“I’m still a student, will the Clifton StrengthsFinder still be useful for me?”  That’s a question I’ve heard many times.  In this conversation, see what the experiences of a 18-year old student are, and how he used applied it in his own life.


Strengths Conversations – With Jerrick Sik

Jerrick is a 18-year old student who is taking his Cambridge A-Levels this year.  His comment about the StrengthsFinder report being extremely useful for crafting his School Graduating Certificate (SGC) was what sparked this very first video.  Join us as we explore how StrengthsFinder has been useful for Jerrick in school with his CCA and his projects, how it was useful for his SGC, and also one way that he came up with – on the spot – to mitigate his on weakness.

This conversation was entirely unscripted and free-flowing.  And I’ve done my best to transcribe the dialogue as accurately as possible.  Please click on the tab above to read the transcript.

Jerrick’s Signature themes:
Includer, Adaptability, Strategic, Relator, and Maximizer

Alex: Thanks for being willing to share your experience with StrengthsFinder. As we begin, maybe you can just tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Jerrick: Okay so I’m Jerrick, I’m 18 this year. So some of my hobbies includes like playing floorball, robotics and running basically. So my favourite subject is physics and hanging out with my friends. Some of the stuff I don’t really like, like any student I guess, is studying [be]cause is just pretty boring and mundane.
Alex: There are some people who love studying…
Jerrick: Ya … most students do not
Alex: Ok, could you share with me what are your top five StrengthsFinder talent themes are?
Jerrick: My top 5 Strengthsfinder themes are Includer, Adaptability, Strategic, Relator, and Maximizer.
Alex: What was your first impression of the report?
Jerrick: I was actually pretty surprised because I never realise that I had strength in those areas. I guess it occurs pretty naturally, so like… and no one actually told me that, you know, this kind of things do not… no one actually talks about it. So StrengthsFinder actually helps to identify this key areas and in retrospect, I acknowledge that the results are pretty accurate because thinking back it has actually been reflected throughout my whole life, some of this strengths.
Alex: What is one example of a strength or talent theme that you were surprised by, that you didn’t realise you had?
Jerrick: One talent theme would be, maybe like, maximiser, for example, because when I’m doing a project or anything it doesn’t occur to me that I’m actually helping my friends to unleash their potential to excel in the whole project for example. It always seems to be the opposite way round whereby they are actually enhancing my potential and making the whole process more efficient. So, this was a pretty big… this was a surprising theme, in the sense.
Alex: So you didn’t realise that you were actually focused on making things better but you thought other people were the ones doing it?
Jerrick: Ya.
Alex: So, how did that realisation help you or change you?
Jerrick: I guess it didn’t really change me, but it actually helps me to focus on what.. ok in a way it actually made me a bit more confident because, in doing projects, because I realised that “oh I have a strength, I have a talent in this area whereby I can actually benefit the group” and that… yeah, I can benefit the group in the sense… with my presence so it’s actually pretty awesome.
Alex: So it helped you to value some of the contributions you bring to the group? Would that be accurate?
Jerrick: Ya.
Alex: Hmm ok. So your top five talent teams – Includer , Adaptability , Strategic , Relator and Maximizer – of your five, which talent theme do you love the most?
Jerrick: Oh… definitely Includer . Because the theme Iincluder actually means that you make everyone feel appreciated, and in the sense I pretty like this theme because it is actually the crucial component that will actually help to bring about a great team; and great team chemistry is the precursor to any great result and is also reflective of one of my main motto which is that ‘no man should be left behind in the team’,  [be]cause it’s like we go… [be]cause is when we actually do something together we should actually be happy and accomplish it as one.
Alex: Love it, is like the slogan for Includer right?  ‘No man left behind’
Jerrick: Yeah.
Alex: Can you think of examples of how [the talent theme] Includer played out in your life?
