What Van Gogh and Monet Teach Us About StrengthsFinder Talents

Two of the greatest impressionistic painters can teach us skills to help people discover their greatest gifts of talent. Like the great impressionistic masterpieces, StrengthsFinder™ themes are complex, each containing unique talents. When talents of strength are seen individually and collectively they can provide a dimension of understanding of someone never before seen. But we need to be willing to get close enough to someone to notice the small things.

What we Learn from Van Gogh

My wife Linda introduced me to Van Gogh while we were in Amsterdam. Linda taught me how to see the dimension and structure of the individual brush strokes. She told me to lean my head toward the wall alongside the painting, then turn my head to create a parallel viewpoint with the artwork.

In taking this unique perspective, alongside and in parallel with the artwork, I saw how the brush strokes were elevated off the canvas. I have never seen brush strokes quite that way before. This technique Linda taught me while viewing a Van Gogh is now used to view other works of art. When I stood close enough, I could see dimension and structure. But it took a new perspective and sightline I never practiced before.

What we Learn from Monet

Then I introduced Linda to Monet. While viewing Monet’s larger that life Water Lilie’s work in the Musèe de l’Orangerie in Paris, we are at first overcome by its scale. This painting is massive, and yet at the same time, delicate. Capturing all four seasons, this masterpiece is composed of the lightest and most subtle brush strokes. One needs to be very close to see them, and they are easily overlooked.
But when you take the time, break down the scale into manageable sections, and then step into the work, you can see them – the small, delicate and ornate brush strokes of an impressionistic master artist. When we stepped back and lessened the scale, we could then step closer to see the delicate and subtle beauty of each brush stroke.

How to Interpret StrengthsFinder Results

Interpreting StrengthsFinder™ results takes time, nearness and attention to detail. When we help someone interpret their StrengthsFinder results, we cannot be afraid to sit down, listen, open our perspective, and be willing to see something we have never seen before.
As with impressionistic artwork, let the talents (brush strokes) speak to you. Let the talents provide new and never before seen understanding of strength. Talents may be like a Van Gogh brush stroke: bold, dimensional, structured. Or talents may be like a Claude Monet brush stroke: subtle, delicate, light. Either way, helping someone understand their five themes of strength takes time, nearness and attention to detail.
Let the beauty of their life speak, then simply echo back what you have heard.
What can you do today to pay attention to one element of details with your own StrengthsFinder results?