My PDLP is dedicated to my mom who passed away after battling cancer. She was an endless example to me of sacrificial love, endless joy, and determination. She always challenged me to grow and push myself which is why I applied for this program. Her favorite flowers were hydrangeas.
Table of Contents
4 Finding My Personal Purpose 90th Birthday Toasts Formal Personal Purpose Five Core Values Discussion
15 Leadership Definition Leadership Visioning Exercise Leadership Core Values Discussion
22 Strengths and Weaknesses Assessment Journal Summary Visual Summary
64 Development Outcomes
Personal Purpose and Core Values
We were tasked with answering these questions from the perspective of our younger self in order to uncover what we have always known. I was definitely surprised by my answers to this exercise and grew in self-awareness as I discovered the things I truly considered to be important.
I have always cared about other people, animals, and living things. I always wanted to make sure people felt included and loved. I wanted to be friends with everyone and never understood when someone did not want to be friends with me. I cared about doing what was right and loved the rules because I knew what was expected of me. I loved it when my teachers praised me because I knew that I was doing things right. I liked the rules because they told me exactly what to do—I never liked ambiguity, uncertainty, or much adventure. I liked when my friends were loyal but also honest with me and I strived to be that kind of friend in their lives. My friendships have always been very important to me, as well my family. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer around when I was seven and battled the disease on and on until she passed away when I was sixteen. Seeing that struggle while growing up gave me insight into the unfair cruelties of the world; my mom was the absolute sweetest person and had done nothing to deserve her disease. Rather than being defeated by that reality, I was motivated to always treat people with love and extra kindness because I learned from an early age that you never knew what someone else was going through. I also extremely valued fairness and justice and wanted to make things right for those who were in more unfortunate situations as I; even though my mom battled breast cancer for so long, something she taught me was that things could always be worse.
I have always known that I look on the bright side of situations; even when I am down, I cannot help from thinking about the positive of a situation. Even if I am sad, I will constantly say “well, it could have been worse” or “but at least that didn’t happen.” It is something that naturally happens within me and I cannot stop it. I have also always known that I love making people laugh—I always tried to be silly and bring laughter and light to a situation. I have a giant heart that genuinely cares about others; when people began to break off into cliques at school and sit at different tables, I always tried to sit at different ones and invite people to my table. I have an inherent belief in human kindness that I cannot stop. I just want everyone to be happy, healthy, and loved.
Something that has always felt true to me is that the world doesn’t revolve around me and life isn’t going to give me what I want, so I’ve got to work for it. I knew that my mom did nothing to deserve her disease (and that no one else does either), but life gave it to her, so all we could do was work through it. Life is inherently unfair, so I always sought to make it fairer by helping people out in any way that I could. The way I process things is also extremely rational and logical; I know that there is no reason why things happen to some people and not to others, so in all honesty it always felt weird to grow up Catholic. I never fully understood it and never fully believed it. Asking questions and finding one logical answer always felt true to me instead. Logic and reason felt stable and changeless; I knew if I could find the answer once I could find it again. Another thing that always felt true to me (and still does!) was my family.
PAGE|6 All of my aunts, uncles, and cousins all live within one hour of each other, so I grew up steeped in love and support and life lessons. I knew that I could always lean on them for support and that they would love me even when I was unlovable. They would understand or at least try to and be there with me whenever I wanted to talk, play cards, or watch a show. Even though we sometimes got into fights, that never changed their unending love and support for me.
Something that has always come naturally to me has been making people happy. Whenever my sister and I got into fights, I would always go into her room and apologize by making her laugh. Like I mentioned before, looking on the bright side of situations also always came naturally, as well as looking at situations with a logical balance. I can definitely acknowledge the negative sides of things, but I just always prefer to emphasize the positive ones! Friendships and finding things to talk about with people have also always come naturally, as well as attending school; I loved learning and interacting with people so I never wanted to leave school.
Answering this question as if I was a child, I probably would have said that the real me exists when I help out at a homeless shelter, cheer my friends up, or spend hours making an extremely thoughtful present for someone. The real me loves all people even though she might get aggravated or frustrated with them at times. The real me acknowledges everyone and lets them know that they are important, valuable, and uniquely made.
When I was younger I always kept coming back to my friends and family. They were a constant source of support for me, fun to be around, and provided me with purpose. I also keep coming back to an undying spirit within me; I always tended to overload myself with things to do, even as young as middle school, which sometimes left me burnt out and exhausted. But I always got right back up again the next morning, even if I had stayed up the majority of the previous night working on a project. I cannot help myself from getting involved in everything, just like I cannot help myself from being positive. Even when I am willfully overloaded and exhausted, I will press on.
Something that feels familiar and right to me no matter what would be service to other people. I donâ€™t know if I always felt this way, but I definitely recognized my love for other people and the community when I wrote a paper about creating a National Community Service Day in eighth grade. I knew that I had a purpose when I was serving others and that I was doing something good in a world so filled with hate. Another thing that feels familiar and right to me no matter what, but in more of a physical sense, would be dancing. I have been dancing ever since I was four, and I cannot stop, even when I have not danced in a while. I find myself always coming back to dance as a way to express myself and deal with emotions.
I was always motivated by other people—this is not to say that I am not self-motivated because I definitely am—but I am motivated because I want to make other people happy or want to please other people. I always did my schoolwork because I wanted the teachers to like me and be proud of me, which in turn made me like myself and feel proud of myself. The majority of meaning in my life stems from the meaning I get from other people, which might eventually be problematic. Something internal that also seemed to motivate me was my inherent sense of curiosity, which is definitely one of the reasons I did so well in school. I loved learning and ate all the lessons up; I was constantly reading and asking questions. There was even a class in which I was banned from asking more than 3 questions per day because I got our class off track with my questions too much!
Something that is always important to me no matter how the world changes or how I change would be other people. One of my favorite quotes is that “people will not always remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel,” and I believe this quote perfectly expresses my desire to bring light and love into the lives of others. It is always important to me to give back to my community, spread love to those who might not feel loved, and try to create some more good fortune in the world by helping out the less fortunate.
I value loyalty, love, hard work, and service the most. As I mentioned before, I believe that the world owes me nothing, so hard work, persistence, and dedication are some of my strongest values. I also value loyalty and commitment; it does not make any sense to me if someone says they are committed to something and then their actions prove differently. I value when people stay true to their word and stay true to their friendships as well. Loyalty also means providing support for others and giving them your all when they need it. Another big value of mine is service to my fellow humans. We are all struggling and trying to make it out here in this wild world, so if there is anything I can do in my lifetime to help someone else out and make their life easier, I will do it. I believe that the world is filled with enough jealously, hatred, and competition, so why not spread some more love and light into it? Everyone deserves to be loved and will need help at some point in their lives. Even I need help (lots of times!) in my life! Why should I expect help from others if I have not already helped them?
I am just an average human bean trying to get along in the world and make it better while I last. I have no right to anything here and no one has to give me anything. It is my job to make my own way and help out others on their way. I am definitely definitely not perfect though, try as hard as I might. This probably bothered me when I was younger but now I relish my imperfections. I am not a robot meant to pop out perfect outputs and solutions; I am just one person with a big heart who is trying her very best. I will not do everything right and I will not make friends with everyone, but I can promise you that I’m going to try.
My reason for being is to serve others, at least that is the mantra I have adopted as of my high school years. I try to do what is best for others and serve the community, but it does not always happen. And even though this is my reason for being, I still go against it sometimes. I am definitely trying very hard to live a more congruent life and make sure that my values are reflected in my actions. I would also like to think that another reason for my being is to spread happiness in the lives of others. I have such an uncanny ability to look on the bright side of a situation that it is scary. I think it would be nice to say that I was given that ability in order to imbibe othersâ€™ lives with more enthusiasm and happiness, but I donâ€™t necessarily believe in a greater power that gives me something to do, so it might just be a coincidence, but I for sure am going to use my powers for good!
My mission is to spread positivity and acceptance to the world, serve others, and create sustainable systems so that the service can continue when I am gone. My direction would be up because down sounds too negative, but it would also be wide. Even though science proves that multitasking is harmful, I am one hell of a multitasker and believe that I can reach plenty of people with my positivity. I have been balancing too many extracurriculars for my entire life, so I know that I am capable of doing a lot of things and doing them well. As I mentioned before, service to others is my mantra, but itâ€™s not a perfect one yet. I want to continue to make sure that this mission shines through in every aspect of my life, and I always want to make sure that the service I do is sustainable and lays the groundwork for future generations so that it does not all disappear when I am gone. I can only do so much in my life when I am here.
Some snapshots from my younger years!
Intrigued by the reputation that proceeded it, I found this exercise to be one of the most challenging and worthy of its acclaim. I rarely ever think this far in the future, so I really appreciated the level of critical reflection and planning this exercise created.
I would never give up the opportunity to work for Alexandra Case. She has been such an encouragement and support system in my life, and she always challenges me to be a better and more congruent person. I have been working at this organization for fifteen years now and have never met someone who asks as many questions as she does. These questions don’t come from places of annoyance or ignorance though, they come from a desire to truly understand. Alexandra seeks to truly understand her employees so that she can create a working environment that works best for them. Alexandra seeks to truly understand her community so that she can do what is best for that community. And Alexandra seeks to truly understand herself so that she knows how to improve. All that being said, we definitely have had a fun time as well. Alexandra never shows up without a smile, and even when thing are getting really tough she can encourage us and keep things lighthearted at the same time that she lets us know how important it is. She loves to laugh, especially at the uniqueness of the human situation, and she loves to make people laugh as well. One of the things she never fails to say is “what’s life without a little laughter?” I have also grown tremendously while working under Alexandra Case. Sure, she is not a perfect leader, but she is by far the closest. She is insanely organized, hard-working, and diligent. She will push you to do what she knows and believes you are capable of doing. It is not easy working for her, but it is by far the most rewarding. Before working under Alexandra, I never knew that my job could change my life, but is has. Alexandra has empowered me to be a support system for others, make meaningful changes in my life in order to live more congruently, and passionately dedicate myself to the things I believe in. Without her encouragement, care, and support, I don’t know if I ever would have done those things myself.
Oh Alexandra, what can I say? If I wanted to talk about all the things you have done in your life, we would be here for days. There has been a fire under your butt since the day you were born, and I am glad to have at least ridden some of the flames. Your hard work is such an inspiration to me. You never fail to fill up your time or volunteer for something, even when you are already overloaded. Despite this, you still somehow get everything done! It’s a miracle to me. However, despite all the things you are juggling, you still make time for your friends, your family, and me, which is one of the things I love about you. You are highly driven in both your professional and personal life and are always looking to improve. Ever since ninth grade you made it your mission to learn everything about me in order to best understand and love me. You give me the best and most thoughtful gifts, and even the gift of yourself. I know you are always so busy doing important things, so clearly I must be somebody pretty important. I cannot believe we have known each other since high school, and I am so glad that I have spent my life learning and growing with you. I would not have wanted it any other way, even though it hasn’t been easy! We’ve been through ups and downs and plenty of emotional roller-coaster (remember when you broke up with me for like a year??), but we’ve stuck it out through the fights, the traumas, and all. Another thing I love about you is that even when we are fighting, you still love and respect me. You always stress the importance of communication and make me talk to you even when that is the last thing I want to do. You sincerely try to
PAGE|10 understand me and that makes me feel loved. I have loved seeing the example you’ve set for our children and the impact you’ve made in the world. You may not think that you’ve done much, but I can guarantee that the number of people your work has touched is limitless. Your legacy will live on through generations because you have made peoples’ lives better for good. You have changed lives, and it has been so inspiring to see. And if you didn’t know it already, you’ve changed my life. You’ve asked me the hard questions and made me really think about who I am. Because of you, I have been changed for good (ha! Anyone? Wicked reference am I right?). I love being silly with you, but I also love being serious with you because of the depth of your curiosity, wonder, and genuine love. You have definitely made me a more productive member of society and a greater father, and for those things I am very grateful. You have shown me true love and have helped me spread it to others. You have helped me find more meaning and purpose in my life. You have always supported and cared for me. And most of all, you have finally taught me how to make bird calls and dance. And that’s really all I could ever ask for. (Hah!) But seriously, I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be my wife and to spend my life with. I love you, Alexandra.
Hey, Mom! I seriously cannot believe you are 90 years old. You don’t look a day above 70! I love you so much and am so glad that you are my mother. I would not trade you for anyone else in the entire world. You have seriously been the best mother to me because you were a mother with your entire heart. I know they say that mothers would give anything for their kids, but you seriously did. Being a mother was your entire being, and I could not have asked for anything more. The love that you poured into me has allowed me to turn around and pour it into my kids as well. You accepted me for who I was, even when I was a bratty teenager, a sleepless infant, or a twenty-two year old moving back home after college! You were (and still are!) always there for me, and I know I can come to you with anything and you will give me the best advice. I hope one day that I can be as awesome a mother as you were (I am currently still trying!!). And not only were you a mother to me, a mother who sheltered me, taught me my first lessons, and supported me throughout it all, you have been such a great mentor as well. You have helped me find my own way in life and have empowered me to make my own decisions. You guided me towards them, but you always let me make the decisions and learn from them. And even when it was difficult in the moment (like when I got my car towed with my phone in it after leaving it where I wasn’t supposed to), it was such a blessing to be able to learn from those moments myself. Note to everyone: don’t ever park in a handicapped spot, even though you are just running in for “5 minutes!” They will find you! Also, don’t leave your phone in the car because you will be waiting for thirty minutes until you can borrow an employee’s phone and then finally remember someone’s number to call! Anyways…I am seriously so proud to be your daughter and completely own it whenever anyone asks. You have definitely given me big shoes to fill and a great example to follow. You truly love and serve others and sacrifice everything you have for them. You never judge anyone else because you believe in their inherent dignity and worth, and that it definitely something you’ve instilled in me. Even when I was ugly during middle school or stuck in the dumb math class in high school, I could tell myself that I was worthy and loved because you told that to me. And if I wanted to get better, I had to do what you told me to do: work harder. You showed me that life does not owe me anything and that I better work for it, which I have learned in the workforce is a rare skill to come upon. You also have a wonderful sense of humor and smile and can always find a way to make my day better. I could go on and on listing the things I am grateful for you for, but I want to sum it up with one thing I am grateful for: your existence. (I don’t know it that’s cheating or not but I am going to go for it!) You have truly made the world a better place by existing and spreading your love and leaving me behind to carry on your torch (hah!). You literally rock so hard as a mother, a friend, a grandmother, and just a human being. Happy 90 th Birthday, Mom! I hope you take this day to relax, but I know you won’t, so at least have fun doing what you love! Love you!
