by Jaclyn Y. Garver
Ivy Tech Community College Northeast
Fort Wayne, IN

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with personality quizzes. I want to figure out – once and for all – if I’m a logician (INTP) or a mediator (INFP) (you don’t need to pay money for Myers-Briggs, just use the free test at 16Personalities). I can always rely on BuzzFeed to sort me in to my appropriate Hogwarts house (Ravenclaw pride!) or tell me which friend I should room with and which friend I would hate in real life (room with Joey so we can eat pizza together – down with Monica because she’d drive me batty).

Slightly more useful than those (as much as I want to know which of Ariel’s human discoveries I am – a dinglehopper) is the CliftonStrengths “online talent assessment” (their description), a ridiculously thorough survey that ranks your 34 possible strengths. Your top five give a pretty good rundown of who you are, which can help you recognize how you work and succeed.

The strength information I’ve found most helpful is the one I was least familiar with: I am a “Maximizer.”

That means I like to focus on strengths. I get much more enjoyment in taking something strong and making it superb than I do in taking something weak and making it average. It’s about prioritization and working smart to be efficient.

It seems more and more often, people are being expected to do more with less, and this strength has meant that I’m able to budget my time well.

Gallup (which runs CliftonStrengths) dives deep into how to maximize each of your strengths (which, obviously, I appreciate) and how to work around it if particular strengths are a “lesser theme” for you (Gallup never talks about weakness or being bad at anything). Not seeing “Maximizer” as a top five strength doesn’t mean someone doesn’t strive for excellence – it just means that they may not be as selective about how they direct their energy. Here are Gallup’s tricks for working around that:

  • Find other areas that motivate you. Maybe you excel at focus and follow-through or seeing how great things could be. These other strengths can be how you direct your efforts.
  • Ask for help from people you respect. They can help you find ways to excel
  • Create new standards of success for yourself.

Check in next time, when I’ll delve into a lesser strength.

Jaclyn Y. Garver is the media relations and communications coordinator for the Northeast campus of Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


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