more passion, passion proposition

discerning your strengths

It is difficult to pursue your passions with much success if you don’t know what your strengths are.  

One of my new favorites is Strength Finders 2.0.  I think I should probably buy stock in the publisher, because I have convinced all of my family to get the book and take the test.  It was SO dead on in recognizing my top 5 strengths that I was immediately compelled to have everyone I know take the test, too.  Strengths Based Leadership takes the concept further and speaks to how to lead from your strengths and lead others based on their’s.  Both are fantastic books and allow you to take the Strengths Finder test online.  Go, quick!  You’ll probably force all of your loved ones to take the 30-ish minute test, too!

It is so important to choose your work and the way you spend your time based on your strengths.  Otherwise, you’ll likely find yourself fine for awhile, but as time passes soon you will grow tired and frustrated.  You may not even realize what is wrong, but there is a good chance that something will feel amiss.  In the past that feeling has come over me, taking me months to name and change.  When I finally realized what had me so far out of my “sweet spot”, it was because I had set up my life contrary to what I was gifted in.  I was pursuing a college major that had me preparing for a life of early mornings and rigid schedules and certifications and standardization.  Can I get an amen?

In case you were wondering, my strengths are:

*Ideation–fascinated by ideas, able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena

*Strategic–create alternate ways to proceed, can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues

*Activator–can make things happen by turning thoughts into action, often impatient.

*Connectedness–have faith in the links between all things, believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason

*Communication–generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words, are good conversationalists and presenters

For a list of all 34 strengths, check out this page from the publisher.

The most amazing thing happened when I told Husband about the results of the Strengths Finder test.  He said, “Hayley, Tiny Twig uses all of your strengths so well!”.  I was so excited to see that I had indeed set Tiny Twig up to work in a manner consistent with my strengths, as I’ve found this is key to not burning out or spinning your wheels.

Have you taken the Strengths Finder test?  What were your strengths?

For more in this series on finding, keeping, and growing your passion, check out The Passion Proposition.

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  • Reply Beth @ dot in the city April 9, 2012 at 7:44 am

    We share two of our top five Strengths: Activator and Communication. My others are: Restorative, Responsibility, Deliberative. I spoke with a Strengths “coach” a few weeks ago about how to better utilize my strengths and how they work together. It was very helpful. We use Strengths as the basis for my student leadership program with the college students I work with. It’s certainly a great tool and I’m glad you included it in the series!

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      i think the communication one helps the blogging quite a bit, right? :)

  • Reply Sarah April 9, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Hayley, I also love StrengthsFinder! I share two of your strengths! When I took this test in college, my strengths were COMMUNICATION, WOO (Winning Others Over), ACTIVATOR, FUTURISTIC and POSITIVITY.

    It’s been four years since I took this . . . although I still think they’re so true to me, I wonder how often our strengths change or shift. Would be so interested to hear your thoughts on this!

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      can’t wait to read all about your strengths! i think they are all so interesting–even if when i’m ready some of them i’m envious. :) ha!

  • Reply 17 Perth April 9, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I will be buying this soon! Can’t wait to take the test and see where I fall. I recently quit my job as a teacher (it was not my calling) after 8 years so yes, I can totally relate to feeling something being amiss…..and trying to determine what’s next. Thanks for this suggestion.

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      i think it’s really worth the 15 dollars…it provided a whole lot of insight for me, both as a person and as a leader/businesswoman.

  • Reply Laura April 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I love strengths! We use this quite a bit where I work. Mine are responsibility, belief, intellection, strategic, and input.

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      pulling out the book right now to read up on you, laura. ;) you work at a university, don’t you? i hear that the book is used at schools a ton.

      • Reply Laura April 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm

        I’ve taken the test a few times. The first three always stay the same- the last two have changed a few times.

        Yes, I work at a university and we use it a lot with our students! It really helps our RA staffs learn more about one another and how to utilize their strengths to contribute to the team.

  • Reply Jessica Sliman April 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I love books like this…but haven’t read this one. I’m going to check it out soon! Thanks for the recommendation. Love your new pic by the way – the hair and red lipstick is totally saucy!

