Knowing your strengths

I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs personality test a few times but always took it with a grain of salt. After all, depending on my mood, I swing between getting an “I” or “E” (so, introverted or extroverted).

Recently at work we took the Clifton Strengths assessment. I’d never heard of the test before but it was pretty eye-opening. Based on many questions answered, it assesses your greatest strengths. (They call them “themes” and there are more than 30 themes to be placed into!)

In a workplace, knowing one another’s strengths helps with building better teams and thus producing better, timely work.

My top five strengths include: responsibility, individualization, analytical, strategic and achiever.

The “individualization” one first caught me by surprise because I thought it meant that I preferred to work as an individual and (essentially didn’t want to be around other people). It’s actually not that at all. When it comes to Clifton Strengths, individualization means you are intrigued by the unique qualities each person has. You don’t like to group people into “types” but would rather know how each person is special and different.

I definitely have a “get it done” attitude which is where the “responsibility” and “achiever” themes come from. I don’t always associate myself as a super analytical and strategic person but I guess those must come from my journalistic upbringing. I learned that you need facts to prove things. You need to write/report based off of known knowledge, not just what people may say.

Knowing these strengths goes beyond being helpful in a work setting. They can be applied to your personal life and goals as well.

We don’t always know exactly what our strengths are. Or, is everyone just way more self-aware than I am?

Something non-running and non-not running-related to talk about for once 🙂

Moving forward

As an inured runner, I have never wanted to run more than I have wanted to today. (Maybe tonight will be my comeback to running?)

As an American, I have never been so embarrassed and ashamed of my country.

I went to bed just before midnight (Pacific time). I didn’t want to wait for the election to be called. I wasn’t going to watch him give his acceptance speech.

When I woke up this morning, I had an ever-so-slight glimmer of hope. Maybe something changed? Maybe the ballots got counted incorrectly? Maybe Florida had a recount? Maybe there was a miracle?

No.

I scrolled through my Facebook feed and read through countless posts from friends, former classmates and colleagues, mutual friends, teammates and family members. They all had similar sentiments. They are heartbroken. They are deeply saddened. They are scared for communities that this man has specifically targeted. They are scared for our country as a whole. They don’t know how to explain this to their children, to their students. They are angry. They are furious. They are confused.

I cried multiple times getting ready for work.

Then I called my mom and she (sort of) put things into perspective.

Nothing will change in the immediate immediate future. We cannot be sad for the next four years. 

And, she also reminded me that here in Seattle, we live in an unrealistic version of society. Seattle is very liberal. I do not know a single people who voted for this man. But, for the rest of the country, people have drastically different opinions. They are uneducated. They will therefore buy into the scare-tactics that were dished out to them. In a sense, this man provides a different kind of hope for them.

How do we reach these people? How do we come together? How do we move forward?

 

We will never really understand each other

“I just feel so bad for you that you’ve never been able to experience that,” he said.

My friend wasn’t trying to be condescending or demeening.

I need eight hours of sleep a night to feel good the next day. Nine and I’ll feel great. Anything less than seven-and-a-half and I’m done for.

But, if I go to sleep late (as in, any time after midnight), it doesn’t matter how many hours of sleep I’ve clocked in that night/morning, I’ll still feel tired the next day just from the fact that I went to bed so late.

And, that’s what Collin was getting at. He felt “bad for me” that I couldn’t party it up to the wee hours and still have an exciting adventure-filled day the following day. Instead, the next day would be shot for me. I’d be in a haze. I’d be tired. I’d want to nap even though I don’t usually like naps.

“But you slept for nine hours!” he would exclaim.

It wouldn’t matter though. And, he just wouldn’t understand how my body could not function the next day even though I received “my sufficient hours of Zs.”

Sometimes, we are never going to fully understand one another. And, I’m not talking empathy. I’m talking about scenarios like this one. Or, scenarios where someone finds it uncomfortable to poop at his/her significant other’s house even though they have been dating for nearly a year. So, they make up excuses like they need to pick up extra gym clothes from their own house, or they need to let the dog out, when really, it’s because they need to go use the restroom. (Yes, this is a real story that a real person has told me. It happens and I will never understand. If you gotta go, you gotta go, right?)

