My wife told me about the book NOW, Discover Your Strengths* several years ago when her company was encouraging their managers to read the book and take the survey. I never got around to looking into the program until a couple of weeks ago when I picked up a copy of the book for a dollar at my local library.
What’s different about the Strengths-based model is that it focuses on improving strengths rather than trying to improve weaknesses, which seems to be way of most self-improvement literature. It’s an interesting idea.
The book came with a special code that must be used in order to take the survey. My code was already used so I picked up a copy of the follow-up book StrengthsFinder 2.0* and used its code to take the Strengths Finder survey.
The survey, which is all done online, requires you to pick from two different statements. On the left side it might say, “I like to lead people,” and on the right side it might say, “I am perfectly happy to work behind the scenes.” If one of the statements is true for you, you can select “strongly agree” for that statment. You can choose neutral if neither applies to you or you can strongly agree with either statement or you can lean more towards one statement or the other. They don’t want you to sit there and think about the statements so they only give you 20 seconds for each question. They want your gut response.
Once you have completed the survey, it will come back with your top five strengths out of the following 34 strengths:
Woo (winning others over)
I have to say, the findings for me were surprising. According to the survey, my top five “strengths” were:
The one that surprised me the most was “Empathy” which has the following description in the book:
“You can sense the emotions of those around you. You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily agree with each person’s perspective. You do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicamentthis would be sympathy, not Empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand.”
That just doesn’t sound like me. Sure, there are times when I feel what other people are feeling, but for the most part, I don’t care what other people are feeling. Or maybe I really am Empathetic and I have just been living contrary to my belief system. Hmmm…
The other “strength” that surprised me was “Harmony.” Read their description to see what I mean:
This sounds nothing like me. I mean, I SHOULD be harmonious but I don’t think I am.
I’m wondering if I took the assessment wrong. The questions weren’t asked in such a way where there was a choice that stood out as being the one that “normal” people would pick, making you feel stupid if you chose the other response. It seemed like a fair assessment so the results were confusing to me.
It is a shame that they don’t make the survey available for a small fee or free. The only way the survey can be accessed is by using an access code located inside on of their books. StrengthsFinder 2.0 can be purchased from Amazon.com for $13.77.
Have any of you taken the survey? If so, would you share your strengths? Did you agree with the findings?
RELATED: For more information on the StrengthsFinder survey, check out these links: