Updated: Mar 18, 2021
I was introduced to CliftonStrengths by my wonderful sister. The exact moment I took the CliftonStrengths talent assessment (formerly Clifton StrengthsFinder) escapes me, but I remember being confused. Achiever, Analytical, Maximizer, Relator, Significance? What did these words mean? Little did I know they were a new language with which to understand my truest talents and represented my potential for strength. Whilst some of these talent themes were easier to observe, others were a complete question mark that took me years to answer.
Achiever. Yes. I have always worked extremely hard and displayed high levels of stamina. Being busy gives me immense satisfaction and productivity is my favorite KPI. But what really drove the achiever in me was something I longed to understand. Working with my personalized reports I began to keep a Talent Journal. How was a I feeling when my Achiever Kicked in? I felt serious and focused. I enjoyed the solitude that usually accompanied these moments. I felt my ego inflate as I expected praise for my results. Over the span of my career, as I gained in responsibility, I noticed these moments became longer. Longer hours, inconveniencing myself, working excessively late or early, launching several projects at once. I also became aware of the heightened sense of elation that would come over me when completing a project or surpassing a target. Over the years I felt I had my talents all figured out and I stopped journalling. But a talent not tended to can be a double-edged sword.
At a later time in my life I was working for a company with an extremely toxic performance culture and approach to leadership. I found myself working closely with a narcissistic and insecure leader who's leadership brand was fear. Unfortunately, having forgotten that all talents need to be nourished, my Achiever and current environment played a big role in what happened next. I succumbed to severe anxiety, burnout, and subsequently depression. Once I had recovered, I found the courage to dive back into finding the true power of my Achiever. I knew I could channel that elation, intensity and determination into pure balanced strength.
Today my Achiever looks nothing like it did when I first became aware of it, and I'm sure it will only keep evolving for the better now. Today I am a proud member of the 5am Club. Rising with the sun, my Achiever carries me through an intense workout, and focused bursts of awareness and learning all before 6am! I am able to channel my morning energy into focused work of the best quality I have ever produced giving me time to pursue my passion for singing and recently, playing the piano. I work for a company I am extremely proud of and literally smile when I walk into the office, knowing that whatever the day throws at me, my Achiever has my back.
Stay tuned for more StrengthsStories. Nex up: Significance.
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