After delving deep into my values, life experiences, and motivations, I was able to create a formal purpose that will drive me every day.
My personal purpose is to spread positivity and acceptance throughout the world, serve others, and create sustainable systems so that the service can continue when I am gone.
A few of my favorite photos
After answering the questions from the finding personal purpose exercise, I looked over everything that I wrote and tried to find any reoccurring themes. Many of these themes were connected and formed the basis of my core values.
Hard work means doing everything that is possible in your power to get a job done. Hard work means never quitting and continuing to press on, one step at a time. Hard work is such an important value in my life; I believe that literally anything is possible as long as you are willing to put in the work. It might seem like nothing is getting done, but if you take one step a day for a year, you will eventually be 365 steps ahead of where you were. Hard work is all about physically putting in the time and effort to get the things done that you promised you would do. It is definitely connected to loyalty in my opinion because if you decide to be loyal to someone or something, you must do the work that it takes to keep your commitment. Hard work impacts my leadership effectiveness because people know that when they give me a job or a task to do, I will do whatever I can to do it. I can be trusted to get the job done and will never shy away from a challenge either. In terms of sheer output, having hard work as my top value makes me extremely effective and productive as a leader, and that in turn creates trust and appreciation in those that I work with.
I was extremely close to listing service as my topmost value, but in reflecting a little more I realized that my affinity for work and productivity actually lead me to commit to a plethora of things rather than giving all my time and energy to one which would probably be the more charitable thing to do. Nevertheless, service is extremely important in my life; go check out my personal purpose statement if you don’t believe me! In my opinion, service can manifest in many different ways. Service can be something as general as supporting and doing kind things for others, but it can also be as specific as picking up trash on the side of the road or mentoring first-generation college students. Service is an integral part of the human experience because all people need help from others at some point in their lives. There is not one person out there who can do everything themselves. Service impacts me because I try my hardest to constantly give back to the community, friends, and family members that support me. I want to serve them because I know in the future I might need their help one day. I also want to serve them as a pure acknowledgment of their value as a unique human being. Service to others impacts my leadership effectiveness because others will see the value and inherent dignity I place on other people, and then because of that, they can trust that I will treat them well.
Positivity means focusing on the bright side of a situation and being grateful for what you have rather than what you don’t have. Positivity to me is not a blindness to the negative but rather an embracement of the positive. Having a positive mindset and focusing more on the positives gives people confidence and encourages them to get things done. Positivity impacts my life because I believe that there is nothing I can’t get done, and it also helps me learn
PAGE|13 from rather than focus on my mistakes. Positivity will impact my leadership effectiveness because people like working with positive people and it will help me create a team of confident and capable people. I will help build up rather than tear down others, and we will focus on and capitalize our strengths as a team, further increasing our effectiveness.
Loyalty means first and foremost following through. If you say you are going to get something done, you will stay loyal to your word and get it done. Loyalty can also mean loving others no matter what. It is easy to get frustrated with someone else, especially if they make a mistake, but loyalty means that you would stay true to them and work through the issue with them instead of just giving up. Loyalty also means loving someone enough to put something for them ahead of something for you. Loyalty means sacrifice, submission, and continuity. Loyalty is not something that expires but rather transforms as we humans have a “loyalty limit” of the things we can commit to without any commitments being detrimental to each other. Loyalty impacts me because I work extremely hard to stay loyal to all of the things I have committed to, and it is quite a lot actually. I believe in loyalty so much that I try to stay loyal to all of my organizations, friends, and family even when it is to my own detriment. Having loyalty (combined with service and hard work) as one of my top values is great because people can always lean on and trust me; however, I commit and stay loyal to so many things that sometimes I run myself down. Loyalty impacts my leadership effectiveness because people will trust me to get things done and rely on my commitment.
As cliché as it sounds, learning to me means growing through life rather than going through life. It also means wanting to expand your mind and perspective and being open to new ideas. Learning is one of my values because everyone is learning all the time. There is no one out there that knows everything, even the experts in the field, and no one should be ashamed of their ignorance because it is something that is totally fixable. Learning impacts me because it also allows me to develop without fear of failure in my life and it drives me to ask questions and know more about my friends, family, and community. Learning impacts my leadership effectiveness because it allows me to stay humble because I know that there is always something I don’t know and (one of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson) “every man I meet is my superior in some way.” Having learning as a value helps me be a more effective leader because I am open to new and better ways of doing things and will create a culture of learning from failure rather than being ashamed of it.
After completing all the exercises in Component One throughout the semester, we are tasked with critically reflecting again and looking at the semester as a whole. One of the main reasons I applied for this program was creating the PDLP and gaining a new sense of self-awareness. When I first heard about the program and the critical lens in which the Fellows and Scholars analyze their lives, I thought it was genius! We constantly create organizational plans, cultures, values, and strategies, but we never do the same for ourselves, even though that will lead to many more returns. Iâ€™m not sure why I was not asking myself what my values and personal purpose were before this class; it definitely was not something I deeply thought about before; I think that might come from our fast-paced world and busy lifestyles. I was blown away at how much I learned about myself through the exercises in the PDLP. I had always known that I loved people and serving them, but I did not realize the extent to which it would come up again and again (and eventually become a part of my personal purpose!). One specific thing that I found quite interesting in answering the questions for forming the personal purpose was how many times I wrote about my family. It seems pretty obvious that family is an important thing to me, and I think I knew it was deep down, but I really fail to acknowledge how important my family is to me on a regular basis. I am so lucky to have pretty much my entire extended family live in the same state as me, and most of them live less than an hour away! I have many cousins who are close to my age so I grew up surrounded by friends and fun times. My family has always been there to support me, and we grew especially close after the passing of my mom and my grandfather. After discovering this insight the first time after answering the personal purpose questions, I spend the rest of the semester trying to be more appreciative of my family and the luxury of time I get to spend with them. In looking more critically at my relationships with my family members, I realized that we share a lot of the same values. Heck, I probably developed my values from the examples set by my family members! We all work extremely hard and stay very loyal to our responsibilities and loved ones; I actually think overcommittment is in our genes! Another insight I gained throughout the semester was my value of sustainability. The PDLP has really helped me to be more future-minded and strategic. I used to never think about who would continue the work that I am doing, but now it is always at the forefront of my mind because I do not want all the time and effort I put into something to go to waste. I am using my newfound love of sustainability and strategy to improve the organizations I am in with semester plans and transition plans. Overall, Component One has really helped me discover who I am. Before this semester, I would have listed my top value as service to others, but I now know it really is hard work. Before this semester, I would have said that my biggest goal was to serve others, but I realized in writing the 90 th Birthday Toasts that it actually is to empower others, a goal that is much more sustainable. Like the idiom says, â€œif you give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you will feed him for a lifetime.â€? I am an insanely hard worker, a genuine lover of all people, and a spreader of sunshine.
Leadership Perspective and Vision
The very first exercise of our PDLP was to interview leaders see what effective leadership meant to them, and then we followed up on what effective leadership meant to us. We were given the creative freedom to use text, quotes, and images, and you can see below that I used it! Defining leadership is difficult because I don’t believe there is one single definition. I have met some amazing leaders in my life, but they have all existed in different contexts and scenarios. There is no one perfect leader or one perfect definition of leadership, at least in my opinion. I believe that a true leader emerges from the group; leaders stem from certain situations and evolve into what they need to be. To be a leader does not mean to check off a certain list of attributes but rather to gauge the group and develop from there. A great leader was born out of and reflects the situation. That being said, I have definitely noticed certain characteristics that make leaders more effective. They are not the only things you need to become a leader, and they also do not encompass everything. They are merely the similarities I have seen in the shining leaders I have experienced. I also highly identify with and look up to those with a servant leadership style, so it is almost impossible for me to describe leadership without that context.
Leaders truly care about the people they are “leading.” I hate to use the word “leading” as it implies dominant and subordinate positions whereas I believe that leaders are one and the same with their followers. They started as a member of the group and still are a member of the group that cares for the wellbeing and success of the group. However, leaders are the most loyal group members, they are the hardest working group members, and they are the most committed group members. In a servant leadership context, leaders have taken more responsibility not for glory or recognition but because they recognize that they are needed. They are just trying to do the best for the group. And because they are members of the group, they do not act aloof or standoffish. They do not hold a carrot to their followers to get them to walk. They inspire their followers to walk with their words and their actions. They encourage their followers by recognizing the good they have already done. And they support their followers by caring for each one of them wholeheartedly, asking about more than just their jobs. Leaders model the behavior they expect of their followers. Modeling the expected behavior helps leaders understand exactly what they are asking of others. They are then able to know exactly how easy or hard the behavior is since they have gone through it themselves. Leaders who model the behavior they want also provide justification for others to do the same, asking, “If the leader is doing it, shouldn’t we?” Leaders look past the details and towards the future. This is an aspect of leadership that I know I am not very good at, but I recognize its importance after seeing the leaders in my life excel at it. Leaders must constantly think ahead, above, and beyond. It is great for leaders to be detailorientated and task-minded or else things would not get done—I think leaders should have at least some focus on short-term tasks—but leaders who do not look ahead cannot drive their followers to a goal because they don’t know where they are going. Leaders who only focus on the tasks at hand lose perspective and cause the group to lose perspective. Without a vision or strategic plan to reference, it is difficult to see why tasks must be completed at certain times.
Leaders ask for and accept feedback in order to constantly improve. Leaders are not perfectly made; they are molded from the group they are in. Leaders must be able to work extremely well with the followers in their group and therefore must be able to tailor their leadership style to that group. If a leader truly cares about the people in the group and wants the group to succeed, this constant iteration and hunger for feedback would happen naturally. However, asking for direct feedback about your own actions and behaviors can be intimidating. Leaders might be afraid of what their followers think of them or they might dread changing something they know is wrong. Leaders must have the courage to ask “what can I do better?” and then actually do it. Leaders empower others so there is someone to lead when they are gone. As servant leaders, their focus is not on their own success but on the success of the group. A group cannot be successful when it is dependent on the life of a single leader. The group must be able to continue on when the leader is gone. Leaders must be willing to put themselves and their own personal development aside in order to focus on their followers. What are they capable of? Are they aware of their capabilities? Do they believe in themselves? True leaders grow the organization by growing the individuals within it.
“True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not to enrich the leader.” –John C. Maxwell
This exercise was the first time that I had ever envisioned the ideal environment that I wanted to create as a leader, and it was really eye-opening to think about these things and see how my personal values and work preferences influence my own leadership. When I reflect on my leadership vision in ten to fifteen years, I don’t want to be reflecting on plaques, awards, or frames on my wall. I want to be sitting at my desk, looking through a window in my
office that faces my employees. I can see them all working hard, loving life, and supporting each other. That is my leadership vision. I want to see the success of a non-profit, company, or small business in the eyes of the people. I want to see them happy, successful, and satisfied because I helped water and weed the soil that would help them blossom. I want to be proud, but not of myself. I want to be proud of my employees and us—what we have accomplished together. As a leader, I want to create an environment that is tailored to the needs of my employees and supports them. This environment will help them when they need it, but it will also push them when they need it as well. It will hold both my employees and I accountable, and we will strive to work as hard as we can to make our company the best it can be. Believing in our capabilities, striving towards the future, and holding each other accountable will be some of our beliefs. We will value commitment, care, communication, and growth, and we will also always value whatever we are working towards—whether that be a form of social justice in our nonprofit, the product we create in our company, or the people we impact—and strive to act in congruence with that purpose every day. Wherever I end up working, I will make sure that our vision and mission are clearly visible to everyone working there so that we can be constantly reminded of why we are doing what we are doing. This visible vision will be a point of focus in our workplace and help everyone connect their actions to a bigger picture. It will also remind me to constantly be thinking about our next move and whether or not that move will bring us closer to our vision. As a team, we will believe in holding each other accountable. Accountability is so important because it subsists when motivation is fleeting. We will recognize the importance of accountability and act on it by checking in with others on their responsibilities and challenging subpar work in order to make it better. We also believe in our own capabilities to produce exceptional work. I want to create an environment that both comforts and challenges my employees. However, with growth as one of our values, it will be crucial to remember that everyone is in a different stage with different needs of more or less feedback, check-ins, and criticism. We will all recognize that the end goal is important (that is why we exist!), but we will not overlook the journey that occurs to get there. We will be there for others when they need it and push others when they need it as well. We will not yearn for failure, but we will embrace it. Failure is how we will become who we need to become. I don’t want failure to be looked down upon in our work environment. Failure will be seen as a crucial step towards meeting our end goal. Failure will ensure that we get things right next time. I want to emphasis hard work and embrace failure as a leader; however, I also want to lead others to work smarter. We will need to work hard, but I don’t want people working unnecessarily hard. The work will be divided up fairly and according to ability. As a servant leader, I want to create a workplace that is efficient and built for the people who work in it. Our team will believe in hard work and commitment to accomplish something, but it makes no sense for someone to work ten extra hours on a project when it would take another team member one hour. This smarter-not-harder belief does not undermine our value of growth, however. People will be allowed to have new experience in order to grow and learn, but not at the cost of our efficiency. Efficiency is one of the keys to accomplishing our goal, and
PAGE|19 as we’ve mentioned in class before, we should be focusing on our strengths and improving them rather than our weaknesses. Some other ways in which I will lead my team to successfully live out our vision include breaking things down into specific goals and checking those goals weekly, communicating whenever there is an issue and solving it with all parties in mind, and giving people the freedom to be innovate and be creative. I have talked a lot about structure in my leadership vision, but creativity is also really important to me. I believe that all people, especially in the work environment, need some sort of creative outlet to express themselves, and I would try to provide this in the workplace by encouraging drawings and diagrams, taking mental breaks for outside time or exercise, and by making it clear that we as a company value creativity and innovation. As I’ve mentioned before, I would like our team to value growth and efficiency, but we need to know which things are inefficient first in order to change them. I would encourage my employees to speak up when something isn’t going right or something I am doing doesn’t help them because there is no reason to waste time doing those things! As a servant leader, I strive to tailor my leadership towards the group, so my leadership vision will only be complete once I meet my team.
