Me in five words

This week I took the Strengths Quest, which is a questionnaire about your work ethic, values and motivations that pins you down to five core strengths. MU Residential Life is big on Strengths Quest, and utilizing people’s strengths gets talked about a lot in trainings. Now, normally I find personality questionnaires frustrating to take (too often I’m both or neither) and normally I find my results to be transitory (some tests tell me something different every time I take them). This time around I did struggle with some questions that were not opposite ends of a spectrum, but I have to say the conclusion is shockingly accurate in its description of my work ethic.

So this is me, or at least the work/business me, in five words.

1. Achiever

This one basically tells me that I’m driven by accomplishing things and feel a need to do so every day. It kind of explains why I’m not so good at taking breaks or doing nothing. This drive gives me the energy to keep up with my busy schedule and maintain a high level of productivity. Achievers are known to be excessive to-do list makers (and like to add things they did just to cross them off – totally me). Others see them as workaholics, but Achievers find it rewarding and satisfying to be busy and working a lot. They are self-motivated and set high goals for themselves with little push from outside forces. They don’t get a lot of sleep.

2. Discipline

This one tells me that I like order and planning, routines and deadlines. This need for precision and structure is my way to feel in control of everything I have going on and a way to maintain progress and productivity. It explains why I don’t like being surprised by things and am very detail-oriented. Those with the Discipline strength tend to be organizers and delegators. They dislike clutter and abstract thinking. They are good at coming up with plans and making sure everything gets done on time. This fits with my hope to be a managing editor at a magazine, keeping everything on task and overseeing the production process.

3. Harmony

I’m really glad this one is here because it makes me not seem so terribly intense, and it’s also very true. This strength means I value consensus, don’t see much worth in conflict and like to find the common ground. It means I have strong values of my own but am willing to be flexible to accommodate others. This explains my view on religion: that there is more in common among different sects and faiths than there is different, and people should focus on our shared values more than what separates us. This also explains why I’m not very good at confrontation. Harmony is rooted in the belief that, in the end, we’re all in the same boat, so we should work together.

4. Focus

The Focus strength is all about having goals, both large and small, to guide me through every day. They determine my actions and priorities, and not having a purpose frustrates me. Focus helps me to filter what’s important from what’s not and to ignore things that don’t further me on my paths. It makes me very efficient in my work and very impatient with delays and obstacles. This explains why I hate wasting time and am good at keeping others on track. I get frustrated with busy work but am capable of concentrating on one thing for a long time.

5. Competition

Obviously, this one means I like to win. I am motivated by comparison and thrive off other people. If I compete, I do so to win, not for the fun of the competition. This contributes to my willingness to work very hard to excel, especially when my performance is measured against others’. It partially explains why I put so much pressure on myself, worry a little too much about comparing myself to others and am sometimes unwilling to try things outside my comfort zone – because I might not be able to do well or win. This also relates to being motivated by achievement and prestige.

So there it is. Reading the paragraph descriptions that came in my summary, I was shocked by how well the traits and behaviors fit me. And, even more so, how the combination really represented different elements of my work ethic and personality. It’s fascinating that a 30 minute test can pinpoint things like that so accurately.

I don’t think I really needed a test to tell me what motivates me or what I’m good at, but it’s still fun to see myself analyzed this way. And from a Res Life perspective, I think it’s really valuable to know what the strengths are of the rest of my staff members. Being aware of how we are similarly and differently motivated can help us all work better together and utilize one another more. It will be interesting to see the strengths we have in common or learn that others are driven by completely different things. So we’ll be talking about our strengths at our staff retreat this weekend, for which I can’t wait.

  1. Very interesting, awesome traits, strengths you are absolutely right to be proud of!!!

    My Blog takeaways… You are exceptionally thoughtful, insightful and articulate! Lucky you!!

    Love Dad

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