Sunday, October 24, 2010

Soaking It In

It is kind of odd, but I am feeling quite content right now. Things are a bit crazy with the upcoming job uncertainty, but I am enjoying things. Work has seemed a bit slow for me lately, but I have established why.

Recently the team that I work with ended up getting this book where you to take a test online to see what you strengths are. Not wanting to be left out as a lowly contractor, I bought the book for myself as a birthday present (with Wifey's permission). After reading the short introduction to the book (about 20 pages that took me all of 10 minutes to read), I found myself skeptically getting ready to take an online test. What worried me most about the test is that I only had 20 seconds to answer the questions. I am one who likes to think things through, so after mentally biting my nails down to nubs, I pushed the "Start test" button.

I was glad that I didn't exceed the time limit on any of the questions. But I was even more glad that I was able to find a test that took me less than a half an hour that told me a lot about myself. Because I overthink these things, I tend to get scattered results on personality tests. I start to answer a question, but then I change the scenario in my head, and then start weighing which of these two scenarios come up most in my life, but then a third scenario comes along...

Well, you get the picture.

But this book pegged me to a "T." I was pleased to find out my top five strengths, and they seemed very valid to me. While these strengths might not be the most glamorous of strengths, I found it useful information to have. It helped me to understand better how I work, and why I enjoy some tasks while I loathe other tasks. Wifey was reading a book while I was taking most of the test, but the few that she did see, she told me afterward that she would have chosen the exact opposite of what I chose. I must be Type B (when we were dating, she told me that she had dated one type of guy. Then she told me that I was Type B. She was right.).

One of my strengths that I was happy to find was that I was a learner. I have always known that I loved learning, but I had never seen that as a strength. But it does explain why I had such a hard time picking a major in college. I went through ten majors, and I wondered why none of them kept my interest. Now I realize it is because I had learned a bit about the subject, and after I had become semi-fluent in the new language, I became disenchanted. It wasn't because I wasn't competent, but that I just lost interest.

Looking back, I probably just should have picked something and stuck with it. But I thought that there was something intrinsically wrong with me. If I frame it as a strength, it makes me feel much better.

As you might have guessed already from my synopsis of previous personality tests, my strongest strength was being deliberate. I had never seen that as a strength, but I guess that being methodical is a good thing. And the way that the book explains it really makes sense to me.

Now that I know this stuff about myself, I am more likely to look on it with a fresh perspective. Instead of saying, "Man, I am dumb for being this way," I can now look on things I do and say, "I'm glad I'm this way. It makes me unique."

One thing that really stuck out to me in the book was the fact that we often spend our time looking to see our weaknesses and trying to improve them. While there is something to be said about that, there is also something to be said about spending your time where you would really shine. I know that I am not going to enjoy being an accountant, so why would I spend time looking into accountancy skills? Instead, I can use the skills I have to better my situation or reframe it.

So, in the mean time, I am going to start taking a different approach to life. I am going to start trying to find ways that I can use my strengths to fix problems instead of ways to improve my weaknesses to fix problems. Soak in the good, and leave the bad out.

Now, to find a job that will let me do that...


Anonymous said...

What did the test identify as your strengths? Maybe I can help you think of a job that fits the bill. :)

Johnny said...

My top five strengths are deliberative (meaning that I think of plan b, and c, and d, and e...), adaptability, relator (meaning that I am loyal to the people that I already know who have done well in my eyes), learner, and intellection (meaning I like to think things through).

A job where I can use these skills would be welcome. :D