Why CliftonStrengths®?

Why CliftonStrengths®

Originally posted June 14, 2021

Simply put: It explains me.

The only other personality test I had taken prior was Myers Briggs. The only thing I really understood from it was “I’m an introvert.” Honestly, that wasn't very helpful.


However, something very special happened to me when I read my Strengthsfinder (now known as the CliftonStrengths®) report. For the first time in my 36 years of life I made sense! (Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, I’m guessing the first 10 years or so, I didn’t think about making sense, but I think you know what I mean.)


I took the StrengthsFinder assessment the first time in the summer of 2001. I answered an email soliciting volunteers for a new program the university was rolling out for our incoming freshmen class. I was going to be something called a “Strengths Coach.”


Our first meeting was led by faculty member, Dr. Chip Anderson, who joined us from UCLA in 1999. He introduced the group to this assessment he had worked on with his friend, Don Clifton. It was Don’s desire to focus on what's right with people, a desire that resonated deeply with Chip. He shared how they interviewed people that were considered the best of the best. Through their research they developed this assessment that would identify a person’s top 5 strengths from a list of 34. Just hearing the passion in Chip’s voice as he talked about their philosophy behind the research, I was hooked!


After a few instructions, I and the others were sent our way to take the assessment. Once completed, we printed our reports and returned to the debrief session with Chip.

That’s when the real magic began for me. As I sat there and listened as Chip unpacked each of the 34 Strengths (which Gallup now refers to as Talent Themes) I was in awe. Although all the Strengths have a potential shadow side, the emphasis on what’s right about them and what they bring to the table was almost overwhelming. When Chip spoke about each of my top 5 I wanted to shout, “That’s ME!! And I’m not broken!” For the first time I truly made sense. Things that I had been criticized for or at the very least I was questioned on, now made sense. One of my most vivid memories is one boss asking me why I could be, as he put it, so “anal rentetive” one moment and flying by the seat of my pants the next. CliftonStrengths® helped me understand the why. Likewise, always being labeled “the emotional one”, CliftonStrengths explained the why and I can tell you it was freeing.


Never did I ever dream that answering the call of one email in the summer of 2001 would start me on this journey. I’m so grateful for the work of Don Clifton and Chip Anderson. Over the next few weeks I will try to unpack what this journey has looked like, what I’ve learned and why it’s so important to me.

I invite you to join me on this journey. I would love to hear about your own experiences.



If you are new CliftonStrengths® and want to learn more I would love to help you. I believe with all my heart that you won’t regret learning about your Strengths a.k.a. Talent Themes and learning to grow in them.


Whether you are new to CliftonStrengths® or you’re an “old’ pro it is my desire to:

Be Better Tomorrow Than We are Today!






Gallup®, CliftonStrengths® and the 34 CliftonStrengths Themes of Talent are trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. The non-Gallup information you are receiving has not been approved and is not sanctioned or endorsed by Gallup in any way. Opinions, views and interpretations of CliftonStrengths, Clifton Youth StrengthsExplorer or BP10 results are solely the beliefs of Holly Magnuson of MagnusonHouse Coaching