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Working with your Strengths

mountain climber

We often seem to concentrate on making ourselves better, that’s just the nature of school…but we don’t want to overlook the strengths that we already have! Professor Amy Krtanjek at Penn State York shared this Japanese quote with me (image) which I really love. Think about that as you consider your scores on the survey.


Go back to your survey results and look at the areas that are your strengths. Another thing you can do to get even more information about your strengths is to go to the University of Pennsylvania’s survey site and take a brief survey on your strengths. Go to this website and create an account. Then log-in and go to Questionnaires and choose the Brief Strengths Test. This will tell you the areas of character that are your strengths…


Now let’s use this information to help you in challenging times. Let’s say that you know from the resilience survey (CFRA) that your strength is Balanced Goal Setting – that is, you work really hard to have a plan to spend enough time on studies, work, family, and friends. And from the Penn survey, you found out that one of your strengths is an interest and curiosity in the world. So how can this information help you?

When the next challenge comes your way – say it’s finals week coming up and you are super stressed out – you now use these strengths to help you cope more effectively. OK, so it’s finals, what do you normally do and what could you change?

Normally, you probably don’t eat right, don’t get enough sleep, and spend all your time in the library getting ready for the tests. In the past, when you get to the actual day of the exams, you’ve found yourself tired and a bit foggy in your head and then afterwards, you often get sick because you’re run down. How can your strengths change your approach and perhaps the outcome?!

What if you use your skill at Balanced Goal Setting more directly and you create a study plan for yourself during finals week. You build into your plan time for study, but also time to refresh yourself with healthy food, sleep, and breaks! Your mind and body need that! During those breaks, you use your curiosity of the world strength to do something fun – to explore a different part of town, restaurant, or even part of the library. You take time to see your friends or talk to your family. It doesn’t have to be a long time, but just enough to feel refreshed and ready to take the test, or get back to studying. So the key is to use your strengths to consciously make a change in what’s not working optimally!

Think of them as your superpowers. Know what they are and use them strategically to help you overcome obstacles!

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