Monday, October 28, 2013

The Boat...

I'd just like to say that I'm sitting on top of Cloud 9 right now. Way up high in the sky looking down at the world. As long as I don't get hit by a plan (literally or figuratively, I guess) I think I could be in the running for happiest poor college student in the world. My best friend stayed with me two weekends ago. Two of my favorite people in the whole world were here this last weekend. I'm going to be home for a day and a half this upcoming weekend. I have an interview to be a facilitator at a team building ropes course on Thursday. And on top of that I think I'm starting to figure out exactly what I want to get out of college. 

That's not what I wanted to write about, I just need a way to release some of my excitement or I'm never going to get to bed. 


During my Emerging Leaders Program last week we discussed our strengths. Before the session started all of the members were tasked with taking a quiz called "Strengths Quest." I answered well over a 100 questions about myself and from those questions I was told what my top 5 strengths were out of a list of 34 different options. Some of them I found pretty shocking. They were (in order from lowest to highest):

5: Adaptability. People who "go with the flow." They tend to be "now" people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time. I won't say I'm completely surprised. For the most part I like structure, but I'm fully aware that most of my plans don't work out... so I guess that makes me adaptable. It wouldn't have been something I would have guessed would be in my top 5, but hey I answered the questions so I guess I can't argue it.

4: WOO. WOO stands for "Winning Others Over." I read this and immediately I got a negative vibe from it. I read "Winning Others Over" as "Manipulating the Feeble Minded In Order to Make Them Be Your Slave Monkeys." Okay I didn't word it like that, but you get what I mean. The description let me exhale a sigh of relief, though. People talented in the WOO theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person. I won't deny that I am kind of sappy when it comes to making connections with people. The connections I form with people are the most important things I have. Thought I try not to be a manipulative person. I have no aspirations to be a politician. Heh.

3. Communication. These people generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words (Hey! Look what I'm doing right now!). They are good conversationalists and presenters. I was a little surprised this one didn't score higher. I think it's safe to say I'm no stranger when it comes to being a communicator. Although my communication skills tend to get me in trouble sometimes... at least when it's blunt and sarcastic means of communication. But it's also important to me personally. I need to communicate with people, it makes me feel tranquil. And if they don't communicate back I stress out a bit (a lot, really). Hey. Nobody's perfect. Hannah Montana taught me that. She also taught me how to ride a wreck- moving on.

2. Strategic. People talented in this area create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues. I'm a decent problem solver (unless it's music theory. That's just a problem that requires divine intervention). I guess this also kind of fits in with adaptability. I wasn't expecting this one to score so high, but I wasn't surprised either. It's a valuable skill, and I'm glad I have it.

1. Empathy. Literally everyone that reads that empathy was my highest laughs, and I guess I can't blame them. Sarcasm and dry humor don't usually mix with "empathy," but I count on my friends that know me well to see my empathetic side a little better. People talented in the empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others' situations. I'm empathetic, but not always sympathetic. I don't find pity to be useful or empowering. I think empathy is an effective means of bonding with people, though. Use of empathy leads to enlightenment in the sense that you can better understand the people that surround you. If you understand someone you can bond with someone, and I think I've established how I value my emotional connections with other people.

After we read about our top 5 strengths we were given a sheet of paper with a picture of a boat on it. Our job was to take our 5 strengths and decide which one was the anchor, oars, sail, boat, and rutter.

The anchor is what keeps you grounded.

The oars are what push you along and keep you going.

The sail is what the wind in your sail is.

The boat is the base of who you are.

The rutter is what guides you.

I decided that my anchor was my communication. When I'm stressed and I need to ground myself and pull my head out of the clouds I talk to people. I write. I just have to express what's running through my head to make room for new thoughts. My mind is a very hectic and cluttered place.

My oars are my adaptability. No matter what happens I remind myself that I need to go with the flow and keep moving forwards. Reminiscing on troubles in my past doesn't lead to progress. I have to adapt to the situation and push forward.

My sail is my WOO. When I can, I try and let my social skills push me forwards. It makes for an easier voyage. I can't always rely on it, but I like to use it when I can.

My rutter is strategy. I like to count on the fact that I can analyze a situation and develop a solution, and that allows me to guide myself through rougher waters. I like to keep moving but sometimes it's more beneficial to sit down, take a deep breath, and develop a plan of action. Spoken like a true silver.

My boat is empathy. My ability to understand the needs and emotions of others is what makes me who I am. It has ultimately gotten me to where I'm at now, and I like where I'm at now. People sometimes laugh when they say I want to be a guidance counselor (it's all that damn sarcasm), but I think that my empathy is exactly why I want to be one. Despite my blunt tendencies, I understand people. I want to help people, not sit on the sidelines and pity them. 

I like that college is allowing me to strengthen the idea of who I want to be. I feel like I learn something new about myself everyday, and I still have 7.5 (ish) semesters to go. Here's hoping I learn even more every day from here on out.


-- JewFro

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