Give the Gift of Strengths this Holiday Season


We were so blessed to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder several years ago. It felt like someone had followed us around and knew our thoughts. Rooted in five decades of research, the StrengthsFinder is an online test that measures the presence of talent in 34 general strength categories. Here’s a little more about it so you can take it for yourself.

There are a couple options to access the test. For us, we chose to purchase the book, StrengthsFinder 2.0 written by Tom Rath. The book is a quick read (around 30 pages) and then you access a code in the back of the book to go online and take the assessment. The rest of the book is really a resource to better understand the 34 strengths. The actual test only takes about 20-30 minutes. But, be aware, when you start the test you only have 20 seconds to choose your answer. We find it’s best to be in a place where you won’t be interrupted. Once you finished the test, make sure to download a copy of the report titled, Strengths Insight and Action Planning Guide. The report is about 18 pages, but you will want the whole report because the descriptions of the strengths are unique to you.

Once you have completed your test, you will have access to a series of videos. I like the video titled, Your Greatest Talents, as it provides a quick (3 minutes) overview of StrengthsFinder and how to use your report to learn more about your results. Follow the instructions from the video and enjoy learning about your strengths!

For TEENS and YOUNG ADULTS the best book to get for them is CliftonStrengths for Students. The assessment is actually the same test used for adults. The key difference is the report is specific to this age group and provides really great ideas for career and college ideas. It is a good idea to have them download the same reports and watch some of the videos provided. Let your TEEN and or YOUNG ADULT know that this is a very positive focused test and will only take them around 30 minutes to compete. We have found if we make sure to keep the message positive, TEENS are very open to take the assessment.

For SCHOOL AGE KIDS, over the age of eight or nine, you have a couple options. You can purchase the book, Strengths Based Parenting by Mary Reckmeyer, or you can purchase a kit called StrengthsExplorer online. Dr. Reckmeyers book is very well done and you will get a code for your child and one for a parent. For multiple SCHOOL AGE kids you could purchase the book and the StrengthsExplorer Kits. The actual assessment for the kids is different from the TEEN and adult version.

First, the test is untimed, your child will have time to really read and understand each question. Second, your child will receive their top three out of ten strengths for kids. After they take the assessment, which takes about twenty minutes, download and print the short report for the child. The book and kit provide some ideas for how to talk about the strengths with your kids. One word to the wise, if you sit with your child while they are taking the assessment, don’t coach their answers. We have actually only had one of our kids require us to sit through the test with them, and we were very careful not to coax certain answers.

After each parent and child takes their appropriate StrengthsFinder assessment, carve out some time as a family to dive into your results together. Consider displaying each person’s strengths in the home on a poster or chalkboard, visible for all to see. Integrate strengths in to your conversations and help one another recognize and celebrate when a family member’s strengths are on display in a particular moment or activity. If you all take the assessment and discuss it together you begin to speak the same language and see one another for their strengths rather than for each other’s most apparent weaknesses.  What we develop as our home culture, we will take into all the over environments where we do life like work, school, church etc. But it all starts at home. Have fun discovering the strengths in your family this holiday season!

Brandon Miller