Some photos from the club that I am President of, First Book UGA. I have tried to integrate the lessons I’ve learned from this program into my leadership there!
After describing our future leadership vision, we looked at the values and ideas that kept coming up overall, and those became our core values. It was interesting to see that they’re not exactly the same as my personal core values, but they definitely stem from and are related to them.
This is my top leadership core value and something I also want to pass along to my team. As the framework in which we accomplish everything, communication is key. Communication is the foundation on which we build towards our goal. If I am not clear about a specific task or we are not clear about our mission, those things will not get done! Communication is not only setting rules, expectations, and the groundwork of tasks and priorities, but in a team it is also speaking to each other about anything going on from success to failure. It is always great to communicate positively about successes, but we must also communicate about failures or we will not learn from them. I also want my employees to communicate with me about emotions and daily or weekly expectations. I know everyone is battling so many things at one time, but I cannot help out or reallocate tasks if an employee does not tell me what they are going through. Clear communication is extremely important to ensure a well-oiled machine: the parts must communicate and knowledge must be shared in order to truly work together.
This leadership core value definitely mirrors my personal core values of hard work and loyalty. As I personally believe others should follow through on their promises, that is a value and expectation I bring with me to my working environment, especially because things have more implications. If an employees does not commit to their promise and follow through, it is not only a personal failure but a team failure since they will be holding up someone else’s work as well. Their lack of follow through also sends a message about how much they care and sets a poor example for others. Commitment entails seeing a project through to the end which also involves self-monitoring and regulating in order to balance priorities, which is why I also wrote discipline. I want to work with a team of people who love what they do and are passionate about it, so discipline will hopefully be easy, but at the end of the day this is their job and they must find the motivation and discipline to get their work done.
Accountability stems from the first two core values. If our team as a whole believes in staying committed and in communicating about tasks, accountability seems obvious. Accountability means holding others to their commitments and understanding that others will do the same for you, and this will allow our team to constantly progress and have high standards.
Growth parallels my personal core value of learning. In a team setting, it means recognizing that people are always developing and learning and being okay with that. Having growth as a leadership core value also means being okay with not knowing everything and letting someone teach you something. Having growth as a core value creates an atmosphere of humble yet engaged learners who aren’t afraid to ask questions or take a chance.
After spending the entire semester learning about leadership and personal development, we were tasked with reflecting one last time on all that we have learned about ourselves as leaders and the legacy we want to leave. I have definitely grown as a leader this semester, both from this program and from the leadership roles I am in on campus. I discovered that at my leadership core, I seek to empower others. Because hard work is my top personal value, it is not difficult for me to put in the time and energy to accomplish a task, a fundraiser, or a strategic plan. However, if I do not teach those skills to anyone else or invest in their capabilities, all that I have contributed to the organization, project, or community might fall apart in a few years. Being competent and getting the current work done is important (and necessary!), but through the PDLP process I have discovered that I have the chance to make a more lasting impact, and I don’t want to let that opportunity go to waste. This process has shown me the importance of sustainability and strategic planning, and over the semester I began to analyze if I was really doing those things in my leadership roles on campus. I came to realize that I always noted “future thinking” and “strategic planning” as weaknesses of mine (I even wrote about them as weaknesses in Component Three!), but that became an excuse for poor performance in those areas. After learning how important sustainable leadership and service was in class and discovering how important it was to me in my personal reflections, I began to make some changes in my own leadership roles. In the club that I am President in, I am constantly asking for feedback on events and reminding the rest of my Executive Board to develop transition guides and long-term strategic documents that can be passed down to the next year. I have also emphasized how important strategic planning is by requiring my Executive Board members to submit proposals to me of their plans for next semester, broken down by months and by goals. Another huge lesson I learned this semester about my leadership came after reading the article, “How Will You Measure Your Life?” in class. This article took self-reflection to a whole new level. Not only did it ask what I valued and was motivated by, but it also asked which value or motivation I would judge my performance by in the end, which is something I rarely think about. I value both people and hard work, but I have realized that the majority of the time I judge my success based on sheer output and productivity. However, as the article mentions, “it is the relationships that really matter even though there’s no immediate sense of achievement.” As an example, I was always so concerned with numbers when it came to planning events. I had a specific number of people I wanted to attend a service event or a specific amount of money I wanted to raise for a fundraiser, but I sometimes let those arbitrary numbers blind me to the reality of impact and quality. I am not saying that having quantity is not important; organizations cannot exist without people, money, and growth in those areas, but it is also important to recognize what each individual came away with after the event. Maybe only ten people came, but if they walked away from the event with an entirely new perspective, isn’t that better than having twenty people who walk away with nothing? This principle of judging by quality of relationships rather than quantity of tasks and activities achieved also is a stark contrast to my involvement right now. I am currently on the Executive Board for five different clubs, doing faculty-mentoring researcher, teaching a seminar, and still trying to maintain all A’s. I have definitely held my own in all of these roles, but I have noticed losses of quality due to the large quantity. This semester has definitely helped me realize that I love being a leader and serving others, and even though I work really hard and promise to be loyal and committed, there is a limit. There are only so many hours in the day, and working so hard until I burn out will not help me leave a long-lasting legacy.
Assessment of Strengths and Weaknesses
Asking for raw and honest feedback (and coming to terms with it!) is one of the scariest things to do, which is why this exercise also had a reputation that preceded it. My feedback was scary accurate and has already helped me work towards living a more purpose and value driven life,
Truly the person who knows me better than I know myself. An inspiration, a role model, and an unending source of love.
Someone I aspire to be. We inspire and challenge each other to be our very bests.
Four years of crosswords, giggles, struggles, long distance, and more, and he’s still here. Doesn’t that say it all?
The only one I will literally tell anything and everything to. She’s kept my secrets for eleven years.
I would choose her as my sister every time. She’s a constant support and a barrel of laughs that I couldn’t do without.
Wonderfully kind and loving. I couldn’t (and don’t!) live without her!
My Strengths Drive. You take on lots of tasks and will almost always work as long as it takes, even well into the night, to make sure that everything is done as best as it could be. --Tom Persistent. Alexandra never gives up when faced with a challenge and works hard to ensure that her work gets done efficiently and to the best of her ability so that the people who rely on her, like the members of First Book and the Service Ambassadors, can work hard as well. --Lauren L.
Follow-through. If someone asks you to do something, they can be sure that it will be done. --Tom Productivity. Even in middle school (you were probably like this in elementary school too, but I saw more of it in middle school) you loved keeping yourself busy. I remember one time after a fun day with Ms. Jump and Ms. Stinchfield at Holy Redeemer, we were in the car going home and you said "I just LOVE homework! I just love having something to do and getting it done and being able to cross it off my list!" You have lists and that is productive in itself. You know what has to be done, you plan it all out, and you do it. You are always helping out in student service organizations, and helping the community and all that fun stuff, as well as doing super well in all your classes! You know how to be productive and you feel good after a productive day. --Maria
Incredibly passionate/driven. When Alexandra wants to do something, nothing will stop or dissuade her from getting it done. I think this balances out her number one weakness. Even though she does so many things, I have personally witnessed her commitment and dedication to each one. I have seen her stay up late making countless banners for Camp Dive that line entire hallways and involved so much work for just one person (it was easily enough work for 3-5 people and probably would have taken them each an hour and she did it alone). She has sacrificed so many weekends to go on retreats and service events. She has even woken up at 5 am to put together a video instead of making a sub-par video due to a lack of time, she just made more time for it and sacrificed her own sleep. Most recently, I remember it was club day and she was running tables for at least 2 different organizations that day as well as attending multiple meetings that night. I came over after she had finally gotten home (around 10:00 at night) and she was telling me she was waking up early tomorrow because it was her first day as a TA and she wanted to bring her students donuts for their first week. She just always goes the extra mile and I think that is what makes her stand out as a leader and as a person. --Lauren Dedicated to “the cause.” No matter what the cause is (i.e. first book, volunteering for summer kids programs) Alexandra will go the extra mile to make sure the work gets done even at personal sacrifice. For example, several times she has driven back and forth from Athens to Atlanta on the same day to attend both family and volunteer events even though she was up late for several days completing other volunteer or school work and personally printing and adhering 1000’s of barcodes on books at new library that was opened at the middle school when the other volunteers failed to show up. --Dad Strong work ethic. Like I said in the previous answer, you are also always the hardest working person in the room. You are willing to spend however much time it takes in order to complete a task, and your work is always of the highest quality. I have so many examples of this from working with you in First Book UGA, especially all the work you put in to making multiple Trivia Nights, Murder Mystery Night, and of course the Downtown Academy Library project successful. You are willing to work hard without any personal reward or glory and that is really special quality. --Miranda Unbiased/Fair/Rational problem solving. Alexandra has the natural ability to look at both sides of an argument or issue. There have been so many times where Victoria and I will complain about something or tell her about a problem and we always joke because she never takes our side. It’s not that she plays “devil’s advocate” but she is able to rationally examine a problem rather than letting emotional aspects (or personal attachments) of it influence her. She is great at listening to others and can offer them advice or view-points that they themselves may not have considered. I think this would contribute to her great leadership skills because she will be able to mitigate issues between multiple parties and help them examine the problem from the other’s point of view, ultimately playing an important role in problem solving. --Lauren C.
My Strengths Positive Outlook. Every time someone is sad about something or tells you something bad that has happened, you not only sympathize with them, but also make them feel so much better about things with your positive outlook. You make people look at the bright side of things with your peppy attitude. You basically just radiate joy! When my mom and I saw the movie "Inside Out" she was like "The Joy character reminds me of someone.... guess who?" and I was like "Alexandra" and she was like "Yes.” So basically you can turn situations that seem absolutely crappy and make them seem not as bad whether it is reminding people of the good aspects of something or helping them fix the situation in order to make it a better one! A lot of times, people's minds only focus on the bad things that happen, but you are the type of person that is able to remind them about their blessings! --Maria
Encouraging. Alexandra always looks for ways to brighten other people’s day and to push them to do their best. There have been countless times when she has helped me to tackle problems and done little things for people she works with to encourage and uplift them. (Giving gifts is a great talent of yours). --Lauren L.
Multi-tasking. Alexandra is never doing just one thing. She has the ability to work on several projects or school commitments simultaneously to the point that all involved believe she is dedicated to “their project” but in fact she is supporting many things at one time. Looking at her schedule or just knowing a “day in the life” of Alexandra you would see how she can be sitting in class, while developing an outline for a volunteer program, responding to emails/texts, finalizing homework and munching on a snack almost all simultaneously. --Dad
Genuine kindness. Whenever I describe you to others, I say that you are always the kindest and hardest working person in the room. Your kindness and compassion for others always feels authentic, and you are honestly my only close friend/colleague whose company I enjoy that could be described as classically “nice.” I say this because I usually do not get along super well with people who are over-the-top bubbly or who are sickly-sweet positive all the time because it does not seem genuine to me, but with you, your kindness and passion for those around you is so natural and refreshing. I think a huge part of this is that not only your words and energy, but your actions and your ability to sense when your friends or colleagues need a little extra love. Not sure how personal this is supposed to get, but the day my ex-boyfriend and I broke up I felt absolutely horrible until you surprised me with Insomnia Cookies and a funny note, and I remember thinking, “I’m going to be OK.” Even though I am one of your best friends, this kindness is not something that you reserve for those close to you, and I really admire how you do not draw divisions between those that you work with and your friends; you see them as one and the same. Finally, you are the best gift giver ever and always get others really personal and touching presents. --Miranda
Innovative. Alexandra is incredibly creative and always looks for new ways to tackle problems. In her school work and extracurricular activities, she consistently looks for different and interesting ways to complete assignments and tasks, making her work stand out from the rest. --Lauren L.
Personable. You can make friends anywhere and everywhere. You’ve always got something to ask/talk to people about even you just see them randomly on the street. --Tom Organization. Alexandra is able to balance school, volunteer, professional organization commitment, family and personal relationships such that all of her constituents, family, friends and boyfriend get somewhat equal parts of her time. She is able to map out her time and schedule to the maximum benefit of all who want or need her participation or time. --Dad
My Strengths Smart. You are smart in all aspects of the word. Book smart, first of all. You learn quickly and efficiently, and you are good at applying what you have learned to situations, even if you don't realize it! While I may have an elephant memory for the little personal things, YOU have an elephant memory for the things that you learn that you have been able to apply to your service and leadership activities. Also, you are a smart talker. You can talk to people with absolutely no problem. You make people feel comfortable, and you can read situations well. --Maria
Intelligent/Innovative/Creative. Alexandra is very smart and is also very creative, both of which contribute to her value as a leader. These characteristics will enable her to propose innovative and creative solutions to problems as well as brainstorm new ways to help organizations grow or go in a new direction. One specific area where I think Alexandra’s intellect truly shines is her writing. She is an excellent writer and I am always impressed with the quality of her work. My sister and I often ask her to proofread our papers because she has such talent when it comes to the finite details of writing. I think this could be very important as a leader, especially for the non-profit organizations Alexandra hopes to work with as grant writing is an important component for funding of these organizations. --Lauren C.
Visionary/Idealistic. You are a very inspirational person, and you push all those around you to be the best versions of themselves. Specifically with First Book, you pushed our organization to be its best version with your “visionary” mindset. You constantly ask your exec board and your members what should First Book be, how can we be even more involved in the community, how can we increase the quality of our participation and membership? With this mindset, we were able to execute the Downtown Academy project and completely change our grant process to be better accommodate the community. --Miranda
Your drive inspires others. When they see how passionate you are and see their leader working tirelessly towards a goal then that inspires others to have the same drive. To be a good leader means you need to be able to get along with others so they’ll be willing to follow you. Nobody follows a leader they don’t think cares about them. If the leader of the organization is always on the ball and completing tasks, then that both inspires and also puts pressure on the other members to perform highly as well. Each of these attributes contributes to Alexandra’s success as a leader by instilling a “get it done” attitude that inspires others around her turning a group of strangers into a team. Leadership requires action, outreach and coalescence of opposite forces to succeed and Alexandra can do all of that.
