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There’s been a few people and things that have made lasting impacts on me. All of them (except for my family) happen to me by chance. I would like to share one of them with you in this post.
I was introduced to the StrengthsFinder test three years ago while working at a start-up. The CEO came across the StrengthsFinder book that he found interesting and bought a copy for everybody in the office. The premise of the book is that we benefit more from building on our strengths than working on our weaknesses. Included in the book is an online test that determines and calculates your strengths, an explanation on what the strengths mean, and how to use the strengths accordingly.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was the perfect candidate to embrace the book and its philosophy. The reason was my first and strongest strength — I am a learner. Here is the official explanation of the characteristic of a learner: “People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.”
It was as if a dying star all of a sudden came back into life when I read that! Those two sentences totally explain why I have a boisterous drive to read how-to books, watch how-to TV programs, learn obscure theories and concepts….and when I haven’t learn anything new in a while, I become antsy.
All in all, the test gave me my top five strengths (Learner, Ideation, Command, Activator, Strategic), and each were as revealing about my personality and my drive as the other. I was so in awe of this new found knowledge that I began to dig deeper (again, goes hand-in-hand with my Learner theme) to understand how I can best use my strengths in my career and my life. And what a difference it has made.
So if you are stuck in a rut, especially in your career, you may want to look into taking the StrengthsFinder test yourself. At worst, you will be down a few bucks. At best, you too will find great insights into how to jump start/improve your career and enrich your life. And no, I do not benefit from recommending the book. I do it because I want to share the gold mine.
Update: If you are interested in learning how to define your own strengths, please visit my more recent post here.