Saturday, August 22, 2009

StrengthsQuest Saturday: You Want to What?

For those of you stumbling upon Highlowaha for the first time, your timing is impeccable. You've entered upon a community committed to being creative; building friendships; providing service to others; and engaging in personal development-type activities.

Today is Part Four of a five-week series on why it is so good to be you. Click here for background.

Returners... in week one we reflected on whether or not we thought our five designated themes accurately described our strengths. Week two we considered how relationships and important life events events are impacted by our strengths. Last week - week three - we delved into Csikszentmihalyi's concept of "flow" and evaluated whether our work place (home, place of business, or volunteer work) showcased our strengths or left us feeling unfulfilled.

Today is week number four. The focus... personal goals. How, specifically, can you channel your five themes to facilitate the completion of a goal... or dare I say... resolution?

If we look back over our lives, each of us has a handful of accomplishments for which we are proud. For me it might be deciding I was going to sail on Semester at Sea and then actually doing it three years later. It might be having the discipline not to marry a person clearly not right for me; completing my Ph.D. in three years, or making the commitment to post daily on Highlowaha and then following through, despite the rigor.

Our innate strengths, as outlined in Rath's book, StrengthsQuest 2.0, are actually probably largely responsible for our successes. It seems to me, achieving a goal or making-good on a resolution is nothing more than successfully deploying your strengths to make something happen - something you've set your sights on.

Why, then, have I still not mastered the crock pot - a deal I made with StingRay eight months ago? And, why hasn't Sally Sunshine lost the weight she wanted to and Mary Jane saved the money she hoped to, and Aunt Annie written the book she planned to? If we have strengths then why don't we achieve our goals?

The answer, I think - though I am no expert - is that most of us do not know what our strengths are, NEVER MIND how to channel them toward specific outcomes. We'll use me as an example and then each of you will take a crack at it.

My strengths are (the same as last week and the week before that): Strategic, Focus, Input, Ideation, and Achiever. I was able to complete my doctoral work in three years because I successfully deployed my themes of strategic, focus, and achiever. I had a plan; I was focused and stuck with it; and the sense of achievement I felt by sticking with my plan provided tremendous satisfaction.

If one of my themes was something like Significance, I might have spent a lot of time thinking about the impact my work could have on the profession and maybe that would have been my motivation to complete my degree in three years. The point is... everyone has strengths and, once we know what they are, each person can literally employ her strengths to help her achieve her life's goals.

So let's try it. Tell us about a goal you have and then tell us how you intend to use a combination of your five themes to help you achieve that goal.

And, do it quick... before StingRay strikes again!

Signing off until tomorrow...


Robin said...


The biggest new goal, beyond the daily ones, is that I start back to grad school this week. I'm embarking on a Masters in Public Health. The hilarious part is that I'm doing it for me and not work, which plays right into the input - I can't wait to read the texts on epidemiology and biostatistics! (I know, how geeky.)

Public health is also very much about individualization, though sometimes it's about the individual and how they relate to the group. So that is too a no brainer.

Is strategic about how I'm going to fit this degree into my busy life?

Significance is probably about wanting to have the degree itself - maybe even just the diploma? No one in my family had ever graduated from college, so I know my first degree was, at least in part, to be that first person.

Activator = Impatient! My degree will take forever! (AKA more than a week.) I can't wait to get out and implement everything I'm going to learn. There is a concentration that most people assume I'm taking = maternal, child health. But I'm not, I'm taking health behaviors and information - how do ppl take in info about health and why do they make the decisions that they do. It just sounds so fascinating!

I've probably bored you guys to death by now, but I'm really excited to get going, and a bit scared. My textbooks get here Monday!

PLEASE remind me of this when I'm complaining!

Chaotic said...

Go Robin Go Robin Go Robin GO!


After some health issues and a series of MRIs, CATs, EEGs etc we now know what is wrong but the solution to THAT problem causes others, one of which is weight gain. so my goal is (still) to banish some of those excess #s in order to be healthier.

Connected- my faith is strong and sustains me in this struggle

Relator - I'm comfortable with intimacy which helps me to be frank with friends about struggle & depression over the whole mess.

Arranger- used to stay out of myself & out of pity so I don't just give up & say "Well, this is what's meant to be"

Strategic will help me fit in time to exercise and to plan meals free of chemicals/additives so I don't grab things "on the go" that make me ill.

