By Cynthia Simmons
One of the gifts of not working has been time to explore and to re-evaluate myself, to find out more about what sort of a person I am. A particularly important tool for me has been the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath and the accompanying 30-minute online test.
The book and the test are widely known. The first time I saw the book was in the University of Chicago downtown bookstore in the heart of Chicago, adjacent to the Tribune Towers building that houses the Chicago Tribune newspaper. I was taking classes there for an editing certificate, and I made it a point to look around in the Gleacher Center bookstore from time to time. I saw the small book with the red and white dustcover and I flipped through its scant 174 pages. I was curious about the white type on black ground label printed as a bleed on the right edge of each page, marking each of the 34 strengths. I was curious, but in a hurry, so I didn’t purchase the book.
Months later, I again encountered this book as a topic for discussion in my job search networking group. I decided to purchase the book and to take the online test. I was amazed by my results–of the 34 strengths, mine were Learner, Ideation, Input, Connectedness, and Futuristic. Those strengths made so much sense to me and how I relate to others. The other ten people in my small team all took the test as well, and the results provided insight into how I communicated with my team members, and why some of them understood my ideas more quickly than others. I began to recognize that if I interacted with someone with my same strengths, they understood me more easily, but people with other strengths required that I be sensitive to how they viewed the world.
I don’t want to mention all of the 34 Strengths, because the different labels could bias your own taking of the Strengths Finder test. The Strengths Finder 2.0 book is based on more than forty year of Gallop research and I highly recommend taking the test and reading the book.
Cynthia Simmons is a writer and editor, with certificates in editing from UChicago and UCSD.
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