June 27, 2012


Hear that? That's the sound of the heart beat returning to my poor, partially abandoned blog. I do feel guilty for how badly I've kept up with this over the past few months, but then again it was a terribly hard semester and time just never seemed to be plentiful enough to sit down and muse. However, I had an interesting day at work yesterday, and it became clear to me that had I kept up with blogging, my semester may have felt more manageable. Let me explain...

I started a new internship the first week of June as a Product Management Intern at Perceptive Software. I'm loving it so far. It is nothing like I expected it would be, but then again, I am not totally sure what I expected. I've helped out here and there, but mostly am soaking in all kinds of information, ranging from product related, to people skills, to corporate structure.Part of why I like Perceptive is the culture. Everyone is friendly, and no one is breathing down your neck. I've always been a hard worker, so I don't need someone stressing me out, watching over my shoulder at all times. It's been pleasantly independent.

Yesterday, I took the StrengthFinder 2.0 test (this is where I'm going to hook back to my semester, just stick with me!). The premise is very interesting: our culture is obsessed with improving our weaknesses rather than tapping into our strengths. The idea of the book and test is to help you identify what you are good at, and use that to your advantage rather than trying to improve a part of you that may never be up to par with people who come by that skill or talent naturally.

The test is similar to most personality tests - pick the statement that is most like you on a scale.
e.g. Happy -- 4 -- Neutral -- 2 -- Sad
When my results came up, I was somewhat surprised by a few. They all fit me, but had you laid out the list of 34 possible strengths and asked me to identify mine, I bet only two would have actually overlapped. Here is what my test said:

1. Intellection: introspective, intellectual
"Driven by your talents, you might spend time pondering your future. Sometimes you experience anxiety about your prospects... You might prefer to be alone with your thoughts rather than engage people in small talk at a social event."

2. Responsibility: ownership, stable, values-based
"You have a strong sense of commitment... Instinctively, you may be a person whose work ethic is as much a matter of conscience as it is a matter of completing tasks. You want to be regarded as reliable or dependable."

3. Relator: intimate, friendly
"You enjoy helping people by performing tasks they dislike or do not have time to
complete. This is one way you keep yourself busy and make their lives less burdensome. It’s
very likely that you occasionally make the complex easy to understand... You have close companions who frequently seek your guidance."

4. Discipline: routine, structured, committed
"You prefer working in an environment where things are outlined or structured. By nature, you may feel impelled to straighten up a cluttered or messy environment... You might derive pleasure from planning for and executing certain kinds of repetitious assignments."

5. Belief: values, purpose
"Because of your strengths, you may point out issues, problems, or obstacles before others see them. Some people label you a pessimist... Few human beings lack depth in your opinion. By nature, you are determined to push for changes that will benefit humankind or Earth itself. Your desire to have an impact motivates you to enter into conversations with intelligent people."

The italicized descriptions are only portions of two page descriptions and ideas for channeling your strengths and working with people of certain skill sets. Beyond learning a lot about myself, I can really see the value in a team doing this together to see where other people can excel and where you can supplement their strengths. How does this all tie into my revelation about the semester? #1 Intellection. One of the suggested techniques for strengthening that strength is writing. And allowing yourself time to think - neither of which happened Spring 2012. It was a nice reminder, and some positive tips about using your best self to make the best impact you can, rather than constantly fixating on negatives.

Something that made me laugh a bit. In the Relator description it said that I would "do poorly in overly formal environments" because I "like to be peoples' friend." Take that LCDR Kato. I'm not "mouse-ish". Needless to say, I doubt any of the NROTC cadre took the StrengthFinder's test or subscribe to that mindset. Oh well, to each their own. But I sure like this idea - building people up.

Anyway, morale of the story is, I'm resurrecting my blog. I'm going to put my thoughts to paper, and I am going to embrace my strengths and stop worrying about the fact that I'm bad at small talk.