Several months ago, I was read Penelope Trunk’s blog. She’s pretty obsessed with the Myers-Briggs test and how much it can teach us about life, work, and relationships. One morning, I excitedly sat down at my kitchen table to take the test and discovered I am an ENFJ. Then I began to pester my husband, Tyler, about taking the test. I had been noticing acute differences in our approaches to certain situations lately, and I was sure that the test would give me some insight into Tyler’s very different perspective on the world. Although very skeptical of these things, Tyler grudgingly took the test.

Tyler is also an ENFJ.

So. There’s the disclaimer about personality tests.

But I learned a lot from doing Gallup’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 test this week. The test was recommended to me by the wonderful career coach Astrid Baumgardner during the one-on-one session I had with her at the CMA conference. “We spend a lot of time dwelling on our weaknesses,” she pointed out. “It’s nice to start thinking about your strengths!” The whole idea behind the strengths assessment, in fact, is that most people are not using their natural talents and strengths at work. Instead, they’re struggling to make up for shortcomings and often banging their heads against the wall in the process.

If you’re like me, and many other people I know, you might be starting to hone in on the work situations that do and don’t work for you. Maybe you’re wondering if the things you truly love and excel at — not the things you wish you could do, or the things you’re supposed to love — could actually be a life’s work.

The test ends up identifying five areas of strength that you have and discusses careers and work situations that would play to those strengths. For me, the strength areas were really illuminating, as well as affirming of things I have already begun to suspect about myself. There’s a strength which Gallup amazingly entitled Woo, which means I get a thrill from talking to lots of different people and connecting with them — even people I don’t know yet. There’s another one called Strategic, which really resonated with me and the big-picture way I like to think. The test also identified my passion for Ideas and the desire to share them (and made me feel particularly grateful for my chance to share ideas here and at NewMusicBox). And I was excited that the test identified me as a basically Positive person, who thrives best when surrounded by positive people and energy.

So, since I think you’re so interesting and great (Woo), and I’d like to discuss this test with you (Ideas), and I think you’ll have fun doing it (Positive), go take it! The cheapest and quickest route is to pay $13 for a Kindle eBook and get a unique access code to take the test online. I know. But it’ll be fun!

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