During my doctoral program, I studied many different tests that were created to help people see their strengths. However, I quickly discovered that while most were very helpful, almost all of them were extremely complicated to take, and even the results were hard to understand! For example, one popular personality tool uses 364 questions to assess a person’s strengths and weaknesses — and you have to be certified to explain what your answers to those questions mean!
So I decided to create a tool that was accurate and easy to read and that someone could take in just three to five minutes. The goal of the assessment was to give people a picture of their unique, God-given strengths.
If you look at the survey we’re asking you to take (at the end of this article), you’ll see it has only four boxes — an L box, an O box, a G box and a B box. And in each box, there are only 14 words or short phrases, and then below those words, there is one phrase.
For example, if you’ll look at the L box, you’ll see a list of words beginning with “Takes charge.” Underneath that list of words, you’ll see the statement in italics, “Let’s do it now!”
To complete this survey (not a test but a tool to help you see your strengths), all you need to do is think about how you naturally react when you’re at home with your fiancé or spouse. (Feel free to take this instrument later on to determine who you are when you’re at work. Many of us tend to be one personality type when we’re at home and someone very different when we’re at work.)
For now, however, focus on identifying your strengths at home, with your fiancé or spouse. Read through all four boxes (the L, O, G and B boxes) and count every word and phrase in each box that describes who you are as a person.
For example, start with the L box. Read and count every word or phrase in the list that sounds like you. If you are “assertive” when you’re at home, count it. If you tend to “take charge,” then you’d count that phrase. Be sure count to the statement at the bottom of the L box — “Let’s do it now!” — if it describes you as well.
That means there are 14 words or phrases and one statement in each box you could choose to count — or 15 possible responses in each box. Feel free to count all the words or phrases in a box if all of them describe you. In some of the boxes, you might count only a few words or even none. Just be sure to count every word and phrase that gives you an internal head nod that says, Yep! That’s me all right!
After you’ve gone through each box counting every word and phrase that describes you, then do what it says at the bottom of each box, and “double the number counted.”
For example, let’s say in the L box you counted seven words and the statement “Let’s do it now!” So that’s eight total circles in the L box. Doubling the number circled would mean that your total score for the L box would be 16 (8 x 2 = 16).
What do you do with that number?
See the Strengths Assessment Chart below the four boxes? You’ll notice that on the graph, there is an L line, an O line, a G line, and a B line. And over on the left, you’ll see the numbers 0–30. Just take your total score from your L box (in the example above, 16 was the total score), and put a dot on L line just above the 15. (Note: Some of you might end up with a tie for the highest score, which is common.)
Now double the number counted in the O, G and B boxes as well.
The last thing to do is connect the dots! That will give you a graph. That’s it! Now you have a picture of your unique, God-given strengths!
“Let’s do it now!”
Double the number counted __________
“Trust me! It’ll work out!”
Double the number counted __________
“Let’s keep things the way they are.”
Double the number counted __________
“How was it done in the past?”
Double the number counted __________
Discover the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Marriage
Those who scored highest on the Lion scale have personality strengths that motivate them to naturally take charge and be assertive. They love taking the lead and generally know which way they want to go.
That natural ability and confidence to move toward a goal or objective is a great strength for Lions. They’re naturally competitive and often self-starters. They don’t mind challenges. At work, they often end up as the boss or in a position that lets them jump in and be actively involved in directing activity around them. Lions want to do things “now!” and hate to waste time when they could be getting something else done. This means they generally want to make decisions quickly, with or without all the facts. Or they want to solve a problem “now” — even if it’s 11 o’clock at night!
Lions are fast-paced, competitive and goal-driven. That often means they look at questions from others (particularly from Beavers, who love to ask clarifying questions) as slowing them down, not aiding or helping them. And in everyday conversation, they most often don’t want to hear every detail of someone’s day — just the high points.
These are all strengths, but as you’ll see with Lions, Otters, Golden Retrievers and Beavers, each person’s core personality strengths, if pushed to an extreme, can become their biggest weaknesses in relationships (at home or at work).
Lions, particularly under pressure, can be so decisive that they struggle with slowing down to listen to or seek input from others before making a decision. They’re often so driven to push forward and get something done, they can communicate by their actions or nonverbal communication that a task is more important than people, or others’ feelings. Again, under pressure, if they feel their time is being wasted or a decision is being blocked, they can be impatient, argumentative or even pushy.
Lions are great people and great spouses. They can accomplish much for the Lord and their families and raise great kids. So, if almighty God has given you a Lion to do life with, look forward to accomplishing great things together.
When a Lion gains the wisdom to slow down and seek to include others — proactively asking for their input and valuing their questions and insights — he or she will become a great leader as well. A wise Lion will take the time to really “see” the strengths of the people God has placed in his or her life.
Otters are fun-loving, enthusiastic, playful and encouraging. They love people and love to talk. That’s one reason why they know hundreds of people but don’t know anyone’s name! Otters — purebred Otters, in particular — don’t focus on details, like names. But they’re so naturally friendly and engaging, they can form friendship bonds quickly with others and often end up being the center of attention.
