Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goal for Living

Part of the staff development for my current job included taking the Gallup organization’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 inventory and report our findings to the director of professional development. These kinds of inventories are exactly the type of thing that fascinate me as an educator and counselor. Truth be told, it is taking these kinds of inventories that fascinate me most. With 177 forced-choices, I came away with much to think about as I tried to memorize as many of them as possible in the 20 second time frame alloted to each pair.

As with any well developed instrument, the results were entirely, “Well, duh!” to me (but perhaps, I am more attuned to myself than some people). The only thing different about it comes in the vocabulary it uses to describe and group results. They have 34 themes under four domains. When results are calculated reports are available that identify the taker’s top five themes. My top five are all spot-on and I am willing to bet the scores are so close, the order is interchangeable.

The question that nags at my brain - because it craves information and order - is “what is the order for the remaining 29 themes?” If one is at the top, certainly, one must be at the bottom.’

They really want me to pay $550 for one hour with a personal consultant to find out.

The five themes identified as my top five are (in order): Input, Learner, Achiever, Intellection, Deliberative.

Don’t they get it? With those five, I am going to figure it out for free! I am smart and determined!

I am strongest in the “Strategic Thinking” domain with three themes there - Input, Learner, Intellection and second strongest in “Executing” with Achiever and Deliberative located there.

Not surprising to those who know me well (and despite formal training and practice as a counselor) I lack any identified strengths in the “Influencing” or “Relationship Builder” domains. What it really proves to me is that I am as much the introvert as I try to convince people I am. While I have good great stage presence in front of groups, it sucks away all my personal emotional energy. When I am done with a personal appearance before an audience, I require personal alone-time to recover and re-energize. I maintain a few very close friends in my life and do not even pretend to be friends with everyone.

Yes, I know how to be social, I just don’t go ga-ga, and I do only what I need to keep in touch. Occasionally someone will strike me and I make every effort to bring that person into my circle of friends. Generally though, I am not the warm fuzzy in the room.

Still, I am proud of my strengths and they position me well for the things I want to do and goals I have. One question, asked in several ways through the inventory, revolved around the goals one has in life. While I responded that I am goal oriented, I realized I rarely write my goals in a final printed form. I have them floating around in my head, but I don’t always publish them.

That is where my brain went after taking the survey and what I imagine I will be spending the next few days doing. I want a stated goal for living; a declared purpose in life.

In the end it will likely be a “well, duh” statement, but if I have been living my life true to me, the isn’t that what it should be?

Of course, one never knows - I may quit my job, sell my house, and decide to live in a tee-pee on the Kansas plain.

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