Strengths Stories In Action – StrengthsFinder Talent Theme: Input
I flew to Ecuador for an eight day trip with a backpack full of books and a carry on bag holding my toiletries and 6 outfits. It took me a lot to get to that point. I packed and repacked my bags, trying to fit one more book, one more shirt, maybe an extra pair of shoes? Perhaps my mattress, just in case? I didn’t think I was prepared or that I had enough. I didn’t want a checked bag because I was trying to save money for shopping while I was in Ecuador, and rationally knew that I didn’t need a checked bag for an informal eight day trip.
The night before the trip, I took eight items off of my checklist, and removed two books from my backpack. I remember looking at all the stuff I was insisting on taking on the plane, and thinking, “do I need all of this?” The answer was no, extra items and books were not essential, but just dead weight. The not so shocking miracle is that I ended up totally having enough when I got to Ecuador. I had more than enough.
This is a small example of the way my StrengthsFinder Talent Theme of Input shines through in my day to day life. Input is a talent that diversifies any person’s knowledge and any team or environment where it is present. My Input doesn’t just affect my packing skills. It also plays into how much I read and the podcasts I listen to. It shapes the way I work and the way I write. Because Input is all about the acquisition of material, whether it is knowledge, information, and experiences, it can become overwhelming if it lacks focus or hasn’t been well developed.
Why You Need To Invest In Your StrengthsFinder Talent of Input
If you lead with the CliftonStrengths talent theme of Input, you probably tend to collect items or information. You likely have a craving to archive people, things and information. You love having information that can help others, and might need help in cutting back to the necessities when you’re curating. When Input lies beneath the surface, raw and untouched, it can turn a collection into a hoard of things that doesn’t help anyone. However, when refined and practiced, Input can provide value to teams, workplaces, and relationships. Input can make any process more creative because of the diverse subjects someone with Input will draw upon to solve a problem or refine a process.
For me, discovering that Input is in my Top 5 was not entirely shocking. The terminology of “collecting,” and “archiving,” sounds like me to a tee, especially if you see the room I grew up in. I have a cabinet door that is covered in movie tickets from 2005-2013, in chronological order. It started as a fun craft, and then became more and more important as I saw my life through cinematic choices and the memories I associated with it. In addition to movie stubs, collections of rocks, journals, books, art supplies, shoes, clothes, daily Wikipedia and Google searches, further confirm that I collect.
The Superpower of Your StrengthsFinder Talent of Input
People who are naturally talented with Input tend to be curators of useful information. And they use it to benefit those around them. Input can facilitate growth and performance. The curiosity and inquisitiveness helps you direct your collections into valuable resources–especially at work. Because Learner is also in my top 5 talent, it works hand in hand with my Input talent. They’re practically best friends. Using Learner can sometimes put my Input into overdrive, yet can also help me provide a focus to my Input needs.
For example, with Learner, I might love reading. When I use it with Input, I can end up wanting to read the entire encyclopedia. Learner and Input can interact like checks and balances. On a basic level, I tend to make decisions once I have all the information; I like to see the whole picture before stepping into it. I have an unrelenting curiosity about the world around me, and the people in it. As a student, it led me to choose social sciences as an area of study. As an avid reader, I fell in love with words and the power they have to tell stories and impact lives. Input played into my desire to be a writer. I am curious and hungry for experiences. This hunger influences my decisions to travel as much as possible. It leads me to take opportunities for growth and learning, gratefully. I even seek to know more about being a friend. And being a people person, I am surrounded by many people from whom I learn and grow.
Packing for Ecuador, I didn’t have a focus on what was essential, because my only plan had been to see my friend. With Input my immediate reaction was to pack everything I would ever need. But in realizing I needed to leave some stuff behind, I needed to focus in on what was essential, and give my input a focus. I had to ask the questions, “who, what, when and where?” When I focused on those questions, I was able to let go of items, realizing I didn’t need ten books, or three different outfits for each day. Those things I let go of were things that wouldn’t serve my Input while on my trip.
Learning to hone in on Input can be an incredible gift. By learning to ask myself not only what is important for the present, but what will serve us in the future, allows me to see the larger picture and get the most out of my talent.
Applying Your Strengths To Your Career
If Input is dominant for you, consider the power if you consciously use it more often. One thing about Input at work, is its tendency to reach out to others. Most of the information or stories I collect isn’t for me. I am always sending my friends pictures or quotes or articles that remind me of them. For me, this is not only a way to exercise my input but to also get satisfaction from my input. What will you do, or what do you already do? Here are three ideas for ways you can invest in your Input talent:
1. Offer Insights that add value to colleagues. Don’t be afraid to speak up in your next meeting. You are talented in making connections that others aren’t likely to see. You could provide major insight into your next project or discussion because you’ve been researching, curating, and learning about this topic more than many people on the team. You have insight to offer. You likely have resources or reference material to share. Offer that value to your teammates.
2. Use your Input talent to make decisions faster. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of resources you have, yet remember to go back to the essentials. Pay attention to how your Input interacts with your other strengths and use that to your advantage! Use the Input on the front end as you collaborate and collect. Sift through your data and insight to help you make broad, informed decisions. Rest easy that you have done a thorough job and you have what you need to move forward. And if you have some fast moving talents like Activator or Strategic, let those kick in after your gathering phase so you can get to the action-taking part of your decision.
3. Give your Input talent a specific job. Find a focus for your Input – use it in a specific way that helps you discover what your essentials are. Maybe your Input thrives on giving information to others. Then use it to collect and send your boss or friends an article you think they might like. People with a strong Input talent are extremely observant, so chances are if you find something that reminds you of someone else, you’re probably right.