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In college, while I was a Resident Assistant, our staff did the StrengthsFinder assessment to discover our strengths. We were a random group of students, put together to serve a resident hall of over 200 students. We had to learn more about one another, and how to work well together.

This assessment was dated almost seven years ago. I wanted to revisit and consider the themes and how I may or may not see them play out in more recent situations.

According to Gallup, my strengths are:

  1. Restorative
  2. Adaptability
  3. Developer
  4. Includer
  5. Empathy


They are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.

A need to master things that do not come naturally. How about that one time I took New Testament Greek as my language requirement in college? Three semesters of it… Or when I ran a half marathon (I am not a runner).

This strength contributes to my eagerness to improve myself, and my consistent drive to learn more by listening to speakers and reading books.


They prefer to “go with the flow” and ten to obe “now” people who take things as they come.

“You pause to admire details that escape the notice of most people.” I would say this is exceptionally true of me. I love pausing while on a hike to appreciate a budding leaf, or getting the attention of my husband to look at our daughter while she is simply sitting and observing the world herself.

Sometimes outdated or inefficient processes frustrate you. Yes, yes. I love updating an outdated system.


They recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.

This is one that when I read its description I continually think, “Man, I really want to be that person.” I want to build up others around me, serve as a mentor, a listening and encouraging ear.

As my daughter learns and grows, each new milestone is one of celebration for me. I can see that in my nature I do have “developer” as a strength, and earnestly hope that I can continue to grow as a developer.


“Accepting of others. They show awareness of those who feel left out, and make an effort to include them.”

This theme is another, “Wow, I can only hope to exemplify those qualities in my life.” I think because I see this so strongly in Jesus’ life. Over and over again in the Gospel accounts, we see Jesus being an Includer.

I do recall moments where this strength was at play. At a table surrounded by women in my church, much of the discussion surrounded motherhood and raising children, while one woman sat silently. With no children of her own, I sensed her unease and made an effort to engage her in conversation about her recent academic studies.


“They sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations”

Empathy and Includer seem to be closely tied.

“Chances are good that you encourage people to express their innermost thoughts and feelings, and you refrain from judging them.” I do strive to draw out the “why” and “how” when conflict arises and problems need to be discussed.

“You like knowing that others depend on you to listen.” Yes, 100x over again. I enjoy listening to others and hope I continue to connect with others through this theme of empathy in my relationships.


It’s been years since I’ve read the more in-depth summaries about the different strength themes, and they included a lot more than I recalled. When I hear “empathy” I typically think of empathy in a situation of sorrow or mourning, but it is a whole lot more.

After reading more about the themes, I feel affirmed in my strengths and will probably dig into a bit more internal reflection of these themes, how I see them in my life, and how I can continue to grow and connect with those around me.

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