Personal strengths evaluation is the next step after identifying your personal strengths (more info here) – you need to understand how they interact with each other and what is their place in your personality. Each of your skills has its exact place and it is just one piece of the puzzle. And last but not least, the same skills in different combinations most often lead to different results.
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The Myers-Briggs System
Before going further you need to understand the eight mental processes (according to the Myers-Briggs System). According to this system there are four processes that help you learn new information and four that help you make decisions.
- Introverted Intuition – PERCEIVE– forming an internal map and framework on how things work; relying on gut feelings and intuition to help understand a situation.
- Extroverted Intuition – EXPLORE – experiencing the outer world, noticing possibilities, and what could be; seeing the world in multiple different perspectives.
- Introverted Sensing – REMEMBER– recalling details of past events; recalling experiences from the past with great accuracy; believing that the past is a good indicator for future events.
- Extroverted Sensing – SENSE – experiencing and perceiving the world in the present moment; seeing, feeling, touching, smelling and listening to everything that is going on.
- Introverted Thinking – IMPROVE – wanting the world to make sense in logical manner; very good at finding commonalities in unrelated things.
- Extroverted Thinking – OPTIMIZE – understanding and organizing the external world; having very little patience of unproductive activities.
- Introverted Feeling – BE YOURSELF – dealing with the person’s own feelings and beliefs; dealing with morals and what they truly believe.
- Extroverted Feeling – HARMONIZE – understanding others emotions and feelings in the present moment; very attentive to others and can sense what they are feeling.
Introversion or Extroversion
Introverted vs. Extroverted is the inner feeling of which world is the true world. Introverted people think that their world is the true world and often believe that everybody is the same like them. Extroverted people believe in the outer world and often think that everybody is different.
Extroverted people can also be perceived as outgoing, talkative or action-oriented. They are often the center of attention and enjoy working out ideas with others. Those people prefer frequent interaction.
Introverted people can often be reserved and prefer slower pace with time for thinking. They tend to think things through and would rather observe than take part in an activity. Those people prefer less frequent but more substantial interaction.
Sensing or Intuition
Sensing vs. Intuition describes how you prefer to take new information. How you normally work with a concept or an idea. And most importantly, how you would describe things.
Sensing people focus on the reality of how things are and pay attention to specific facts or details. They are rather practical and regard the practical application as the most important part of an idea. They will often describe things in specific way.
Intuition-oriented people imagine the possibilities of how things could be. They also notice the big picture and the connections between the different dynamic parts. They enjoy ideas for the sake of the ideas and describe things in poetic ways.
Thinking or Feeling
Thinking vs. Feeling is the way you make your decisions.
Thinking people are impersonal and often use logic. They value justice and fairness. They enjoy finding the holes in an argument and can be described as reasonable or level-headed.
Feeling people base their decisions on personal values and make consequence analysis on how their actions affect others. They value harmony and forgiveness, tend to please others and always look for the positives in the other people. They are often described as warm and empathetic.
The Rocket Model for personal strengths evaluation
Space exploration is one of the most difficult endeavors known to man. In order for a space mission to be successful everybody must know their place and act exactly as expected of them. Not only that, the different parts of the whole system should also work with each other seamlessly.
The Rocket Model helps with personal strengths evaluation by dividing the personal skills into four different categories: Pilot, Navigator, Scientist and Medic.
- The Pilot is that part of you that is the most important to you. When you talk about your skills you will most often describe this category. These are the skills that you cannot NOT do.
- The Navigator is also a very important part, but you do not know it as strong as you know your pilot. This is your main growth area. By concentrating your development efforts here, you will earn the most results.
- The Scientist is right behind the Navigator. You know about his presence, but he or she is not mission critical from steering point of view. Sometimes you feel you are good at the skills that fall in this category, sometimes not.
- The Medic is right behind the Pilot and he is she is the worst in terms of flying skills. This is the living conscious of the rocket – it works from behind and it influences you through discomfort.
