This is the fourth in a five-part series on Strengths Finder, a fantastic resource from Gallup. Our culture seems obsessed on exposing our flaws and weaknesses and how we can “improve” by altering or even reversing those traits. But Strengths Finder is all about uncovering your innate strengths and building those virtues. I’ve already blogged about my #1 strength, INTELLECTION, my #2 strength, HARMONY, and most recently my #3 strength, INPUT. Now, the journey continues with my #4 strength: RESPONSIBILITY.
My first reaction to seeing responsibility among my top-5 Strengths Finder strengths went something like this:
Oh. Really? I mean, yeah, I guess so. Sure. But. But it’s just so. So. I dunno — boring.
Seeing responsibility in the #4 slot didn’t exactly prompt my fists to pump in exaltation. Obviously, responsibility is a good thing; I’ve been a responsible person since childhood. I know this.
But how is responsibility a strength to get — I don’t know — excited about?
RESPONSIBILITY: What It Is
According to Strengths Finder, those strong in responsibility “take psychological ownership of what they say they will do” and are “committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.” Other flattering, self-descriptive phrases included “impeccable ethics” and “utterly dependable.”
I know, I’m just so awesome.
Of all the overly flashy descriptions, that phrase “psychological ownership” really resonated. I feel like millions of people would consider themselves somewhat “responsible.” But would millions of people stake psychological ownership of every word and action taken?
It’s true, though: I can be a psychologically responsible nutcase sometimes.
The first things that come to mind when I consider my strength of responsibility are the predictable things: school, work, finances, etc.
In school, I rarely ever missed a homework assignment or forgot about a test. Good heavens.
In work, I’m never late, and I reserve the expression of any frustrations until after I officially clock out for the day. While on the clock, I’m all smiles and giggles.
With finances, I don’t spend unnecessarily. I’m what you would call one of those “good stewards.” If I have to borrow money from someone or “pay them back,” I will be burdened every waking moment until financial restitution is made.
Once I’ve considered all those predictable aspects of my innate responsibility, I hit a facet of this responsibility that’s entirely more vital than all the others.
RESPONSIBILITY: Relationally Speaking
Above all else, I consider myself “psychologically responsible” in the realm of relationships. I am loyal to a fault — though it hasn’t always been that way.
If you and I are hanging out tomorrow at 12, I’ll be there at 11:30 just in case of traffic or, I don’t know, the Apocalypse. If we’re supposed to talk on the phone at that same time, I’ll text you 5 minutes before and let you know I’m officially freed from any shackles of other responsibility.
And so, following the trend of this blogging series, I give you the latest in a line of burdening Strengths Finder excerpts:
When people come to you for help — and they soon will — you must be selective. Your willingness to volunteer may sometimes lead you to take on more than you should.
This haunting daunting warning could refer to one’s work relationships and responsibilities, but there’s surely room for some personal carry-over. And, truthfully, I still don’t know quite what to make of these prophetic words. It’s heavy.
Basically: I feel so responsible when it comes to relationships.
Responsible for the good; certainly responsible for the bad.
But can I only be responsible for so much?
How much is too much?
Who much is too much?
Is there a limit to my responsibility? Numerical or psychological limits on who I can and cannot help?
Yeah, responsibility makes me think about jobs and school and money and all that wonderful jazz. But above all else, responsibility spurs thoughts of relationships. Intense soul-splitting thoughts.
I just feel so responsible in every relationship I have. Over the last year especially, I find myself often wanting to “catch up” with others, whether in person or on Facebook or via text or phone call or MySpace, or WHATEVER.
Over the last 26 years, I’ve learned the priceless value on positive relationships. Friendships that open vulnerably and run deep.
I’m increasingly burdened by the notion of losing touch with others. Friends.
I’d feel so awful if that happened — when it does.
It’s happened too much already.
And I feel so responsible.
And so. This post will, fittingly, usher the series-closing post on my #5 strength. The weightiest, most burdening strength of them all. The strength I intentionally saved for last.
RESPONSIBILITY QUIZ: On a scale of 1-6, 6 being an overly committed nutcase and 1 being a total space cadet, how responsible are you? Does responsibility scare you? Thrill you? Where do you fall?