As Shakespeare said, “To Thine Own Self Be True.” But what if you’re not clear about who you really are? What if you don’t know what you want to do with your life? How do you really get to know yourself? In this series of posts I’ll show you some great tools for discovering who you are. Knowing who you are is a necessary starting point for finding a purpose that aligns with your true self.
Living your life’s purpose invariably includes knowing and applying your strengths. According to Gallup studies, “people who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.”
You know what you’re good at, generally speaking, but you probably also overlook some strengths and just figure “everyone can do that.” Or maybe you have a less-than-accurate idea of what your real strengths are. Maybe someone praised your quick-thinking once, and you’re sure that must be the answer. What if, in reality, one of your biggest assets is your planning ability? How can you get an objective answer to this question?
One tool that can help identify your strengths is the Clifton Strengths Finder Assessment from The Gallup Organization. It’s been completed by more than two million individuals and is available through the books, StrengthsFinder 2.0 and Now, Discover Your Strengths, both authored by Tom Rath. The assessment identifies patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior – ones that can be strengths because they have productive applications. The patterns are categorized into 34 broad themes — such as Achiever, Ideation, and Relator — and those themes indicate and predict your innate and unique talents.
“What great leaders have in common is that each truly knows his or her strengths – and can call on the right strength at the right time.” ~ Tom Rath
Those talents, when multiplied by the investment of time spent practicing, developing skills, and building knowledge, can become strengths. According to Strengths Finder, talents are your natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving. Investment is your time spent practicing or developing your skills. And finally, a strength is the ability to consistently provide top-level performance.
Talent x Investment = Strength
From your responses on the assessment, you receive five themes of your talent. These themes are insights into your strengths. For example, mine are Activator, Individualization, Connectedness, Relator, Achiever. A list of specific “Ideas for Action” is provided for each theme, intended to bring clarity and purpose to your life and career.
How StrengthsFinder Will Help You Discover Your Life Purpose
No assessment is going to provide you with immediate clarity and sense of purpose. However, assessments like StrengthsFinder will provide you with lots of little insights – insights that evolve into clarity and understanding in an ongoing process. StrengthsFinder is just one tool in this process.
“Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong…And yet, a person can perform only from strength.” ~Peter Drucker
The better you understand yourself, your personal values, strengths, weaknesses, and preferences, the more likely you will be to uncover your life purpose. The StrengthsFinder assessment does a good job of identifying primary strengths. If you get stuck or have trouble understanding your StrengthsFinder results or how to apply them to your life,working with a coach may also help.
Plus One More:
Astrological Chart Career Assessment
I also want to share a slightly unorthodox type of assessment — the Astrological Chart Career Assessment. It’s a detailed, career-focused reading of your astrological chart based on the exact time, date, and location where you were born. While this one may seem a bit “out there” for some, I found it to be extremely insightful and reaffirming. In completing my astrological assessment, I worked with Aubrie de Clerk, an astrologer and career coach at Coaching for Clarity but I know others provide this service as well.
According to Aubrie, “there are planets & points in the chart that represent parts of ourselves. They are keys and reflections of how we think, feel and behave. They hold clues to our path in life.” Some examples of this are:
- Sun – what lights us up, what makes us happy, how we get energy
- Moon – how we feel, how we feel secure
- Rising Sign – how we meet the world, what others see
- Mercury – how we communicate and learn
Based on a review of my chart, Aubrie was not at all surprised that I had a personal development blog, and that I worked in the coaching and healthcare arenas. More importantly, she was able to provide insight into how I could address some of my work challenges, and also provided context and understanding regarding my focus on work and career.
Now It’s Your Turn
What do you think? Have you taken the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment? Share your scores below, and let us know how understanding your personality pattern might help in your life and business.