Something that seems so normal for one person can be a completely abnormal concept for another. And, it doesn’t matter the amount of explaining you do — the other person will just not “get it.” Even if they are trying their hardest to understand.

Maybe it’s because of a difference in background or culture. Maybe it’s a difference in lifestyle. Maybe it’s a difference in age or gender. Maybe it’s a difference in point of views and opinions. Maybe it’s something else.

All I know is that I can’t control how my body will feel the next day when I stay up late, which is why I don’t like to stay up late too often.

But, maybe this is just me getting older.

Or, maybe we will just never really understand each other.

Trying to be the Good Samaritan

One time I found three 20-dollar bills at the mall. Yes, so $60.

I looked around and no one was nearby. I pocketed the money and then went home to write and submit a Craigslist ad stating I had found a sum of money at a Seattle-area mall and that if you could tell me the quantity and what mall, I would return the money to you.

I received zero responses so I donated the money to one of my favorite local nonprofits.

Sometimes it’s hard being a Good Samaritan.

Take this past Sunday for example.

Bryce and I found a ring in the parking lot of Gasworks Park. It was around 10 a.m. and it was on the curb of the stall we had parked in. It looked like it could have been an engagement ring. There were three centered red-colored jewels (maybe rubies?) with two smaller diamond-types in between them.

We decided to leave it on the curb in case the owner came back looking for it.

When we returned to our car about 45 minutes later, the ring was still there.

“Now what do we do?” I asked Bryce.

He suggested we report it to the police. I made a comment that maybe the police would just keep it for themselves and that maybe taking the matter to Twitter would be more effective. I was being half-serious.

As we sat in the car, Bryce examined the ring. He said he had no idea if it was real or not.

“Oh, gosh! We cannot report a missing fake ring!” I replied.

I took the ring from him and “examined” it as well. I’m not into jewelry so I had no idea if it was just a trinket or a fancy-expensive ring. As I held it I realized that the band wasn’t cold. If this was real gold, wouldn’t the band be cold from being outside? I brought this “clue” to Bryce’s attention.

We decided that no one would have a ring with a plastic or plastic-type band with expensive jewels. We left the ring in the parking lot and told ourselves it wasn’t real.

Sometimes, it’s confusing being a Good Samaritan.

And then, last night Joanna (my roommate) and I went out for an easy post-work run together. When we returned to our apartment, Joanna noticed that a car in our apartment’s lot had its headlights on.

“I could leave a note on the car saying that if the battery is dead in the morning, they can call me? I have jumper cables!” she said.

But, then we thought one step further. We would tell our apartment manager what stall the car was parked in. Then, he could notify the tenant.

Joanna called and received our apartment manager’s voice mail. She left a detailed message and as soon as she hung up, we both said in unison, “It’s in his hands now!”

Sometimes, it’s about passing on being a Good Samaritan to others.

When unsafe becomes normal

I went to my ultimate Frisbee game last night as I would any ultimate-Frisbee-league-night.

There was more traffic to get there than usual since it was at a field further south than usual.

Other than that there shouldn’t have been any difference than usual.

But there was.

Safety.

Two drivers were getting into a dispute on the road right next to the fields.

I thought nothing of it but I did stop to “observe.” They were being loud and sounded angry. One said he had gun. I didn’t see a gun. I did see him pull out his phone to take a picture of the other driver’s license plate.

I thought nothing more of it.

Later my teammates told the rest of us that they did in fact see a gun. (They were also threatened in the community center parking lot with a bat by one of the two drivers having the quarrel).

Before our game even started, one (female) player from the other team left because she felt like she wasn’t in a safe situation.

We were there to play ultimate.

Shouldn’t you always feel safe playing the sport that you love in the city that you love?

After the game my teammates made sure they walked me to my car (even though I was parked within eye-sight of the fields). They didn’t want to take any chances. Plus, it was dark by the time our game was over. Normally I probably would have laughed at their comment to escort me to my car. In this case though, I thought, “well, better safe than sorry.” I have the best teammates.

It never crossed my mind before or during the game that I was in any danger.

