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Living my strengths, whatever they are

August 31, 2009

A couple of months ago I ran across a recommendation for a book called Living Your Strengths by Albert L. Winseman, Donald O. Clifton, and Curt Liesveld.  The recommendation was in a blog and the person writing said their whole church, staff included, was reading this book and doing the questionnaire.  The idea is that you make a lot more progress by maximizing the strengths of folks instead of trying to constantly fix weaknesses. You have to have a code from the book to do the questionnaire/test, and there’s only one code given per book.  That gave me some anxiety, to be honest.  That meant I got one shot to do the test.  I could not be interrupted as it is timed with 20 seconds available for each question.  I could not be having a day that would influence me to think outside my normal patterns of thinking.  It pretty much paralyzed me with performance anxiety, so I just kept pushing it down the stack of things to read and do.

This morning I broke down and did the questionaire, and subsequently received the results.  I guess there are something like 34 categories, and they tell you your top five in order of how strongly your responses registered.

These are mine, with my very short summary of the little paragraph they give to describe each one:

1. Connectedness
-I deal with the Big Picture and I believe everything is connected and everything happens for a reason. Faith is a big deal for me.

2. Input
-I love shoving stuff into my head just for the sake of having more stuff in my head. I’m an info-collector.

3. Responsibility
-I have a near obsession for doing things right and I have strong and demanding ethics.

4. Maximizer
-I’m fanatical about excellence and don’t like dealing in mediocrity. I strive to maximize strengths.

5. Relator
-I derive strength and pleasure from close, authentic, intimate relationships that go progressively deeper. I prefer a strong circle to a big circle.

I don’t know if these are entirely accurate, but they all definitely fit to some degree.  Some are my standard but not always my reality (Maximizer and Responsibility).  Some are my reality to the point that it causes a heck of a lot of grief (Relator).

I don’t yet know what this has to do with anything.  I’m still chewing on the idea of dreaming, and realizing that I’m frequently stopped by the fact that I have holes in my strengths and there’s nobody partnering with me who operates in strength in those areas.  For example, note that I have a lack of organizational, administrative, competitive bossiness.  I might know what needs to be done (because I can analyze the fool out of nigh anything), but I don’t know how to actually turn knowing what needs to be done into getting it done.  I multitask miserably…God wired me to focus intensely on one thing at a time.  I begin to dare to dream, and I hit walls in building the structure that actually makes a place for my dreams.  Maybe this book will give me some further revelation.  Or maybe it will just tell me what I already know.  If so, it’s good that “Input” is so high on my list.

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