In 2013, through my full-time job, we were all asked to take the CliftonStrengths assessment. So I took it. It was a to-do item. I like to-do items. I like the energy I get from doing a to-do item.
No surprise when “Activator” came up as my top Strength. Gallup’s short definition of Activator is: “People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.”
(I’m guessing anyone who knows me personally just spat out their drink laughing at that last sentence. And to be fair, I don’t blame them.)
“They are often impatient.” I am only speaking for myself here, but man-oh-man if I haven’t heard THAT my whole life. I am impatient. If you asked me what my greatest weakness was, I would tell you its that I’m impatient. And five years later into my CliftonStrengths journey, I am still impatient.
But there’s a difference in my impatience. And this difference is where I have learned the most, practiced the most and continue to develop the most. After reading my CliftonStrengths Insight Report, I got to understand that my Activator isn’t the same as every other Activator out there. My Insight Report says it best:
- “By nature, you might be the human spark plug on your team…..”
- “Chances are good that you routinely spark the enthusiasm of individuals….”
- “Your own job, studies, or life becomes much more exhilarating when you help others more fully experience their lives.”
YES!! I love to do all those things!!! So why did I come off as impatient? Why could people not see I was trying to help them??
I began to learn how to channel my “need for progress” (which sounds so much nicer than “impatience”) into a more positive version of itself. After an hour-long meeting, instead of saying an exasperated “So what are we going to do about it?” I offer a more upbeat “Great discussion! What’s one thing we can commit to doing right now?” What was once received as impatience is now viewed as encouraging and supportive.
This was my own catalyst. It was what lead me to become a Gallup-certified Strengths coach. Every day, I am thankful for the opportunity to help others find the potential in their Strengths. I tell this story at the beginning of every Introduction to CliftonStrengths session I am blessed to present. There is a power within each of us and sometimes comes from the most unlikely place.
Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder® theme names, and the BP10TM theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.