Thursday, August 18, 2011


"Life isn't about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself."
- George Bernard Shaw

Girona Puente Eiffel by Jose Louis Mieza

The story goes that there were two friends hiking in the woods when they came across a huge grizzly bear. The bear reared up on its hind legs and let out a loud roar when it saw the men approaching. One of the men casually sat down, took off his hiking boots and put on his running shoes. His friend looked at him and said, "Are you crazy? You can't outrun that bear."

"I don't have to outrun the bear," his friend replied. "I only have to outrun you!"

This week, we have been learning about becoming a bucket-filler, focusing on our strengths, and assessing our strengths. Today, I want to share with you one of the most fun assessment activities that I have ever participated in - having others assess your strengths.

We are usually pretty good assessors of our own strengths. We know in what circumstances we feel most comfortable and excel. But, perhaps you have some strengths that you don't see in yourself. This activity will help you find out.

Below are ten questions that I am going to ask you to email or copy and distribute to at least 3 friends. These should be true friends and not the type denoted in the story above. These need to be friends who will be tender with your feelings and are interested in your growth.

Some of these questions are similar to what you answered about yourself yesterday, but with a twist. See what you think of the questions. Again, I adapted these from Dr. Phil's great book, Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out.

1. Please describe something that I consistently do well.
2. Please name one thing you have seen me do well.
3. Please tell me the best thing about how I look.
4. In as much detail as possible, can you remember any time that I seemed to be happiest?
5. Tell me what you think my strongest traits are.
6. If you were going to describe my best strengths with three words, what would they be?
7. If you were in a situation in which you thought I could help you in some way, what would that situation be?
8. Can you tell me any aspect you respect about me?
9. If you had to describe me as a car, what kind of car would I be? Why?
10. If you had to describe me as an animal, what kind of animal would I be? Why?

When I completed this exercise back in 2003, I sent this to my mother, one of my siblings, and two close friends. In some ways I was surprised by the responses and in other ways I was not surprised as all. I did receive some confirmations of the strengths that I knew I possessed.

However, I was surprised at a couple of the responses that I received. Others saw something in me that I didn't even see in myself. This was an important moment for me when I realized that maybe there was more to me than what my own self-assessments rendered.

I hope you will send this to 2 or 3 friends and ask for their honest feedback. I think it will be eye-opening. I would love for you to email me at and let me know if this activity proved meaningful or not.

As I close out this mini-series, I hope that your take-away from this week is the story of the bucket filler. That simple story is a great metaphor for how to live a happy and successful life. 

QUESTION: Does it make you nervous to ask others to assess your strengths? Please leave comments below.


Anonymous said...

Wow...i'm gonna try this today Jason thanks!

I've been thinking about that lately. how other perceve me?

I don't really care what others think about me...but it's just a curious thing...and it could help knowing a strenght you didn't know you had...

Thanks...I will email you if it went good...

of course if everyone says i'm a huge bableing idiot...then...well....uh...we'll see..

Haack said...

I'm also nervous to do this, but excited, too! I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks, Jason!

Jason said...

Arny & Ryan, I'll be interested to see how this works out for you two. Thanks for the comments!