Do you know your top 5 strengths?

Carla Slider 1Empowered, my friend.

How I’ve felt since taking the StrengthsFinder 2.0 online assessment.

Could you pinpoint your top 5 strengths if you had to?  

And is there anything more growth stimulating than really understanding the key talents you’re inherently good at, in your life or in your biz?

What’s more: how to apply them if you’re not already, how to overcome any drawbacks they trigger, and how to work with or influence others who have different strength themes from your own?  

That’s what this assessment promises.  And for me, it totally delivered.

Today, I get vulnerable, in the first official post of the new site, and share with you the details of my personal top 5 strengths, as well as the possible pitfalls I need to watch for within my themes.

It’s been wonderfully enriching to explore, and I hope that in sharing my insights, you’ll feel empowered to assess your own.  

The premise behind StrengthsFinder:  

We humans are happier, and much more successful, when expanding on themes in which we naturally excel and enjoy.

But so often we’re encouraged to improve our weaknesses, to the detriment of our strengths.

To cheer us along in what’s been called the “strengths revolution”, Gallup offers a FREE download of StrengthsFinder when you get your top 5 strengths!

After reading the book, and taking my own online strengths assessment, I immediately identified with my themes, and have had many an Aha! moment thinking to myself, “So THAT’s why I do what I do!”  😉  

I hope you gain the same insights if/when you decide to take your own StrengthsFinder assessment.  

Probably my biggest takeaway here was that we should expand on our weaknesses only to the degree that they are no longer holding us back.  

The rest of our efforts should be placed on the things that make our awesome strengths even more awesome, because those are what make us most successful anyway.  

The bottom line:  don’t we want to be doing things that we’re really good at?  Instead of banging our heads up against our limiting weaknesses?  And sometimes it’s just plain hard to see on our own.

Some members have even found they were surprised by their themes, which have since helped them identify hidden strengths they can now use in their favor.  

I can see why so many life and business coaches use                                       StrengthsFinder with their clients.  

But you can easily take yourself through it, and I highly recommend that you do!  

Especially since you’ve got just enough time to take your own assessment before our meeting (party!) on Monday, January 25th!  

Psssst. . . You can still attend if you don’t read the book ~ we’re a very understanding book club (party!).

We’re known for our rich discussions and uplifting energy, so you’ll walk away with deep insights and awesome energy whether you’ve read the book or not!

Best part?  It’s FREE!  Our members are leaving the meetings (parties!) with new found friendships, kin ships, and insights.  It’s like networking, but with a grand purpose of growth, inspiration, and support!

We invite you to kick off your Monday on the right book.  🙂

Now before I get all Brene Brown vulnerable with you below, and share my top 5 strengths, one last valuable take on StrengthsFinder:  

I LOVE that it’s so widely used by entrepreneurs and companies in building their teams.  

If you’re in the process of building your team, or if you know you need to begin hiring soon, StrengthsFinder even outlines the kinds of themes that would compliment your themes!

This year I’m really watching for times when I don’t feel like I’m in the flow while working.

Whatever I’m doing in those moments might be better shared with someone who enjoys and excels at those particular tasks, because then they would be in their flow.  

If everyone’s in flow, working from a place of natural strength, that means everybody’s happy!

Happy team = happy clients = happy people = happy world.  

So.  Grab your assessment (just $15 bucks ~ and they GIVE YOU the book download for free), and then let’s dish some strengths!  

*What’s REALLY cool:  StrengthsFinder gives you a personalized summary based on the answers to your assessment questions, because a certain theme for one person may manifest itself differently in another.  (Super thorough!  And I guess it would be after some 2,000,000 people were studied in order to create the assessment!)

January’s a time when we’re all setting goals and envisioning our productive year ahead.  I think this would be an excellent time to examine your strengths and give your goals their best running chance in the new year.   

So here we go. . .

WARNING:  Pause reading (and go take your test!)!  🙂

Because. . . I don’t want to influence your assessment in any way, though I must say, I don’t exactly know if it would.  🙂  

But I’m the kind of person that doesn’t want to know ANYTHING about a movie before I watch it, so just in case you’re the same way, I wanted to give you a heads up.  

(You can always come back after you’ve finished your assessment!  And I really want to hear your thoughts in the comments below when you’re done of course.)

I personally followed the book to the letter.  At about 30 pages in, it tells you to stop reading and go take your assessment.

Now I might add, that I was a little nervous to take the test!  Which, afterward, felt sort of silly, as most anxieties do after the fact, because getting the results was SO much fun and I’m now immensely grateful for the insights!

