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CEHD Strengths Spotlight | Elizabeth Nelson, Upward Bound

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At the University of Minnesota and in CEHD we feel every student has what they need to be successful. We believe in taking a strengths based approach and work with students to learn to use their talents so they can be developed into strengths.


What are your top 5 talent themes?

My top five talent themes are Empathy, Achiever, Harmony, Includer, and Discipline.


In what ways do you use your talents each day?
I have discovered that I have all along been using my talent themes in everything I do every day.

I use the Empathy talent theme when I notice someone is not being heard. I relate my experience that resonates with their sentiment or add the various outcomes based on the long standing history with an event or individual and their ups and downs.

I use the Achiever talent theme constantly in work, home, volunteer, and at play. In my job, I work hard and diligently. At home, I continue working hard doing chores, making food, encouraging my children to do better, tutor my children and their friends, and try to keep peace in my home on top of my many volunteer activities. Looking at the Gallup Strengths Quest Reference Card, it says that people with this talent have a great deal of stamina. I guess I have been hardwired with a lot of stamina. My family knows I have a lot of stamina because I would wake them up in the morning before we would go to work in the cotton fields of Texas or the sugar beet fields of Minnesota by singing, "It's time to get up, It's time to get up, get up, get up." They, like my husband, did not fancy that but we have a lot of fun laughing about it now.

I use the Harmony talent theme through and through. I dislike arguing so I have recently started asking more questions for clarification to understand where they are coming from and then Empathy kicks in. Before I would just withdraw because I do not like when my opinion or the opinions of others was not recognized or heard.

I use the Includer talent theme to bring in those whom I have noticed were left out. This is where Empathy, Harmony, and Includer work hand in hand to make an effort to bring them all in. These three talent themes are espoused in my life.

I use the Discipline talent theme to structure my day. I enjoy the routine I create and checking things off my to-do list even when it is a simple task. This is where Achiever is espoused with Discipline to help me accomplish a lot as I break my day down to pre-morning, morning, lunch, afternoon, supper, and evening. This helps me fall asleep quickly and very deeply so that I can be rejuvenated for the next day. My profound sleep pushes the re-start button of my stamina tank to begin a new day.


How have you sought to develop your talent themes?
The best thing that I have found to develop my talent themes is to keep using them, read more information about them, and attend other StrengthsQuest trainings. One of the things that I disovered is that Gallop's StrengthsQuest is culturally diverse and available in over 20 languages. As a tri-lingual (Spanish, English, and American Sign Language) individual, I am excited that Gallop is in the globalization arena. This is where Includer is part of my nature.

If you feel you have a weakness, here are six ways to deal overcome it: 1. Be open to share concern and receive feedback. 2. Take trainings that will improve this area. 3. Use your other talent themes to leverage the desired talent. 4. Use other support systems to build you up (similar to the 360-degree). 5. Form complementary partnerships with others who have the desired talent. 6. Adjust or change your role to others which will give you more time to develop your strength talent themes.


What surprises you about your talent themes?
I was surprised when I first took the Clifton StrengthsFinder, and saw that Harmony was my top strength. I thought, "Why and how did this 45 minutes survey where one had to respond to each statement within 20 seconds know me?" I decided to make some changes after reflecting on my lifestyle. The second time I took it, Empathy become my top strength and Harmony was still in my top five talent themes. This showed me that now I was no longer avoiding conflict but actually embracing it in a tactful manner.


Which talent themes fit you best and why?
I ascertained that strength is the culmination of talent (recurring pattern of thoughts, feelings, and actions), and skills (steps of an activity), and knowledge (factual and experiential knowing). For me this just means that because I have been a people person since a young age, Harmony, Empathy, Relator, and Consistency will always be a part of my top ten talent themes in how I respond to people around the world no matter what their status maybe. These talent themes fit me like a glove because I enjoy (talent) empowering (skills) people and helping (knowledge) them see their talents and abilities to go beyond their limitations when it is solicited. I found my top five talent themes to be in the Relationship Building and Executing Leadership Category. I also realized that I too envelop leadership qualities. I am appreciative to have had this wonderful opportunity to become self-aware via Gallop StengthsQuest.


Visit Strengths at the U to learn more!

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