Jerrick: I guess Includer play out most in my CCA which is currently floorball. Because in the team there is always differences between the various skill level between the juniors and the seniors for example. So sometimes this can actually create certain tensions whereby certain players may feel others are not meeting up to their expectations for instance. So I guess my talent theme of being an Includer actually helps to ease off the tension by promoting the understanding and tolerance of the various teammates. By actually promoting communication between them, being the bridge in the sense, for I actually like to understand what different people are actually perceiving before actually communicating, and this actually helps to reconcile some of the differences between the various members.
Alex: Do you see any of your other talent themes coming into play to help you do that well?
Jerrick: Actually, most of my talent themes actually help in this area, because apart from Includer areas like Adaptability, Relator and Maximizer are all relationship building areas. So, what this just means is that the various talent themes I currently have is mostly related to teamwork, so I guess like for example , Relator being able to relate to people actually helps to promote empathy, and this means that I can better understand where everyone is coming from; and thus it actually helps to develop the role of me being the connection between the teams, as previously mentioned, and for example, Maximizer helps to bring out the best out of people which promote team… the team I guess.
Alex: It is interesting! The Maximiser talent theme is actually an influencing talent theme rather than a relationship building talent theme – if we go by Gallup’s category.  Yet at the same time, you said that, hey maximiser actually helps you to build relationships.
Jerrick: Yes because… okay… what the Maximiser does is that as a Maximiser you actually help to bring out the potential in everyone, and when that happens, what this means is that everyone is doing their best, and when everyone does their best, teamwork naturally comes I guess. Oh, that rhymes….
Alex: *laughter* and actually that’s amazing what you just did, because even though Gallup actually introduces the four domains of leadership, these four domains actually have low walls. So someone who has predominantly relationship building talent themes, doesn’t mean that they can’t do executing or influencing or strategic thinking. It is a matter of how they use it. So what you have done, is you have actually used Maximiser for the purposes of building relationship because of the number of relationship building talent themes you have, namely your Includer, Adaptability as well as your Relator.
Jerrick: Wow! Yup, that sounds pretty amazing.
Alex: When is the earliest time you can think of where you used any one of this talent themes?
Jerrick: The earliest time … oh I not too sure when was the earliest but I guess I only started noticing some of this talent themes when I started secondary life. For example, when I first entered Secondary One, there was always this one weird kid in my class that would have lots of antics; and as a result of it, many of the students in the class like to ostracise him as a result, so my role as… through all the relationship-building strengths that I have, I actually manage to understand from his view, why he did certain weird things. For example, taking the longer way to the toilet for example. So his reason for it was that it actually helps him to destress and start to clarify some of his thoughts during lessons. And this was actually a unique point of view that many of my friends did not actually understand, and that made them think that he was weird when it was a logical decision from his standpoint. So through understanding the various perspective like using my strength of being a Relator, it actually helps for me to… to basically promote a common understanding of everyone and, you know, create a more harmonious class in the sense.
Alex: So it sounds like your talent themes actually help you to not prejudge an individual that you have met, which in some cases a lot of people do.
Jerrick: Yes, I guess that will be quite accurate to say so.
Alex: Wow ok, so that’s a very interesting way that it turned out, and I’m glad that it actually help you with the way you relate to people, and it is your unique way of contributing. So I am very curious, the way that you include people, and the way that you invite people in. Is it something that was inculcated into you when you were younger or is it something that just came naturally to you? How did it come about?
Jerrick: I guess it came pretty natural, no one actually taught me, there wasn’t any classes that says “oh! You have to actually think from a different person perspective”, but its more like… it is a very natural thing that, I guess, it’s in my character to not prejudge someone before I actually understand who they are thoroughly. Yes, so yup, pretty natural.
Alex: So you would say its probably more nature than nurture, for you?
