StrengthsFinder: Why It Matters
Reported by Danielle Brown
If you are a student at George Fox University (GFU), there’s a chance you’ve had one too many conversations about your strengths.
The first time they were brought up at Welcome Weekend, I was hesitant — “what’s up with this anyway” — but after a year of talking about them with friends, strangers and faculty, I’m beginning to understand the importance of strengths and how they influence the community at GFU.
Joe Thouvenel, assistant director of the GFU IDEA Center and resident StrengthsFinder guru was able to share some statistics. The three most common strengths among students at GFU are Restorative, Achiever and Developer, while the least common are Significance, Command and Self-Assurance.
Looking at the way the GFU community focuses on connecting with others personally, you can see how the most common strengths have influenced and shaped on-campus conversations.
“StrengthsFinder is one of the primary tools used by the IDEA Center in guiding students to a deeper understanding of who they are as well as how they relate with various people and environment,” Thouvenel said. “Strengths arise from one’s talents, naturally occurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied in a variety of settings.”
Thouvenel also stressed the importance of not allowing your strengths to box you or others in.
“Your strengths are not meant to define you but rather to inform you. In fact, in many ways as we gain a deeper understanding of our strengths, we are able to move beyond the boxes we put ourselves into,” said Thouvenel. “Strengths help us to understand ourselves, and others, in new ways.”
Remembering that everyone has a different approach to certain situations and that we hold different strengths (as uncommon as they may be in the GFU community) will allow us to learn from others through their own unique perspectives.
“It helps me understand people,” said Grant More, a sophomore at GFU. He described how everyone is unique and how StrengthsFinder is able to provide people with a positive vocabulary for understanding their own abilities and of those around them.
More expressed his passion for strengths and the impact that they have had on his life. He took the StrengthsFinder assessment for the first time a year before he started attending GFU. He was surprised by how much he resonated with the results; he even decided to pursue a business degree because his strengths were so applicable.
Knowing our strengths helps us prepare for the workforce by allowing us to understand how we might perform in a work environment. It also provides us with a deeper understanding of ourselves that we can use to build resumes, personal brand statements and skillsets. This makes landing internships or job positions that much easier.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to see the benefits of taking the StrengthsFinder assessment, but when you start applying them to your life and using them as a tool, you can find that it’s a great way to develop relationships, career paths or your personal approach to the world.