They’re creative and full of energy, enthusiasm and life. For example, Otters love starting things. Sometimes that means they don’t finish everything they start, but not finishing something doesn’t bother them the way it does other personalities (like Beavers). Otters have a great time getting things launched.
Overall, Otters are optimistic and can see the potential in ideas they take to heart. But often they don’t see the risks associated with those ideas — which means they don’t always take time to read instructions (or a prospectus before investing!). Otters lead with their hearts and are excitable. They often use lots of words, energy and gestures when communicating.
Take all those great characteristics and push them to an extreme, and Otters can come across as unorganized or too fun-loving. Others may believe they’re not serious enough when it comes to important discussions or challenges, or that they’re insensitive about not meeting deadlines that affect others.
Otters love people, but again, if their strengths are pushed to an extreme, then under pressure an Otter can become a people pleaser in a way that can put a real strain on a marriage or important relationships. Otters under pressure may say yes to everyone in order to be liked but not realize the impact their people pleasing may have on their loved ones, particularly when there’s no time or energy left for their spouse or family after working so hard to please others.
All in all, Otters are great to have on a team or in a marriage or family, with all their creativity, optimism, energy and life. But wise Otters know how crucial it is to value people around them who are great at following through, being sensitive and setting a clear path (like Lions, Beavers or Golden Retrievers).
The Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are considerate, good-natured and strong team players. They’re naturally kindhearted and love helping, serving and looking for ways to come alongside others, particularly if they’re around people who are hurting. For example, at work, the Lion often organizes the Christmas party (but doesn’t actually go), while the Otter loves the idea of a party and tries to talk to everyone there. But the Golden Retriever will sit with one person at the party — either someone the Golden Retriever already knows or someone he or she wants to get to know even better or deeper. Golden Retrievers may also sit with someone who is hurting or struggling and seek to encourage and help that person.
Purebred Golden Retrievers in grade school will actually send themselves to timeout if they do something wrong (as opposed to Lion kids who send their parents to timeout).
Retrievers, like each of the other core personalities, are tremendous people to be married to. But if their strengths are pushed to an extreme, they, too, face issues. For example, Retrievers often tend to avoid problems (or downplay issues) at all costs, saying things like “Let’s talk about that tomorrow.” or “Let’s deal with that later.”
Again, circling lots of words in the G box means you have a great many positive strengths! Golden Retrievers rock! For example, they’re world-class at seeking peace and harmony with others and in wanting to see closeness and caring in a home, marriage or workplace. But there are times when problems need to be faced and dealt with today — not six months from now. This is why Golden Retrievers need others around them, like a spouse, who has the strength of a Lion or the creativity of an Otter or the detail orientation of a Beaver.
Guess what’s on the class ring at MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)? Or at Caltech (the California Institute of Technology)? Both of these colleges are arguably two of the finest engineering schools in the world. And both of them have on their class rings … a Beaver! That’s because Beaver personalities are God’s little architects and engineers. They’re organized, precise and detailed. They catch the spelling mistakes that everyone else misses. And if they’re purebred Beavers, they actually like to balance the checkbook! They sleep better knowing exactly, not approximately, how much money they have in the bank. In short, they’re great at follow-through and completing detailed tasks.
Remember the Christmas party from earlier? The Lions organized the party, the Otters came to the party wanting to talk to everyone there, and the sensitive Golden Retrievers sat with one person who needed encouragement. But the Beavers were the only ones who remembered to bring the food! That’s because “Bring food” was on their list. Beavers love to check things off lists!
Like every other core personality type we’ve looked at, when a Beaver’s strengths are pushed to an extreme, Beavers can take other people apart by being critical. Perhaps not verbally or in a loud way, like a Lion who “roars” at others. But if you offend a Beaver (or a Golden Retriever, for that matter), that person can hold on to a grudge for a long time, clearly remembering the offense — and what you were wearing when you offended him or her! That’s opposed to Lions and Otters who tend to get over things and move on more quickly in many cases.
One more thing. While Beavers can be critical, most often they’re really good at taking themselves apart, which means they can be extremely hard on themselves, particularly if they feel they’ve fallen short of a goal, made a mistake or done something wrong. Thoughts race through their minds, such as Why did I say that? or What did she mean by that? or If only I had …
It’s the Beavers’ attention to detail and desire to do things in a quality and correct way that makes them so incredibly beneficial in a marriage, in the workplace and in other relationships. They can spot problems early on, even when an idea is being shared initially — which is one reason it’s a good idea to invite a Beaver into a conversation. They can help others limit risk and identify challenges that can block or keep something from being successful. Beavers are also great at wanting issues to be dealt with when they’re small, instead of waiting for small problems to turn into crises. For example, they don’t like driving for long distances with the warning light on in the car without getting the car checked or fixed! Beavers finish tasks and close loops and plan today for a positive future — strengths that Lions and Otters often lack and need so much.
For more information on LOGB (the four animals personality test), go to StrongFamilies.com. And for more tools and encouragement to build up, affirm and “bless” your future spouse, visit TheBlessing.com, a co-branded site with Dr. John Trent and Focus on the Family that’s part of the Blessing Challenge for Couples.