StrengthsFinder: discover your gifts

Rachel Whatley, Staff Writer

   More often than not, it seems like we focus on areas that we are weak in. “I need to be more responsible,” you may say, “I am not good with numbers.” “People tell me that I am scatterbrained.” In contrast, when asked what we are good at, some of us cannot really pinpoint it. “I think I am a good learner…so yeah.” How would you like to tap into and make the best of what you already have? If you do not know your strong areas, would it be nice to know? The StrengthsFinder program can help you discover this and more.

   Student leaders at SNU have had access to the StrengthsFinder test for several years, but this year was the first year that it was introduced to freshman students. The StrengthsFinder is used to complement New Student Institute and the paired courses. It is free for the new students due to funding by Dr. Gresham, but returning students can take it as well for ten dollars. Think about that. For just ten dollars you can unlock your potential, discover the top five skills you are gifted with and get a better understanding of who you are. Chances are you will recognize something in your top five, but better yet, you might even discover something that you did not know you had.

    StrengthsFinder, also known as the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, started back in 1998 by the Gallup organization (you may recognize the name from the Gallup polls). Since then, over four million people worldwide have taken the assessment in seventeen different languages.

   Within the framework of this test is the belief that everyone has a unique set of strengths – the possibility of someone else having your exact top five strengths, in that order, is almost impossible. There are thirty-four different strengths within four categories, which are relating (working with people), impacting (influencing people), striving (working harder) and thinking (working smarter).

   Once you know your strengths, however, you cannot stop there. You cannot just say, “This says I have Activator. What is that? Oh, I turn thoughts into actions. Interesting” and forget about it. Misty Jaggers, director for student success at SNU, encourages students to attend a forty-five minute one-on-one strengths insight session. These are available and will continue to be available throughout the school year. Students can choose to talk about how they can use their strengths in a career, in a relationship, in academics or even how they are playing out in the student’s life in general. Jaggers said that students should be intentional in using their strengths and should “recognize their strengths and practice them.”

   “We should understand that we are naturally gifted with these strengths,” said Jaggers.

   In addition to attending a strengths insight session, students are encouraged to attend the strengths workshops as well. There has been one strengths workshop for freshmen already, but Jaggers said that SNU is planning to do more of those, including one coming up on November 12. In addition, there will be more workshops in the spring for all students to attend.