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Playing to your strengths

Free workshop helps students use natural abilities to succeed

By Gena Checki

When looking for ways to maximize your natural abilities to succeed in life, it helps to pinpoint exactly what abilities those are. The Maximize Your Strengths seminar, held recently at all three campuses, helps students discover their strengths. Once strengths are known, individuals can use them to succeed in academics, relationships, careers and life.

Katherine Saunders, TRIO Student Support Services program lead specialist, teaches the seminars and helps students establish an action plan based on their top five strengths. She believes this type of self-study is important for students because about 40 years of research went into the development of the Maximize Your Strengths philosophy. Researchers proved that people found more success focusing on the things they do well instead of trying to fix their weaknesses.

Students discover their strengths by attending a two-hour workshop. During the workshop, students take the Gallup Strengths Finder Assessment to discover their top five strengths. Seminar attendees also receive a free copy of “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath. The book provides detailed explanations about what each of the 34 different strengths mean. The assessment does not dictate what job or career path students should pursue.

Angela Brown, a Human Services student, attended the seminar.

“What I have learned is the process of life values and understanding how you can combine your strengths and use them in life, work and relationships,” she said.

Brown said she believes the seminar provided her with knowledge about herself that she will be able to use in any life situation.

Tim Shields, also a Human Services student, agreed with Brown.

“I learned that any difficulty or obstacle can be overcome, and I plan to apply what I learned in class to all areas of my life, as problems arise,” Shields said.

More Maximize Your Strengths seminars are planned for the future and are free for all Gateway students.