The Definition of The Intellection Strength is The Inner World

Strengths Stories In Action—StrengthsFinder Talent Theme: Intellection

Forget the formal definition of the Intellection strength for a second. Let's get a real story of how it shows up in life.

As I am walking down the hall I am often asked, “Are you okay?” or “What’s wrong?” The inquiry initially sounds muffled and distant until I remember I am walking down a hall and there are other people around me. I find myself shaking my head as though to bring myself back from a land far, far away. My response is often perplexed—of course I am fine, why would anything be wrong?

It took me years to become aware my look of concentration and deep thought was often translated as being in an ill mood. Over the past 50 years (I will be 50 in May) the act of “intellecting” has left an impression of the beautiful number eleven between my eyes.

I love long periods of time alone. I often find hours have ticked by on the clock, and I haven’t moved. In my thoughts, I have traveled continents and solved world hunger, however, my body is still as I left it in the chair with my feet on the ottoman.

My friends have come to learn my patterns—if those closest haven’t heard from me in three-ish days, they reach out to make sure I have eaten and showered. It is often shared that those with the StrengthsFinder talent of Intellection are their own best friends. This makes me smile sheepishly in delight, as I do entertain and keep myself company.

When asked to share an example of my Intellection in action it makes me smile because, for anyone like me, there is no action. Thinking is pretty much the definition of the intellection strength.

In fact, my team often has to dig for the information I have filed away as it is not in my nature to share it all in a complete format. In fact, I have had to work very hard to master verbal communication so I can bring my inside world out.

What's The Formal Definition Of The Intellection Strength?

Often people will ask, "What does it mean to have the Intellection Strength?" Or, that talent sounds smart, but what's the actual definition of the intellection strength?

First, know that CliftonStrengths talent themes will help you figure out your potential. We call them natural talents or natural patterns. We know you're here because you want to turn them into superpowers in your career, so here's the gist: People exceptionally talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions. Here's the full list of CliftonStrengths definitions so you can check out your other talents as well.


The Longer Definition of The Intellection Strength from CliftonStrengths

You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the “muscles” of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions. This need for mental activity may be focused; for example, you may be trying to solve a problem or develop an idea or understand another person’s feelings. The exact focus will depend on your other strengths. On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus. The theme of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think.

You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. You are introspective. In a sense you are your own best companion, as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound.

This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that your mind conceives. Or this introspection may tend toward more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later. Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.

Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, and each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

Why You Need To Invest In Your StrengthsFinder Talent of Intellection

If you lead with the CliftonStrengths talent theme of Intellection, it is imperative to create strategies that bring your inside world out. There is a spectrum ranging from Unsophisticated Strength (the talent is probably showing up as a weakness) to Sophisticated Strength (you’re productively applying your talent to produce results). This is true for all 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder themes, so it’s worth our time to invest in understanding how Sophisticated our Strengths are now so we can show up as our best moving forward.

I used to find myself extremely frustrated when teams I was leading did not execute in alignment with the goals we had. It wasn’t until a team meeting that a big “Ah-ha!” moment occurred. I asked for the status on a project, and my team all looked at me with great confusion. I remember feeling like I was living in parallel world at that moment. I felt like I was in slow motion when I looked up and asked them what the confusion was about.

They all looked a bit unsure of how to respond. Then, one fearless teammate shared I had never communicated the request in any format (verbally or using our project tool) to the team for execution. Needless to say, this was both awkward and costly for all of us and potentially a client. This is a great example of a Strength not operating with the level of Sophistication the situation required.

When we become aware of a Strength not functioning in a way that adds value, or even in a way that detracts, we can create strategies for success. Often, we can leverage another Strength or a combination of Strengths to compensate for the gap. In my case, the cards are stacked a bit against me when it comes to executing tasks, as I have no Executing Strengths in my top ten—I am very heavily weighted in the Strategic Thinking themes. It has often felt like an uphill battle.

Developing strategies for success to develop and harness the best of Intellection:

  • Leverage a system to assist with moving thoughts, ideas, and tasks from the inside out. One cool tool is Mind Mapping.
  • Enlist a partner to help mine for the actionable items
  • Enlist help with email and calendar to help ensure things are not left undone
  • Use a voice recorder to verbalize the ideas rolling around in your head to help vet out the feasible ones for reference later
  • Schedule time to “think” (This has helped me to be in action more regularly)
  • Surround yourself with high-level executers

Lexy Thompson with Clifton StrengthsFinder Talent Theme of IntellectionThis recipe has made a ton of difference in what and how things move from my thoughts into reality. A great example of this is a learning experience I had vetted and mapped out many times over the past five years.

Once the team was able to take four full workdays and pull the concepts from me into a workable format, they were able to bring our newest curriculum into the world. We are delivering this work to our clients with rave reviews. This very easily could have been one of many missed opportunities if I had not realized the gap and created a strategy bigger than myself to bridge it.

The Superpower of Your StrengthsFinder Talent of Intellection

Intellection, when Sophisticated, is the fertile soil for new ways of being, doing, and experiencing our world. Our ability to reach internal depths of discovery can lead to a wisdom that resonates with many when shared. My namesake and personal journey has always been to “know thyself”, and the Strength of Intellection offers me direct access to the unfolding of me.

Intellection shines when it is able to explore, learn, and bring forward some of the best wisdom available. This rich internal dialogue and exploration often yields great clarity where it may not have existed. For me, the genius of Intellection comes into play when I am able to move the wisdom I have discovered internally into a written or spoken format so that it finds its place in the world we collectively share. This is often where my other Strengths of Connectedness and Strategic get to jump in and round out Intellection in a way that can add value to the community.

Applying Your Intellection Talent To Your Career

If Intellection is a dominant theme for you, find ways to share your inner world in communities where your wisdom can add value and open new doors of possibility.

What will you do?

Here are three ways you can invest in your Intellection talent:

  • Communication: Look for tools that help you bring what is in your head out. Mind mapping programs, recording yourself and journaling are some great ways I have used.
  • System for organizing: This system will likely depend on the tool(s) you use to collect your thoughts. Some ways I work to do this are types of thoughts within my journaling and organizing my recordings by type of idea, not so much the date. This helps to make it easy to retrieve all thinking around a topic even when it did not all happen within the same recording session.
  • Don’t forget your body: This one is my biggest challenge—not surprisingly, thinking about exercise has not transformed into results. I have enlisted help and support with trying new methods to remember to move and eat on a schedule. I love my standing STIR desk; it has added lots of movement due to its gentle whispers to move. It seems my Command Strength prefers a whisper (smiles). I have met with more failure than success here—the key is to keep trying. I fall down 7, and get up 8.

Go Beyond The Definition of The Intellection Strength: Read Other Examples and Stories of This Talent In Action

  • Lexy also appeared in a podcast interview, where you'll be able to experience her talents out loud (or read the transcript if you prefer spoken word). If you want to see the definition of the intellection strength lived out in a conversation, definitely check out this interview.
  • Adam Seamen, in a podcast interview, shared how his Intellection talent leads people to want to include him when he's standing in a corner at a party...yet he's already having a party in his head (alone)! He's another perfect example of the definition of the intellection strength.