Input keeps my mind busy and out of the places it should not go.

Peggy said...

Hip Hip Hooray for Robin.... going to school, total of 10 in your house right? You rock!!

Chaotic keep the faith! You go girl!!

(hee hee.... I love all of these acronyms .... nothing like... sha? and Gag with me a spoon!!!)

Personal develpment, huh! Love that!!

My top 5 themes once again are:

Personal Goals wow! this is a tough one! It would bore you death and take too long to explain an empty page here in regard to that!

I do agree with my strengths that have been highlighted in taking this journey on StrenghsQuest, but find with great difficulty to dream or set big goals.

I can't help but think of a saying I read years ago that said something like this (and by no means am I comparing here!!!) Mother Teresa accomplished so many great things in her life, but she did it in the same 24 hours a day that we all have.

Heather said...


Here is what I have come to learn this year about personal goals and my ability (or inability) to accomplish them. If I tell people what my goal is and include others in the plan I will achieve them 99% of the time.
All of my relator strengths make me want to have comraderie surrounding my work and it makes it so much easier to stay on task.

Also I have to lay out a specific challenge for X by this date...the competitor in me insists on accomplishing it and I won't let myself give up.

Katie K said...


Here is what I can tell you about my personal goals because of my top 3 themes. When I set a personal goal for myself it has to be very personal and individualized to me. I usually set a goal to learn a new skill or tackle a new task that I haven't done before. If others have done it before me, then it is my goal to do it a different way. Some might call me stubborn (my mother), but I just call myself an individual and a learner.

Cheryl said...

Adaptability, Empathy, Positivity, Consistency, Developer

The first sentence describing Adaptability says, "You live in the moment." I don't set a lot of strict goals because when I do I immediately get bored with them and push them aside. AKA the fish kisses. I like to make a decision and move on to the next choice.

A lot of my strengths talk about how I view others... Empathy- I can understand how others feel about a situation; Positivity- I can find the silver lining; Consistency - Balance is important. I don't want anyone treated unfairly; and Developer, I see the potential in others.

So, with all that it seems like I'm great at helping others achieve their goals. Not sure how that completely relates to me setting and achieving my own but I'm okay with it. Living in the moment sounds good to me.

Right now I'm going to live in the moment and enjoy my new car. :)

heather said...

Cheryl! What car did you get!?!?

Claudia said...

Past successes are a great way to back track and consider how you have employed your strengths to attain those things in which you are most interested.

Remember, our strengths are innate, so chances are when you evaluate past successes, you will find traces of how you made it happen. Our strengths are our natural inclination - our most natural approach to moving through life.

Cheryl, for instance, recently lost quite a few pounds. I wonder what role she might say her top five themes played. SHe also set a goal to purchase a new car in the month of August and it today she is out taking it for a spin. Besides $$$, what personal attributes did Cheryl need to get all the way from A (envisioning herself with a new car) to Z (cruising town in her new car).

Lindsay Marie recently applied and got into graduate school. I wonder what her top five themes are and how she employed them to reach her goal.

Once we come to understand the interplay of our strengths, we begin to see the Anatomy of Achieving Our Goals. The increased self awareness allows us to become more deliberate about how/when we use our strengths.

Before the weekend is over, I must think about how I will use my strengths to get off my duff and commit to my New Year's Resolution (before the new year).

Cheryl said...

So in reference to the weight loss... I didn't set out with a goal of losing weight. My goal was to do well in a Fitness contest. Using my strength of adaptibility I was able to adapt my routine to earn the most points possible in a day. Changing my diet was also key to the weight loss. Using Positivity as I started losing the weight and feeling better after I worked out helped. Everyone had the opportunity to get the same amount of points everyday but changing your diet was the key to losing the weight...but losing the weight was never the goal... getting the workout points was the goal.

heather said...

Ahhh but Cheryl...what kind of car did you get!?!?!???

Cheryl said...

Sorry Heather... I forgot to put it in my earlier post. I bought a White Chevrolet Traverse. I picked my boys up from the airport today after a week long trip with their grandparents and they were so excited. It was so cute. They are so enthusiastic about every bell, whistle and cup holder in it. :)