During last week’s Art Licensing Info Ask Call, one of the questions was about how to stay motivated without a boss to answer to.  This led me to mention a great book that I think everyone should get – Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

Strengths Finder 2.0* is based on over 40 years of Gallup poll research and helps people discover and describe their five core talents.  When you buy a copy of the book, you also get to take the online survey that gives you your core talents.  It isn’t as simple as it may seem – when you look at the list of 34 common talents, what you think are your 5 core talents might be slightly different that what comes up from the survey.

I found this to be a really interesting exercise.  Not only can you learn about yourself and how to structure your work and life to be a great fit for your personality, but you can also use the information to help you understand how to best work with others.  If you have employees, this could be a valuable tool to use – get each person a copy and look at the suggestions for how to manage people based on their talents and not based on your perspective of the world.  Take it a step further and have your family each do the survey (you do have to get a book for each person to do this but they are only $14.49 each on Amazon*) so you can better understand how to keep everyone happy in the family dynamic.

Each talent – or Theme – is described in the book.  It then gives ideas for action for those with that as a core talent as well as ideas for working with those who have that talent.  Does it sound a little confusing? It really isn’t.

Let’s look at me and my 5 themes as an example.

My five core talents came out to be Achiever, Learner, Relator, Responsibility and Strategic.  These don’t surprise me but I was having a hard time narrowing down to five when give the list of 34.

Now let’s look at what Relator means, what it means to me and what it would mean to anyone working with me.

What it is:  “Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships.  In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know.”  It goes on to say Relators like intimate relationships and really want to understand how others tick.  Relators enjoy being with close friends.

  • Is this accurate?  Absolutely!  I’ve recently discovered that I’m an “extroverted introvert” – meaning, I can put myself out there but it isn’t what I absolutely love. I’ve always had a few close friends and enjoy small groups much more than large gatherings.  I’m not a person who can be around people and on the go all day every day – it can be draining!  (By the end of each day at SURTEX I just want to go relax in my hotel with my sister!) I need a lot of alone time and yes – I love to really understand people!

Some of the ideas for action: They recommend a work environment where friendships are encouraged and that isn’t overly formal.  Let people know you care more about a person’s character than their title and that is how you prefer to be seen as well.  Be careful not to open up too quickly to new people until you see the openness from them as well – not everyone wants the same level of connection.

  • So how does this sound to me… again, quite accurate.  I like to work with people I trust and like and like the freedom to be creative so less structure is better.  The most miserable I ever was was reading a script doing telemarketing and filling out reports… so boring!  I’ve also been burned more than once by opening up too quickly with others…

Working with Relators:  Relators are very loyal, place a high value on trust and will want to know where they stand with you.  Relators enjoy genuine bonds and will take the time to build them.

  • All true.

Understanding these things about yourself will help you in your life, your relationships and your business.  I have a lot of core themes that are ideal for being in business for myself and that would make me much less happy in a big corporate environment.  My fiancé is the opposite – he says he loves having somewhere to go and somewhere to leave – he works hard at work but doesn’t think he’d have the long-term motivation to work from home, let alone for himself.  These are good things to know when deciding what to do with your life!

If you require more direction, structure and accountability, you might be happier in the art licensing industry if you work with an agent.  If you love your independence and are very self motivated, create and represent yourself.

To sum it up, I highly recommend everyone get a copy of Strengths Finder 2.0*.  You will learn something that will help you live a happy and fulfilled life.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed