My journey into my Strengths Profile, the assessment from CliftonStrengths, continues.
To recap, my five primary strength themes were, in order:
In this post, I'll be going over my thoughts on Learner.
You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning.
Wow! This one also amazed me that the assessment picked up on this.
When I started kindergarten, I was already reading. I remember going to garage sales with my grandmother and buying a box of random books. She would read on the couch and let me pick any book I wanted. So, by ten years old, I read a lot of Reader's Digest and fiction books that were way beyond my maturity level and experience. I finished Gone with Wind when I was 11. I know I didn't understand the historical descriptions. We hadn't learned that kind of information at school yet.
As a rebellious teenager, I hid the fact that I did homework and read from friends for fear of being "not cool." I wasn't always a great student because of my stubborn streak and a need to be accepted (which, as an adult, I see how dumb that was).
I was a young mother, and college was never a discussion with my family. Not that anyone thought I wasn't capable, it just wasn't part of our worldview and experience. A high school counselor pulled me aside and presented an opportunity to attend college in an early admissions program. He believed in my possibilities and intellect instead of judging me on my family situation.
So I went to college and loved it. I learned about many topics I don't believe I would have ever encountered had I stayed home, worked locally, and raised my kids. I was in college one week after graduating high school at Indiana University Bloomington's Groups program (this program is still going strong and is a wonderful introduction to college).
One week after graduating with a Bachelors's in English, I went to grad school at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science (now called iSchool). My incredible bosses at the IU Library believed I would make a great librarian - I had worked there for four years! This was a great decision, and I had a long career as a librarian.
Why give you all this info? Well, I spent a long time learning in an official capacity. But once I left school, met my husband, and started a life (not as a student), I realized I needed to keep learning.
You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences—yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes.
Throughout the years, I taught myself specific skills; some I mastered more than others. This includes:
specific software to my workspaces that I didn't really need to know
leadership skills and theories
developing homesteading skills (made my own laundry soap, for example)
leading a nonprofit
public speaking improvement
other types of crafting
improving Excel skills
speaking with a powerful voice
Ok, that is a short list, to be honest. I have ultimate plans to learn pottery! In 2022, I finished my second Master's degree - Master of Nonprofit Management. I needed something to do during the pandemic!
It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one.
Part of the reason I decided to start my own business was that I enjoy working with people, tackling complex projects, learning new things, and helping others solve problems. This is my favorite part of being an entrepreneur. And as an entrepreneur, there have been many things I've had to learn, like marketing, SEO, content creation, and more.
As an entrepreneur, I believe one of the big lessons is that you should learn two things:
how everything works in your business
when to delegate out those tasks because you don't have to do it all
I believe you should have enough knowledge about your systems, IT, and finances to have an informed discussion with someone who is the expert you can delegate to. A business owner or nonprofit leader should feel connected to all aspects of their business without having to do all the work.
Now, if you are starting, you are probably doing it all. But the goal is to grow and be successful, and delegating those tasks you've learned is a success move.
I'm excited to put thoughts to paper (screen?) on my next strength: responsibility. I hope you'll join me in this reflection.
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