How You Can Know What You're Good At

Do you ever end a conversation feeling confused and misunderstood?

The other day, I expressed an opposing viewpoint to challenge someone's assumption. When it was clear further discussion wouldn't bring about understanding, I exited the conversation, first taking a moment to validate the other person's strong feelings.

Imagine my surprise when the person in question said I was being "politically correct" by validating their feelings.

For days, I've been trying to figure out a) Why they would say that, and b) Why it bothered me.

The StrengthsFinder

I don't yet know the answer to the first question. But then, I remembered taking the StrengthsFinder talent assessment during undergrad, and now the second makes total sense. I was bothered because the friend's comment was just flat-out wrong. I wasn't being PC; I was being me.

Below are my top five strengths. I also like to think of them as values. I might not necessarily be on my A-game in every one of the categories, but they are words that describe my underpinnings.

These are quoted directly from the quiz summary page that I got when I took the quiz that came with the book. The words are not ranked in any particular order.
Harmony: People especially talented in the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don't enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement.
Empathy: People especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others' lives or others' situations.
Adaptability: People especially talented in the Adaptability theme prefer to "go with the flow." They tend to be "now" people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.
Input: People especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often, they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
Intellection: People especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions. 
What I love about StrengthsQuest is that it's a curriculum that urges students to target their strengths and develop them, rather than constantly trying to compensate for areas of weakness.

For some things in life -- exercise, for one -- focusing exclusively on your areas of strength probably is not a good idea. Weak muscles need training.

But for the brain and the personality, it makes sense to develop areas of natural giftedness and to work in professional settings that allow you to use your talents, rather than those that constantly require you to do things you're not good at.

When it comes to interpersonal relationships such as the one mentioned above, knowing who you are is invaluable. You can't change someone else, but you can know yourself.

Do you want to know more?

If you'd like to take the quiz, you can either buy the book that comes with the quiz on a CD, or you can take a less comprehensive free version of the quiz.

Share your story

If you've ever had that "aha" moment when an interpersonal interaction or further education helps you better understand yourself, I'd love to hear about it. You can leave a comment below, or send me a private message at my Facebook Community page. I won't share your story unless you want me to.

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Kim Schoetzow said...

I also fall back on my Strengths values when facing an interpersonal conflict like this. Recently taking the DISC assessment has helped shed more light too. For me, those moments of clarity happen most in my personal rather than professional relationships.

Rachel E. Watson said...

Thanks for your comment, Kim. That is interesting about gaining more insight "at home" than at work. I find myself learning a lot in both settings; however, I learn the most by writing my thoughts down and reading stimulating or inspiring books/blogs/articles.