Discover the Top 5 Strengths that Make You Personally Excel: Strengths Finder 2.0

Written by Scott March 6, 2009

Strengths Finder 2.0
Strengths Finder 2.0
by Tom Rath
Pub. Date: February 2007, Gallup Press
175 Pages

Why I Read this Book: Knowing and living one’s natural talents and strengths is on of the keys to lasting fulfillment. This book is the answer to discovering those strengths.

Topics Covered:

  • Understanding your unique strengths
  • Working effectively with others
  • Achieving lasting fulfillment
  • Time management

Review:

This one’s short and sweet. To get 90% of the value out of this will take you about two hours. I see it more as a tool than a book, a tool to foster success, fulfillment and enjoyment. My coach recommended Strengths Finder 2.0 about a month ago and since then I have personally spread the word to about 15 of my close friends.

Have you ever been told by a boss or colleague that you could use some work in a specific department, say public speaking, research, strategic thinking or negotiating? They’ve noticed where you are weak and suggest that you work on improving those areas. So much of our go-get-em and super-achiever success-driven society is focused on doing everything as absolute best as possible. If you aren’t good at something, then go get good at it. Seems like a decent idea, right? Maybe not.

Tom Rath and Gallop, as an organization, feel differently and I couldn’t agree more. Instead of spending your time on improving what you aren’t that good at and therefore don’t usually enjoy that much, why not focus your time on the few things that you are better at than most anyone and the things that light that fire inside of you? Odds are there isn’t much more of a satisfying and fulfilling way to spend your time than to focus on your natural talents. Strengths Finder 2.0 is the latest edition in a series of books written over the years to help people discover and spend time working with their very best skills.

Key points to take away:

  • A life spent focusing on improving our weaknesses leads to dissatisfaction and mediocrity
  • Spending time doing what we love and are best at is what drives success
  • We cannot be great at everything, so get over it
  • Everyday should be filled doing what one believes are their true gifts
  • Opposing strengths can lead to the strongest partnerships

Those of you who have heard of the Gallop Organization, know how deep and research driven their ideas are. They have data to back up most everything they do, and a ton of it. Have you ever noticed the name that comes along with most new ground breaking polls or studies? That’s Gallop. My point is they do things based on science and what they learn from many thousands of test subjects.

They took this laser-like focus and applied it to building a program dedicated to analyzing people’s strengths and finding what skills they posses and do better than anything else in their life–what springs them out of bed in the morning and drives them working until late at night in pure excitement. The result was a list of 34 unique strengths that a person can possess, five of which tend to dominate one’s talents. The majority of the book explains each strength and how it’s applied to life, however the huge value comes from the 30 minute online strengths assessment/test that comes with the book.

I don’t joke when I say this is a 30 minute test that could easily change your life. Once complete, your five top strengths will be computed along with twenty or so pages worth of tasks, ideas and suggestions on how to best lead a life and career that fully values your gifts. The road map I was provided was enlightening to say the least and happened to be right on. No surprise that it recommended I find a career that involves lots of writing, teaching, reading and interacting with people. What do you know? The suggestions were amazing. Some were obvious and others went off like a light bulb when I read them.

Imagine a world where people only spent their time doing what they are best at and enjoy? How much less stress and anger would there be? How much more productivity, excitement and passion would there be to jump out of bed and tackle today’s serving of life? This is the starting point.

And the learning does not end with yourself. Even more powerful are the synergies created when colleagues and co-workers know both their strengths and those of the people around them so they work together in a balanced and efficient way. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that if two founders of a company agree on everything then someone isn’t necessary. That’s exactly the point. Work with people with different strengths. Instead of dwelling on what you aren’t best at, find someone who’s strengths are your weaknesses and get to work on a project with them or go out and start a business. You’ll likely be unstoppable. The issue in the past is that these things are very difficult to intuitively know. Strengths Finder will guide you. I just gave a copy to my partner and co-founder today and I can’t wait to see how we can fill any voids and keep our venture rock solid. With tools like these, it’s hard to imagine a path to success without them.

As I hope many of you know by now, success only goes as far as our enjoyment, freedom and satisfaction will allow it. The sad reality is that many of us spend the majority of our time doing things we are not particularly good at and that we don’t particularly enjoy. And this is all with the goal of great success at the end of the rainbow. Seems odd, doesn’t it? But if we stop to think that success is not a destination but more so a way of life, we realize we’ve had it all backwards. We should be spending our time doing what we are best at, most enjoy and love. The first step is discovering our unique strengths and then living a life abundant in them. That is the path to fulfillment. That is success.

My top five strengths are Achiever, Maximizer, Input, Positivity and Discipline. What are yours? I look forward to hearing your top 5, so please leave it in the comments section below. Who knows, maybe we’ll be a good match for a venture some day.

~Reading for Your Success

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