Taking A Strengths Inventory

“If you don’t know where you are, a map won’t help …”

– Watts H. Humphrey.

Over the past couple of weeks I have done a fair amount of reading, and online research trying to put together thoughts for The Career Forge.   One of the resources I found useful was a book entitled “Who’s Running Your Career” by Caela Farren, Ph. D.  I found chapter four particularly interesting.  The chapter is entitled, “Learn to Live Your Passion”, and it walks through taking a personal inventory in an effort to better understand yourself.

The chapter starts by defining Dharma as the ultimate law of things–their essential nature.  The book notes that in order to answer the question “Who are you?” you need to discover your essential nature.  An important part of self-discovery is to figure out what your strengths are–what are you good at doing?  This is a bit counter to what most of us are used to at work.  The unfortunate truth is that most managers and business still focus on trying to fix employees weaknesses.  However, as Dr. Farren, and other noteworthy experts such as Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton have found, the more a person can relate their work to their talents and strengths, the more successful, productive, and happy they will be.

So, take an inventory your strengths and get started on the road to a happier, more successful work-life!

Call To Action:

  1. Make a list of what you believe your talents and strengths are. Remember, talents and strengths are action-oriented things you are naturally good at rather than simply things about which you have a lot of information or experience.  After you have made your list, ask three or four friends or family members what they believe your strongest skills are and what they value about you.  Compare the lists.  Where they overlap, are your most obvious strengths.  Where they are different, consider the differences.  Are the differences because you don’t get to demonstrate that talent very often?  Are the differences because you and your family and friends have a different view about your skill level?  If the perspective is different, discuss with your loved ones why they didn’t include your self-identified strengths.  Please have this discussion with a spirit of humility and willingness to learn.  If you do, you will have the opportunity to learn a great deal about how others view you and your talents.
  2. List three or four traits you would use to describe yourself.  If you would like an example list you can look at my personality traits list (taken from several sources), or you can use this huge list.  Have three or four friends or family members create a similar list of traits they would use to describe you.  Again, compare the lists.  Where are they the same?  Where are they different?  What might the differences teach you?

Read to Lead:

  1. As I noted above, I found a great deal of useful information in “Who’s Running Your Career?  Creating Stable Work In Unstable Times“, by Caela Farren, Ph.D.  Unfortunately, it looks like neither Amazon nor Barnes and Noble are actively selling this book.  Fortunately, you may be able to find it new or used through one of Amazon’s partners.  Alternately, you may be able to find a copy at your local library.  In the book, Dr. Farren discusses how to analyze a profession or industry for longevity and how to better prepare yourself for a successful career.  Throughout the book she gives sound advice for individuals just starting their career journey, those in transition, and others who might be well along.  If you can find this book, I highly recommend it.
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