But, now, thinking the scenario over, it wasn’t the usual atmosphere we experience when we play ultimate.

Had unsafe become normal?

I don’t know.

And, if we have to play at those fields again, I don’t know if I would go again.

Because, maybe this was just one isolated incident. But, maybe it was not.

Unsafe should never become normal.

 

Sometimes, I’m kind of a stalker

Examples of recent stalker-ish tendencies:

1. I once searched someone on Facebook while this person was more-or-less five feet away from me without his/her knowledge. I could have very well asked the third person in the room the “about me” of this person, but I thought it was a solid decision to discreetly research on my phone instead. (Note: The person and I have never formally met and I had just learned of his/her name seconds before conducting the search).

2. I took this photo without their knowledge:

In my defense, I was trying to depict that grown men can wear bear hats (as long as they are accompanying their kid-daughter who is wearing a husky hat — and helping her tie her shoelaces).

3. I took this photo without her knowledge:

(Again,) in my defense, I was trying to demonstrate to the world that working pay phones do exist! Well, unless this woman was just acting like this was a working pay phone, but I’d like to think that she was actually making a 25-cent one-dollar (?) call home to wish her parents a happy St. Patrick’s day. (Side note: there was also a phone book in this phone booth that she was flipping through! I guess there goes the idea that she was calling home … unless she had lost touch with her parents who moved houses).

4. I did this:

In case you are too lazy to click and read the thread (which I don’t blame you —lots of words! — I would skip over too,) I basically saw someone IRL (in real life) who I’ve only known through blogs and Twitter and instead of being a normal person and introduce myself, I questioned her real-life presence on, none other than: Twitter!

I don’t mean to be creepy, but sometimes it just comes across that way.

Oh, did I ever mention my favorite song is The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”?

When bad things happen, you can either rage or move on — or both

I was in my first accident about two-and-a-half years ago. It was a fender-bender. The driver behind me rear ended me.

 

I remember right when it happened, I thought: How did I get hit? I wasn’t even stopping abruptly! How could someone hit me?

 

But, it happens. It was an accident.

 

I pulled over to the side. She pulled over to the side. We exchanged information. She apologized and was nice about it. Her insurance covered it.

 

In the end, I wasn’t really that mad. (Or, tried not to be).

 

Yesterday when I walked to my car parked at my work lot, I was furious. My car had a huge dent on the driver’s front side plus that entire side of the bumper was nearly falling off. The bolts had come undone!

 

No note. No nothing.

 

I thought: How did I get hit? My car was not even moving! Who is that bad of a driver that s/he hits a parked vehicle? And, who does this much damage and then just runs away from it??

 

I was mad because someone made a mistake and decided to not take responsibility for it. And I would be the one paying in time and (lots of) money for it. The cost to get a new bumper plus the “inside damage” done is worth nearly two months worth of my rent! I may as well burn a thousand dollars!

 

That's nice.

That’s nice.

Sure, the damage to my car is fixable. And, my car is still drive-able. At least no humans were hurt during this “accident.” (Although, since I wasn’t there to witness the incident, who knows if my car was the only victim).

 

Because someone decided to hit my car and run away, I was stuck an hour later at work trying to get the on-site police to file a report. (At first an officer told me they “ran out of report paper” and that I was going to have to self-file. I kid you not!) So, of course by the time I was able to leave, I was driving home in rush hour stop-and-go traffic. When I got home, it was dark … there went my hope to actually go on a run when it was semi-light outside.

 

In an attempt to make me feel better — or to give me some perspective — while I was having my pity party, my dad told me that hit and runs are unfortunate but they happen all the time to good people and that it’s not my fault.

 

“Well of course it’s not my fault!”

 

He then added that “the worst” is when people hit and run on pedestrians.

 

As I drove home in rush hour on I-5, I felt angry and sad for the world that we live in …

 

“Drive safely,” my dad said before we had hung up.

 

In my moment of anger, I told him that “it didn’t matter” since my car was all “smashed up” anyway.

 

“You need to stay safe though,” he said.

 

Point taken.

 

And, since I’m an optimist with momentary pessimistic ways, I know that whoever did this will get what s/he deserves.

 

That’s what karma is for, right?