The five strengths that StrengthsQuest gave me are: includer, belief, competition, restorative, and achiever. I believe that all of these very closely represent who I am, and will help me in what I want to achieve in my future. I, however, do not know what I want to do for sure yet, but taking this StrengthsQuest has helped me in thinking about my choices. Before starting college and taking this test, I was thinking of going into the criminal justice field. My dad has been in the law enforcement field his entire career. He started off in college wanting to become a teacher, but soon found out that was not for him, so he got into law enforcement. He started out being a police officer in Dallas, Texas, and he is now a Probation Officer for Allegan County. When I was in high school, I really did want to go into law enforcement and follow in my dad’s footsteps. I even took college law enforcement classes at ACATEC (Allegan County Area Technical Education Center) and got an internship with the Allegan County Sheriffs Department during my last trimester of high school. Now that I am in college and have taken StrengthsQuest, I still would love to be in law enforcement, but becoming a teacher/ coach has entered my mind as well. My mom is a Pre-School Teacher in Parchment. She has always thought I would be a very good teacher, so I have thought about becoming a teacher instead of a police officer.
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The definition of an “includer” is “stretch the circle wider. This is the philosophy around which you orient your life. You want to include people and make them feel part of the group. In direct contrast to those who are drawn only to exclusive groups, you actively avoid those groups that exclude others. You want to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support. You hate the sight of someone on the outside looking in. You want to draw them in so that they can feel the warmth of the group. You are an instinctively accepting person. Regardless of race or sex or nationality or personality or faith, you cast few judgments. Judgments can hurt a person’s feelings. Why do that if you do not have to? Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect those differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same. We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve.” (StrengthsQuest) I think that this definition really does describe me. I also think that this attribute will defiantly help me in my future career, either as a police officer or a teacher. I have always played on a sports team but never a sport that focuses on the individual. I have played soccer, football, basketball, and baseball. I love to play all of these sports, but I like playing them because it is not just about me, it is about the team. This will help me in teaching because I will want to include every student in my class. However, I do not how much this would help me if I wanted to become a police officer because at best you have one partner, the rest of the time you are on your own.
“Belief” is defined as “if you possess a strong belief theme, you have certain core values that are enduring. These values vary from one person to another, but ordinarily your belief theme causes you to be family-oriented, altruistic, even spiritual, and to value responsibility and high ethics-both in yourself and others. These core values affect your behavior in many ways. The give your life meaning and satisfaction; in your view, success is more than money or prestige. They provide you with direction, guiding you through the temptations and distractions of life toward a consistent set or priorities. This consistency is the foundation for all your relationships. Your friends call you dependable. “I know where you stand,” they say. Your belief makes you easy to trust. It also demands that you find work that meshes with your values. Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you. And guided by your belief theme it will matter only if it gives you a chance to live out your values.” (StrengthsQuest) This strength will definitely help me in both teaching and law enforcement. Maybe even more in teaching than law enforcement because, “Both learning style and academic belief systems have been identified as significant factors contributing to academic achievement.” (Cassidy & Eachus, 2000) In both of these careers, I will have to make some very tough choices, and with a good belief system and strong ethics I believe I can make those choices the right ones. I feel that I have always had a good sense of ethics and right now I am in a law and ethics class that I am enjoying and doing well. This definition really does hit it on the head for me. I love spending time with my family and we always go on vacations together. Once a year during spring break, my family, along with my grandpa, grandma, aunt, uncle, and their three kids, go to Florida together. I think this will help me in teaching and policing because I am very loyal and I will not bend the rules.
“Competitions offer several positive and educational benefits, such as establishing goals, motivation, and providing feedback.” (Buyer, 2005, August) The definition of my third strength about competition is “competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors, you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win. And when you win, there is no feeling quite like it. You like measurement because it facilitates comparisons. You like other competitors because they invigorate you. You like contests because they must produce a winner. You particularly like contests where you know you have the inside track to be the winner. Although you are gracious to your fellow competitors and even stoic in defeat, you do not compete for the fun of competing. You compete to win. Over time you will come to avoid contests where winning seems unlikely.” (StrengthsQuest) This strength is definitely mine. I have participated in sports my whole life. I have played soccer, football, basketball, and baseball. In everything I do I want to be first. I always seem to find some way to turn everything I do into a game. It could be something as simple as lifting weights. I feel that I have to lift more than the other person, or at least get more reps then they do. If I don’t, I feel defeated. Even with my family, I make sure there is a winner in almost everything we do and I want to be the one to win. This strength will help me with teaching or becoming a police officer because I will be the best one there. I will not ever cheat to try and make myself the best; I will try as hard as I can every time.
My fourth strength is restorative and that is, “You love to solve problems. Whereas some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, you can be energized by it. You enjoy the challenge of analyzing the symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution. You may prefer practical problems or conceptual ones or personal ones. You may seek out specific kinds of problems that you have met many times before and that you are confident you can fix. Or you may feel the greatest push when faced with complex and unfamiliar problems. Your exact preferences are determined by your other themes and experiences. But what is certain is that you enjoy bringing things back to life. It is a wonderful feeling to identify the undermining factor(s), eradicate them, and restore something to its true glory. Intuitively, you know that without your intervention, this thing-this machine, this technique, this person, this company-might have ceased to function. You fixed it, resuscitated it, rekindled its vitality. Phrasing it the way you might, you saved it.” (StrengthsQuest) This particular strength caught me by surprise a little bit. I would not have necessarily said that a strength of mine is to solve problems. The more I thought it about it, however, I did realize that I do help other people when they have a problem, and I do want to help them solve it. It seems like I can help others solve their problems, but it is much more difficult to solve my own. This strength will yet again be very useful if I want to continue on a career path in teaching or police work. This strength will help me in either one of these careers because there will be problems that arise in almost anything I will ever do. Fortunately, I will not shy away from these problems, but tackle them head on and try to get them solved.
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Last but not least, my fifth strength is achiever. The description is “Your achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day-workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied. You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more. After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you. As an achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. It does have its benefits. It brings you the energy you need to work long hours without burning out. It is the jolt you can always count on to set the pace and define the levels of productivity for your work group. It is the theme that keeps you going.” (StrengthsQuest) My last strength is another one that I was skeptical about at first, but I started thing about it more, and once again this strength does suit me. Maybe not to the extreme, but once in a while it comes into play. For example, writing this paper – I decided last night that I was going to get most of this paper done and I was not going to stop until I did. I was up until about 12:30 a.m., but I was not very tired and I was only able to go to sleep after I wrote about four pages. This is also true when I workout. Once I set goals for myself I have to reach them. If I don’t, well I don’t know, that doesn’t happen. The level in high and low achievers is related with academic achievement. (Khalid & Hasan 2009).
Taking this StrengthsQuest test has really helped me realize what my strengths are. Before this test I knew I had strengths, but I didn’t know this much detail about what my top five strengths are and what they mean. This Communications class has helped me greatly. I would like to continue taking more classes like it, especially for the careers I am pursuing. Even though I am not completely set on what career I should be in, I know that these five strengths will help me make my ultimate decision.
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