Not only do I get a free membership (which in itself is badass considering Charlotte has 18 different branches that all offer different types of programs/classes… and you get access to all of them!), but I also work alongside coworkers that genuinely care about me and my professional development.
I can’t even count how many trainings I have attended since I started working at the Y back in March of 2009. Some of these trainings have increased my knowledge-base surrounding wellness and public health, and others have helped me develop my leadership and listening skills. Most recently, I have undergone a series of coaching-circle trainings that have furthered my public health professional development… and now I am YMCA Health Coach. All of these trainings are very relevant to a field and setting where you work day in and day out with people from all types of backgrounds.
Anyway, another great thing the Y provides for its staff is the Gallop’s Strength Finders test. Have any of you heard of this test? It is kind of like the Myers-Briggs test, in a way… except instead of labeling you as INFP (or whatever combination of letters you may have), it gives you a list of your top 5 strengths out of a possible list of 34. The Gallop’s Strength Finders website says the importance in the test is “knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.”
I think it’s great that the Charlotte YMCAs use this test, as it helps the different staff teams come together and figure out how they can best work with each other as a unit to accomplish the mission of the Y — “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all”
Here are my top 5 Strengths from the Gallop’s Strength Finders Test:
Now, anyone who knows me pretty well is probably not surprised at all by the first two. In fact, I would even consider myself an over-achiever at times (and yes, this can be a weakness as well as a strength, trust me!). As I mentioned earlier, I am an avid list maker and LOVE the feeling of crossing things off my to-do list. In fact, there have been many times when I have done something extra that is not originally on my list of things to do and I write it on my list just so I can cross it off .2 seconds later. What can I say, I love the feeling of achievement, even if that means going above and beyond what I originally set out to do.
Having focus as one of my strengths is no surprise to me, either. I am the type of person who can concentrate on reading something even if there are 100 people in the same room talkin’ up a storm. Again, this is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because I am able to buckle down and plow through work/assignments during distractions (yay achievement!); and bad, because sometimes where I work, I need to be open for interruption if members walk in without an appointment or have a question.
I think combining achiever and focus sheds some light on why I love running so much. I am not a competitive person in the least and I could care less about how fast I can run a mile in, or how far I go. I looove waking up and going on a run first thing in the morning, and knowing that no matter what my day brings, I have gotten an awesome run in. (Anyone else love the saying by Lululemon, “Sweat once a day?” I live by this!). I guess you could say running is my form of coffee. I just love being outdoors…and taking in the scenery.
Harmony is not too surprising, either. For example, if I am in a group setting and people are meeting one another for the first time, I am almost always the one in the group who is asking questions to dig deeper in attempt to find what we all have in common with each other. I am a big relator, and I strive to make people feel like they belong. I guess this brings my consistency strength into play, as well. Coworkers have told me that I tend to treat every person I come across with equal generosity and sincerity. This is important in my field, as we come into contact with people from all walks of life (from the homeless and uneducated to the wealthy and CEOs of companies).
The fact that “learner” is one of my strengths is just a given. I am constantly reading up on public health issues online, reading the news, exploring the outdoors, and chatting with Y members about what it is that makes them tick. Oh, and I guess being in graduate school dubs me as a learner, as well. I seriously love learning. I think I am going to be one of those people who is a life-long student.
Oh, and one last fun fact about working for the YMCA. The Y has also made me semi-famous (at least, within the YMCA walls) by plastering my face on their website and their brochures.
I’ve had countless people come up to me saying they saw me on the brochure. And I get a kick out of this, each and every time. In fact when I was down in Florida I utilized one of the Y’s down there (if you’re a YMCA member you can use any YMCA nation-wide, which is so nice when you’re traveling!) and some man came up to me and said “Allison! So good to see you, you’re just the person I wanted to talk to”! Now, this confused me greatly because although this happens to me all the time at the YMCAs in Charlotte, I was NOT expecting to be recognized in a branch down in Florida. My reaction to this friendly person? “Oh, hello…” …and then I looked around on my workout clothes, searching for any form of name-tag I might have had embroidered on my tank as I tried to figure out how in the world this man knew my name. Then it hit me. This man actually *did* look familiar to me! Turns out it was my parents good friend, Ross, and he was actually coming over for dinner that night with his wife Libby to celebrate the Holidays with us! I was just so caught off guard that I didn’t instantly recognize him (and he was in his workout clothes)! Sorry, Ross, I realized it was you after about 5 seconds. Tangent, over.
Have any of you ever taken the Gallop’s Strength Finder’s Test, or perhaps the Myers-Briggs test? Do you find it fitting to your personality? Or do you think the results were off a bit? Looking forward to y’alls comments… I love diving into these personality tests and learning about people!