"Theme Thoughts" is a quick look into one of the 34 Gallup StrengthsFinder 2.0 Themes. I'll try and do one of these posts each week, and will share what I've learned from stories and ideas shared by other strengths coaches, as well as my personal thoughts, experiences and applications.
Learner is my #1.
In fact, when I took the StrengthsFinder back in Spring '14, I remember seeing my results and simply being blown away. I love to read, but more importantly I love to learn. Gallup states that those who have Learner in their top themes often enjoy the process of learning regardless of the subject.
I have an internet...no...a Wikipedia addiction.
I remember reading this and thinking about the countless hours I've spent on Wikipedia (*yes, I know you can't believe everything you read but it's still a lot of fun). You could say that I'm a Wikipedia Junkie - I'll read a news article and open up Wikipedia to learn who, where or what they're talking about and then all of a sudden, 45 minutes go by, I've clicked on 20 or so links and I honestly can't remember why I went to the site in the first place.
In addition to my internet addiction :), reading & learning has been a huge part of my life for the last 4-5 years. I started reading personal development materials, and at first it was a habit that I almost forced myself into, using quotes like: "not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers" and one from Jim Rohn that I still really like today, "If you want the best things in life, the things on the top shelf, you need to stand on the books you read."
Nowadays, I almost feel out of sync when I don't read daily. Starting my day w/ 20-30 minutes of reading is the best way for me to get my creative juices flowing and seems to work better than working out (though I still do that...some). I almost get a learner's "high" from reading inspiring books from leaders, entrepreneurs, coaches, etc.. Curt Liesveld and Paul Allen from Gallup did a terrific "Theme Thursday" video on 'Learner' where Curt talks about the emotional response that some have to learning and the "runner's high"-like feeling, check it out below.
For many learners, the process of learning is more important than the result. For me, and many others in the Gallup database of 11 million + users, the 'achiever' theme is also present in their top themes. I'm constantly seeing these two themes battle, the achiever wanting to 'check something off the list' and the learner wanting to get lost in the material and brainstorm/strategically think about applying the concept(s) in my personal or professional life.
What do you need to do if you're a Learner? (and just as important - if someone on your team is)
Feed the theme!!!
Learners do not like to be in a job/function where they know everything there is to know about a subject. Challenging, ever-changing environments will allow you ample opportunities to learn and grow, and regardless of how difficult the task may be, you'll enjoy the process. A lot of learners excel in consulting roles for exactly those reasons - there is a steep learning curve early in the client engagement, you learn, adapt, and then provide help where you can. If you're current role doesn't provide enough opportunities to feed your inner-learner, seek out additional responsibilities/projects or get your fix outside of the office :)
husband + father + pilot + director of talent development + leadership coach + startup fan + reader of personal #development, company #culture & leadership books