In 1999, The Gallup Organization created a program that focused on what was right with people, rather than what was wrong with them. The Gallup Organization suggested fostering excellence by identifying and harnessing each person’s unique strengths (Roberts et al., 2005). With this, The Gallup Organization developed a web-based tool program to help people understand and leverage their talents, called the Reflective Best Self (RBS) exercise. This exercise identifies your talents and puts them into five dominant strengths by asking physiological focused questions.
Once you have your top five dominant strengths, you can begin identifying ways to understand yourself and then you can excel in areas of life with this knowledge through academics, careers, and, relationships.
I have personally completed the Reflected Best Self exercise and I, like others, feel that this new information is almost life-changing for myself, my future, and the way I view others (Clifton, Anderson, & Schreiner, 2006). After completing the exercise I was able to understand myself with the things I do from a different perspective.
For example, I have asked myself why I have always been interested in fixing a situation or problem. The RBS exercise helped me answer this by identifying one of the top five dominant strengths I hold as being restorative. After I began to ponder on the past, I began to understand why I have put myself in a situation that needs restoring, and why I am good at it. My top five dominant strengths included being: analytical, individualizing, being a learner, responsible, and restoring.
I am at the beginning of my journey but [my plan of action] with this new knowledge is to learn how to use each one of these strengths through academics and in my career; starting now and continuing into the future, by first starting to use ideas from the book, Strengths Quest. My analytical strength means that I like to challenge other people or things. I insist that I understand a situation until the root cause or causes are revealed, searching for the reasons why things are the way they are and figuring out what cause and effect might occur (Clifton et al., 2006). The foundation of this talent starts with me feeling like I am at my best when I have ample research with plenty of information.
I can apply this talent in academics by using my skills to examine data and collect facts to clarify my position on a research paper. Since I can quickly identify the cause and effect relationship I can reduce situations, problems, and projects to their key components (Clifton et al., 2006). However, it is important that I refrain from always saying what is on my mind until I have figured everything out so that I don’t confuse others (Clifton et al., 2006). Since it is my idea to pursue a career in accounting, human resources, and/or in a department manager position, it is suggested that I should begin to ask good questions of people who are currently in careers that interest me (Clifton et al., 2006). I can also excel towards my career of choice through my analytical talent by working with data, systems, and systems analysis, engaging in research, and critiquing ideas to bring out my best; a part-time job in this area would be a good start (Clifton et al., 2006).
Having the individualization strength means that I am intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. I instinctively observe each person’s style, motivation, thoughts, and relationship abilities (Clifton et al., 2006, p. 54). I can start utilizing this strength in my academic life by creating study groups with people who possess a wide variety of talents and perspectives (Clifton et al., 2006, p. 197). In relationships I can utilize this strength by helping family, friends, and coworkers recognize their unique abilities and talents.
My learner strength is straightforward; I love to learn. I get excited when I learn a new fact. My analytical strength is usually at play when I am learning something new. For example, I learn a new fact and then I go on to research the data, whether it is required through academics or for the pleasure of learning new knowledge. In academics this is strength can be utilized more often by recognizing everything as a learning experience, even if it doesn’t interest me. I think this strength will be exceptionally helpful for me as I work towards the career I choose to pursue. For example, it would be beneficial for me to choose a career that requires me to constantly learn new ideas, software, and goals.
Possessing the responsibility strength is another talent I have been aware of longer than any of the others. I have always taken my commitments, promises, and duties seriously. If the plan does not work accordingly, I immediately feel guilty. A suggestion I will use from Strengths Quest to help me grow academically is to “Strive to work ahead. Read ahead and work problems before the professor has presented them in class” (Clifton et al., 2006, p. 207). I believe utilizing this strength in this way will help me when I go too far using my analytical talents for essays and exams.
Lastly, a restorative strength means that I love to solve problems (Clifton et al., 2006, p. 64). As mentioned several times previously, I enjoy analyzing, identifying, and finding a solution. I can recognize a problem faster than others and then I act quickly by analyzing the situation. Academically I will apply this strength by thinking about school as a way to improve myself (fixing my weaknesses). I am always trying to work on bettering myself, now I understand why it is so important to me. It is one of my talents! In my career this talent will be useful on a team that requires problem-solving. For the workplace, that is always a desired need as problems happen every day.
Learning these strengths through the RBS exercise has confirmed many unanswered questions about myself. I have learned that I can positively use these strengths while creating my education, planning my career, and building relationships to reach excellence. Each strength I possess and can recognize will draw me closer to relationships by connecting, communicating, listening, and collaborating with others in college or the workplace. Understanding the talents I possess and don’t possess will take me much farther in life than not knowing at all. In college I feel as if I will make better grades if I continue my strengths quest. I will be able to identify areas that I am great at while also identifying areas I could use help with, before it is too late.
In my career I will be able to lead others in a positive environment rather than in an environment that fouls you for your weaknesses. I personally believe everyone should go on a strengths quest to help them identify their core strengths. Once your strengths are known, the sky is the limit for possibilities, achievements, and growth.