Your strengths help you be an extremely effective leader because people like and respect you. These make her a good leader because she is able to create goals and plans and creative ways to attain them within the context of a team. Her encouraging nature helps her to push her coworkers to do their work to the best of their ability and to instill in them her persistent attitude.
My Weaknesses Difficulty turning down projects. So, I don't know what the word would be for this, but the first thing that came to mind is how you are always doing a bunch of different things. This causes you to be spread way too thin which then causes you to stress out. You want to help EVERYONE and do EVERYTHING and although that is very admirable, it can also be bad for your health which then can even lead to it being bad for the organizations that you are in. Remember, in an airplane, you need to put your oxygen mask on before you can help others put theirs on! Sometimes, working less projects can help you make those particular ones more successful and you can end up helping more people that way! Just something to think about. --Maria Taking time for herself/Relaxing. All of these weaknesses pretty much tie together. Alexandra is so busy that I feel like she never gets a break. Even while we are on vacation, she is composing emails and staying in the hotel to catch up or get ahead on work. She likes to always be doing something and whenever she gets a moment of free time she will sign up to do something else to fill it rather than spending time on herself. I think this could eventually influence her leadership because if she doesn’t get to unwind and slow down every now and then she will get burnt out. --Lauren C. Spreading herself too thin. Alexandra is a member of so many organizations I cannot even keep them all straight, I actually laughed at how long her email sign off was when she sent me the email to fill this out. Not only is she a member but she is often in leadership/executive positions throughout. Off the top of my head I can name 5 organizations she holds leadership positions in and I’m sure there are even more organizations that have slipped my mind. I can recall many weekends where she is participating in multiple retreats, events, or service opportunities and is booked up from Friday night-Sunday night. I am often amazed at how much Alexandra does and she is probably the busiest person I know. While I am listing this as a weakness, I don’t think a single organization suffers in any way from Alexandra’s involvement. She brings so much to the table with everything she does that I know she manages to give 110% to each one of these organizations, so I do not believe her leadership skills are necessarily negatively influenced by her over-involvement, at least not directly. Instead, I believe her participation in so many activities affects her in other ways (lack of sleep, not enough time to do homework, high stress level, not enough time to make food/eat) that could eventually affect her performance as a leader (because ultimately her little overworked body will shut down if she doesn’t get enough sleep and is too stressed!!!). --Lauren C.
Not delegating tasks. This goes along with your incredible work ethic, but I think your leadership could benefit from taking the time to identify the strengths in others and spend time to develop those strengths rather than completing the work yourself. --Miranda
Lack of Delegation. Alexandra has not done well in the past around delegating work to others and letting them fail or succeed based on their own ability. She has the habit of pitching in and doing a lot of the work herself based on good intentions of helping the team. However, this may prohibit others from achieving their potential even though Alexandra was only trying to help. --Dad
One weakness is that Alexandra often takes on more than she should, rather than delegate. She is very good at what she does but also accepts more responsibility than necessary because of her passion for her work. However, I have seen her learning to delegate more and more and accept that she can’t do everything herself, but works well in a team. --Lauren L.
My Weaknesses Overcommitment. You join lots of different organizations and end up in leadership roles in a lot of them which means you end up with a lot on your plate. It’s hard to say that this as actually a weakness because you still seem to get it all done, but I think maybe there’s a middle ground that doesn’t leave you so overworked and stressed out. --Tom
Over-Committed. Sometimes it is inevitable that no matter how hard she tries to balance her life Alexandra signs up for more than she can handle. The overload happens when school, volunteering and personal life demand more than she can deliver. Several times in the last few years Alexandra has become overwhelmed and has had to take a hard look at her life and prioritize what she can commit to and what needs to be cut from her schedule. This is still a work in progress for her. --Dad
Overly effusive. You always want to make others happy, which is an admirable trait as I said about, but sometimes it is not always appropriate. I remember one incident where a community partner had made a mistake, not you, but you apologized to them profusely in an email; or, sometimes, you will apologize or make excuses for an exec member who has messed up. I think this is a difficult one to overcome as a woman, however, because we are so frequently told not to be “too assertive.” --Miranda
Another weakness is that she holds herself to very high standards, which can be very good, but also means that she takes failure very seriously. She has been learning to embrace failure as natural and to learn from her mistakes. --Lauren L. Perfectionism. I may be wrong about this, but it’s at least how it looks from the outside, that your desire for perfection on every task causes real increases in stress but probably only marginal increases in actual quality. --Tom
Not a morning person: Seriously, if you were able to hop out of bed at the first alarm and get started on the day right away, you would be an even more productive person and avoid a lot of overslept classes/meetings. --Tom
Perfectionism. This is something both you and I have in common. We are both perfectionists. This perfectionism, though causing you to be very careful in what you do, can also create worry over details that do not matter as much as the big picture. It can also lead you to work much slower. Depending on the situation, perfectionism may be needed and applauded, but I have found in my experience (especially in the health field) that it’s vital to distinguish what needs perfection and what can do without it for the sake of time. If a surgeon needs to perform a surgery on a patient, being a perfectionist is good. He will therefore be very careful in all his steps. He does, though, need to find a balance between perfectionism and time-management because if for the sake of perfection, he keeps the patient on the table too long, the patient may suffer fatal consequences. It's all about balance. --Maria Because of her desire to do her best work possible, Alexandra tends to fixate on projects and devote more time to them than may be necessary, which can take away from her time doing other things. However, she has learned to budget her time wisely in college. –Lauren L.
My Weaknesses Youthful. Alexandra has not had a lot of experience with people who don’t share the same positive worldview or perspective as she does. She is not naïve but sometimes loses sight that there are a lot of people, even children, who may not make the right choices either by accident or on purpose. Through many of her volunteer efforts she has come across people who have or who make the wrong decision at the fork in the road and she has a hard time accepting that and will make every effort to change them when that is really not feasible. --Dad
Procrastination. This sounds like a harsh word and I don’t necessarily mean that Alexandra intentionally waits until the last minute to get things done. Rather, I think this goes with the first “weakness” of being overinvolved and that she cannot always get stuff done “ahead of time” because she is committed to so many things and is instead finishing projects closer to their deadlines rather than finishing them earlier. I think this could influence a leader because if waiting to the last minute to start/finish projects inhibits the opportunity to review and refine them. This could possibly cause mistakes to be made or prevent the best version of a project from being achieved. --Lauren C.
Not future/big-pictured oriented. I may be identifying this as a weakness because this was one of my strengths in our partnership; you were focused on the day to day while I was typically the more “futureoriented.” I think First Book will be very well served this year if you can tap into your big-picture thinking more and work to develop exec board members so that the organization will be ready to continue to thrive and grow even after you (sadly) leave. --Miranda
Mainly I think the first two weaknesses combined might lead you to be hesitant in delegating tasks. If you’re willing to overfill your plate and don’t trust others to complete tasks, then you’ll only give big, important tasks to yourself instead of actually leading, and trusting others to get things done. Alexandra’s weakness comes mostly from trying to over-achieve. Her commitment to give over 100% on every aspect of her life may discourage others from contributing from fear of not measuring up. A general needs lieutenants to win a battle just as a leader needs a team to achieve the ultimate success. The 3 weaknesses I named are things I’ve seen you improve at in the 2 years that I’ve known you, and I know that you’ll only continue to improve until you are literally the most effective leader ever. These weaknesses may hinder Alexandra from leading to the best of her ability because her desire for perfection can prevent her from moving forward on a project or from delegating tasks.
Strengths Discussion This was the first of my four common themes, and this was no surprise to me at all because it is something I take great pride in. I am constantly telling others that “If they have a job, I will get it done,” and as the interviews show, I follow through. One of my main goals in life is to serve others and dedication and loyalty play a huge role in this. I do whatever people need as a sign of service, respect, honor, and love. I value the relationships I have with others and strengthen those relationships with my loyalty and dedication. I am so glad that the people I care most about listed this as one of my top strengths because it means that I am doing my job! My passion for serving others and love of productivity also contribute to this theme of dedication. I receive true joy when I complete a task for someone else and make their life easier or when I cross someone off my to-do list. This was the second of my four common themes, which I was very happy to see. There is so much chaos and bloodshed occurring in the world today that I don’t think any more negativity, gossip, or drama is necessary. I try to be as friendly to people as I possibly can be—I always smile at others while I am walking down the street and I do whatever I can to include others and show them that they are worthy. I think my friendliness stems from my belief in the inherent value of human life; it is so sacred that it mustn’t be ignored, even if you are just walking past someone to get to class. All humans are beautiful creations, and you never know when a little bit of friendliness could go a long way! I was also really happy to see this as a theme because I have grown more introverted in college to balance out my extreme involvement, so sometimes I can get frustrated with people and “done” with them quite quickly. But at the bottom of it all, I truly love and value people and want to spread kindness to them. This was the third of my four common themes; it stems from my work ethic and ability to get things done but also from two strengths listed by my dad: my organization and ability to multitask. I am glad this was mentioned because organization and structure are two things I strive for in my life. As an extremely strong J, I love structure and rules and desire to create those in this whirlwind of a world, and my executional expertise allows me to be a stronger leader and focus on the bigger issues at hand. This was the fourth of my four common themes, and it was the one I was most surprised about. I tend to do really well in school because I love structure, am a perfectionist, have a hard work ethic, and just love getting things done (see the interview where I apparently claimed I loved homework in middle school), but it was interesting to me that three of the interviewees mentioned some sort of natural ability/innovation/creativity within me. I really enjoy thinking outside of the box and I have noticed recently that I am quite resourceful, but it was interesting to see that other people recognized these strengths within me before I did. “Innovative” is never a word I’ve used to describe myself, but now that I think about it, I usually am able to generate some interesting ideas, and I absolutely love asking questions.
Weaknesses Discussion This was the first of my three common themes, and I was 100% expecting this. I am fully aware that I have trouble delegating to others, but I am still struggling on how to fix it. I believe this lack of delegation comes from fear of delegating and a lack of trust, rather than being misinformed. I know that delegating is important and that if I don’t do it, I could quickly get burnt out, but sometimes I don’t trust others to get the job done, and I actually have good reason for it. I have tried to delegate in the past, but it always seems that I could have just done the job faster and easier by myself. However, not only does this tendency burn me out, but it also takes away the opportunity for others to grow and learn. I don’t want to put the growth opportunities for other before the success of the organization though, so I still need help balancing this one. This weakness is a direct reflection of my first strength because I am so dedicated that I don’t want to give up any tasks. I feel that they are my responsibility and it is my responsibility to serve others instead of letting them help. This is definitely something I want to work on, especially because it will help me empower and challenge others instead of just doing everything for them. This was the second of my three common themes and it goes hand in hand with the first. I was also expecting this weakness because I am definitely aware of it. I am always signing up to help out with more and more; I believe that part of it stems from my optimism where I believe that I can always get everything done and the other part of it stems from my inability to turn down opportunities. I recognize the fragility and transience of life, so I try really hard to give 100% all of the time. I cannot bear saying no to an opportunity because then I feel like I have missed out on something great. However, even though this was recognized as a weaknesses, both my boyfriend, my dad, and my sister pointed out that I still manage to give my all to the organizations and people I am committed to. I’m not sure how long that ability will last though, and sometimes I honestly do get tired of jumping around from one thing to the next, so I would love to learn how to say no. This was the third of my three common themes and it also did not surprise me. It also goes hand in hand with my first strength of dedication: not only do I plan on getting a job done, but I also plan on doing it to the very best of my current ability. I’m not sure where this repulsion to imperfections came from, but my mother did always tell me “if you’re going to do a job, do it right the first time so someone doesn’t have to do it again.” I am also a very logical, rational, and practical person, so it doesn’t make sense to me to leave something with imperfections—it my eyes it is still unfinished. If I have the knowledge and time to perfect something, why wouldn’t I? There were a few weaknesses that came up that I have never even thought about having, so I was really grateful for the learning opportunity. One of the weaknesses my friend Miranda put was “overly-effusive” which I completely understand. This is directly related to my strength of friendliness; even in conflict I tend to be submissive and sweet, even if someone has done me wrong. Like I mentioned before, there is already so much negativity in the world that I really don’t want to contribute to any more. However, I do recognize that being overly effusive might make me seem weak and easy to overrun, so I must be very careful to balance this weakness and my strength in leadership positions. I have had trouble with people taking advantage of me before, which also might connect to another weakness my dad
PAGE|32 pointed out: youthful. He did say that I am not naïve (which hopefully I am not!), but I agree with him that there is a lot of the world I haven’t seen or experienced. That is why whenever my dad and I have opposing views, I usually don’t argue because I know that I will probably see things from his perspective one day. The last point regarding weaknesses that I thought was interesting was that three of my interviewees mentioned to me that they could not think of a third weakness. I’m sure they were just trying to be nice, but I was still curious as to why they would even mention a “lack of weaknesses” to me because I can definitely think of plenty! This might have something to do with the fact that I usually am not one to share details about my life or struggles, really even with the people I am closest to. This is something that I would actually consider a weakness in myself; my fear of vulnerability and lack of sharing prohibits further connection and communication between myself and the people I most love. I will use this knowledge to try and open myself up in the future.
A few silly photos of me doing my favorite thing when I get stressed: sleeping!
The longest and most introspective exercise, the assessment journal was truly an undertaking. We took personality assessment throughout the semester and deeply analyzed each one. If you ever wanted to know all about my tendencies and preferences, read on (and on!).
