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Focus and capitalize on your strengths. Do what you do well and let other people do what they do well. Besides having a clear understanding of who you are, having a deep understanding of your strengths is the first step in becoming more effective both professionally and personally.

I recently bought two books to help me home in on my strengths to become more effective in the things I do: Strengths Finder 2.0 and Strength Based Leadership, both authored by Tom Rath. Both books come with a code granting you access to the Clifton StrenghtsFinder Assessment. Based on over thirty years of research, this assessment helps you discover your strengths and provides an action plan on how to best utilize them. At the end, the also provide a personalized Strengths Guide and Strengths Report. I’ll attach my guide and report to the end of this post.

According to the assessment my top five Clifton StrengthsFinder themes are below. Feel free to read through them and tell me if you think they are an accurate reflection or not.

Maximizer

Chances are good that you take full advantage of your talents. This is how you move toward your goals. Instinctively, you realize you can determine what distinguishes each person from every other human being. Routinely, you use these insights to energize and inspire individuals to do what needs to be done. You honor the special, the wondrous, and the rare qualities of people. You intentionally position them to attain ever higher levels of excellence. It’s very likely that you rely on your ability to help people find links to each other. With your involvement, it is much more likely that common ground or mutual understanding among people will be discovered. You have a gift for closing the gaps that separate human beings from one another. By nature, you customarily figure out what makes each person special. You talk to, observe, or study individuals who produce nothing less than excellence to identify what inspires them. Unquestionably, you prefer to associate with those who share your passion for taking something good and making it better. Once you understand what drives a person, you can motivate him or her to transform whatever was made better into something utterly superb. Because of your strengths, you naturally enjoy beginning discussions with newcomers or outsiders. These private exchanges typically provide insights into the special talents, sources of inspiration, or other traits of each individual.

Individualization

It’s very likely that you are keenly aware of people’s unique traits. You notice characteristics that distinguish each person from everyone else. Because of your strengths, you enjoy working and studying with people whose backgrounds, cultures, talents, or experiences are quite different from one another. You usually are the one who determines how each individual can contribute to the group. Driven by your talents, you enhance your own quality of life each time you reach out to someone in need of assistance. Instinctively, you enjoy being busy, especially when you can assist someone in need. You are likely to be a good partner at home, in the workplace, at school, or in the community. You tend to do more than is expected of you. Why? You probably worry about wasting time. This explains your habits of volunteering for projects and asking for extra duties. Chances are good that you occasionally observe members of your group to identify what makes each one unique or special. Perhaps you study a person’s talents, quirks, motivations, or idiosyncrasies. Occasionally you can pinpoint someone’s preferred way of thinking, working, or relating to people.

Intellection

It’s very likely that you characteristically read books, periodicals, documents, correspondence, or Internet sites. You are willing to be mentally stimulated by thought- provoking ideas, information, data, predictions, insights, characters, or plots. Chances are good that you sometimes investigate topics or explore issues to become more knowledgeable.

Through ongoing practice, you may acquire additional skills or perfect specific techniques. Maybe few things please you as much as having mastered a subject that interests you. Because of your strengths, you move in and out of thought-provoking conversations with grace. You delve deeply into topics and explore the frontiers of ideas. The animated give-and- take you most enjoy often occurs in the company of thinkers. You tend to be happier when you meet people who share your need to talk about theories and concepts. You tend to be less engaged with those who are overly concerned with gossip or purely practical matters. Instinctively, you absorb all sorts of information from books, publications, or other written materials. You display a voracious — that is, never fully satisfied — appetite for knowledge. You devour the written word to savor useful facts. For you, a great day is one during which you have added new insights to your mind’s storehouse of ideas. Driven by your talents, you combine your fascination for reading with your ability to figure out what sets individuals apart from everyone else. You are likely to discover things that interest someone. Then you read more about those topics. You aim to collect insights that can inspire the person to take advantage of his or her one-of-a-kind talents, knowledge, and/or skills.

Futuristic

It’s very likely that you invest considerable time creating the future of your own choosing. You frequently share your ideas about what will be possible in the coming months, years, and decades. You probably capture people’s attention whenever you describe in vivid detail what you imagine. Instinctively, you may channel some of your mental and physical energies toward what you might accomplish in the coming months, years, or decades. Sometimes you may ask yourself, “How far into the future can I think before some of my ideas start becoming vague or uninspiring?” By nature, you are a visionary thinker. Your vivid mental images of the coming months, years, or decades often impel you to move into action. Chances are good that you occasionally work seriously at something when you have defined the specific objective you want to reach in the near term or the long term. Remember, your other talents might influence how far into the future you can push certain goals and still give them your undivided attention. Driven by your talents, you sometimes envision mental pictures of what you want your world or yourself to look like weeks, months, years, or decades from now.

Input

Chances are good that you link your passion for reading to your work. Characteristically the printed materials and Internet sites you scan for information expand your knowledge base as a professional. Your definition of “recreational reading” probably differs from that of many people. By nature, you usually give good advice. Often people’s questions dictate your choice of reading materials. Whether you are studying something for the first time or revisiting a topic to refresh your memory, you enjoy reading. Making discoveries that can help others brings you much joy. Because of your strengths, you are determined to push for changes that will benefit humankind or Earth itself. Your desire to have an impact motivates you to enter into conversations with intelligent people. Drawing on their wealth of knowledge and ideas as well as sharing your treasure trove of wisdom is exciting. These discussions frequently cause you to think in new ways and to reexamine your purpose in life. Instinctively, you eagerly welcome opportunities to think out loud about ideas, theories, or philosophies. You derive pleasure from conversations that force you to ponder matters that exist only in the realm of thought, not in reality. Driven by your talents, you read to acquire new information or to collect insights about unique discoveries, events, or people. Characteristically you conduct an in-depth examination of a subject. Your curiosity is not easily satisfied. Frequently you rely on books, publications, or printed materials to deepen your understanding of the topic.


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