I am a big believer in knowing your strengths in all aspects of life. What you contribute, how you think, what you can do, etc. etc. Taking the StrengthsFinder* assessment and analyzing the results has changed the way I approach my work and relationships. I won’t go into tons of detail about the assessment, but in a nutshell, the results show you your Top 5 strengths out of 34 from a longitudinal study done in the early 2000s. Of course there will be skeptics and critics of these type of tests and that is completely fair. From my findings, I feel that my results are pretty spot on and have given me a lens and communication tool to understand where I am coming from as well as that of others I interact with. This year I will be exploring all 34 of my strengths in order (I have unlocked them all after doing a deep dive into my Top 5) and how I can leverage them in my bookish goals. First up, let’s talk about Input!
Input is my top Strength and one that I am super proud of. This one, I believe, is apparent in everything that I do.
People exceptionally talented in the Input theme have a need to collect and archive. They may accumulate information, ideas, artifacts or even relationships.
This is just the basic definition, but you can see that it is on to something….. Now let’s take a look at the in-depth report that is specific to me and how I answered the assessment.
Without a doubt, your hunger for evidence, data, or background information is immense. Whether your sources of knowledge are people, classes, books, the Internet, or discussions, you are hardwired to be as informed as you possibly can be prior to starting most ventures. You probably prefer to be overly prepared rather than risk being poorly prepared.
By nature, you absorb the written word like a sponge sops up water. You revel in an opportunity to lose yourself in a book. Time seems to float by when you are the grateful guest of an entertaining or informative author. Your only choice is to finish the book as quickly as possible.
When it comes to books and reading, my annual goals around books read and blogging is supported by this strength. Sometimes I have such lofty life goals that in order to make them a reality and know what I am up against, I completely immerse myself in the topics from podcasts to books (obviously), documentaries to articles, you name it. I want to KNOW IT ALL! Blogging gives me an outlet to share what I learn (regardless of who reads it haha – thank you, by the way, for being one of those that DOES read my blog) and make sense of it all. I have never been a written journal person about what happens in the day, BUT when it comes to absorbing knowledge, this blog and books have made me more inclined to ‘journal’ in a non-traditional sense. I find it spot on about wanting to finish a book as quickly as possible – craving to know what happens but also dying to start another one! I put a LOT of energy and time into researching topics before I post which can sometime take longer than actually writing the post – kind of like spending a whole day cooking or baking only to have the food consumed in a fraction of the time. Still it is gratifying and stimulating to have spent that energy in the first place! I also want to be better at providing intentional and thoughtful book suggestions – based on what i have read or what sounds like it would be a good fit for someone.
Of course too much of a good thing can be a weakness. Check out my ‘blind spots’ as it comes to Input.
Unrestrained input can lead to intellectual or physical clutter. Consider occasionally taking inventory and purging what you don’t need so that your surroundings — and your mind — don’t become overloaded.
You might have a tendency to give people so much information or so many resources that you can overload and overwhelm them. Before you share your discoveries with others, consider sorting out what is most meaningful so they don’t lose interest.
With the blog and reading so much, I want to share EVERYTHING!!!! Sometimes, you can’t get me to stop talking about a book I just read or the post I just wrote. Despite me being introverted, if you get me on these topics, who knows when I’ll stop. Adopting minimalism into my life, I have found that I regularly purge books I won’t read again (donating, selling, gifting) and information I personally don’t feel useful or will be useful to others. This has helped quite a bit with managing this strength so it’s not too overwhelming to others. I’m also one to start conversations with “Did you hear on the (tv, radio, news)….?” – another indication that I want to share what I have absorbed and contributing potentially interesting information that I can expand on further. There is a time and place, Courtney haha.
Next time, we will tackle my #2 strength – Learner.
What are your (bookish) strengths?
*To learn more and to take the assessment yourself, check out the Clifton Strengths site (This is not meant to be an advertisement! As you read about Input, you can see that I love to share resources and information 🙂 )