So, why should I be telling you about my S.F. Profile results? Mainly, because it will illustrate what you can learn about yourself if you take it too. Your results will be completely different, of course, Remember that you will not match anyone else's profile—well, only if you are one in 34 million. That shows how unique each of us is.
The ultimate goal is to identify your talents, the specific things that are the most natural for you. A talent is defined by the "Now, Discover Your Strengths" book as: "any naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied." (Chew on that for awhile.)
(By the way, the book explains that this is not an all-inclusive list but they are the most dominant themes the Gallup Corporation discovered from the results of indepth interviews they conducted with two million people over 30 years.)
Sometimes talents are so familiar to us we don't even see them as particularly special. For example, empathetic people might think everyone has that capability. That is far from true. If you have it in strong measure it is a talent or theme that affects how you think and much of what you do.
Talents need to be developed in order to build them into useable strengths. Knowledge plus acquired skills applied to talents moves them toward becoming strengths. All the knowledge and acquired skills in the world will not produce excellence if the underlying talent is not there. You can get better at something you learn about and even gain some skill in performing it but you will not develop a true strength.
That is why it is so necessary to find out what your inherent themes of talents are; they give direction to your life once you see them clearly. You know what your raw materials are, which is liberating. Instead of pinching you and inhibiting you they open you up to many possibilities if you do some deep thinking.
I learned that doing handwriting analyses for companies. In one case they had a man who just couldn't seem to manage people with any degree of empathy. So, they packed him off to some corporate training session for which they paid big bucks. That didn't produce any real results; he got a little better as he tried to feel as others did but he still missed clues. He had no feel for what true empathy is so his studied timing was "off" and he was a poor match in the particular job he held. I got called in to help with conflict resolution. He had other amazing talents, which his handwriting supported. He had no clue about empathy. (Too bad the StrengthsFinder profile was not available then.) He was given another job in the same company and fared much better because he dealt more with data than people. He was a superb analyst and strategist.
In another post I mentioned I first read a library copy of the "Discover" book and scored myself after reading the 34 descriptions of the themes of talent presented. I figured I knew myself pretty well. Some months later I took the online questionnaire. The top five themes for me in order:
Maximizer, Strategic, Ideation, Intellection, Communication
Then one year later I took it again. The first four matched the first result exactly and in the same order even. The fifth one was different the second time. "Individualization"
I had listed that one along with Ideation on my own scoring along with 3 others I expected to show up: Empathy, Arranger, Developer
Here is the point and is something you will see too if you take the questionnaire: These results can be tracked as true as you look back on your life to see what has been easy for you to learn, what you have enjoyed doing and looked forward to doing more of again as soon as possible and what has put you in a state of flow.
I will share with you how I identified these themes as most natural for me telling you about preferences and choices I made all through my life along with what I avoided or didn't feel good about doing. It makes sense to me now. I am not about to waste time obsessing over weaknesses anymore. I have done plenty of that up until now. How about you?