your message has substance. Don’t rely on your talents alone; take your communication to the level of strength by developing your knowledge and expertise in specific areas.
- You are gifted in fostering dialogue among peers/colleagues. Summarize various points in a meeting to build consensus by helping others see what they have in common.
You look for areas of agreement. You try to find common ground between people with different views. When others start to argue about their pet theory or concept, you steer clear of the debate, preferring to talk about practical, down-to-earth matters on which you can all agree.
Ideas for Action:
- When two people are arguing, ask others in the group to share their thoughts. By increasing the number of voices in the conversation, you are more likely to find areas where all parties can agree.
- Avoid sales roles, highly competitive workplaces, where you have to confront people on a daily basis.
- Practice your techniques for resolving conflict without confrontation. Without these polished techniques, you might find yourself simply running away from conflicts, leaving them unresolved. This could lead you to passive-aggressive behaviour.
- A balance between listening and efficiency is key to harmony.
- Look for the practical side of things, and help others see it – this is the starting point of agreement.
Probably fourth (seems to me to be strongly tied with Harmony):
You live in the moment. …this theme of Adaptability does enable you to respond willingly to the demands for the moment even if they pull you away from your plans. You are, at heart, a very flexible person who can stay productive when the demands of work are pulling you in many different directions at once.
Ideas for Action:
- Avoid roles that demand structure and predictability.
- Don’t let others abuse your inherent flexibility….don’t compromise your long-term success by bending to every whim or desire from others.
- Look to others for planning. Yup.
- Actively cultivate friends who share your basic values. Consider your best friend. Does this person share your value system?
Phew. Now I can return this book to the library having fully documented my findings.
… now what?