Thursday, 4 October 2012

naming strengths

I just finished reading Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham. A good, easy, inspiring read. He offers an online test to help you figure out your "lead" and "supporting" roles. Mine were "creator", followed by "influencer". The test directs you back to the book to find out more about these roles.

Buckingham defines strengths as those things that make you feel strong. He asks the reader to notice the moments in your everyday life where you feel strong and magnificent - moments that go by quickly, where you're so absorbed you don't notice time passing. And he encourages us to live a life that amplifies these strengths - where you are ideally doing some of these things every day.

So I took some time this week to write down the moments in my week/days where I felt strong and magnificent. Take, for instance, yesterday. Here is my list:

* crawling through a cave (actually slithering at some points) at Rockwood Conservation Area, and encouraging some unsure 8 year olds to do the same. I loved it! Felt so good to do it and to get to the other side. And to help someone else do it - even better!

* watching grade 7s and 8s run a cross country meet at the conservation area brought back a strong memory from high school. I ran on the cross country team, and sometimes my coach would run right behind us in practice, just tapping us on the backs to make us run faster. During some races, I swear I could feel that hand on my back (it wasn't there). It made me feel stronger and faster. And finishing the race - what a feeling of magnificence! (and nausea too sometimes, but that is another story...) Pushing my body gave me a feeling a strength.

* fishing through a river with my hands, looking for insects and crayfish. And catching a crayfish with my bare hands! And showing kids what a water penny insect and a dragonfly larvae look like.

* cleaning up the dishes. This was a surprising one for me, and please don't tell my husband this one. I  usually put off cleaning up the dishes, but I noticed that the feeling of magnificence I feel at seeing a spotless counter makes it all worth it. I need to remember that the end feeling (just like the x-country race) is worth the yucky feeling of forcing myself to do a chore I don't really "feel" like doing.

* bedtime reading and prayers. I've become more intentional about this time with my girls, and I love it. I look forward to hearing about the things that made them "glad, sad, and sorry" each day, and looking ahead to the next day with hope and expectation. They are incredible, spiritual beings who teach me so much.

* noticing the beauty of nature - the colours, the light, the textures. And capturing it with my camera.

In general, here are the areas I noticed that gave me strength:
  • creating (writing, dreaming up new ideas, crafts, taking photos, making things for others)
  • bringing order to chaos
  • being outside; enjoying the natural world
  • pushing my body physically
  • teaching/leading/presenting
  • creating meaningful family rituals/routines

Seems like I've known this before, but reframing them as my strengths has given me a different way of looking at my days.


  1. Hi Rebecca. First of all, I'm glad you're posting again! Thank you.

    I absolutely loved your memory of running with your coach behind you tapping your back. What a great example of being part of the "training", not just standing at the side. This brought tears to my eyes. I hope to be that kind of parent.

    Also, I took that test and it was so interesting! I'm an Advisor and a Pioneer. A lot of it made sense. Neat. I love doing "personality" tests! :)

    Your entries always inspire me. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    1. I love personality tests too - helps me figure out myself a bit more.
      Thanks, Kristen!

  2. You have such a beautiful way with words. I love reading your posts.

    I took the test. Apparently I'm an Advisor and a Caretaker. The Advisor surprised me, but I think the Caretaker is about right. Surprised it's not my lead role. I think I should read the book.

    1. Who knows the scoring they use - maybe you are a caretaker as your lead, or maybe they're almost tied.

      Thanks for your words of encouragement, Julianne!

  3. Replies
    1. Yes - I can see that in the work that you're doing!

  4. I was intrigued and took the test. I am an Influencer (Lead Role) and Teacher (supporting role). Not surprising based on the descriptions (not having read the book). The most interesting part for me was the "smartest career move" section of the descriptions. I should have a job "where you're paid to produce new content" and "any job where you're paid to facilitate the success of others". Describes both TanyaStamps and my day job perfectly :)

    I guess I should red the book.