My Top 5 Themes

Continuing with the theme of “best self,” I’ve thought of other traits I possess that can help me be successful, provided I get in the right environment and headspace.

The CliftonStrengths Assessment (formerly StrengthsFinder) is an “assessment [that] measures your talents — your natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving — and categorizes them into the 34 CliftonStrengths themes” (Gallup, 2021). I first took the test over 10 years ago, and it impressed me. It made me aware of my strengths that I didn’t even realize. In fact, it showed me all of the ways that I was going against the grain. Most of us gravitate towards specific behavioral patterns. When we’re in the right environment, those patterns and tendencies can help us be successful. They are our strengths. But if we’re in a different environment that doesn’t allow us to do our best, we will struggle. Eventually, we’ll get exhausted from the uphill battle.

This is not to say that your strengths make everything easy, but they allow you to do things better than other people. Your strengths are things that you both do well AND enjoy doing. There are some things that I’m good at it, but I don’t like them. To do them requires a lot of effort, and it feels laborious. At least when I’m in my “zone of genius,” the challenge is fun and not taxing.

My top 5 themes are Restorative, Futuristic, Deliberative, Connectedness, and Intellection. 4 of the 5 were also top themes when I first took the test. Restorative people like to solve problems. Futuristic people are inspired by the future and what it can be. Deliberative folks take lots of care in making decisions. Those of us with high levels of Connectedness don’t believe in coincidences; we believe almost every event has meaning. And Intellection speaks to my proclivity towards introspection and intellectual discussions.

The idea is that you unpack these themes, find environments that help them grow, and develop a game plan to help mitigate weaknesses. The thought has crossed my mind to elaborate on these strengths more to help me get a better sense of who I am.

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