And those first 30 pages are all you need to read, actually.  The remaining pages are descriptions of all 34 possible themes.  

So if you’re looking for a quick, extremely accurate, and highly respected assessment of your own best strengths, this is definitely for you!

You’ll see at the end of this post, a place where I’ve asked you to share about YOUR top 5 strengths, and I really encourage you to start putting those babies out there if that’s right for you.  OWN them.  Continue learning about your strengths and support and share and grow along with us in the comments below.  Your insight could be someone else’s Aha!

I really can’t wait to hear your strengths!!  

Here’s my top 5, along with my interpretations as they apply to me, my life, and my biz:

Input

Is it a coincidence that the founder of a book club who’s committed to reading one personal development book a week for the rest of her life, has uncovered the strength of input?  🙂

I pretty much want to learn everything.  EVERYTHING.  

Perhaps as a fellow maven, you can relate?  🙂

Of course this doesn’t mean I remember everything I learn, but I know I love learning it.  And StrengthsFinder shared this personal bit, based on my other strengths combined with my input theme (and I really like it!):

“Others quickly notice you are genuinely interested in what they say.  The warmth of your presence can turn tense frowns into relaxed smiles.  Because of your strengths, you usually give good advice.”

As a coach, this analysis just completely lights me up inside!

What’s really fun is that my Mom has Input, too!  (On family vacations, guess which two family members were most likely to vote for a day at the museum?)  🙂

Now, the issue I admit I may have succumbed to here on more than one occasion, is the tendency with input, to take in more than you put out.  

I believe we’re all here to teach each other as well as to learn.  And I do have to remember to flick the switch back to productivity mode when I’m pouring over a new subject.  

This is where my High Performance Coaching training has made the world of difference to me, and I’m forever grateful for the lessons in productivity I’ve put into practice and can now help my clients achieve.   This should keep my input out-putting steadily so I apply my learning in a way that benefits others and strengthens my strengths.

Futuristic

One of my favorite things to envision is our world and it’s people completely healed, fulfilled, and joyful.  I see peace in every corner of the planet and multi-verse.  And, why not?!

If you told me I had to STOP envisioning the future, and think only of the past or something, I’d have to find a way to maybe time travel TO the past, so I could continue looking ahead and dreaming about the future.  🙂

StrengthsFinder tells me I’m a dreamer, and this part especially bolsters me up, because it makes me think of the role my big bro had been cast to play in our school musical.  

Dustin bounded around our house singing that beautiful Andrew Lloyd Weber score, cast as Joseph (of the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat), the ultimate dreamer of the Old Testament.

Our choral director Miss Miller cast a truly passionate dreamer to play the role.  

This connection warms my heart because I’d be honored to be in any way likened to my big bro.  To this day, the beautiful stories and outpourings of gratitude for the many ways he touched lives in our small town come in to our family, years after his passing.  He just made people feel good.

Though he passed on before he could take the stage, our dreamer truly inspired us by fiercely pursuing his passions at the age of 17.  His ability to paint the big picture and see what was possible just lit you up whenever you were around him.  

I’m so grateful for this “futuristic” connection between us and I’ll cherish it always.  (Love you, bro!)

Positivity

Obvi, if you know me, you’re perhaps not too surprised at the moment.  I’m called “positive” quite often and it really makes me super happy.  (Of course it does!)

I remember at my High Performance Coaching training in Cali, I had the blessing to roomie with my bestie-sister-soulfriend Petra from Sweden, whom I am certain possesses this strength as well, and we were instantly two peas in a pod.  

Training is awesomely intense, and my gratitude for Petra’s spirit and ever-uplifting comments and guidance could not have been greater.

Everywhere we went, I noticed Petra’s joy in being there, her appreciation for the little things, for our new friendship, for the amazing experiences we shared in becoming certified together, for the yummy food we were trying, for all the little things.  

Perhaps you’ve been around this kind of person, or you’re often told how positive you are.  

It occurred to me while there:  this must be what people are talking about when they tell me I’m so easy to please, or that I uplift them, or that they need a little “Carla juice” today.  (One of my favorites!)   

This strengths revelation made me feel GREAT!  If I make people feel even half as comfortable as Petra makes me feel, I’m truly blessed to do so!  🙂

What the book won’t tell you, is that I soooooooo have my down times.  

I spent years suffering with depression, anxiety, and all that accompanies them.   But especially since collecting the tools and techniques of High Performance to bounce back quickly, I rarely hang out long in that down place.  

