How the Birkman Interest Scores Show up in Our Lives

[ANNOUNCEMENT: The winner of last week’s giveaway was actually a friend and former colleague – Congrats to Melissa! She is still deciding which prize she’s going to pick.]

Today, I want to talk about one page report in the Birkman called Areas of Interest. In The Birkman Method, CEO Sharon Birkman Fink writes,

Areas of InterestOur Areas of Interests show us a nutrient in our lives – something that strengthens our emotional well-being. In addition to using the scores to point to a career path, improve your work environment, and tailor a job to suit you, they also show you what you require in your life to maintain your energy . . . Feeding our most vital interests is as essential to feeding the spirit of a person as water is to a plant. So a high score means it is an Interest that is likely to inform your choice of work as well as your recreation. You have to tend to your passions when you are trying to be your creative and productive best. This is especially true when you have to work your hardest over many hours – exactly when your obligations can obscure your Interests or start to crowd out time for recharging.

Artists in a Messy House:

Recently, as I was rereading our Birkman reports, I was struck by how the highest interest score John and I have is the same: Artistic (his score is 87, mine is 94 for those of you who love numbers). The Birkman boils down the “Artistic” interest to visual interest or how things appear. Interests don’t necessarily equate with talent but in our case, we have some of both.

Areas of Interest
Silver Light by Andy Eccleshall

We love to create “works of aesthetic value” (duh! photography) as well as simply enjoy works of art at a gallery (my favourite gallery being Cole Gallery downtown Edmonds – buying works of art is one of those things I dream of doing). Before Canon was born, going to the Edmonds Art Walk was a frequent date night for us.

This shared interest also explains our mutual love for home decorating which has created more than a little conflict the two times we’ve moved (“No! I really think this room needs to be yellow!”).

But what really hit me this time, was what a basic influence this Artistic value has in our daily lives. Both John and I experience elevated stress in messy situations (sidenote: remember messy is defined differently for everyone). As you might guess with a mobile toddler, this season in our lives is very, very messy so I’m noticing the connection more.

I’ve been assuming for a long time that I just need to get over my perfectionism about how clean the house “should be” while at the same time thinking it odd that I care that much because I have never been a perfectionist about cleaning. I could care less if there are dishes in the sink, as long as I can’t see them. I only start caring about dust when it becomes visible. My love of organizing? Probably mostly about how nice it looks at the end. So I think my desire for a tidy home is related to my Artistic (visual) interest score!

When Canon goes to bed, I tidy the family room because that’s where I want to spend the rest of my evening. I don’t care if the living room is a disaster because I can’t see it. This isn’t really a perfect hypothesis because even though mess stresses John out too, it does so to a much lesser degree. He can live in chaos and put up with more disorganization than I can. So obviously there are more factors at play. But I think this score plays a role!

Literary Polar Opposites:

If you were wondering why Literary wasn’t my highest score, don’t worry! It’s my next highest at 92. If you have read this blog for any length of time you’ll know that I love words. I love to write. I love to speak. I love to edit. I care deeply about what words mean and using them properly – many of my rants concern sloppy language. Poor John has learned the hard way that a “you know what I mean” excuse just doesn’t cut it for a word-girl.

And of course, I love reading – it’s definitely an essential “nutrient” in my life.

Areas of InterestGuess where John’s Literary score is? It’s his very last one – a 6 (anything under 10 is something you prefer to delegate to others and which causes you stress if you have to do it!).  While I am sometimes sad that John won’t just pick up that book that I want him to read, it has been easier than I thought to get around this “problem.” Often I simply tell him about what I’m reading. Sometimes I’ll get out the audiobook for him if it’s a great novel I know he’ll enjoy. On more informational books that I want to discuss, I’ll check out the DVD from the library (if there is one) or audiobook or just read parts out loud.

I always thought that marrying another reader was going to be essential, but it turns out that what I was really looking for was someone who still loved to learn. And thankfully, John has rotating hobbies (we call it “My Next Obsession”) so he often reads and researches all evening (usually online) anything from fishing to how to build adirondack chairs to baking the perfect artisan bread to the latest lighting equipment. Which leads right into:

Persuasive & Scientific: John’s Photography Trifecta

Artistic Interest
Groom at a Wedding

After John’s top Artistic score, his next two are Persuasive (80) and Scientific (76). These are very much what they sound like:

  • The Persuasive interest is about interacting with people, motivating them to action, influencing them, competing, teaching and sales.
  • The Scientific interest is about investigative research (ahem, next obsession!), curiosity about why and how things operate, involvement with technology and experiments etc.

I am amazed at how these scores come together so perfectly in his photography work. He has a perfect balance of the artistic vision, the ability to communicate and motivate others during the shoot, and the scientific know-how to operate all of his complex gear to perfection. His highest interests are all engaged when he is shooting and you can tell (I know I’m biased but I think he is a crazy amazing photographer – see for yourself).

Ok – that post is way too long, proving the second interest and also the first (I spent 25 minutes finding photos and then resizing them, rearranging them etc until I thought everything flowed!)….. classic!

Find out more for yourself!

If you are intrigued about the Birkman be sure to read up more about it here and check out my services here – I would love to provide the assessment for you and discuss the results!