Category Archives: My Brilliantly Deep Randomness

Not the CEO

I thought I was done geeking out about the Strength Finders test. But I’m not. 

I learned something new about myself today!

The Strength Finders test measures strengths based on 34 different attributes. So much I knew. (As previously blogged, my top five are Strategic, Communication, Positivity, Learner, and Input.) However, what I didn’t know was that Clifton Strengths classifies those 34 attributes into 4 different types: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking

The sheet I received describes the types like this: People with dominant Executing themes know how to make things happen. People with dominant Influencing themes know how to take charge, speak up, and make sure that the team is heard. People with dominant Relationship Building themes have the ability to build stronger relationships that can hold a team together and make the team greater than the sum of its parts. People with dominant Strategic Thinking themes help teams consider what could be. They absorb and analyze information that can inform better decisions. 

Guess what I learned? I do not have a single strength in Executing. Not this time I took the test. Not the last time. I guess not ever! 

Slightly less shocking given my recent discoveries, my dominant strength comes from Strategic Thinking. I absorb facts and find problems. I look for solutions. I’m happiest and most effective when doing this. I do not know about Amy 2017, but that sure describes Amy 2018. 

And I think I am okay with that. 

Strategic Thinking doesn’t sound like me. It sounds like someone who likes math, or plays chess, or runs the War Department. But I guess it also sounds like someone who loves writing research papers and playing Sudoku and growing community field offices. So that’s me. 

My results illustrate two other things about me that I did not previously realize: 

1. Leadership Style.

When I think of leaders, I think of the executive type. Those people know how to get things done. They have descriptors like Achiever, Arranger, Discipline, and Responsibility. I want those strengths and to be the sort of person who leads others with a single-focused drive. But that isn’t me.

Just because I am not an executive leader doesn’t mean I am not a leader, though. My leadership skills reflect big-picture problem solving. I plot. I plan. Sometimes I even follow through on those plans. I am less the executive CEO type…and more the in house legal consultant. (Hey, that’s convenient!) 

2. I might not be as entrepreneurial as I thought. 

I love entrepreneurs. I want to be one. But when I started thinking about my strengths, the lack of executing stands out pretty strongly. It also explains some of my previous difficulties running a field office. Just because I can see a problem does not mean I am good at fixing it. I need to work with others who can. 

No one functions entirely solo, but turns out I really can’t. I would never accomplish anything and I would unhappy if I tried. It isn’t the way I am wired. Far from depressing me, I find the realization somewhat freeing. I do not need to build, or accomplish, anything on my own. I am most effective when working with others.

I suppose that is probably true for everyone, but I still find it gratifying. I do not need to partner with an Executing type because I am weaker or underdeveloped in that area, but because I am better and more fulfilled doing something else. Heck, that’s the beauty of the free market. I do not know why it surprises me so much to find that in my everyday life!

On a more personal level, my discovery looks like this: Maybe I do not actually want to start my own law firm like I thought. Maybe that was the expectation I placed on myself because I am not a natural, executing leader but I still want the independence that comes with authority. So I told myself I needed to start a law firm to gain that independence. You know what that tells me, though? Independence is the value I crave, not authority. 

Where does that leave me? Somewhere between a need for others and a desire for independence. I do not know what that looks like yet, but I do know that when I find that sweet spot, I will be set

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Shifting Strengths

Law school does things to you; it changes the way you think and the way you interact with people. You start viewing language differently. You exist in a pressure cooker all semester and when finally released from it…the world seems different. I have struggled to explain the difference to people. I feel…firmer. Or grounded. More analytical. Possibly more capable, or at least developed. 

Yesterday I took the Clifton Strength Finders test and I might have more words now. 

The strengths test measures your inherent “talents.” It isn’t supposed to change much, at least not once you hit adulthood. Yet over the past year, my strengths shifted dramatically

I took the test the first time almost exactly a year ago. At the time, I was leaving my adult job to move to the mountains of Idaho to work as a camp counselor and hopefully attend law school in the fall. Uncertainty was my watch word. It shows in my strengths:

Adaptability
Activator
Positivity
Intellection
Includer

Roughly translated, that tells you I am a flexible, happy, smart, inclusive person. Which I like to think is true. 