  • Reply Catherine Denton April 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Leading with strengths–love that concept. I talked about your book on my blog today. I’m loving it by the way and still culling my closet.
    Catherine Denton

  • Reply Cheri @ Sharing Cheri April 10, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I need to get this book because right now I’m in a rut and can’t think about what my strengths are. I do think I’m a leader in that I was just asked to be a department head in our special education department (obviously, I teach special needs kids). I must admit that at times, I lose my passion for it, but I can’t imagine doing anything else. Although, staying at home with my kiddo would be fantastic but not possible right now. Thank you for this post. I’m working on a list now to see if I can figure it out while I wait for the book.

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 10, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      look at you go! that’s amazing! yes, get the book–take the test–it’s SO helpful.

  • Reply Sarah Ronk April 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I love this test too!! Deliberative, discipline, achiever, responsibility, input …I blogged about my results here:

    Thanks for posting about this. I think I should go review my results again since I’m been in a very dry writing spell lately.

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm

      ohhhh! so interesting! i feel like ours are really different–i can’t wait to go read about you! :) i’ve had a dry couple of days, and i feel like i’m preaching to myself in this series. it’s frustrating sometimes, isn’t it?

  • Reply eileen marie April 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Were you originally in a teacher-training program in school, Hayley?

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm

      i was! :) i was an El Ed major for 2 semesters–and i am a very punctual person, generally speaking, but they did their best to make me hate it. their catchphrase was “On time is late and early is on time.” Oooph. :)

      • Reply eileen marie April 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm

        I could tell! Everything you described really resonated with me. I am a teacher & admittedly miserable, but I am hoping it’s the school, & that “a change will do me good.”. I know my mental health can’t tolerate a 6th year at my school. I think sometimes people who love children mistakenly find the cling to teach. Can’t wait to read Strengths Finder!

  • Reply eileen marie April 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    “calling” not “cling”! :)

  • Reply kathy k. April 12, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I’m a Strategic, Input, Learner, Belief, Maximizer! I actually lead the strengths program at the company that I work for! I was so excited to see that you have found this book helpful. I coach people on developing their strengths as a part of my job, and it is literally life changing for so many folks. It is counter-culture since most Americans are focused on improving weaknesses instead of focusing on strengths!!! Cool stuff!

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      ooooh! do you do phone consulting?

  • Reply Anna April 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Thank you for reminding me that I have this book sitting on my shelf! I first bought it during my previous job incarnation because I was trying to find a way to keep my job. Now I know that losing it was the best thing for me but I haven’t yet read the book and taken the test. I think I’m just afraid that I’m going to be disappointed in myself if I learn that I haven’t been playing to my strengths. At this point though it’s better to know than not to. So I’ll be reading and taking the test soon.

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      can’t wait to see what yours are! will you come back here and tell us?

      and, i’ve heard so much that losing a job was a real turning point for people’s lives. yay for your great attitude! xo.

      • Reply Anna April 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm

        I absolutely will! I look forward to seeing what comes up myself.

  • Reply Joanna @ things after the rings April 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I LOVE the Strengths Finder! I took it through my job a few months ago and the results made a lot of sense. I’m still trying to figure out how to capitalize on my strengths in my current position (that really doesn’t utilize my strengths at all) but it got me thinking a lot about what I want to do going forward.

    My strengths: Empathy, Positivity, Woo, Developer, Responsibility.

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 18, 2012 at 9:57 am

      I think sometimes I wish one of my strengths was Woo. It just sounds so stinking cute! :) I love your strengths–it really seems like a good set that will fit together just right when the time comes.

  • Reply Anna April 17, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I just took the test and I’m reporting back just like I said I would. :) My strengths: Strategic, Communication, Empathy, Adaptability, Developer. Now I get to go read about what it all means and post about it tomorrow (I hope).

    • Reply Tiny Twig April 18, 2012 at 8:17 am

      Oh! That’s so fantastic. :) Strategic and Communication are two of mine, too. Love that. I’d be interested to know what a Developer is…I’ll read about it today, too. xo.

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