During my college years — a time when everyone was trying to “find” themselves — an online assessment gained huge popularity among my friends and the organizations I was a part of. The quiz, StrengthsFinder, was developed by a team of scientists and positive psychologists to help people uncover and develop their natural talents. I’ve taken the assessment several times over the past few years and find value in my results every damn time.
You may feel like you already have a grasp of what you’re good at, but StrengthsFinder offers something special: 1) validation (like, hey, you really are kickass at that thing you always kinda sorta thought you were great at!), and 2) suggestions for how to maximize your strengths so that you can operate at your full potential.
Read on to learn more about the test (it’s pretty interesting/fun…like taking a personality quiz in a magazine…except developed by scientists and 1000 times awesome-er) and what my own strengths are. Giggity. (By the way, This isn’t sponsored; I just think StrengthsFinder is pretty rad and figured you might, too!).
The basic philosophy behind StrengthsFinder is that everyone has natural talents and that we’ll get the farthest in life if we focus on elevating our personal strengths, rather than trying to balance out our weaknesses. StrengthsFinder lists 34 potential strengths, and after taking the assessment, you’ll get to see and learn about your top five with in-depth information and suggestions for using your strengths in your life and work.
The assessment consists of almost 200 questions, like the ones you see below, and takes about 30 minutes to complete. The questions themselves are often pretty interesting and get you thinking about what’s important to you and what you do well.
I recently took the test myself, discovering that my top strengths are “Empathy, Maximizer, Ideation, Relator, and Individualization.” Summed up quickly, this means that I love building relationships with and understanding other people — including what makes them unique. I’m also constantly striving for excellence, and fascinated by ideas.
It’s interesting to see what these strengths reveal about my life and business. For example, the downside of the “Relator” strength — which means that I love building closeness with other people — is that I can feel anxious or depressed if I haven’t heard from a good friend in awhile. Thinking about all of my top strengths helps me to understand which values are most important in my life and how I can better integrate them into everything I do.
Why should you take StrengthsFinder?
- It validates who you are. Rather than berating you for your weaknesses, StrengthsFinder recognizes the things you’re already awesome at, thereby motivating you to improve your strengths even more. Plus, whenever I read the lengthy descriptions of my strengths, I nod my head the whole time and think, “that’s so me!” It feels good to be known, doesn’t it?
- It’s excellent for teams. StrengthsFinder allows you to see what you and your team-mates are good at so that you can delegate work appropriately. It also helps team members see from each other’s perspectives, allowing everyone to understand what’s important to their peers and how they operate.
- It provides tons of suggestions for using your strengths in your life and business. It even includes an Action Planner to help you utilize your strengths in the coming months and year.
The test costs about $15 to take and comes with a book that explains everything you’d want to know about your strengths, including hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths. You can buy a copy of the book (which comes with a code to take the test) here. If you’re a business owner, you might be interested in the “Entrepreneurial Strengths” version. I haven’t tried that one yet, but it certainly sounds intriguing!