Finally, we have come to the last of my top five strengths, according to the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment - Achiever.
Let's recap quickly. When I took the StrengthsFinder assessment in December 2022, I had already taken many other assessments over my career. Sometimes multiple times. So, I was determined not to be easily categorized by another quiz.
The quick assessment is based on the work of Don Clifton, who wanted to help people discover what was right with them instead of what was wrong. The history is fascinating, and I encourage you to read more about it here. More than 29 million people have taken this assessment and used the results in very positive ways in their personal and professional lives.
The basic formula for the assessment is Talent x Investment = Strength.
Now, back to my 5th strength: Achiever.
Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day—workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied.
I have never considered myself very competitive, but I know I have always felt good when I finish something. And, of course, felt "lacking" when I didn't. It wasn't a feeling of "I can't do this" but "I know I could do better". As the description says, it really didn't matter what I was working on - a short to-do list, cleaning the fridge, watching a movie I'd been waiting for, making the best pot of coffee, or finishing my homework as a student. Even today, it is not uncommon to have a list of things I want to do in my head. And if I end up chillin' with my Lola on the couch instead, I usually feel a bit of let down before bed. (Although chillin' with Lola is a highlight of my day!)
I like to feel like I accomplished something for myself or helped someone else to accomplish something. Checking off my to-do list during a work day (whatever day) is highly satisfying.
You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more. After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused.
One thing that has guided me since I was 16 was that I never wanted to be considered a statistic based on my personal circumstances, my looks, my name, my culture, or any other way that many people judge others.
I was a very young mother in a time when teen mothers and their plights seemed to be all over daytime tv. I distinctly remember sitting with my Beautiful Grandma (yes, we called her that) in a bedroom before my daughter was born. Grandma asked me what I wanted for my life. I told her that I wanted six children and a corner office. She looked at me closely for a few minutes and said, "ok."
She didn't discourage me and didn't say that I had ruined my life by having a baby so young. She said "ok" as if that was the most natural thing for me to do and it would be achievable. And since then, I have been determined to achieve what I put my mind to. (Although I don't have six children, that is ok with me.)
But it will always be with you. As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. It does have its benefits. It brings you the energy you need to work long hours without burning out. It is the jolt you can always count on to get you started on new tasks, new challenges. It is the power supply that causes you to set the pace and define the levels of productivity for your work group. It is the theme that keeps you moving.
Have I always achieved 100% of everything I've tried? No. I think that would be boring. If I had never failed, I wouldn't know what I needed to learn or improve. Or I wouldn't have the opportunity to learn what I am good at.
And knowing what I am good at has helped me develop my journey as an entrepreneur. I can use my strengths, knowledge, experience, and passions to help my clients use theirs to their greatest advantage. For example, I am great at puzzles and problem-solving. I can think outside the box and work with clients to find unique and reliable solutions. (Refer back to my first two strengths, Intellection and Learner.)
I also feel a deep responsibility (see Strength 3 - Responsibility) to bring this commitment to achieving goals to my community. Much of my work is with with Latinas in positions of leadership. Latinas who are entrepreneurs, leaders of organizations, who are determined to move forward and still honor their roots, and those who feel similar sense of responsibility and the desire to achieve in life and work are who I am very connected with.
This journey into reflecting on my top five strengths has been enlightening and even a fun trip down memory lane. I have to add that these results actually make me feel validated and excited. I feel I can build on this information and use my strengths, experience, and education to have a meaningful and positive impact on my community - in all its forms.
Beginning in Q2 (April 2023) the Latina Executive Group Coaching program will begin. This 12 week group coaching experience is specifically for Latinas in leadership and executive positions in profit or nonprofit organizations. Spaces are limited. Register today.