Since it’s the season of sharing, I wanted to share a tool/resource that has taught me more about myself and how I feel motivated and energised, and how it has helped me with study and in life.
What is CliftonStrengths Finder?
The resource is the CliftonStrengths finder, and I have learned so much more about how my head works; what energises me and alleviates stress for me personally, and other places where something causes me so much more stress than it might for someone else. The strengths finder is an online assessment that breaks down your natural way of looking at things into 34 distinct “strengths” with names like “Learner”, “Communication”, “Analytical”, “Futuristic” and “Intellection”. This explains a little more on the 34 “strengths”: CliftonStrengths Finder.
What I truly love about CliftonStrengths is that it’s based on positive psychology – it looks at YOUR strengths (not at what you can’t do) and everyone has strengths! One “strengths set” isn’t better than another, it just gives people different ways of perceiving things.
Where I discovered this.
I discovered the CliftonStrengths assessment in October 2021 when I attended the Open University’s Women in Engineering Conference, and Dr. Jan Peters from Katalytik (Self-named “Inclusion Ideators”) gave a presentation based on the CliftonStrengths finder. She spoke on how your combination of strengths gives you your own unique superpowers.
At the conference, Jan mentioned that she and a colleague (Helen) hold a “Strengths Jam” on the second Wednesday of every month, so I began attending. At the StrengthJams, Jan and Helen (and the other attendees) would talk over our strengths and how to apply them in real life. I started to do this.
What my “strength makeup” means for me
My top 5 Strengths were identified as: Learner, Achiever, Input, Responsibility, and Strategic.
What this means for me is that my “Achiever” strength pushes me to get something done every day, even if it’s not something big. The way my head is “wired” is that I feel stressed or like I’m failing if I haven’t “ticked a box” in my head in a day. So now, when I’m feeling stressed, I first check if it’s because my day has been unproductive.
My “Responsibility” strength pushes me to do something when I’ve committed to it (I feel absolutely awful if I don’t… even if it was something small I said I’d do) but this does mean I’ve had to keep an eye on how many things I’m committing for.
My “Learner” talent is a great one for study, it’s the part of me that loves to learn something new no matter what the something is I’ve just learned. A “blind spot” I have from this strength is that I sometimes get distracted when I’m doing something the same over and over… but now that I know this I can motivate myself by breaking up the repetition with something new, since this is where I feel energised.
These are just examples from my combination of strengths, and after “strength spotting” other people I have found that knowing someone’s strengths can help me relate to them more easily. Even if I don’t have strong talents in someone else’s strength area, knowing people’s strengths helps me work better together in a team.
Continuing my Journey
The support at the StrengthsJams that Jan and Helen from Katalytik give grants me a huge boost each month in my journey of learning about myself and other people. I love attending, sessions are strictly an hour (11h-12h) so I know it won’t take ages, and I always come out with new ways to help myself be more efficient and motivated. Admission is free and places are booked via Eventbrite.
I hope that this amazing resource can mean something for someone else as much as it has meant for me – it taught me to be proud of who I am and how I’m “wired”.
Season’s greetings to all – and good luck to anyone with TMAs coming up!