You may have heard that there are two types of people: dog lovers or cat lovers. Though I won’t narrow down the 7 billion plus people on earth to two different ‘types’, I will use those two animals to understand patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. That is how Gallup defines ‘talent’. As someone with ‘Analytical’ as my top talent, I love the fact that the key to identifying your own talent is looking for patterns.
As cat lovers celebrate cats on International Cat Day, I think of the difference between cats and dogs. Right now I am dog sitting for a friend, and when this small dog came in the house for the first time she ran throughout the house non-stop for the first five minutes. In an effort to corral her towards the area of the house I wanted, I simply gave a hard call of her name “Bella!”. That is all I had to do for her to put on the breaks in the direction she was heading and make a hard turn to sprint towards me. Eventually I was able to guide her out the back door so she could go do her business.
Dogs have a reputation of being playful, and certainly up for anything. Cats, however, seem to have more pause. Are they more methodical? Are they strategizing? This difference in personalities leads me to think of human decision making. Some of us are more like dogs (spontaneous, care-free, in the moment), while some may be more like cats (analyze, strategize, risk-averse). Surely there are many reading this now that can relate to the excitement of a dog, and all it takes to change direction is the call of a familiar voice to slam the breaks and turn in a new direction. Others, however, may sit in emotionless reflection thinking several steps ahead (or in condescending judgement).
I am preparing a presentation for high school students who have completed their Clifton Strengths results. I will be leading them to a greater understanding of their results, including how to begin investing in their talents as they approach college and career decisions. I spent several hours in a Gallup research paper highlighting the ill-preparedness of college students, and it notes in the executive summary that 86% of incoming freshman said that getting a better job was a critical factor in their decision to go to college (Strada-Gallup 2017 Survey). However, when interviewing working adults, only 26% indicated their education had relevance to their work and daily life. There is opportunity to reflect on college decisions to make sure the investment (both financial and time) will have impact.
We just passed International Cat Day. If there’s nothing more we can learn from cats, let it be the calm observation they seem to display throughout their daily life. Given the impact that our decision making can have in our lives, wouldn’t it be great to have a little bit of intentionality behind them?
If you feel stuck in work, relationships, or anywhere else in life, let me encourage you. You are uniquely designed for something. The key to receiving both clarity and purpose in your decision making has everything to do with the talents you hold. If you’ve never spent the time to understand those talents, thereby having some intentionality for decisions, consider starting with the Clifton Strengths assessment. Through this assessment you will be given results that provide powerful language to how you filter your world, as well as the talents you hold that can become powerful strengths to begin living your purpose.
Do you want to know how you are designed to make your unique impact in the world? Contact Gallup’s Certified Strengths Coach, Dan Vincent, at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your Clifton Strengths Assessment code. Kaleo Coaching is currently working with organizations and individuals to interpret your assessment results, and make a plan on how to aim them towards your goals.