I took the test again yesterday. This time my top five strengths were: 

Strategic
Communication
Positivity
Learner
Input

First off, I don’t think anyone has ever called me strategic before, much less ranked that my top strength. 

Second, while input sounds cool, it really just means I collect things like words, books, and ideas. 

Third, initially, these results really shocked me. They seemed so…different. But then I started reading about them. And, y’all, these are me. Future oriented, chatty, enthusiastic, thirsty for new ideas and intent on remembering them. Throughout, the test emphasizes my love of books and reading.

I really do love books. (Though the test also says I think speed reading is a waste of time because I want to ponder each new idea, which isn’t true by a long shot. But I do process things fast.) 

These results are not as far off from last year as I initially thought. Adaptability and Strategic strengths share a common theme of flexibility – just with the Strategic strength I have learned to pick an option and follow through on it. With Activator I got people excited about projects, now I use Communication to carry through on the whole project, not just the beginning. 

My main purpose in sharing all this stems from a broader theme I’ve learned over this past year. Going into law school, I felt a bit like a fraud. Detail-oriented people are supposed to go to law school. Not big-picture, idea people like me. You go to law school to put things in boxes, not to turn the box upside down and beat on it like a drum. 

Or so I thought. Over the last year, I have learned my talents aren’t that uncommon for the law, and are in fact quite valuable. Where I am weak, I have learned to adapt. And where I am strong, like in communication, I flourish. 

I am waiting for one last grade, but in all but one class so far this semester I’ve gotten an A or A-. You might find that par for course knowing me, but in law school that is hard. But I am learning and I am loving what I learn. It is a bit of a relief to realize that I am not a fraud and 6-year-old me wasn’t crazy when she announced she wanted to be a lawyer.

Moreover, I am good at this. Just saying that makes me feel a little bit crazy, but also happy. I see God’s hand at work around me and I cannot wait to see what comes next.


Who needs coffee when you have pickles?

Have you seen the Oh Snap! pickles at Wal Mart or Kwik Trip or whatever your local grocery store is? Those things are amazing. It is just a giant pickle or pickle bites in awesome packaging. I usually just get the whole pickle but tonight I got the pickle bites and they are just as good if not better. You see, tonight I am using them to keep awake. 

I left the house at 6 am this morning and probably won’t make it home till closer to 11. Lonnngggg day. Tomorrow I get to do it again so I don’t want to waste what precious sleeping hours I have being awake because of caffeine. Pickles are the perfect solution! The sour and salty taste and weird texture are enough to keep me wide awake and the crunching keeps my facial muscles moving which also keeps me awake. I am very pleased with this. 

It is not the first time I have used pickles to stay awake. My freshman year of college I didn’t drink coffee so I would eat spicy pickles to stay awake to finish projects. 

I’m telling you, pickles are totally underrated! 


Morning Brain

Last Night:

Me: So if I need to be there by 9, I should leave no later than 8:30.

Brain: Blah blah blah…8:30. Got it.

This Morning

*alarm goes off at 7:30*

Me: *groggy* Whaaa?

Brain: Don’t worry! You don’t have to do anything till 8:30. You can sleep for another hour.

Me: Sounds good. Zzzzzz

Thankfully, my subconscious started working on why I would have set my alarm an hour earlier than absolutely necessary and I was out of bed 10 minutes later. Getting up in the morning is a team effort! xD 


Transitioning from “Who” to “What”

 Throughout my teen years and well into college, I was obsessed with discovering ‘who I was.’ I didn’t think of it in those terms and if you had told me I was on some journey of self-discovery I would have laughed, but that is exactly what it was. I loved quizzes and personality tests. It didn’t matter if the test was encompassing like the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, or something silly such as ‘Which Disney Princess Are You?’ What mattered was that I was learning more about me. I needed to know why I was an extrovert or what it meant to be a verbal processor or how my red hair made me like Ariel (I was never flattered by that comparison.) Every detail mattered. My love language, my spiritual gifts, my DISC results, and especially my identity as ENFP all worked together to create a profile of who I was and why I viewed the world the way I did. I needed to know so that I could understand myself. Even this need, I read, somehow tied back into my personality. It all circled around and I desperately wanted to understand that circle.

