On June 3, 2007 at 2:55 pm, I wrote on my blog about visiting APU campus early for Strengths Quest course:
“Last Friday morning, after getting some great advise from Tira and support from Matthias, I contacted the course instructor, switched my plane ticket and I am now traveling to APU earlier for the Strengths Quest elective course. I feel at peace and excited about taking this course. I was a little stressed because I was trying to get into a counseling course at Sonoma State or SFSU to use as my elective for my program, but never heard back from them. Then I realized, it was not meant to happen.
Last summer, I took the instrument as part of another course and fell in love with the idea of focusing and finding ways to use your own and others strengths. I mention in my About section my top 5 strengths. Finding what you are good at is awesome. Finding out what you are really great at..fun and challenging. I look forward to reporting back on how this elective course will help me use my top 5 strengths Responsibility, Significance, Maximizer, Arranger and Communication and encourage others to do the same. My strengths motivate me and drive me nuts at the same time!”
Since finishing the course, I have found my passion for Strengths Quest. Through out my competencies, I talk about Strengths Based Advising and how I use my Strengths. Below are summary descriptions of my top five strength taken from the book Strengths Quest:Discover and Develop Your Strengths in Academics, Career, and Beyond by Donald O. Clifton (2006).
My top five strengths
Your Responsibility theme forces you to take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion. Your good name depends on it. If for some reason you cannot deliver, you automatically start to look for ways to make it up to the other person. Apologies are not enough. Excuses and rationalizations are totally unacceptable. You will not quite be able to live with yourself until you have made restitution. This conscientiousness, this near obsession for doing things right, and your impeccable ethics, combine to create your reputation: utterly dependable. When assigning new responsibilities, people will look to you first because they know it will get done. When people come to you for help–and they soon will–you must be selective. Your willingness to volunteer may sometimes lead you to take on more than you should.
You want to be very significant in the eyes of other people. In the truest sense of the word you want to recognized. You want to be heard. You want to stand out. You want to be known. In particular, you want to be known and appreciated for the unique strengths you bring. You feel a need to be admired as credible, professional, and successful. Likewise, you want to associate with others who are credible, professional, and successful. And if they aren’t, you will push them to achieve until they are. Or you will move on. An independent spirit, you want your work to be a way of life rather than a job, and in that work you want to be given free rein, the leeway to do things your way. Your yearnings feel intense to you, and you honor those yearnings. And so your life is filled with goals, achievements, or qualifications that you crave. Whatever your focus–and each person is distinct–your Significance theme will keep pulling you upward, away from the mediocre toward the exceptional. It is the theme that keeps you reaching.
Excellence, not average, is your measure. Taking something from below average to slightly above average takes a great deal of effort and in your opinion is not very rewarding. Transforming something strong into something superb takes just as much effort but it is so much more thrilling. Strengths, whether yours or someone else’s, fascinate you. Like a diver after pearls, you search them out, watching for the telltale signs of a strength. A glimpse of untutored excellence, rapid learning, a skill mastered without recourse to steps–all these are clues that a strength may be in play. And having found a strength, you feel compelled to nurture it, refine it, and stretch it toward excellence. You polish the pearl until it shines. This natural sorting of strengths means that others see you as discriminating. You choose to spend time with people who appreciate your particular strengths. Likewise, you are attracted to others who seem to have found and cultivated their own strengths. You tend to avoid those who want to fix you and make you well rounded. You don’t want to spend your life bemoaning what you lack. Rather, you want to capitalize on the gifts with which you were blessed. It’s more fun. It’s more productive. And, counterintuitively, it is more demanding.
You are a juggler. When faced with a complex situation involving many factors, you enjoy managing all of the variables, aligning and realigning them until you are sure that you have arranged them in the most productive configuration possible. In your mind there is nothing special about what you are doing. You are simply trying to figure out the best way to get things done. But others, lacking this theme, will be in awe of your ability. “How can you keep so many things in your head at once?” they will ask. “How can you stay so flexible, so willing to shelve well-laid plans in favor of some brand-new configuration that has just occurred to you?” But you cannot imagine behaving in any other way. You are a shining example of effective flexibility, whether you are changing travel schedules at the last minute because a better fare has popped up or mulling over just the right combination of people and resources to accomplish a new project. From the mundane to the complex, you are always looking for the perfect configuration. Of course, you are at your best in dynamic situations. Confronted with the unexpected, some complain that plans devised with such care cannot be changed, while others take refuge in the existing rules or procedures. You don’t do either. Instead you jump into the confusion, devising new options, hunting for new paths of least resistance, and figuring out new partnerships–because, after all, there might just be a better way.
You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write. This is your Communication theme at work. Ideas are a dry beginning. Events are static. You feel a need to bring them to life, to energize them, to make them exciting and vivid. And so you turn events into stories and practice telling them. You take the dry idea and enliven it with images and examples and metaphors. You believe that most people have a very short attention span. They are bombarded by information, but very little of it survives. You want your information–whether an idea, an event, a product’s features and benefits, a discovery, or a lesson–to survive. You want to divert their attention toward you and then capture it, lock it in. This is what drives your hunt for the perfect phrase. This is what draws you toward dramatic words and powerful word combinations. This is why people like to listen to you. Your word pictures pique their interest, sharpen their world, and inspire them to act.