A few tears when they’re inevitable, a listen to a favorite guru, or a good walk outside and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, everything’s okay!  The world is too beautiful a place to stay feeling this way!”  or, “Oh yes I CAN make these dreams come true.  Let’s keep going!”

Best part of this strength?

Positivity can absolutely be cultivated.  Every one of us can temper our brains and thoughts toward the bright side (proven neuroscientific fact!), and helping people hone this skill is one of my FAVORITE parts of coaching.  

Intellection

When I returned to the states after my study abroad in France, my junior year in college, (shout out to Grammy without whom this would not have been possible!) the souvenir I brought my little bro was a hand-carved wooden depiction of The Thinker, which I found at a beach market in the gorgeous city of Marseilles.  I just knew he would likey.

We’re ponderers in my family.  We really like thinking and puzzling and solving.  We all enjoy different variations of mental challenges, but I would not be surprised if every member of my fam wound up with this same strength in their top 5.  

StrengthsFinder explains that the upside to this, and it’s something I’ve heard often from friends and colleagues, is that it makes us introspective and reflective, a great quality for a life coach and perhaps what helps me empathize with others.  

A drawback to watch for according to StrengthsFinder, may be that I may find myself discontent with what I’m actually producing, as compared to the images I’ve crafted in my thoughts, and I admit that I may know a thing or two about this obstacle.  😉

So I’m grateful to hear this message!   We could be, and probably will be, reminded a million different ways that:

Exactly where and when and how we are, in this present moment, is precisely all there is, is always good enough, and is always right where we need to be.  

It’s one of life’s most important lessons and every time I hear this message, I think it resonates in a few more cells in my body, bringing more calm and more peace with it as I go.  

Woo

Woohoo?!  

Did you ever hear of such a thing as Woo?  I had to Google it the first time I did! 

Woo stands for winning others over.  

Now I knew I loved people.  I guess I just never pinpointed how much I enjoy making connections and relationships with people.  I suppose I’m just busy doing it.  (Hence it’s a strength ~ something you do naturally and really enjoy.)

I read through my description and thought about my friends.  I’ve always known I’m so unbelievably blessed with the most beautiful friendships.  I simply adore my dear friends.  

And I remembered flying into San Francisco for the first time for my belly dance certification, it was really dark and I remember thinking, as I looked out over all the lights in all the houses down below, “Oh, I wish I could get to know all these people.”  I think things like this a lot.  

People are so fascinating and I just love love love them.   (Yep, that’s my woo talking.)  😉  We’re all made up of the same stuff.  And yet we’re every one of us completely and utterly unique. 

StrengthsFinder says that the flip side of woo is the possible hazard of forming new connections before nurturing current ones.  Now, you would help me keep my woo in line, right my friend?  

Remind me that it’s not possible to be BFF with every single person on the planet.  (Or, is it?)  😉 I’ll be tempering myself too, but I’m counting on you to set me straight if I ever sprout some social butterfly wings and fly away.  😉

  Now I would love to hear from you:  

Have you taken StrengthsFinder?  Care to share your top 5 Strengths below and/or your reaction to them?  My woo is very curious to know and I encourage you to OWN your strengths, my friend!  

It may feel vulnerable, but do yourself your own Brene Brown and share with us your reaction if you’d like!

Do we have any similar strengths in common?  I’d love to hear about that, as well!

And/or, what other assessments have you taken or do you recommend?  Please share below as we’d love to learn from your experience!

One last pondering:  Is there any downside to labeling our strengths?  

Perhaps it could happen.  Just be sure not to let this, or any assessment, limit your infiniteness and your own belief in yourself.  

My belief in you is this:  You are limitless.  

No assessment on the planet could possibly encompass all the strengths, whether innate or hard-earned, that you possess inside of you.  

But, I feel after this experience that the unabashed empowerment that is liberated by OWNING your own strengths, far, far outweighs any dangers of the label itself.

Let me know what you think?

And above all, have fun with this!

Meanwhile, remember to mark your calendar and come on out to discuss this AMAZING read with us on Monday, Jan 25th, 6-8pm in Erie County Public Library’s H.O. Hirt Auditorium.  

Discussions will abound and our celebrity maven, Brett Allen Morgan of BAM Entertainment is eager to meet you!

Here’s what Brett’s got to say about your Strengths:

Brett 4

#PartyAtTheLibrary

#StreamUsLive

with so much love and to getting our strengths on in 2016!

~Carla

P.S. Here’s the quickest link to your online assessment.  If I only had three words for you about this experience they would be:  Do it, dude.

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