Jerrick: Yes, for sure.
Alex: How else has the understanding of StrengthsFinder been useful for you?
Jerrick: StrengthsFinder has also helped me in my studies, for example. Like, apart from my various relationship building character strengths, I’ve also strengths in areas of strategic thinking, that could be a result of me playing lots of chess, for example. I’m not too sure about that, but it’s possible. So this strategic thinking has actually helped me also in my various projects in school, [be]cause it has allowed me to evaluate the various ideas proposed by my teammates, and actually decide on the optimum idea. Thus allow the team to progress in a pretty efficient manner. Furthermore. it has also made me more cordial and friendly in the various social gatherings, for example, that I have had, as everyone’s perspective is accepted… This is from the other strengths.
Alex: Hmm, ok. You also mentioned that StrengthsFinder was also very useful, or a life saver, in doing your school graduation cert[ificate].  Can you share a little more about how did it help you?
Jerrick: Oh, what the School Graduation Cert (SGC) is basically a reflection of your personal self, so what StrengthsFinder has done for me is that it has actually organised the various strengths components into simple readable text. Whereby I do not actually have to wonder through like tonnes and tonnes of things… I actually don’t have to wonder too much about it, but it is actually all placed out neatly in front of me, that will actually help me evaluate “oh, what I should do, and what are my weakness, and what I should work on”, for example. So StrengthsFinder in this area, has actually benefitted me by helping me in the construction of the SGC.
Alex: Can you give a practical example of how it helped you? or maybe a statement that you wrote from your StrengthsFinder?
Jerrick: Oh ok.  One statement I wrote was… I believe was that… it was under the theme of Adaptability, for example.  There was a situation in school, whereby there was an unforeseen circumstance. I was part of the organising committee for a concert – it was for a school concert – and there was actually video editing issues the night before, whereby we had to actually present the video the next day.  So Adaptability actually helped me to think on the spot, to actually innovate such that we could actually create a pretty decent outcome from a pretty horrible circumstance. Yeah, so these are things that I included in my SGC which I believe are a reflection of my true self, as an adaptable, flexible person.
Alex: Hmm ok, so what I’m hearing is, the StrengthsFinder Report gave you some anchors to think about which areas you could write in your certificate.
Jerrick: Yes.
Alex: And that’s how it helped you.
Jerrick: Yes, it has made it more concise and easier to understand myself, and thus to present it in a proper document.
Alex: How would you approach your School Graduation Cert if you didn’t have the profile.  Would it be more… I don’t know..
Jerrick: Without the profile, I believe I would have approached it more haphazardly. And, for example, it could just be like the really basic fundamental things like, oh teamwork, critical thinking, the ordinary stuff for example. It doesn’t get to the crux of who I am as an individual. But rather, I’d be presenting myself as pretty ordinary, general person, from a general perspective, from a general point of view.  So it doesn’t actually reflect myself, but it kinda reflects who I am on a very broad scale.
Alex: So, it helped you to give words to who you are, and give you the skeletal frame, so you could actually add more meat to substantiate it, in a way that would be representative of you, yet not being overly general.
Jerrick: Yup. It basically narrows down the areas. It helps me to target the areas which I have to reflect.
Alex: Interesting. And that’s actually one of the important things that we need to be aware of when we go for interviews in future. Can you see this being helpful for, maybe, interviews that you might go for in future?
Jerrick: For sure. Because what interviews actually require is for you to… they actually want your profile. They want to know you as a person. So, through StrengthsFinder it actually helps you to present yourself, in the best way possible.  To present your strengths, and to actually showcase yourself on a totally different level.  Like, it actually presents yourself in a very presentable manner.
Alex: Do you have any interviews, or what not, coming up that you need to prepare for.
Jerrick: Not yet. But hopefully soon, for example, scholarship interviews or whatever.
Alex: It would be very interesting to hear how you use it to prepare for your interviews, and the outcomes of the interviews once you have gone through it.
Jerrick: Sure, but not yet. *laughter*
