This year, since coming on staff, I have had the opportunity to attend trainings at Gallup, travel to countless communities to advocate strengths, make ridiculous yet informative videos, write about individual strengths, and grow in my own knowledge and ownership of strengths.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned personally this year is the power of knowing my limits. Gallup co-founder Don Clifton believed that a lifetime is not enough to learn about your #1 strength. After years of naming, claiming, and aiming my top 5, I find I am still learn something new about my strengths each day. But this year, because of my training, I had the opportunity to learn my full 34 strengths. When most people learn about their full 34, they go straight to the bottom, looking at what are their “weaknesses.” These aren’t actually our weaknesses, but our “lesser talents”, according to Gallup. Through a strengths-based lens, our lesser talents are opportunities to utilize blends of our other dominant strengths or find complimentary partners who have these talents.
While musing about my lesser talents one day (which you really should not do…woops… my Intellection got the best of me), I came to a realization that these lesser talents are also tools to help us understand our own limitations. If you have ever met me, you know I am a “yes” person. I love to give of my time, talent, and treasure to others. This often results in my plate being a bit too full. Utilizing the realization of my lesser talents as my own limits, I felt compelled to step back from several commitments at the end of their term that did not coincide with my best self. I realized these commitments conflicted with my most natural talents and often left me more anxious and less engaged day-to-day. By understanding my lesser themes or less present domains, I was able to create health boundaries and give myself a bit more room to breathe in life.
On a program level, as I reflect back on this past year, I am in awe of the power of local community. The highlight of this year on staff with TeamMates has been the transformation that happens when people know and own their strengths in community. The impact of mentoring, relationships, and strengths collided when I got to travel to a community and see the magic that happens at the local level. From McCook to Columbus to Johnson-Brock and everywhere in between, we have a rock star group of strengths chapters. You Program Coordinators and Board Members work tirelessly to ensure our students and their mentors receive the tool that will transformation their lives: their top 5 strengths. Research from Gallup has shown us time and time again that when a person has someone in their life who recognizes and develops their strengths, they have an increased sense of hope, wellbeing, engagement, and success. That’s what you, Mentors, Program Coordinators, School Staff, Board Members, and Volunteers do for our youth each and every day.
So, thank you. Thank you for giving of your time to the mission of TeamMates. Thank you for spending hours on end recruiting, submitting data, making matches, sitting with kids, and scanning paperwork. Thank you for devoting one hour a week to build hope in a young person’s life. Thank you for attending training. Thank you for keeping safe and healthy boundaries with your mentee. Thank you for prioritizing the strengths revolution. Thank you for being on this team, because together, we transform lives.