When one of your best friends is obsessed with the Myers-Briggs personality types, it is extremely hard to remain surprised by them. Over the two years that I have known my friend Miranda, not a day goes by where she does not mention how someone’s type influences or explains their actions, and I even got her a shirt with her type on it for her birthday! The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, based on Carl Jung’s typological theory, never fails to interest, entertain, or stir up conversation, and that’s what I love about it. It is so widespread that a lot of people know about it and can discuss it and even criticize it. Put simply, it provides a unique way of looking at ourselves and the world. Prior to taking the test in ILA, I had taken the test before and received similar results. I do not remember exactly what I received the first time—I believe I was in high school and just took it for fun—but the first time I took the test in college my type was ESFJ. However, as soon as I read the description of the results, I was not convinced. ESFJs are typically the “popular” ones with lots of friends and a major concern for their appearance. This definitely did not sound like me. There were a few parts that did, such as loving to be of service or being sensitive, but overall I was not too pleased. However, I kept my results and kept quiet until I met my friend who inspired me to take the test again. This time, I received the ISFJ personality type—exactly the same as before except for the extrovert versus introvert preference—and the description sounded much more like myself. I was struck by the parallels I could see in my own life: perfectionism, taking responsibilities personally, reluctance to change, and so many more. In all parts of the description from weaknesses to relationships, I felt understood and part of a community. I was a little surprised at the introvert versus extrovert tendency because I had always described myself as a bubbly extrovert growing up—I absolutely loved people and being surrounded by them. However, in coming to college, I have definitely explored and developed my introverted side more. My extroverted side drove me to get involved in plenty of clubs, but my introverted side dreads being on campus with all of the people and noise. Many times throughout the week I crave silence and respite in the whirlwind of the day, especially since I am so busy. I have come to understand that I am probably best described as an ambivert (though that pains me to say—I hate presenting myself as a special snowflake), switching back and forth between extrovert and introvert based on the environment, context, and my moods. I say all of this as a preface to understanding the results I received after taking this personality quiz again in ILA. My previous knowledge of the assessment and my personality type informed my reaction to my results. Overall, I was not that surprised. I figured that I would see my introvert preference trump my extrovert one, especially since I am surrounded by people and extroverted personalities a lot at UGA. However, the percentage difference is not that high—only six percent—which goes to show that I still do love being around people and interacting with them. We learned in class that the E versus I preference is basically defined as how you recharge or reenergize; extroverts get energy from being around people while introverts get energy from being in solitude. Again, my ambivert tendencies appear here as I really do experience both. I like working by myself because coordinating a group wastes time and energy, but I do enjoy being around people with similar passions who are on the same page. I do tend to be more reserved and humble—I don’t really like the spotlight—but I also am extremely curious and tend to speak my thoughts right as I have them, sometimes interrupting others! I have always scored higher on the sensing versus intuiting side, but I was surprised to see that it wasn’t very much because I consider myself an extremely practical person. I am definitely detail oriented and focus on what is happening right now, which explains my preference for sensing. I’m not really sure why my sensing percentage is so low though; the only thing I can think to explain it would be that I am extremely curious, love learning, and love thinking outside of the box, so those characteristics might increase my preference for intuiting.
PAGE|35 The third spectrum—thinking versus feeling—was the one that I was most surprised about because I had never received a T before. As I mentioned before, I resonate strongly with ISFJ, but since ISFJ and ISTJ have three similar preferences I can understand myself as an ISTJ. ISTJs are extremely detail oriented, loyal, and prefer autonomy rather than dependence on someone else. ISTJs also highly value honesty and integrity, which I do, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t fudge the truth sometimes. With my sensing preference I am extremely practical, so sometimes I might say whatever is going to be the easiest or make the most sense in that situation rather that the whole truth. Sometimes you don’t have time for the whole truth! Regarding the thinking versus feeling preference, I definitely know that I exhibit both. Whenever my sister complains to me about something, I can’t help but point out the perspectives of the other side, and then she gets mad that I’m not “taking her side.” I’m not deliberately trying to argue with her; my logical brain just wants to gather all the information from all perspectives first before making a decision. I work really rationally and sometimes ignore my own emotions as well, but I do have a lot of empathy for my fellow human beings and love caring for others. Social justice, fairness, and peace are, in the end, more important to me than winning or making money. I can definitely understand why I am so close to both thinking and feeling. The last preference is one that has always been true: my strong preference for judging over perceiving. I never liked the sound of this preference because it sounds as if I judge others, but that’s not quite true. Judging is about how you orient yourself to the outside world—it is about structure (or in the case of Ps, lack thereof!) and the relationship to your environment. I have known from the moment I was born that I am not adventurous. I will always choose a crossword puzzle inside by the fire over skiing. I am not a fan of the unpredictable (or the dangerous!), and I don’t really like change. I feel no need to explore the unknown; I already like it quite well in the known! I consider myself an extremely organized person and could not live without my to-do lists and sticky notes. The judging versus perceiving preference is definitely my strongest one. Overall, my Jungian style results do “ring true,” especially for where I am at right now in college. With my busy schedule I have definitely shifted more towards introversion and reenergizing by myself, and I continue to live in the present and sense the world around me. I also still love structure and organization. The only discrepancy in perception might be my preference for thinking over feeling, which is very weak at one percent. I have never received that preference before, but I can understand why I might have received it, especially in the hustle and bustle of school in which I make very practical and logical decisions. I think that preference might also come down to how I was feeling when I was taking the test—there are definitely days when I think more than I feel (or feel more than I think!). These preferences and personality characteristics are extremely important because they can help us understand how people behave, and why they behave a certain way. Studying Jungian typology is important because then an ISTJ like myself will be able to have empathy for and understand why ENFPs are acting so strange! I will be able to understand that not everyone needs quiet time to recharge; some recharge by talking with others and cannot help themselves from expressing their thoughts. I can also understand the nature of others to be sensing detail-oriented workers or intuiting visionaries. Since my strongest preference is a J, it is the most helpful for me to understand the preferences of flexible and spontaneous Ps. I love structure and planning, but if I am working with a P, I will have to understand that that is just simply not how their brains work. And once I understand Ps, I will be able to properly use them as a leader; they are the best people to have on the front lines because they love the action and excitement, and they can always step up to the challenge. My Jungian style preferences will help me as a leader because it tells me about myself and how I function best. It also gives me a wonderful window in which I can view and interpret the actions of others. I no longer will judge people for decisions that seem silly or opinions that are contrary to mine because I will be able to understand where they are coming from—maybe they need a little more time to take in all the information or maybe they crave a more exciting environment. My dual preference for both E and I
PAGE|36 also informs my leadership; I know that I can work well in a group and by myself, but I also know that I need both. I cannot constantly be around people or constantly be by myself.
I was very happy with my locus of control score. I definitely expected to have a lower score to represent an internal locus of control because, as I mentioned in my values and life mission, I do not believe the world owes me anything. I value hard work, determination, and commitment, and I believe that it is up to me to do whatever I want. I try not to take things for granted, and I cherish all of the time and opportunities I have. My locus of control definitely rang true, the only discrepancy would be that I thought I would be even lower—at a one instead of a two. However, I believe this is due to my practical and rational mind (and potentially my preference for feeling over thinking in certain situations). Usually when something bad happens, I attribute it to myself and my effort—I didn’t try hard enough, I waited too long, or I procrastinated. However, the logical side of my brain absolutely has to recognize the environment’s effects on the situation; if the teacher would have put up the notes, then it would have been easier to study; if my friend had called me back, then I would have known she was sick; if my computer wasn’t frozen, then I would have remembered what to talk about in the meeting. I cannot help my mention how other things affect my actions, but I do not let them take over, even if they are true. I still take full responsibility (at least most of the time!). I would expect that individuals with a higher score and an external locus of control would constantly be blaming the environment for what happens, and probably a disproportionate amount of them would blame the environment for their failures rather than their successes (self-serving bias!). Those with an external locus of control might have low self-efficacy and low self-motivation; they might need some extra motivation or inspiration to encourage them to get the job done. As a leader, this information will definitely help be more effective. Since my tendency is to take full personal responsibility, I will have to be careful when something is truly caused by external circumstances rather than a lack of hard work or effort on my part. It might be helpful to brainstorm with my team, hopefully one that consists of people with both internal and external loci of control, the reasons why an event failed or we lacked attendance at our meeting. Everyone’s perspective will help us see how multifaceted the issue is and then help us choose one aspect of it to improve.
I was more surprised at my self-monitoring score than my Jungian style or locus of control score. For my ability to monitor self-presentation, I received a two out of five, which is definitely not what I thought I would receive. As I’ve been mentioning, I am a very practical and busy person who does not always care what other people think of, especially in regards to my appearance. If this score has to do with monitoring how I physically appear to others in regards to makeup or hair, I can understand why I had a low score. However, this assessment has more to do with adapting to the situation and the needs of others, which I feel like I do a lot. In many conversations I have, I find myself agreeing with whatever someone says regardless of whether or not I believe it. In those situations, I would just rather go along with what they say than to dispute them. I also feel like I am really good at group monitoring and fitting in with any group. As an example, I fit into both my dance group and my ServeUGA group. The environment in my dance group is a lot more carefree and silly, and I have definitely joked around with them in a way that I would not have with my friends in ServeUGA who are more sensitive and reserved. Even though my score doesn’t show it, I adapt to different groups of people because I want them to like me, and I do not want to stand out. I don’t want to seem like a snob or that I am better than anyone else, so I tend to keep my opinions and values to myself if there is no need to bring them up. However, that behavior does not
PAGE|37 align with my low score. Even though I act differently in different organizations that I am in, I definitely am the same person internally. My score might also be low because I feel like I am acting differently and notice it, but it is only a small difference and others rarely do. As I mentioned before, I also tend not to care what other people think, especially if I want to do something, and I can be stubborn. If I think my way is the right way, I will listen to the other options but point out flaws in their arguments until I can get the group to agree with my position. So I can definitely see why I might have scored lower, but I definitely did not realize it would be that low! As for my sensitivity to expressive behaviors of others, I was also surprised at this score. I received a 3.5 where a 4-5 represents sensitivity, so I guess I am not as sensitive as I think! This score can from a self-report, so maybe I just didn’t understand the questions very well because I definitely believe that I am sensitive to the behaviors and emotions of others. I feel like I am really good at picking up on others’ cues, and I always try to address how people are feeling when I am leading a meeting. I think that communication is so important—I don’t know how you are feeling unless you tell me!—so whenever I get an inkling that someone might be upset or frustrated, I ask them their opinion. I honestly thought I was really good at this so I am definitely surprised here. My score is not that low, but I would like it to be higher. Both the ability to monitor self-presentation and the sensitivity to expressive behavior of others scores were not what I expected and did not “ring true.” They were based on self-reports, so maybe I was struggling to think of examples or I did not fully understand the questions. I definitely thought I would be higher on both, but I guess the discrepancy in self-presentation can be explained by my stubbornness and lack of concern for others’ opinions (especially when I know I am right) and my discrepancy in sensitivity to others can be explained by my lack of concern for others’ emotions due to my rational and logical thinking. People who scored higher than me might be so sensitive to others’ needs that they let others’ needs trump their own. One of my friends was so concerned with what everyone else wanted and felt that a lot of her meetings ran over time because she was so busy asking everyone for their opinion and making sure they were okay with the decisions. I think those things are important as leaders, but there is no need to constantly ask if no one seems to have anything to say. I think it is important to set an honest environment in which everyone communicates with each other instead of changing their behaviors to accommodate those who don’t. However, since I scored lower than I thought, I will use this information moving forward in my leadership roles to remind myself to check in with other more frequently and take other perspectives into account.
Overall, I pretty much scored in the middle of tolerance and intolerance for ambiguity but with a slight disposition towards intolerance. These scores do vary a little more by category though. These results did not really surprise me and pretty much “rang true;” all my life I have known that I like stability and structure. I am not a fan of adventure or the unknown. However, my score was a little closer to neutral than I thought it would have been, which gives me hope that I am learning to embrace ambiguity and novelty in my life! I think that has changed since I came to college because I have definitely understood that no one has it all figured it, and there will always be unanswered questions or paths left unexplored. It is definitely difficult for me to be okay with that, especially since I love taking advantage of every opportunity and my logical mind wants me to know exactly the right answer, but I have gotten better! My highest intolerance was with insolubility, which is the inability to solve a problem, which I thought was interesting. I’m not sure why I have trouble with that, but I am sure it relates to my preference for thinking over feeling and judging over perceiving. I like to have an exact plan and finish a task, so I can see why I would be uncomfortable with a unsolvable one. My lowest intolerance was with
PAGE|38 complexity, which is interesting because I feel like that definitely relates to insolubility, which was my highest preference. I can see why I might be more tolerant of complexity though; complex situations do intimate me, but I am pretty good at breaking them down into smaller pieces in order to solve them. However, especially in the realm of politics, when a situation has so many different perspectives and possible right answers, I just get overwhelmed and would rather focus on something else, a tendency which definitely shows my intolerance for ambiguity! It would be so interesting to have a low intolerance for ambiguity one day. I would love to experience what it feels like to embrace and crave change, novelty, complexity, and challenges, because that is definitely not me and I think it would help me understand the other side a little bit better. However, just learning about this scale helps and reminds me of a few of my friends who I can guess have a low intolerance for ambiguity. One of my friends is very flexible, creative, and loves challenges; she also always seems to be bouncing from one project to the next, which is completely contradictory to my entire value system of loyalty and commitment! So as a leader, I definitely have a harder time working with people who have a lower intolerance for ambiguity, but I should still recognize their strengths. It would be helpful to have a team member who embraces change to encourage and motivate the rest of the team when we have to change or a team member who is great at starting new projects with high energy and enthusiasm. There is definitely a place for people with both high and low intolerances for ambiguity on teams; you just have to figure out where!
