Living Strong Abroad: Tap into your innate talents, part 2

My host family in Lake Titicaca (photo by Jo Self)

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Last time I wrote about my top 5 talents. These are the talents revealed on the basic Clifton StrengthsFinder. However, when you take the StrengthsFinder, it doesn’t just measure your top 5, it measures all 34. Also note that everyone works from at least 10 dominant talents that come very easily to them. If you missed my last article and want a brief snapshot of what the Strengths philosophy is all about, visit here.

My 6–10:
 6. WOO. I love to make connections with others. I’m a human rolodex of people. If you need to get something done and don’t know who to ask — I’m often you’re best first line of defense. I may not know the exact person who can help you, but I know the guy or gal who does. My husband asks me all the time, “Do you have to talk to everyone?” Yes, yes, I do. Partially, I think that’s an American trait — we tend to be talkers — but it’s amped by my #WOO for sure. *I can also think all the way back to the summer before college when I worked as cashier at a pizza buffet. I had only worked there for three weeks, but knew almost everyone who came in by name. Before I left, I had to train my replacement and on one of my last days, I was forced to just make pizzas. I was unable to turn around and greet my customers. After only 4 hours, I was in tears; it was truly the most miserable four hours ever on a job. The best part though, almost every single customer gifted me a card or a tiny going away present on my last day. * Yeah, that’s WOO.

7. Arranger. Arranger love to and can easily keep many balls in the air. In fact, they’ll get bored if they’re not juggling a few things at once. Arranger is the natural-multi-tasker. And yes, I can testify to this. People seem to think that I am often unfocused or am going in too many directions. But often, it’s really just my need to have 2 or 3 projects going at one time. Combine this with my Activator and Strategic, that allow me to change lanes quickly and effortlessly and I am happy. Make me focus on one thing for too long and I will shut down and lose all energy. Not pretty.

8. Connectedness. Ok, when Connectedness is in its raw form, it can be seen as someone who’s lost all sense of reality and is far too deep into the new age world. Balanced, this talent is often spiritual and believe that things happen for a reason. For me, I am definitely one to wait for a sign, or just know that what I need will present itself. It can also keep me stuck waiting for too long if I don’t get the sign I’m expecting. Fortunately, my Activator doesn’t keep me stuck for long. I do believe we are all connected and here for a reason. Perhaps I’ll have to tell the story about my trip to Mexico some time to explain this talent in depth and how it probably became a dominant theme for me. It involves an injury, a wiped-out bank account, bird poop and the best vacation I ever took.

9. Command. This is a tricky one. It can be very confronting (as the word suggests), but at its highest form, it is a talent which allows someone to easily step into leadership positions and to be the calm in a storm. For me, I have almost always been placed into leadership positions almost by default. I have also always been the voice for many as my friends and peers always recognize me a the person who isn’t afraid to speak up, especially when there is a difference of opinion. It’s also probably why I am seen as a “mujer fuerte” (strong woman) here in Peru. Interestingly enough, while that would be a compliment in the US, not so much here in Peru.

And last but not least:
 10. Positivity. I am not a Pollyanna by any means, but I am definitely someone who only briefly acknowledges a problem and then I move on with how to solve it. I see no point wallowing in negativity. I will admit, this is a talent that has the most difficulty with the over-riding culture here in Lima. I smile at people often to be met with a questioning look. The general air of mistrust and complaints can wear on me, so it is extremely important for me to find those who still have some sense of optimism and spend time with them. I need to “fill my bucket” as it were. Also, with my husband, he thinks I must always have the last word in any argument, but what I’ve noticed is what I really need is to end the argument on a positive note — and until it does, I keep going.

I’m a work in progress, but I love what I learn everyday!

Jo Self is Peru’s only Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and is on a mission to disrupt the status quo and dedicated to raising a Strengths-Based Generation. She believes in a world where everyone can live to their full potential, talents aren’t wasted & happiness is contagious. As a mompreneur & expat living in Peru, she understands the challenges and rewards that both entail. When she’s not helping others create extraordinary lives, she can be found at the sewing machine, at the movies, enjoying a glass of wine with friends or horsing around with her terribly precocious little boy, affectionately known as O. Contact her through her website or by writing to

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