Populating the places
The rocket of your personal strength has four places and all of them should be filled. Each personality chooses the main learning method and the main decision-making method. Then you have to make one more decision: whether you like learning on decision making more. You should follow these rules:
- If your Pilot is learning, then your Navigator will be the decision maker (and vise versa).
- If your Pilot is extroverted, then your Navigator will be introverted (and vise versa).
- Your Medic is always the complete opposite of your Pilot (e.g. if your Pilot is Introverted Intuition, then your Medic is Extroverted Sensing).
- Your Scientist is always the opposite of your Navigator (e.g. if your Pilot is Extroverted Feeling, then your Scientist is Introverted Thinking).
Why is there a problem with the opposite processes
There is a concept in Economics called “cost of specialization”. When we focus all resources in one direction, then we have to ignore the other things (because we are focusing). The typical examples is with apples and oranges about country A:
- It can make 10 apples per year OR 8 oranges
- … divide its resources and make 5 apples and 4 oranges (which in practice is not the case but this is not important)
- … specialize in apples and make 10 apples (AND 0 oranges)
- … specialize in oranges and make 8 oranges (AND 0 apples)
- … cannot make MORE than 5 apples AND MORE than 4 oranges
For example if you are fully immersed into your career, then your body and your relationship will by definition suffer. After some time you may get your promotion and realign your priorities but the other areas will suffer during the first period. Or alternatively, you can concentrate on your personal life and fail to get the promotion.
Understanding the places
After you define your Pilot and Navigator (and the opposite Medic and Scientist), you may go on and understand the four places and their needs.
This is your greatest natural talent. This is your “flow” state (Personal Strengths). By doing this you recharge your batteries and you feel like yourself.
You are forced to use this process in your whole life internally and if you fail to do so for a long time, you will become depressed and lethargic.
This is your second strongest talent. This is where you can grow the most. In Economics this is called “greatest ROI” (return on investment). The time and effort you spend here will resonate with your life and will yield the greatest benefits.
You will not be compelled to use this skill, although it feels natural to you. But after you are aware of it and you have developed it, then you will feel the greatest impact.
This is the opposite of your Pilot. This is strictly speaking your greatest weakness. It is expressed during times of extreme stress, when you feel overwhelmed and when you feel “not yourself”. You should use it with caution and intention.
This is the opposite of your Navigator and also a weakness. It is usually called when you feel defensive and when you do not want to face something. You should not make major decision during this state, but instead use it in times of play.
Tips about the four seats in the rocket
Each of these seats and processes has a unique position in your life. They can also influence each other in unique ways.
The Pilot and the Navigator
These two seats are always extroverted and introverted. Even when you typically look outside for getting information, your Navigator will make sure that you also consult your inner-self before making a decision. The opposite is also true – if you look inside for information, then your Navigator will try to get the outer world to agree with you.
Just being aware of that can have a huge impact on your life. Most of the people are not 100% sure if they are extroverted or introverted and this is because we are always both – but in different degrees.
The Pilot and the Scientist
There is also an interesting relationship between these two seats – your main strength and the opposite of your second strength. By definition BOTH of them are always extroverted OR introverted.
You fall into this seat when you feel threatened. When the world is telling you something you don’t want to hear, you will either shut down our listening mechanism (introverts do that), or ignore those voices that tell you you’re doing something wrong (extroverts). What happens is that you tend to stay in our comfort zone: the zone of the Pilot.
This is why training and paying attention to your Navigator can yield great results. It brings the mature way of thinking into the picture and helps us consider the other possibility.
The Medic is often ignored when it comes to your personality. You may not notice its impact and you may even pretend it is not there. But this is not true, especially since it is inexperienced and cannot help you steer the rocket. When it feels neglected for too long it will start screaming and looking for attention.
The Medic can be given the rocket when the Pilot is really busy doing something else, is feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Under the influence of the Medic you would do stuff for which you may later ask: “Did I really do that?!?”
Your main skills are most probably divided by your pilot and navigator seats on your rocket. When identifying those skills you would most probably remain in the domains of these two fields. Placing your skills in the rocket and studying the impacts of the medic and the scientist could bring great benefits to your life.