Overall, I am pretty pleased with my emotional intelligence score. I know sometimes I have difficulty being an emotional (what I call “touchy-feely”) person, so I expected it to be a little low; however, I didn’t think it would affect my score as much as it did. I thought it would be a little higher than 114, which is the “slightly-above-average” range; I think I would prefer to be in the range of 115 to 130, but that just means now I have room to identify my emotional intelligence weaknesses and improve! All five of my categories were above half, with emotional understanding being the highest at 88 and my ego maturity being the lowest at 63, so that was pretty encouraging. I was quite surprised at my impression management score of 40; I definitely did not think that I would have a medium score in that area. I usually pride myself on not caring what other people think, so I wasn’t expecting to answer the questions in a “socially-desirable manner.” Although, whenever I take assessments like this, I do usually have a hard time thinking of specific examples that I can reference to justify my answers—I usually just pick whatever I think of first (which I hope would be my first action but maybe it isn’t in reality)—so that might have contributed to my higher impression management score. The first category, Emotional Identification, Perception, and Expression, was my second lowest scoring category, which was interesting because I find myself pretty good at recognizing emotions in others. However, I think my score was brought down by my own emotional expression; if you look at the four subcategories that make up that category, two of my scores are high while the other two are low, and they parallel that idea that I am good at distinguishing others’ emotions but not my own. Even though my scores on emotional comfort and self-awareness were low, my awareness of strengths and limitations was high, which means that I know I have difficulty with emotion. I definitely knew that going into this test and am glad to see the test reflect that—the next step is to actually do something about it! The second category, Emotional Facilitation of Thought, was the category that was right in the middle. This category measures how much I let my emotions guide me and was based on scales of self-reports and skills. The subcategories in this category definitely fit in with what I already know about my personality. I have an extremely positive mindset, so it was not surprising that I self-reported that at ninety percent. Because of my positive outlook, I definitely don’t ruminate on the negatives which explains my low score of 42 there. However, an extremely low rumination score is not good because you might be over-simplifying things, so I am glad to see that is not the case even with my overwhelming optimism. I think my reasonable rumination score is definitely connected to my 1% preference for thinking over feeling—even though I look on the bright side and allow my positivity to encourage me, I still think logically and look at all sides of the situation. The third category, Emotional Understanding, was my highest scoring category, which I am really proud of. I think this has a lot to do with all of the experiences I have had serving other people and truly trying to understand them. Half of my major is also Human Development, so we really delve into the complexities of human nature, both social and biological, at every stage, so that must contribute as well. Three of the subcategories are self-reports, but I am definitely not lying in my ability to understand others because in my social insight category, which was a tested skill, I received a perfect score! That is really helpful for me to know moving forward in my life and leadership because clearly the way I am reaching out to and understanding others right now is working, so I’ve got to keep it up.
PAGE|43 The fourth category, Emotional Management, was my second highest category which was initially surprising but made more sense when I looked into it. This category contains the most subcategories and is half self-report and half skill-based. I thought it would be lower due to my lack of comfort with emotions, but as it is related to an internal locus of control and taking responsibility—two things that definitely characterize me—the higher score makes more sense. My impulse control subcategory is pretty good at 68 which makes sense; I am good at committing to the things I am doing, delaying gratification, and being loyal to my friends, but I do tend to stress-eat which is a sign of lower impulse control. My lowest score in all of these subcategories was my Resilience/Hardiness which was the one surprising aspect of this category. As I mentioned before I have a really positive mindset and believe myself to be pretty resilient—no matter how much I screw things up I always keep on going—so I’m not sure why I self-reported this score as so low. My highest subcategory score was my Adaptable Social Skills which was another 100, and makes more sense than the self-monitoring scores I received on the personality analysis. As this one was skill-based and the other was self-report, I am going to believe this one! The last category was Ego Maturity and was my lowest scoring category at 63. It is all self-report and combines subcategories that will help me grow emotionally. All these self-reports definitely align with what I believe to be true about myself, so I would be interested in seeing how these come across in a skillbased test. I generally do have low Assertiveness, but I will step up when I need or really want to. I was surprised that I self-reported my Independence at 50; like I have mentioned three times already, I tend not to care about what other people think most of the time, but I guess I do always check with close friends and family before making a big decision. I think this score might be lower at this point in my life because I feel like I am making a lot of important and long-term life decisions, so I ask for and appreciate the input from my family and friends.
Based purely off numbers, the category in which I am the strongest is Emotional Understanding, and the two subcategories in which I am the strongest are Social Insight and Adaptable Social Skills. These three all align to make me believe that I am better at understanding and more comfortable with other people’s emotions than my own, which makes sense as my lowest scoring subcategory was comfort with emotions. I am not really surprised by these strengths and weaknesses because I live with them every day! My longtime best friend always mentions that I am good at listening and giving advice, and she has said it so many times that I am starting to think it is true! I think that I am quite good at giving advice for two reasons: first, I practice a lot of perspective-taking with my major and in my service activities, so I can really understand others, and second, my personality results show that I have a balance between Thinking and Feeling, which allows me to see both emotions and reason. My greatest area for improvement would be recognizing and being comfortable with my own emotions. It is interesting that this is so low for me because I am able to recognize and note as important emotions in other people, but I am not able to do it for myself. I think this might stem from my personal mission of service to others over myself—I am rationally able to take in other people’s emotions as data when analyzing their situations, but I don’t do it for myself because it seems like a waste of time. However,
PAGE|44 ignoring my own emotions is not healthy and will eventually lead to problems, so I would definitely like to improve and am eager to do so.
I feel like this feedback really rings true in my own life—and it should because a lot of it was self-report!— but I would be interested to take more skill-based assessments to see if what I am reporting about myself and my behaviors is really true. Some of the main things I have taken away from this assessment are that I am really good at understanding others’ emotions and fitting into any social situation, and I am also good at being optimistic and solving problems, which are all things I know to be true about myself so they all align very well. I am always the first person to point out a positive about a negative situation, and I feel like I am good at acknowledging when someone is upset, confused, or frustrated and doing something about it. I definitely know that I am good at fitting into any group—so much so that people might see me as a “chameleon” who doesn’t stick to her own values—but I am just adjusting myself out of respect for the situation and to fit in. I don’t really like to draw attention to myself, and I like for people to like me, but I can see why people might look at that ability somewhat negatively. I really want to take a skill-based assessment because I think that would get rid of any discrepancies I have about my own personality. Self-reflection is difficult—it is really hard to be one hundred percent truthful with yourself (as you can see by my impression management score!), not because I am trying to be dishonest, but because I am not completely aware of myself, my thought processes, and my feelings all of the time. One example of this would be my low Comfort with Emotions score. I always say that I am not super comfortable with my emotions, which I think is mostly true, but I do honestly and openly share my emotions with those who I am really close with such as my boyfriend or my roommate. Pretty much everything else rings true except a few other categories that there might be discrepancies in: Resilience/Hardiness, Assertiveness, and Independence. I was surprised about all of these scores when I saw them, but they are all self-reports, so I really shouldn’t be! Clearly, I have developed certain default ideas about myself that might not be true. I think my Resilience/Hardiness score is lower than I expected right now because I am facing a lot of challenges with a busy schedule this semester, and I spend more time thinking about the few things I drop the ball on during the day rather than the hundreds I get right! My assertiveness score is right in the middle, which now that I think more about it, is actually too low. I really don’t like to be in the spotlight and I like for people to like me, so I am not super assertive all the time. However, I am in a lot of leadership roles right now and I exercise a lot of authority. I tend to be stubborn as well and want (and get!) my way most of the time, which is a sure sign of assertiveness. I also hold myself and others to a high standard which causes me to be more assertive when others don’t live up. And like I mentioned in my overview, I think my independence score is lower right now because I am making a lot of crucial and long-term decisions that I seek others’ input on, so it seems as if I am less independent than I really am.
Emotional intelligence is so important because all human being have emotions, and all people are human beings. As dumb as that sounds, I think people tend to forget that much more than they think they do; it is very easy to get caught up in egocentrism and think that we are the only ones experiencing something: news flash, you never are. I think my understanding of this idea and my high scores in Emotional Understanding will really help me make connections in the professional world. I honestly feel like I do not face many challenges with the current emotional intelligence profile I have right now—I humbly think it is a good mix of (as my personality assessment shows) thinking and feeling. This mix will definitely come in handy though in the workplace; emotions are a real thing and will one day affect one of my employee’s performance, the culture of the workplace, and interactions between me and my superiors. Emotional intelligence comes in handy in all of these situations because if people have negative emotions towards you, things are not going to go in your favor. You have to call on your own emotional intelligence to figure out why they are feeling that way and what you can do about it.
The main thing I learned from this assessment was that I am great at understanding and validating other peoples’ emotions but not so great at my own. To move forward as a leader and to improve my Ego Maturity and Emotional Expression scores, I will have to understand that my emotions are valid and should be taken into account. Just as Dr. Little has said in class, emotions are not secondary to data—they are data! My emotions are just another piece of the puzzle that I have to take into consideration when making a decision. In the past I have definitely neglected to consider my emotions, and I can think of many times where I have decided to do something because of what I (or the organization) will get it out it even if I didn’t want to do it. It is important to do things that are good for you (even if you don’t want to), but in these examples I was already really busy with other great opportunities and logically I knew this was also a good opportunity so I just added it on, even though I was emotionally drained and did not want to do it. I ended up dropping those things that I said yes to because I wasn’t really motivated to do them, so by recognizing and validating my own emotions, I will be able to more intentionally commit to and complete projects for both myself and my organizations.
As I’ve been mentioning in this reflection, I definitely want to improve my Comfort with Emotions subcategory. If I am so great at understanding other people’s emotions, I should also be good at
PAGE|46 understanding my own! My emotions are just as valid as anyone elseâ€™s, and I need to take them into consideration just as I would do with anyone elseâ€™s. The second area I would like to improve upon would be my Flexibility. My score right now is a 40, and I would like it to be more in the 50-60 range. Too much flexibility is not good because you have to stand for something and you have to get things done, but I think my effectiveness as a leader would improve if I had higher flexibility. I am pretty stubborn and can sometimes only see my way, especially if that is what I really want done, but I have to be flexible and let others take a different approach. Their approach will probably work better for them, make them happier, and could potentially even be more cost-effective. I also need to be a little more flexible because flexibility and ambiguity and sometimes how the greatest ideas come about. I love being creative and my creativity thrives when there are less rules, so I need to be able to provide that environment for other people as well.
Overall, my Stress Assessment results were a little surprising—I was less stressed than I felt like I was! However, I feel like the results vary a lot based on when you take the test. If I took this test today, my scores would be a lot higher because I am currently dealing with a lot more stress than when I took that Assessment back in September. My perceived stress scale was only 18, which was only in the moderate category (and in the lower end of it!), and my Wellness Test score was a positive ten, which means that I am a “wellness-oriented person.” I was also pretty surprised at my Type A Personality Score—it was only a 5.25 which is not enough to classify me at Type A, but it is close (it would need to be over 6). I have never liked classifying myself as Type A because I feel like it is a very “better-than-thou” personality trait; the Type A people I have met usually embrace their Type A abilities and feel like those without Type A abilities are less effective, not as smart, or just not as productive. So I am definitely glad that I am not overwhelmingly Type A. I definitely love accomplishing things and stay organized and achievement-driven, but I also really do like time to take in all perspectives and complete an assignment fully. However—as one can tell by my overcommittment in extracurriculars—I tend to be overinvolved than underinvolved most of the time. Even though I am not a true Type A, I feel like I definitely except Type A characteristics, especially in college with the pressure to constantly excel.
To be honest, I have no idea what stress I was facing when I took this Assessment because clearly it wasn’t very much! I am currently facing a lot more stress right now—October just always seems to be a really busy month where all of my different roles and goals intersect into one giant Alexandra junction. As a junior at UGA, I am finally getting into my major-related classes that extremely interest and challenge me. I love them so much and want to devote all of my time to them; however I am really struggling to balance my academics with my extracurriculars. There are a lot of really great programs at UGA and I have a hard time saying no to opportunities, so I am currently on the Executive Board for five organizations, teaching a seminar of fourteen Honors students, and conducting research on college student volunteering. So balancing all of those commitments and trying to honor all of them (since one of my main values is loyalty!) is very difficult, and there is only so much I can do as one person in one day. I am also facing stress in a more personal way—I moved off campus this semester which has been great because it is less expensive, but I have had to learn how to feed myself, drive myself everywhere, and pay bills! I know that might sound pretty typical, but it is really hard to shop intentionally and cook good, healthy meals when you are on campus from 10am to 11pm. I have used my oven twice since I moved into my apartment, so I still know nothing about cooking or eating healthy—I am honestly surprised I made it this far! I also have a lot of stress related to parking at UGA; there is no free parking on campus, so in order to avoid paying ten dollars a day to park at the Tate
PAGE|49 Student Center, I wait until the gates go up at 11pm and then just drive out. It is definitely nice to get free parking (in a sneaky way!), but I get home so late and then stay up even later with homework, which just messes up my schedule and reduces the chances of me making it to my morning classes and commitments! There are definitely a lot of things causing me stress right now that I have to figure out. Because some of my stress comes from the different organizations I am in and the Executive Boards I am on, I have definitely noticed a negative effect of stress on my effectiveness as a leader. I am constantly trying to juggle so many different positions (and I only have so much time and energy!), that it is pretty difficult to give my full self to all of the positions at all times. This semester has definitely been more about quantity than quality, which is never something I strive for. I absolutely love everything that I am doing and all the roles I have found myself in, but I am not able to truly be the person I want to be and inhabit those spaces with my whole self because I am just so busy and constantly need to move on. All of this stress has also affected my ability to communicate with others; since I am so busy and always so worried about the next thing, I am way less able to sit down with someone I am leading or mentoring and just catch up, hear about their lives, or get feedback. Stress and overcommittment are definitely negatively affecting my leadership effectiveness this semester, so I hope I can take a step back and accomplish less with higher quality next semester.
