My company had our team take a quiz & half day class on the Strengths Finder book by Tom Rath a while back. It scores you on 34 natural talents and gives you your top 5 natural talents in order. We were talking on how we use these in our work roles so I decided to go through it & determine how this shapes me as a triathlete too.
Descriptions (from the book) for my top “talents” in order of which ones I fell into the strongest are below. Then, my assessment of how I apply those in triathlon are below the chart.
People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
People strong in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.
People strong in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
People strong in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.
Strategic: When I am racing, I generally do not have issue overcoming whatever obstacles come up. I think this skill to sort through clutter & find the best path makes me best suited to long course racing where nothing ever goes to plan and problem solving skills are needed. When I am in training, although I do not enjoy being derailed I will find ways to continue to progress no matter what. If I am injured I’m very upset BUT also re-asessing the situation and focusing on what I can do to forge a new path like my core strength and my swimming. I will always find a way to achieve the goal where possible and I believe anything is possible and I will find the way.
Individualization: I love getting to know the other athletes. Every race, I come back with new “pals” and I enjoy understanding their stories. This is part of my enjoyment of the sport… meeting new people. I also used to try to get various tri teams to come together for group rides and fun things of that nature.
Achiever: Can we say “green box” obsession? I am on of those goal driven and target oriented people. I am self motivated and driven. I love plans to execute. I love to “check the box”. My very unique “issue” in racing that I began to overcome last year was being so tied up in the achievement of my own goals that I forget to race. This achiever talent serves me well in executing a race plan, but I’ve had to learn to actually RACE as well. To compete. Competition is a game and is fun for me, but my achievement of whatever objectives I lay out are what drives me. In 2013 a former coach saw me racing a sprint and noticed I appeared “capable” of passing but let some girls go. I was like, “Well, you said to run x pace, and I did that.” Being a “back to mid” of the pack athlete for so very long and finding success in my own personal achievement progressed me. This natural mindset to achieve served me well but now I have to remind myself that there are other people out there and I need to build outcome goals to achieve along with my process goals. The next race (pool sprint), was a two loop course and that coach was racing too. He saw me get passed on the run while he was coming behind me on his loop two and said, “race her, Kelly”…and I did & went on to win the age group. Checking boxes only gets you to a point. I needed to learn to actually race, which I think I really discovered only just last year and I have to remind myself.
Learner: I LOVE to learn about tri. I’ll research everything. Read everything. I want to understand the process, the philosophies & application. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and use it in my training & racing. Nutrition, power/data, stress mngt…any topic and I’m interested.
Futuristic: A vision for the future keeps me motivated. I can think ahead 5 years. For me that has been kona qualifying with 2018 as the target date as the big long term goal.