Alex: I’m looking forward to it.  Anything else you like to add in terms of your experience, or any questions you have regarding your experience with StrengthsFinder?
Jerrick: Erm… maybe we can have a weakness finder? so that people can know how to.. like where they are weak in and thus improve on those areas as well?
Alex: Hmm… interesting.  One of the things that we do learn is that a lot of times our weaknesses are a flip side of our strengths.   Do you see how some of your talent themes could contribute to some challenges or weaknesses that you might face?
Jerrick: Could you repeat that question?
Alex: Do you see how some of your talent themes… so the StrengthsFinder Report actually gives us our talent themes, our natural recurring patterns of thinking, feeling or behaving… so can you see any of these talent themes being related to some challenges or weaknesses that you see in your life?
Jerrick: Oh… yup definitely.  For example, like Adaptability. While it allows me to think on the spot, I’m less likely to actually plan… I’m less likely to be so concerned about the future. So this means that timetables and all that things, not too… doesn’t go well with me. I’m more of the “on the spot” thinking. like oh, should I do this today. And if I do this today, I’ll get my homework done eventually. But how the rest of the day will work out, it’s unknown to me until the day itself. So, yeah, this could perhaps be one of my weakness.
Alex: Hmm… that’s interesting. So, weaknesses are actually context dependent, right? It’s only a weakness if it gets in the way of something.  And understanding your talent themes helps you to know potential pitfalls.
Jerrick: Yup. So knowing these pitfalls,  I can thus avoid some of the potential troubles I may face as a result of my character.
Alex: What are some ways that you can work around some of these pitfalls, other than avoiding them?
Jerrick: Instead of actually tackling my weakness head on, perhaps I can use different talent themed to complement one another. For example, Adaptability makes me less prone to planning for the future; however Strategic thinking allows me to plan well, so knowing this perhaps I could actually plan it to be a more flexible timetable, for example, that will actually allow my adaptability strength to not affect this… to not cause me to become tardy, for example.
Alex: So it’s a combination of Adaptability and Strategic I’m hearing, so you are planning but you are planning flexibility, including flexibility, into your plan as well.
Jerrick: Yes.
Alex: Wow, so what happens when you combine this two talent themes together in doing your planning? How does it feel, and how does it work out for you?
Jerrick: It feels like it’s more natural and there is actually less tendency to avoid such a thing, because like I said, this are talent themes which are actually innate in my character already. So, by not going against what I believe in, and what I have the tendency to do or not to do, it actually means that it makes it easier for me to achieve what I’m trying to carry out, without actually putting in as much effort as I’ll like, without actually putting in all the hard work, or mentally psycho-ing myself to perform all these tasks.
Alex: So now that we have spoken a little bit about the weaknesses piece, and you yourself came up with ideas on how other talent themes can come and support. What do you think about… erm…  Do you still need a weakness finder? Is it useful?
Jerrick: Might be… like perhaps knowing that this weakness I could somehow plan how the various talent themes can, you know, like solve stress.
Alex: Interesting, we’ll probably spend some time the next round talking a little bit about weaknesses and how our talent teams can come in, and maybe that could be a second round of conversation.
Jerrick: Sure.
Alex: Okay so thank you very much,h I am not going to take too much of your time. I really appreciate the way that you shared how StrengthsFinder has been an influence in your life, and also how you even very creatively mitigate some of your weaknesses of adaptability by combining your talent themes. So you are way ahead [of] many other people who are not that familiar with their own talent themes, and you did that very naturally.
Jerrick: Ya… so StrengthFinder!! Woooooo!
Alex: Thank you so much, Jerrick!


About Alex Wong

Alex is a Strengths Enthusiast who is both a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, and a Certified Strategic Strengths Coach. His passion is in helping people grow into the best versions of themselves by appreciating and growing their innate talents. In his spare time, Alex is a hobbyist magician and a volunteer at his church Sunday school. Top 5 StrengthsFinder 2.0 Themes: Empathy, Individualisation, Developer, Strategic, Learner