Now that I’ve been “adulting”* for a while, I find my need has shifted as I have matured. I no longer ask ‘who am I’ but rather ‘what am I.’ One of my wonderful friends, Tori, expresses it this way:

“In those earlier years we dwell on who we are in a self centered way, finding labels and applying them like “introvert” or “shy” or “driven.” But as we get older we realize that that isn’t so important, and the focus shifts more outward. We now ask ourselves “how am I going to use my personality? If I am driven what am I fighting for? If I am introverted, how will I use my time by myself?” We no longer ask who we are but what we are going to do with who we are.”

“…what we are going to do with who we are.” I love that line. I don’t have all the answers I once sought, but it doesn’t matter as much anymore. The angst is over! My “self” has been tested and and the testing has brought maturity. Maturity, in turn, has provided a sense of confidence. Confidence gives me the kick I need to get into more situations where I will be tested. This is a different circle than the one I originally sought to understand, but it is much more satisfying.

As Tori says, “as we get older…the focus shifts more outward.” This outward shift means I prioritize things differently. I see my work as a challenge and a joy that will develop me further. I see those around me differently because I don’t just want to analyze them to contrast them with me, but to further develop them. I’m free from wondering how I will act and able to focus on acting for others. My generation gives adulting such a bad rap, but I have to say, it is one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.

A voice in the back of my head chimes in: “Well, you know, ENFPs tend to view people as untapped sources of potential so when you say all that you are really just living up to your type…” And you know what? Maybe I am. However, where once I would have been consumed by that why, I can now shrug and say, “so what am I going to do about that? Whose potential can I tap?”

 

 
*aka, graduated and working an adult job

Check out Tori’s blog at – https://isayitbetterinwriting.wordpress.com/


Sleep in any language

I’m super tired right now but wanted to get a post out so I decided to look up the word sleep in different languages. I found this nifty website that lists words in different languages. Cool, huh? Anyway, here are a few fun ones: 

Albanian – gjumë

Dutch – slaap

Portuguese – dorme

Welsh – cysgu

Belorusian, Macedonian, and Ukrainian all use the word – сон
Serbian is сан.

Malayalam (a language spoken in India) has a fun, scroll-y style – ഉറക്കം

Nepali also looks cool – निद्रामा

Uzbek is uyqu and Turkish is uyku

Zulu – ubuthongo

 


“Lost Boy” by Ruth B

I have had the song “Lost Boy” stuck in my head over the last few days. I have a like/dislike relationship with the song (love/hate seems too strong for the emotion.) It has a beautiful, melancholy melody with memorable, nostalgic lyrics. It really is quite pretty. However, the literary literalist in my brain always feels the need to chime in…and the literary literalist objects to the idealization of a rather morbid children’s book. 

Here are the lyrics to “Lost Boy”:

There was a time when I was alone
Nowhere to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too

Then one night, as I closed my eyes
I saw a shadow flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for awhile
He said, “Peter Pan, that’s what they call me
I promise that you’ll never be lonely, ” and ever since that day

I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality

Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

He sprinkled me in pixie dust and told me to believe
Believe in him and believe in me
Together we will fly away in a cloud of green
To your beautiful destiny
As we soared above the town that never loved me
I realized I finally had a family
Soon enough we reached Neverland
Peacefully my feet hit the sand
And ever since that day

I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality

Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling
Even Captain Hook, you are my perfect story book
Neverland, I love you so
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a lost boy at last

Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling
Even Captain Hook, you are my perfect story book
Neverland, I love you so
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a lost boy at last

And for always I will say

I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality

Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

Pretty, right? But here is the thing. In the book Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, Neverland is far from an ideal escape world. It is literally a world of warfare, where Indians hunt Pirates and Pirates hunt Lost Boys and Lost Boys hunt Indians. And what do they do when they catch them? They kill ’em! But guess what, if you are a Lost Boy and manage to not get killed by a Pirate, Peter Pan kills you himself once you hit puberty! Peter Pan is the only one who never ages. Everyone else does, and pays the consequence when they do. Fun, right? 

Don’t judge the book by its morbidness. At least, judge it after you’ve given it a try. Peter Pan really is a wonderful, childish, yet wild story. I really enjoyed it. You just have to erase from your mind the Disney version!  

So actually, the song has very little do with the actual story. I know there is probably a whole, involved argument that could be made about mixing stories with pop culture and the different appearances it takes. I’m not sure I am up for it tonight, though!

Here is the song on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3m_V1XNPxA