March 14, 2011

Strength Training

By Kris Spencer-Jones, Office Manager/Graphic Designer JLPA-MP

One of the many benefits of being on the JLPA-MP staff is that I have the opportunity to attend League trainings. On March 8, I attended "Be Your Best in 2011: An Evening of Finding Your Strengths and Talents" facilitated by the stellar Naomi Chavez Peters, JLPA-MP Past President and Director of Leadership and Employee Development for

About 45 women joined me in taking the online survey prior to the training. Strengths Finder 2.0 (accompanying book by Tom Rath and the result of years of statistical analysis by Gallup) is based on this concept: Your greatest room for growth is not in the areas in which you are weakest, but in your strengths.

That's awesome news because I'd hate to have to rely on my weaknesses! And have you noticed how weaknesses coincide with stuff you hate to do. So, hurray! No forcing myself to do stuff I hate. Sign me up. And I can rely on other people's strengths. You can see from this photo of Naomi holding up the chart where we each marked our strengths with colored dots, that they are all over the map. That diversity of talent makes for a strong League; though it's not surprising we had a lot of "strategic" "achievers."

I thought the assessment of my strengths was pretty accurate. My top five strengths were:

Input: Defined by Tom Rath as people who "have a craving to know more." Check!
Strategic: I am definitely a big picture thinker.
Learner: Seriously, I love school. Always have. Always will. I'm hoping this will keep me young of heart and mind as I grow older!
Achiever: Attendees of our monthly family game night will attest to this. I like to WIN, people!
Responsibility: "People who take ownership of what they say they will do." Yep.

But strengths were just the foundation. Naomi led us on an exploration to know our own heart: our interests, values and work styles. Fortunately, there were flash cards for the values. Choosing from a list rather than inventing your own eliminates the heavy lifting!

What surprised me was how helpful a photo was in pulling all of this together into a value proposition statement. Here's my photo and statement: My talents lie in seeing the big picture and finding the way forward. I love to learn new things and think outside the box. I love looking for the possibilities and exploring new territory. Art, nature and design feed my soul. My strengths as a learner, achiever and my strong sense of responsibility ground me and allow me to go beyond "the dream" to accomplish what I envision. I have the focus, determination and stamina to achieve the goals I set for myself.

Do you see these words from my statement in the photo I chose: big, outside, exploring, territory, nature, ground? That's pretty amazing.

I left the training inspired and empowered. (JLPA-MP mission statement fulfilled!) There's stuff I'm good at and it's the stuff I love. As I grow, I will become more myself. I really appreciate the fact that this strengths assessment is not about specific skills, but more about how you approach life. That makes it meaningful whether you're talking about work, family or volunteering.

Naomi closed the training with this quote:
"To love what you do and feel that it matters-how could anything be more fun?'
-Katherine Graham

UPDATED TO ADD: Post a comment below and let us know what you learned, where surprised by or took away from the training. Let’s start a conversation!

Big props to Naomi! It's a joy to see someone who is truly talented do what she loves. Frankly I would show up to hear her read the phone book and still come away inspired. I'm such a fan! Kudos and thanks to the Training Committee for envisioning and, oh so expertly, executing this training. I can't wait for the next training: Social Media, April 5. Hope to see you there!

To sign up for the April 5th training event, "The Savvy Girl's Guide to Social Media!" register online here.

1 comment:

  1. Kris, thanks for writing such a positive review of the workshop, and for taking the learnings to heart! Makes my day! Would love to hear from others in the class - what did you take away from discovering your strengths? Please commente on this blog, and start a dialogue!