I think the cognitive appraisal model will be extremely helpful for me in managing my stress because I am fairly good at perspective-taking, so if something is stressful for me, all I have to do is take another perspective. I have a very positive mindset as well, so hopefully the two of those things combined will help me to understand that the situation isnâ€™t as bad as it seems or that it could be worse for someone else. As I mentioned before, a lot of my stress stems from being overcommitted and spreading myself too thin (and this definitely is in line with the feedback I received in my interviews!), so one great primary stress management technique to remove stress would just be to remove the event causing the stress! It is pretty simple; if I commit to less things, then there is less to stress about! Primary stress stems directly from the stressor, so simply removing the amount of stressors in my life should help a lot. Another primary stress technique would be to clarify my role. Instead of removing myself completely from a commitment, I could ask for clarification on my role and what exactly my expectations are so that I do not stress about doing more than I am supposed to do. In clarifying my own role, I can also ask questions about othersâ€™ roles if I am worried about
PAGE|50 something getting done, and maybe that will help better the organizational overall. The last two primary stress management techniques concerns interpersonal relationships. I need to remove people in my life who contribute negatively to it and stress me out. Having a healthy amount of stress is important (and I think Iâ€™m already at that level!), but there is no need for someone else to contribute more unnecessary stress. If a relationship is stressing me out but I donâ€™t want to remove them completely, I should learn to communicate honestly with that person about whatever it is that is stressing me out. Whether it is their lack of work or micromanaging or anything else that is stressing me out, a foolproof technique is to simply communicate with them about that issue and resolve it. Hopefully implementing the primary stress management techniques will reduce the quantity of stressors in my life, but there will always be stress, so I must learn how to deal with the stress when it occurs. However, practicing good secondary stress management techniques will allow me to find a stress environment that works best for me. Since there will always be stress, secondary stress prevention focuses on good person-environment fit, especially in regards to Type A or Type B personalities. Some people, like Type As, have personalities that are more equipped to handle a higher quantity of stressors in a shorter amount of time. They are organized, driven, and will tackle the stress when it hits them. They need to be in fast-moving environments where they can work independently, but they must be checked in on every once in a while or else they will burnout. Type B personalities are much more low-key; they work at more consistent paces, are not as achievement-driven, and prefer more space and time to be creative and reflective. Type B personalities should be in environments that tackle a larger, longterm issue that requires a lot of creative problem-solving and brainstorming of alternative solutions. I do not have a job or internship right now, but the two internships I have previously had were great environments for me. The demands were clear, and I was able to work on my own to come up with creative solutions. Another stress management technique would be to reflect upon and categorize where stress is coming from. I cannot implement primary stress techniques to get rid of stress if I am not sure what role or issue is causing the stress. This requires an honest appraisal of my roles, personal goals, and the environment each role creates for me. If one environment is forcing me to be someone I am not and is not in line with my goals, that would be a huge source of stress and it would be best to get out of that environment. Another technique to find where the stress originates from is to ask for feedback from friends and family who sometimes know me better than I know myself! There might be ten different things causing me stress, but knowing which ones are creating positive stress that motivates me to succeed and which ones are creating extra or negative stress that I donâ€™t need is extremely important, and sometimes it takes an outside perspective to determine which is which. The last secondary stress management technique concerns the organizations in which I have my different roles. The organizations should be providing adequate training and instruction so that I understand my role and ready to take it on.
PAGE|51 Tertiary stress management must occur when all else fails; it is how individuals manage their stress if they cannot alleviate the stressors or move to a new environment. I have recently been using a lot of tertiary stress management techniques because I cannot quit the roles I am currently in. Three tertiary stress management techniques that I use are discussion, meditation, and journaling. The one I use the most is definitely discussion, or more colloquially termed â€œventing.â€? Whenever I feel stressed it is really helpful to just talk it out with someone. It does not fix it completely, but it definitely makes me feel better. This technique is also great because whoever I am talking to might bring another perspective or suggest a course of action that I didnâ€™t think about. My other two tertiary stress management techniques are more indirect and help with emotional stress. Meditation helps me take time to breathe and be mindful which stops my system from going into overdrive and generally just calms me down. Meditation is great if I have a lot of stress at one time but need to keep moving on. Journaling is a great tertiary technique because it is something you can always go back to. Like venting, journaling helps the person get out all of their thoughts, feelings, and biases and clear their mind to see alternatives and other perspectives. Journaling is also really great because you can always go back to it and read your thoughts on the situation in the future. You can see the process through which you made a decision and hopefully use and tweak that process in the future to create good stress management. The last tertiary stress management technique would be to go to professional counseling. Individuals who work there have studied mental health their entire lives and are dedicated to it, so it is a great solution when nothing else seems to be working or you need a more informed opinion.
This assessment definitely makes a lot of sense for me and relates to a lot of other assessments I have taken such as the True Colors test or the shape test. In all of these assessments, the highest score that I get is always in the category about other peopleâ€”caring about others, being inclusive, putting others first, etc. And then the categories concerning reason and assertiveness are usually tied for second place. That is exactly what happened here. Blue was definitely my dominant motivational value system by at least fifteen points, and then it was followed by very similar scores in red and green. This result has been so consistent for me across assessments that I was sort of surprised that I wasnâ€™t a hub! I seem to consistently score well on different categories and can see those categoriesâ€™ characteristics in myself. My conflict sequence is spot on. Never before has my style of conflict management been so perfectly described, so I really enjoyed reading the materials in depth to learn more about my style.
I definitely align with the Motivational Value System of Blues. They are described as loyal, modest, supportive, and positive, which are all values I mentioned in my life mission and feedback I received from others in my interviews. These characteristics definitely align with me, as well as the priority of welfare of others. My entire life mission is centered around helping others, so that is definitely a priority for me. In the description of the Blues, it said, “The act of helping is not always enough for you. The greatest enjoyment in the act of helping comes from seeing other people benefit” which really rings true for me. Because my life is dedicated to others, I constantly want to serve others and make them happy. However, with my logical mindset, I understand that I will not be around forever, and I want my service to have a long-lasting impact, so I seek to develop the person as a whole, not just helping them out in the short-term. I believe that the greatest thing I can do for someone is to empower them, and I really do strive to do that in my mentoring and leadership roles on campus. I will know that I was an effective leader when there is someone to pass down the legacy to. The motivational value system of blues is titled “Altruistic Nurturing” which I think describes it perfectly. As I mentioned, blues do not just help others—they are not strictly altruistic—but they develop others—they nurture them into better people so their change can be truly impactful and long-lasting.
The Points of Comparison Graph could not be more spot-on for me. I guess I must truly be a blue because I honestly chuckled out loud in recognition of how true some of those statements were for me. The most relatable statement in the graph was “Ideally, you would like to be more capable of saying ‘No’ to people who impose on you.” As I mentioned in the Stress Assessment (and you can see in my interviews!), my inability to turn down opportunities and say no to other people has gotten me into a lot of commitments which are causing me a lot of stress and negatively affecting my mental health, long-term health, and my ability to fully commit to all of my roles! I will definitely be interested to see what the SDI recommends as steps to improve as a blue. Another point of comparison that I thought was really interesting was the fact that there are completely different answers for the prompt “You feel most rewarded by others when they treat you as a…” That was extremely eye-opening to read because it reminded me that the way I want to be rewarded, praised, or acknowledged by others is not the same way they would like to be! In elementary school we learned the golden rule which is “treat others as you would like to be treated,” but honestly, the platinum rule is really the best: “treat others the way they would want you to treat them.” Learning my motivational value system and about the other motivational value systems is so important because it will help me see different perspectives and acknowledge that there are different lenses through which people approach and interact with the world, other people, and conflict.
The SDI results are definitely valid for me, especially since they are so similar to results I have received on other assessments. I seem to be proficient in all three areas (the altruistic blue, the assertive red, and the analytical green), but at the end of the day my blue nature trumps everything else. At the end of the day I truly care about other people and want to do anything I can do to better their lives. I am one hundred percent blue when I am calm. When I am in my best state and being the very best version of myself, I am trying to sincerely help others in a sustainable and long-term way. When I am being the best friend I think I could ever be, I am asking others about their days, what I can do for them, and what is on their mind. I am giving them advice and recommending things they might do next time to avoid the same situation. When I am calm and acting intentionally with my mission and value system, I truly want to change people’s lives for the better. However, especially with the junior year academic and extracurricular stress, I am not usually in this calm and perfect state. I still care about other people and I still try to go out of my way to do something nice for them or ask them how they are feeling, but I tend to be way more caught up in my own stresses and my own lengthy to-do lists. I vent to other people, but I forget to ask them about their own problems, which is definitely and unfortunately not a very “blue” thing to do. One piece of feedback that I received in my interviews was that I was personable, positivity, and genuinely kind to others, which clearly aligns with my blue MVS. One of my friends even mentioned that I am the “best gift giver ever and always get others really personal and touching presents,” which, as a blue, makes me so happy! Reading all of that feedback made me so happy because, like the assessment said, appreciation for actions means a whole lot to me. I do not care about being publicly recognized or awarded, but if someone takes the time out of their day to let me know I impacted them, that means I must have done something right! Drawing from the points of comparison columns, I can see so many parallels in my own life. As the first row mentions, I feel responsible for my work when I am “being helpful in some way.” I absolutely cannot stand when I show up to volunteer at an event and they don’t really need me. I don’t make a big show out of it because I am already there and I came out of the kindness of my heart, but it really bugs me! I made an effort to be there and show that I care, and all the organization has to do to show that they care about my effort and presence is to give me something to do! However, it happens quite frequently (for reasons beyond this discussion), but now with my knowledge of being a blue, I can understand and expect that reaction in myself.
PAGE|55 Someone else that also really resonated with me was in the fourth row where it mentioned that blues are attracted to others who are “strong and know exactly what they want to do.” One of my very best friends is probably a strong red (or a red-green mix), and we worked so well together with our commitment to the cause and strong work ethics. I loved working beside her because I could really count on her and knew that the things on her list would get done (and get done well!). Even though I am a blue, I really do not like group projects because everyone is not at the same level of commitment. I do not strive to empower my fellow group members (like I might do with my executive board members or my mentees) because we are supposed to be on an equal playing field and I am probably already doing enough work. I do not have time to hold their hands and try to convince them to help me—I would much rather do it on my own and get it done. That definitely shows my red and green tendencies.
Two strengths of having a blue motivational value system are creating an inclusive and understanding environment and providing help and support for others when they need it. I have definitely noticed myself create these types of environments as a leader. I always ask for feedback and try to make sure everyone’s voices are heard because they are all valued members of the team. I create an inclusive environment by welcoming different perspectives and inviting those with different perspectives to share. I make sure that my fellow executive board members understand how key communication is and that I want them to communicate with me even when they are mad at me, haven’t done their work, or are frustrated with another member. We need to know what is going on in order to fix it. I have also created an environment in which others can depend on me. When I say that I am going to do something or can cover for someone’s shift, they can count on me and trust me to stay true to my word. Because I take those duties so seriously, they can feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations where they might have to ask for my help because they know I will sincerely give them help with no judgment. Some drawbacks of having a blue motivational value system and the direct opposites of these strengths. Creating an inclusive environment where all perspectives can be shared is wonderful, but sometimes it might take up a lot of time to hear every single person’s thoughts and detract from the main point. This has definitely happened to me in meetings before once I have let someone speak and they slightly shift the subject, and then it takes a long time for us to get back on track. The other drawback would be having members take advantage of my generosity because they know they can count on me. I want them to know I am one hundred percent there for them and will do whatever I need to do to help them succeed, and sometimes that makes it too easy for them and they just ask me for help at all times. This goes directly against my blue value and life mission of empowering others. I have to be really careful in
PAGE|56 providing people with too much help (and doing their job for them) because if I help out too much, they won’t learn anything.
As I mentioned above, my conflict sequences of Blue, Green, and then Red is spot on. It is exactly how I deal with conflict—I at first try to avoid it because I am not super comfortable with emotions and do not like people being mad at me—but if I have to confront it, I will approach it analytically and use facts to prove my side. And if that doesn’t work, things aren’t looking good for my opponent; at this point, I have pretty much used up all of my niceness and patience and will fight an all-out battle to win the argument. This conflict sequence will help me with minor conflicts where I can usually accommodate others and keep the peace. However, this sequence might get in the way of real change because it is just putting a Bandaid on the situation and not creating a long-term change. People might also be more inclined to create small conflicts because they know they can force me to give them what they want.
The most important insight I gleaned from this assessment was that I really place others before myself in all situations. With a life mission of service to others, I definitely planned on doing that, but it has been really encouraging to see the congruency with my SDI results. However, I need to make sure I am serving others in the proper way—just giving them what they want, doing the work for them, and accommodating their needs is not always the right way. And doing those behaviors might actually harm them more in the long-run! So I think the most important insight I received is actually to be careful of being overly blue and be overly accommodating. If I truly want to serve others and help them, I will do what is best for their person overall, not just in that moment.
The conflict management style assessment definitely resonates with how I think I handle conflict. As I mentioned with the conflict sequence in my SDI Assessment and in my EIQ results, I am definitely not the best at handling conflict because I do not like negative emotions. I get flustered and worried that people will not like me if I am assertive or deal quickly with the conflict, even though my logical brain can see that that is sometimes necessary! My current conflict management style conflicts with what I know to be best practice, and I really want to change that. Accommodating and compromising when there is a conflict have their place, but the best way to deal with conflict is to collaborate, which, surprisingly, I also received a high score on. I was surprised about that score but I think that stems from my cooperative and empathetic “blue” nature” and my dual second nature of assertive red and analytical green. I was also surprised to see (but the more I think about it the more I shouldn’t be!) that my two communication results were probing and deflecting. I typically think of myself as a really good and honest communicator, so it was a little disheartening to see such negative words there. However, the more that I think about it, I do tend to “probe” and ask a lot of questions about someone’s experience when they are telling me about it. I think that stems from my naturally curious nature and my desire to see all facets of the issue so that I can fix it. I also did not realize how much deflecting I do—I think that stems from my fast-paced lifestyle right now. I don’t have time to spend a lot of time delving into certain topics, so I tend to switch very quickly when the problem is solved or when I get bored.
This assessment reports that I use three conflict management styles equally: accommodation, compromising, and integrating/collaborating. That was surprising to me to see that they were all tied at the top. I naturally feel like I do a lot of accommodating, but when I really reflect on past conflicts, I actually do a lot more compromising and collaborating. I really try to get the result that I want, and I do that by giving up a little piece of it. In my opinion, it is better to have ninety percent of what I want rather than give up and fully accommodate and have zero percent. In conflict, I also try to reframe ideas so that people with competing ideas are more inclined to eventually agree with me; I point out similarities between our ideas and point out flaws in theirs. However, sometimes other people really do have great ideas, so I just accommodate right away. Or, if the issue is not that important to me but it is really important to someone else, I will also accommodate. I also feel like I compromise and integrate more when I trust and respect the people I am working with. If I do not feel like they are working hard, are committed to their own ideas, or truly care, I will most likely try to convince them to agree with me. However, if they are
PAGE|59 someone I admire and trust and have a completely opposite idea from mine, I will let them try it out because I trust them! And who knows, it might turn out to be really great!
