JENNIFER NEWSOM + TOM CARRUTHERS

Dark Matter

a mixture of the unknown and the tangible - by Jennifer Newsom

The Self-Improvement Project

I am currently reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. So far I have read about Energy, Love, and Work. It's that last one that got me out of bed to write my previous post. The writing is light-hearted, but well-researched. It is fun to knock down a chapter before bed. My addiction to self-improvement books is a little known fact about me. Whether they be about home decoration, depression, happiness, exercise, yoga, party planning, style, or children, I love reading about how we can make a particular aspect of our lives better, or at least approached with more understanding. Another book I recently read was Now Discover Your Strengths. Have you read it? I took the StregthsFinders assessment, and I was surprised with what I learned.

My top five signature strengths are:

HARMONY

INPUT

INTELLECTION

CONSISTENCY

ANALYTICAL

I would have never guessed that I had Harmony in the mix. It really made me think about how that strength plays out. I realized that I am ok going along with what others want to do as long as I feel invested in the mission, method, values, etc. If the idea makes sense and there is a way of forging ahead that is coherent, then I can get behind it! That said, my Analytical mind constantly asks questions and probes the "why" of whatever we are doing. It drives my husband nuts, and I think I get labeled a devil's advocate because of it. But I'm not trying to discourage; I just want to understand.

I fully believe that people work better, harder, and faster when they are invested in what they are doing. Investment comes from knowledge and knowledge comes from communication. I am a talker and a thinker (& according to Input and Consistency, a collector and somewhat invariable), but above all I am someone who brings people together. I love reunions, the vibe of a good party, and the edge-of-your-seat hold on an audience a good speech can inspire. I like communicating and crafting a narrative. I want to draw you in.

Knowing this about myself has prompted me to reexamine why I got into architecture, and whether this is something I want to continue to do with my life. For now, I'm struggling through studying for the ARE, but once I have my license, I might *gasp!* decide not to use it. But before making that leap, I'm trying to understand the "why" of my past so it can inform my present and future. Watch this space for more revelations. . .