Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham emphasizes strengths instead of weaknesses. Good idea. The real value I found in the book was the 34 strengths they listed and finding the 6 that fit me. According to Marcus, 5 is the number I should have, but I actually feel good with 6 of the descriptions.
The book focuses hard on selling you the ‘strengthsfinder’ test, which I’m sure would be awesome if we were millionaires with cash to burn. I’m not. So instead, I figured it out myself. You may find value in the process I followed.
Here is a pdf with all 34 strength descriptions if you don’t have the book.
These descriptions are missing quotes from people who are also strong in each theme, which is middling helpful. If you’re interested in those, see if the book is at your local library. The book, which targets managers, also has a section about managing the strengths of others. I used these management techniques to further pare down my list. It gave me insight into what I would like a manager to do with me. Again see the book if you think this may help.
- I read through all the theme summaries, found here, and marked which ones seemed to fit generally.
- I read through all the themes in the book and compared that to the summaries I had marked.
- I went through them all a third time and rated the ONLY one’s I thought fit. I rated between 0 and 3, 3 being very relate-able and 0 meaning it only sort of applied. After this I was a bit stuck and thought about these ratings and the strengths for a few days(I noticed them in some of my actions)
- After a few days I pared the list down further, however, this still left me with about 10 themes, and only a few that I knew definitely applied to me.
- Feeling frustrated that I didn’t fit exactly in certain themes, I decided to take each description(all 34) and write down the specific phrases that resonated with me. This got me to identify why I related to certain themes but couldn’t commit to ‘owning’ it.
- Last, I looked over the phrases. I could see certain phrases, while originating from a specific strength description, were the product of a few other, more relate-able, strengths. For example, I’ve always considered myself analytical, but the summary wasn’t fitting. I realized it was because of Intellection, which fits me better, and still explains my probing mind. This was how I rounded out my final 6.
If I had to do it over again, I would do 5 and 6 and skip the rest. It was much more effective to write down the phrases that applied to me and see how they fit the themes. Why pay $20 when you can figure this out for yourself with a little time and some introspection.
So what are my strengths? Here are my 6 in order:
What are your 5 strengths?