Bea is known for her daredevil bike stunts in our cul-de-sac. She recently took off her training wheels and a whole new world has opened. She rides fast, jumps the curbs, and is constantly off-roading. I think an appropriate stocking stuffer will be a nice patch kit.
My dad comes over to help her repair her thorny tires and she’s right next to him, finding the puncture, patching it up, learning how to care for her bike. One day, when a wheel was off, Bea spun the back tire and said, If I just lift up, I probably would only need one wheel anyway….
Our neighbor’s nanny loves her fearless spirit and when he heard this statement, he laughed in an Of course Bea’s figuring out how to pop wheelies sort of way.
As my dad cleaned up after the repair, he talked with the nanny about his love of bikes and fixing them – he remembers his first bike, when he was just a bit older than Bea. How his dream is to have space to just clean up and tinker with a variety of bikes.
A few days later, we were watching the kids ride and Jake mentioned this conversation with my dad. We were talking about Bea’s skill and how it wasn’t the average four-year-old biking level. He wondered if it was partly just who Bea is but also partly my dad’s love of biking. Would she be as enthusiastic, as fearless, if a love of bikes wasn’t modeled?
StrengthsFinder talks about this whole nature vs nurture idea, or as they label it: talents and skills. In their language,
Talents are naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. Talents, knowledge, and skills — along with the time spent (i.e., investment) practicing, developing your skills, and building your knowledge base — combine to create your strengths. strengths.gallup.com
It’s not that we’re just born with these strengths and then, without any investment or time nurturing these skills, we’re just amazing at these particular areas.
Connectedness, Context, Learner may all be innate strengths for me but if I don’t spend the time cultivating these areas – reading books, surrounding myself with people of different views, taking time to know the world around me – these strengths would just stagnate.
If I’m not intentional, I can’t use my strengths as powerfully. Again, they would be part of how I process the world, but perhaps not as powerful as if I’m aware of how to best use them.
I think that’s what I love most about personality tests (and this goes for whichever one you most connect with). When we know ourselves deeper and understand the why behind how we function, I think we are able to make better decision and are able to better interact with those around us.
Just like we had to buy a bicycle for Bea and teach her how to ride it, we need to intentionally use our strengths to grow them. But, in the end, that fearlessness is innate – it just takes someone showing you how to pedal.
What’s your favorite personality test? How do you spend time cultivating your natural strengths?
This post is Day 28 of the Write 31 Day Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the StrengthsFinder test. You can find the entire series over at Live Your Strengths page.