What comes to mind when someone asks you about your strengths? Well for me, I automatically think: “sleeping, yeah I’m really good at that. And eating, shoot, I should join the olympics for eating because that strength is off the chart!” I don’t usually find myself focusing on the self or the aspects of myself that would be considered my strengths. In my CM240 class, which I strongly dislike, we finally did something worthwhile. We took the StrengthsQuest. As a psych major, I have taken endless surveys, assessments, etc. that are supposed to tell us who we are, what our personality type is, and yada yada yada. So I had somewhat low expectations going into this StrengthsQuest. So as I do whenever I have an assignment for CM240, I sat down, groaned a lot, complained about how long the assignment was, how I doubt it would help me, and then finally after an hour or so of putting it off and getting on Facebook, I took the assessment.
Fast forward half an hour or so when I finally finished. I was shocked. I mean, really really shocked. I had expected this assessment to be dumb and to ask questions that every other survey asked, but I was really surprised. Of course there were questions like “choose one of the two” and neither pertained to me or both did, yet I had to make a decision, so I didn’t like that, but overall, I was pleasantly surprised.
Next it was time to view my results. The StrengthsQuest lists your top 5 strengths at that time, but usually you tend to fluctuate between 10 or so. Side story: in the weeks prior to this assessment, I had really began to question what I was going to do after I finished my undergraduate studies, I didn’t know if I was cut out to be a counselor, etc. So you could say that I was pretty stressed. I kept asking myself “what if I’m not empathetic enough or can’t relate to people enough during counseling? What if I just flat out SUCK?!” Back to that quiz. When I saw my top 5 strengths, I was suddenly at ease and I honestly no longer felt worried, anxious, or unsure about my future schooling and career plans.
So by now you’re probably wondering what my top 5 strengths were, what they mean, and how I see them helping me as I live out my calling. So here they are:
1. Futuristic. I can’t even tell you how true this is of me. The website stated that this meant that I tend to “peer over the horizon.” Yup, that sounds about right. I don’t stop thinking about the future, it actually kind of sucks sometimes. I am always thinking “What is next? Where will I be? What am I going to do?” so this strength did not surprise me at all. I try to live in the moment, but of course, I always find myself thinking more about the future. I’m not entirely sure how this strength will help me in my pursuit of counseling, but the description listed by the website certainly encourages and resonates with me.
“You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you. They can energize others, too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future.”
2. Belief. This strength is described as having enduring values that lead me to be family-oriented, responsible, and morally ethical. I suppose those aspects are great no matter what calling you are living out. Not going to lie, I was somewhat bored with this strength.
Here is where I got super excited and felt at ease.
3. Relator. YES! FINALLY! The strength of the relator was described as someone who can easily relate to others, create friendships, and cares about those around them. The website stated that a relator “want[s] to understand their [friends’] feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk—you might be taken advantage of—but you are willing to accept that risk. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine.” As an introvert with like 3 friends, I was somewhat surprised by this aspect of my strengths and personality, but then again, I wasn’t utterly shocked. I find myself relatable, I find myself relating with others even if I’ve never been in the same situation as them, and yes, I only find relationships valuable if they are real. After this strength popped up, I was sold on this assessment.
4. Empathy. The awesome and encouraging strengths just kept coming. I wanted to cry tears of joy when I saw this strength. I kid you not. Sounds silly now, but for someone who was doubting their career choice, seeing this simple word was just the best. I don’t really have much to add because the description of this strength summed up everything so nicely, really resonated with who I am, and made it very evident that I am on the right path.
“You can sense the emotions of those around you. You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily agree with each person’s perspective. You do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicament—this would be sympathy, not Empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand. This instinctive ability to understand is powerful. You hear the unvoiced questions. You anticipate the need. Where others grapple for words, you seem to find the right words and the right tone. You help people find the right phrases to express their feelings—to themselves as well as to others. You help them give voice to their emotional life. For all these reasons other people are drawn to you.”
5. Individualization. I’m in college but I had no idea what this word even meant. So I googled it and found that it apparently means that I see people as individuals, rather than types or groups. I can dig that. Again, just what I needed to hear regarding my counseling career choice.
“You hear the one-of-a-kind stories in each person’s life. This theme explains why you pick your friends just the right birthday gift, why you know that one person prefers praise in public and another detests it, and why you tailor your teaching style to accommodate one person’s need to be shown and another’s desire to “figure it out as I go.” Because you are such a keen observer of other people’s strengths, you can draw out the best in each person.”
So, all in all, I really like the StrengthsQuest and now I’m going to advocate that everyone takes it. The assessment was part of my class, so I didn’t have to pay anything to take it, but I looked into it and found that one code is only $10. So if you happen to be curious as to what your strengths are and how they can help you, take the StrengthsQuest, seriously.