Just be YOU, always YOU.

I have a minor obsession with personality assessments, aptitude tests, and strengths inventories. And by minor…

  • Original StrengthsFinder Top Five: Woo, Positivity, Learner, Communication, and Developer
  • Newest StrengthsFinder Top Five (yes, I have taken it again): Strategic, Learner, Input, Communication, and Activator
  • Meyers-Briggs: ENFJ
  • True Colors: Blue with some Orange
  • Enneagram: 3 (Achiever/Performer)
  • Compass Points: Naturally South, can be North or East but never a West.
  • Thinking Talents: Connection, Love of Learning, Innovation, Mentoring, Storytelling
  • Love Language: Quality Time/Words of Affirmation

My enthusiasm over personality tools starts at self-observation and extends quickly into a springboard for personal and professional growth. How can these tools make me a better person, wife, parent, teacher, team-mate, and friend?

I am all in! But my relationship with catching a glimpse into what makes me tick has not always been super positive.

My first exposure to these types of assessments was in my senior year of high school when I took the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). At the time I was a little undecided on career path, and the possibility that one test could predict my success and lay out my future was intoxicating. An Army Officer came to share the results with our class, providing insight on how to use the assessment and to recruit potential heroes. He used several students’ real scores as examples before he came to mine. He had me stand up and come to the front of the room. My results indicated that I would be best suited for a career that is a cross between actress and religious professional. I was flattered that the US Government had recognized my potential for dramatic service to others, until I realized that I was being used as the non-example.

Uncle Sam didn’t want me.

The ASVAB experience planted a seed of self doubt that I didn’t know was there until it suddenly showed up, many years later, in one of my first department meetings as a new curriculum coordinator. We began to go over our results of the StrengthsFinder assessment and as my colleagues shared their strengths, I remember sitting in fear, reluctant to share my top 5, feeling that this survey had once again revealed a set of strengths that would identify me as the non-example. Everyone else’s strengths sounded so smart, so strong, so necessary.

Mine: Winning Others Over (WOO), Positivity, Learner, Communication, Developer…so different from everyone else’s…so actress/religious-professional…

As I braced for the now metaphorical Army Officer to have me stand up, you can imagine my surprise as my new team didn’t just tolerate and accommodate for me…they welcomed my differences, honored my strengths, and outlined how my uniqueness complemented and strengthened our team as a whole.

Being a part of this team was life changing. It was through working with these amazing people and on this amazing team that I learned to lead with my strengths and rely on the strengths of others. I learned to set realistic goals for myself and ask for help in areas that I know I am weak. I re-learned teamwork and I formed a new relationship with personality/aptitude assessments.

No matter what personality test, strengths inventory, or tool that you use-it is a STARTING point! A diagnostic, not a death sentence. If you are a true blue, #2, with a lot of WOO…Congrats! How are you going to use that to make a difference for the people around you? If you are a strategic #8 who is more North than Santa’s workshop, your people need YOU, to be YOU!

As it turns out, my job my vocation, my calling, my passion looks a little like a hybrid between a religious professional and an actress. I may have been a non-example for the military, but I am a great fit right where I am.

Still learning-Ash