When choosing a conflict management style to use I think it is extremely important, as I mentioned in my response above, to consider the importance of the decision, how much it matters to you and others, and what kind of precedent that decision will set. As I mentioned, I usually tend to accommodate when the issue is not that important or I really don’t care about it (and the other person does). However, if I know the decision will really impact our organization’s success or the future, I will try my best to find the solution that I know is the best by collaborating and bringing all of our ideas together. Sometimes I tend to think that my idea is the best one, but it honestly always isn’t! I really value and try to create environments in which other people feel free to speak up and express their ideas—I constantly ask for feedback and create pauses for people to chime in—because I know that through collaboration, we can come to the best solution.
After discovering our strengths and weaknesses from our external interviews, we dove deep into internal styles, tendencies, and preferences. I was surprised to see how many parallels there were between my Assessment Journal results and external interviews. I guess my friends and family really do know me better than I know myself! In looking at the results from my assessment instruments and my external feedback interviews, I definitely discovered some major themes for both my strengths and weaknesses. The four major strength themes that I found were social chameleon, disciplined doer, curious and creative cat, and lover of all people. The three major weakness themes that I found were overly-committed, overly-effusive, and overly-stable. My first strength theme is one that I have decided to call social chameleon. That might sound negative and deceptive at first, but I promise it is not! I have always felt as if I am good at integrating myself into different groups and picking up on their different climates and styles of interacting, and my assessment journals prove that to be true. It wasnâ€™t mentioned directly in the external interviews, but my boyfriend wrote that I was personable and â€œcan make friends anywhere and everywhere.â€? I think this comes partly from my positive outlook but also from my high scores in multiple areas of my assessment journals. In the personality assessment, I had very low percentage differences in my Jungian style typology. I am capable of and good at being both an extrovert and an introvert, a sensor and an intuiter, and a thinker and a feeler! The only preference that had more than a 10% difference was my preference for judging over perceiving. My ability to switch back and forth in these realms means that I can work with a lot of different people and adapt my strengths if need be. This ability was also tested and proven in the Emotional Intelligence Assessment in which I received a perfect score in adaptable social skills. My adaptive abilities were also seen in my SDI results; I am definitely a blue but I have proficient scores in red and green as well (I am not quite a hub but I am close!), which further allow me to understand the assertive and analytical perspectives. The Communication and Conflict Assessment also reinforced my belief that I proficient in multiple areas because I had a three way tie among three conflict management styles: accommodation, compromising, and integrating/collaborating. This makes perfect sense with the information from my SDI test; I am first and foremost a blue who puts other people first and wants them to like her, so of course accommodating and compromising would be two of my top conflict management styles. However, integrating/collaborating is also a top conflict management style of mine because I am such an adaptive social chameleon. Overall, it was interesting to see how proficiency in multiple areas contributes to my strengths of friendliness and adaptiveness. My second strength theme is what I have termed a disciplined doer, and this was one of the first things brought up in the interviews and a major theme from them. Some form of dedication/drive/motivation/getting things done was brought up as one of my strengths eight times, and I only interviewed six people! This theme of working hard to get things done was reinforced with in my Personality Assessment, EI Assessment, and SDI test. In the Personality Assessment I was shown to have a low locus of control score which means that I attribute things
PAGE|61 happening in my life (both successes and failures) to my own actions rather than external circumstances. This contributes to my self-motivated and disciplined nature as I understand that I have the power to get things done, and if I don’t get them done, it is my fault. My low locus of control score was also connected to my EI Assessment because I scored fairly high on the category of Emotional Management. Despite the fact that I am not usually comfortable with my own emotions, I scored high in this category because I am good at controlling and managing them (and sometimes keeping them out of the way so I can get work done!). The last assessment that is connected to my disciplined, productive nature is my SDI test. As I mentioned, my motivational value system was blue, which means I put other people at the forefront of my life and do whatever I can to help them out and make them happy. This means that I am extremely loyal to them, and therefore I discipline myself and get things done because I am motivated by the impact that I am going to have on other people. My third strength theme combines a few things and is termed curious and creative cat. This was definitely the theme I expected the least and was surprised the most with from my interviews, but it must be true because I found evidence of it in other assessments as well! Like I mentioned, this was a major theme from my interviews; at least half of my interviewees mentioned some sort of intelligence, creativity, or innovation. This is connected to both my Personality Assessment and my EI Assessments. One of my strengths from my Personality Assessment was that I am proficient in both sensing and intuiting, meaning that I can be both detail oriented and innovative and creative. I believe having a good mix of detail and big picture focus helps spot problems and create innovation. My EI Assessment also touched on my curious and creative nature with my healthy rumination score; it was right in the middle which is where it should be because of my thinking and feeling balance. I might overthink about something because I have negative feelings associated with it, but I don’t overthink too much because I can logically explain other factors of the situation. My last strength theme combines strengths from pretty much everywhere and is lover of all people. I have said many times throughout this PDLP and in my personal purpose that I want to put others first and make my life all about serving others. I have always loved people and caring for them and being passionate about them for as long as I have known myself, so this was definitely a tried and true strength. I believe this love of people is related to the theme of friendliness that appeared in my interviews, and it is also related to my chameleon abilities in the Personality Assessment that I talked about earlier. This theme has a lot to do with the Emotional Intelligence Assessment as I had a high score in positive mindset, social understanding, and empathy. I truly love people and practice a lot of perspective taking to be able to love, relate to, and understand them. This theme also comes in up in my SDI results which were—surprise, surprise—all about people! The blue MVS is titled “Altruistic and Nurturing” and has a love of people and developing them at its core. It couldn’t be a better fit for me. My first weakness theme is overly-committed, and that could not be any truer. That was the biggest weakness noted in my interviews, and it was also connected to a lot of my assessment, especially the stress, SDI, and EI assessments. The majority of the stress in my life comes from having too many things to do and not enough time, but also not being able to say no and wanting to stay loyal and committed to everything. It is definitely difficult when another one of my weaknesses from the interviews was noted as perfectionism; I am trying so hard already to balance all my different roles and goals but I am still very hard on myself. As a blue, a major
PAGE|62 weakness for me is not being able to say no to people because I value them and want to help them out. I definitely need to become better at that in the future! I also noticed in my emotional intelligence assessment a striking difference in my comfort with my own emotions versus the emotions of other people. I am so set on having a life full of service to others that I rarely step back and practice self-care. I just try to fully dedicate myself to others and will sometimes bury my emotions if they get in the way. My second weakness theme is overly-effusive, and this was definitely not something I thought about until after I received the feedback from the interviews. I definitely care a lot about what other people think (because I care about them!) so I sometimes tend to over apologize and get caught up in making them happy. I believe this also connects to another weakness from the interviews which was being youthful. This is definitely seen in many of my assessments. One of my weaknesses I learned from the Personality Assessment was wanting to please everyone, which is definitely why I am so overly-effusive sometimes. I had a pretty high Impression Management Score in the EI test which meant that I was sometimes providing answers that were not true but socially desirable, another attempt to please people and do what they want. One of the weaknesses that most blues have that the SDI pointed out is having people take advantage of your generosity, and that has definitely happened to me. The last connection here is that two of my top conflict management styles were accommodating and compromising, showing again that I will just default to what other people want most of the time. My third weakness theme is overly-stable. This was not mentioned in the interviews because it is more of an internal preference, but I really do not like change. I am not a very adventures person, and I would much rather do something I have always done than change just for the sake of change. This rang true with in my Personality and EI Assessments as I had a high intolerance for ambiguity. I am also a very strong J who loves her plans and structure, so I am not very flexible or spontaneous. This was reinforced in the EI test as my lowest scoring subcategory was flexibility!
To summarize my strengths and weaknesses, I chose this picture of me while dancing that looks as if I am weighing two different things. It makes sense to me because I am reaching towards my strengths, liked we talked about in class, rather than focusing on my weaknesses. However, I am still holding my weaknessesâ€”I am still acknowledging that they are there--but I am not focusing on them.
Development Action Plan
Development Objective #1 I want to become more comfortable with my emotions and be more vulnerable in order to form truly meaningful relationships. This is my first developmental outcome because it was a reoccurring theme in my overall PDLP. I noticed it in the interviews when my some of my interviewees claimed that they couldn’t think of another weakness for me. I’m sure they were just trying to be nice, but I can definitely think of plenty more weaknesses, so I began to think that it might have something to do with the fact that I usually am not one to share details about my life or struggles, really even with the people I am closest to. This fear of vulnerability and lack of sharing prohibits further connection and communication between myself and the people I most love. This theme also came up in the Emotional Intelligence Assessment when two of my lowest scoring subcategories were comfort with emotions and emotional awareness.
1. Be the first one to disclose details about my day in a conversation rather than waiting for the other person to ask.
Myself and the friends and family that I regularly talk to
Ongoing. This will start as soon as possible and I will try to open up first in conversations at least once a day.
My own feelings of insecurity and doubt. Not being comfortable.
When someone says, “Wow I never knew that about you” or when my friendships become more based on these important life events rather than trivialities.
2. Start keeping a journal to have a space to reflect and process my emotions.
Myself and the journaling app Grid Diary
I will start journaling once a day as a 2017 New Year’s Resolution.
Being “too busy” (even though it will only take 5-10 minutes!). Forgetting and losing my streak of days and therefore motivation.
Having a journal entry in Grid Diary at least five days in a row. Coming to terms with something through writing. Discovering a new emotion by writing everything out.
3. Identify a friend who is good at sharing his or her emotions and ask them for advice.
Myself and a friend!
Being uncomfortable with asking a friend for help getting comfortable with emotions! (I’ll just have to get over it!)
My friend and I talk about this at least twice. First for specific advice and then for a follow-up.
4. Further progress in regularly practicing meditation in give me space to process.
Myself and the app Headspace (and potentially money to buy a subscription!)
As soon as possible! I began meditating this summer but have only used it for crisis situations. I would like to use it more regularly.
Forgetting, being “too busy,” not being able to find a quiet space on campus
When I can lead myself through a meditation and calm myself down in case of a crisis. When I can meditate in a place that isn’t 100% silent.
Development Objective #2 I want to form more intentional relationships with my family members, both immediate and extended, and show them greater appreciation. This is my second developmental outcome because I realized throughout this process that family was a huge value of mine, but I sometimes take it for granted. All of my immediate and extended family members live in the same state as me, and we have been through a lot together, and I really should be more appreciative of the endless love and support they give to me. I want to talk to them more and be able to provide more support back as a show of love and appreciation.
1. Call at least one family member a day.
Myself and my phone
As soon as possible! I used to be much better at regularly talking to family members as I walked around campus, but I forget now that I drive everywhere.
Not having time or the energy to talk to them (sometimes family can be a little draining!). Feeling awkward about it the first time.
When I set a regular day and time to call and update each one of my family members throughout the week. When I know what things are going on in their lives and ask them about it!
2. Put all family member’s birthdays in my Google Calendar.
Myself, Google Calendar, and my older sister who knows all my family members’ birthdays
As soon as I can get all the dates from my older sister! I want to set notifications for each day so I can be ready with a phone call, a letter, or a present.
Not knowing someone’s birthday.
When I have successfully entered everyone’s birthdays into my Calendar and called them after receiving a notification to do so.
3. Send my cousins who are also in college care packages or letters.
Myself, the post office, items that my cousins my want in a package (food, school supplies, games, etc), pen and paper
Lacking the time to put the packages or letters together or to drive to the post office!
When my cousins receive their care packages
4. Remember more things about my family member’s lives.
Myself and a journal to record information in
As soon as possible!
Forgetting to write something down.
When I can use the information I wrote down to buy a present they really want. When I bring up something they talked about before!
Development Objective #3 I want to learn how to say no to things and balance my commitments so that my quality does not suffer due to my quantity and my health and wellbeing do not suffer either. This is my third developmental outcome because this is the biggest struggle I am going through right now, and it is so clear from my PDLP how it came to be. I love being productive, challenged, and involved, so I constantly said yes to things. I didnâ€™t want to let anyone down and feared delegating, so I just piling more and more on my plate. I really need to learn how to fix this because it is not healthy; I am working myself so hard right now that I am making myself sick! I need to learn how to say no and to be okay with it later.
1. Write out all of my priorities for Spring 2017 and their time commitment to see what I can realistically commit to.
Myself, pen, and paper
During Winter Break
Potentially a lack of motivation
When I think critically about my roles and their responsibilities and decide to drop something or say no to something else because I am already too busy.
2. Learn how to cook quick and healthy meals that can be packaged up to eat on the go.
Myself, a cookbook or the Internet, cooking equipment, ingredients, Tupperware and a lunchbox
During Winter Break (Ideally this would happen as soon as possible but I do not see myself having time to learn until the break, and then I can learn at home from my dad!)
Anxiety about going into Kroger and not knowing where things are. Anxiety about messing up the meal. Lack of ingredients. Forgetting to pack my prepped bag.
When I cook a meal with the help of someone else. When I cook a meal by myself on Sunday night and package it up for the week. When I can go into the store without a list and still come out with what I need to make a healthy dinner.
3. Talk to my role models and advisors about how they managed overcommittment.
Myself, my friends, and advisors
Ongoing (this is already happening a little bit but the conversations need to continue)
Feeling frustrated/not liking their advice.
When a friend or advisor helps me make a major decision such as dropping something or I am reminded of their advice and say no to something!
4. Understand that because I said no to something, it doesnâ€™t make me any less of a person.
Myself and self-reflection (potentially in my journal?)
As soon as possible!
My stubborn inability to say no and past expectations. Feeling like a failure.
When I can confidently say no to an opportunity and still be happy with myself.
Thank you for reading! And thanks to Dr. Little for an amazing and extremely helpful class and program. I am so grateful that I was able to partake in this program!
With love, Alexandra Case