Let’s talk about Strengths, baby…

We spend sooo much of our life focusing on how we need to improve, what we can do better, or how someone else is better than us. Usually when we are looking at someone else’s life, it’s not even a fair comparison…no one else has your life except you. For example, looking at a 6 ft. tall blonde model’s page on Instagram and wondering why I can’t look more like her is just ridiculous…but we all do it. Have you ever seriously stopped to think about what you’re good at, and how you can take these traits to the next level in order to succeed? Maybe someone wants to be more like YOU. We all have different strengths, none better than the other. How boring life would be if we were all the same.


Next week, I’m helping to lead a StrengthsFinder training for my team at work and I’m seriously looking forward to it. Is that so dorky? We get to hear positive reinforcement for a whole afternoon! I actually like applying these types of “assignments” to get better instead of making them another box to check off the long list of daily tasks…or maybe I just like talking about what I’m good at… 🙂
The book this is based on, Strengths Finder 2.0, by Tom Rath, comes with a code that allows you to discover your top 5 strengths (out of a list of 34) based on a series of behavioral questions. I first took this test a couple of years ago on my own, and again this past July for a leadership training. I’ve actually taken both the StrengthsFinder 2.0 & the Strengths Based Leadership test by the same author, but they have the same 34 strengths. The results are creepily accurate and they really didn’t change much at all over time. “People don’t change!”

SF books

Step One – Learn what your Strengths are and the characteristics of each. I’ll go through my top 5 strengths quickly, so you can get an idea of how it works and get some examples:


“Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, you cannot not act.”

If you feel like this you may be an activator as well. I rarely have a plan in place for how I am going to get something done, but once I get something in my mind I have to do it right then – I can’t stop thinking about it until I take a step towards making it happen. This is everything from a food craving to accepting a relocation assignment across the country without even knowing which state it was on the US map (I wish I were joking) to daily process improvements on the job. I will think about, or see the end goal and literally just start “doing” until it is done. I have very little patience for the details, evaluation, or analytical discussion. Just get me to the damn cookie…now. 🍪

the garden state


“Strengths, whether yours or someone else’s fascinate you. And having found a strength, you feel compelled to nurture it, refine it, and stretch it toward excellence.”

This statement right here explains exactly why I am obsessed with this topic. I can’t wait for my team to discover their strengths and be able to apply. Watching people succeed is cool, ya’ll. I don’t like talking about what I’m bad at, I take it too personal and get borderline defensive. This also explains why I’m always giving people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes to a fault, instead of dwelling on what they need to fix. You won’t find me being too harsh on anyone unless they’re on like try #3.


“When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, if you can compete, you can win.”


Being competitive is pretty self explanatory. I feel like you either like to compete with others, or you shy away from it completely and feel absolutely no satisfaction in doing so. My friend Lauren once told me during a bootcamp class that I’m the most competitive person she knows, which for some reason, I will never forget. I totally thought this was an inner trait that I did a good job of hiding, but I guess when you wanna win, you wanna win. I remember in high school, my principal cancelled the most important dance competition of the season due to a snow storm and I slammed my bedroom door out of anger so hard you would’ve thought the house was going to fall down. I had already done my makeup and we were supposed to beat our biggest rivals that day. God, I was such a jerk back then…my poor, poor parents. Needless to say, you can tell that this strength did not come as a surprise.


“You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you.”

#TRUTH – I feel like this explains why I spend so much time talking about the future and making sure that decisions made today will be beneficial to the future as well. I have a hard time living in the moment, but am able to see down the long windy road ahead of me, even when it’s a bit foggy. I don’t get hung up in the details of the moment but rather am able to see the “grandness” (is that a word?) and opportunities in the big picture.


“People are drawn toward those who take a stance and ask them to move in a certain direction. Therefore, people will be drawn to you. You have presence.”

Now this word – Command – just sounds scary to me…I promise I’m not going around shouting orders all day. Command is more like you are okay with confrontation and talking about difficult issues in order to get resolution. Once I have an opinion I need to share it with someone else or talk about it — I gotta be careful with that one. Yikes.
Step Two – Identify and learn the characteristics of others’ strengths. Have your team take the test. While it’s beneficial to learn and study your own strengths, it’s pointless to only learn about yourself if you don’t know how to work with others.  The other 29 strengths are:
  • Achiever
  • Adaptability
  • Analytical
  • Arranger
  • Belief
  • Communication
  • Connectedness
  • Consistency
  • Context
  • Deliberative
  • Developer
  • Discipline
  • Empathy
  • Focus
  • Harmony
  • Ideation
  • Includer
  • Individualization
  • Input
  • Intellection
  • Learner
  • Positivity
  • Relator
  • Responsibility
  • Restorative
  • Self-Assurance
  • Significance
  • Strategic
  • Woo
When I was listing out those strengths I just caught myself thinking, “If only I were a bit more consistent, responsible, or intellectual…” haha, but just because something doesn’t fall in your top 5 doesn’t mean you have zero of that trait in your arsenal.
Step Three – Keep this ‘ish in front of you. The book gives action items you can apply right away against each trait and how to work with others with strengths outside of yours. Reading once and then forgetting about it doesn’t really count. Post your strengths on your beautiful cubicle wall that you stare at all day, so you can remember what you’re good at. Put your employees strengths in their personnel file, maybe on something you open often.


I know a lot of my friends & co-workers (some shown above) have taken this test — what are your strengths? I genuinely want to know! Make sure you are actually clicked into this post (click on the top photo or access from the “Career” drop down and not just on the homepage in order to leave a comment.) If you haven’t taken it, I hope I convinced you to try it out! You could even do this with your SO or friends, outside of work.
I’m still trying to work out all the nuances of running a site like this. Yes, I’m using some older pics I’ve taken for now but plan to have some new images to use shortly. If you have any suggestions or words of encouragement, open to hearing those as well! Follow me for notifications on the latest posts (shameless plug).
Thanks for visiting💕

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