Tag Archive | strength

Discovering Your Strengths

My professional read for the month of May was Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

I was given the book as a gift, used my code to access the website, answered the questions – then BAM! I was presented with my top five strengths.

For those not familiar with the assessment, you are presented with questions and have about 20 seconds to answer. The questions keep you on your toes and the entire test takes about 30 minutes to complete. Once you receive your top strengths, you are presented with additional online resources that help put your answers into motion and how to build a stronger team in the workplace.

Pretty awesome. 

It’s almost like Mr. Tom Rath and his team knew me and my personality. I was extremely impressed with my results and their descriptions.

Here are my top 5 strengths.
Please note the quick summary appearing after each word comes from my Strengths Finder 2.0 book.

  1. Discipline (Your world needs to be ordered and planned. The routines, the timelines, the structure, all of these help create the feeling of control.)
  2. Focus (You need a clear destination. Goals serve as your compass, helping you determine priorities and make the necessary corrections to get back on course. You are efficient and become impatient with delays, obstacles and tangents.)
  3. Individualization (You are intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. You are impatient with generalization…you instinctively observe each person’s style and motivations, how each thinks, and how each builds relationships.)
  4. Positivity (You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. You inject drama into every project and you celebrate every achievement.)
  5. Significance (You want to be very significant in the eyes of other people. In the trusts sense of the word you want to be recognized. You want to be heard, you want to be known. An independent spirit, you want your work to be away of life rather than a job.)
I would say these are pretty darn close to perfect. I am someone who loves making lists and crossing things off, I hate wasting time, I try to know the true soul of every person and – I’ll be the first to admit it – opinions of those around me do matter.Overall, a pretty good representation of my strengths.What i enjoyed about this book is that it takes your strengths one step farther. It discusses “ideas for action” and  how to work with other people who have the same strengths. All of the themes are positive in some way – you cannot have a bad or “uncool” strength.Tom Rath constantly goes back to the point that we spend almost all of our life focusing on our weaknesses, both professionally and personally. He talks about teachers and parents focusing on the lowest letter grade, instead of turning their attention on a student’s HIGHEST grade – the subject the enjoy and excel. He continually hits on the point that we will be happiest when we allow.

It’s an unique and interesting concept. 

 This is in no way a perfect representation of my personality, my work-ethic, my strengths of my true character — but I will say it rings pretty close. It was exciting to take the test and see what this assessment considered my strengths. I liked reading how other individuals in the professional world, with matching strengths, went about their daily duties.
Bottom line, this book made me think. 

“You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.” – Strengths Finder 2.0
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Triumph over blogger’s writer’s block

We’ve all had it.

It stops us from writing a term paper, an essay, a long-answer or extended response. It freezes our keys and forces our computer to open up our Facebook window or look over our Twitter feed again. When it rears its ugly head we suddenly feel the need to create new boards on Pinterest.

Writer’s block.

It sneaks up from behind and freezes your mind. No matter how quickly the words seem to flow, once writer’s block strikes there seems to be no hope. The screen continues to stay white while the annoying cursor stays firmly in the same spot – words refusing to come and any hope of a sentence dying as the blue background of Facebook appears.

So – all joking aside – students, college grads and even professionals know about writer’s block. I experienced when writing my history papers and even today when I blog. It can be extremely frustrating when you plan out a specific time to write…and as soon as you put your fingers over the keys everything seems to stop. Nothing appears on the page, minutes continue to tick by, and nothing happens.

Now that we’ve discussed how writer’s block is annoying and spans to all ages – the big question arises. How do you fix it? Doesn’t matter if you’re writing a paper, essay, blog or email, writer’s block is writer’s block. How do you overcome the dam that stops all ideas from flowing from your brain to your computer or piece of paper?

After an extremely annoying attempt to blog last week where I ended up watching UP with my roomie and wasting time on Pinterest because I could think of nothing to write.

Nothing.

I had  drafted a blog about respect earlier that day and even though I had ideas in my head…

… nothing would appear on my computer. I wanted to throw the entire thing across the room and scream. I had purposely planned a good two hours to write, edit and post and I could time ticking away. It seemed like the entire evening was a waste and I would still need to blog in the next few days. I was wasting time and crossing nothing off my to-do list.

And what is a great way to deal with stress and grab some great advice? Twitter. I tweeted about my situation and asked if anyone knew of a way to overcome writer’s block. Guess what? Found some wonderful ideas from Thomas J. Armitage, Molly Osmon and Abbey Lape. While their advice differed slightly, it all included walking away from the computer for a bit and returning with a fresh outlook.

Thomas recommended music, Molly suggested a short break away from writing and Abbey thought I should try “purge writing”.  Music erases any stress you may be holding from other situations and walking away from a computer screen allows you to take the much-needed breath and refresh your mind. I love going for a run or going to the nearest coffee shop to write. Fresh air and a change of scenery is sometimes all you need. While Thomas and Molly’s ideas helped me overcome writer’s block for my blog post, Abbey’s idea helped me think of new blog posts for the future.

Purge writing.

Simply write. Start with a small, easy idea –  just your name and age –  and see where your brain takes you. It’s a great idea to shake away the cobwebs and see what is really on your mind. For example:

  • My name is Jessica Reynolds. I am 22 and will soon be leaving Orlando to return to Ohio for a job. I am nervous about beginning a new chapter in my life. I am excited about returning to the city I love and seeing all of my friends. one of my strengths is my passion for everything I do – a weakness is the pressure to be perfect. In Columbus I am excited to eat in the Short North, visit downtown and see the city as a professional. I think people create their own happiness and need to focus more on respect.

See? It’s a very easy writing lesson, but allows possible blog ideas to appear. From the simple paragraph above I could now write a post about growing up, leaving my family in Orlando, job interviews & skills, nightlife in Columbus and more.

Next time you’re not sure what to blog about or even where to start writing an essay – try purge writing. Don’t think, just keep your fingers moving. At the end look at what you have and allow your conclusions and ideas to jump out.

Writer’s block doesn’t stop writers, it simply makes us write better.