I recently met with one of the students who graduated from my youth leadership program, and she came back from College after a couple of years and one of the things we talked about was a student in her group who had committed suicide. It was a very painful discussion for both of us because we cared about the student very much.
I know there’s a lot more at play in something so tragic than the scope of what this can cover and I don’t want to oversimplify it but part of what he was going through was attempting to find his fit between who he was and the world around him. I just know from personal experience, and I know from talking to these other young people where depression rates are so high, that the pressures they are under (i.e. to pick a major, be somebody in life, etc.) contribute to these rates. As young people, they face all of this stuff when they aren’t equipped to understand who they are and how to find the fit with the world around them.
Most of the people around them, the adults who try to support them and care about them, don’t really understand how to help them to align who they are with the world. This is why CliftonStrengths© is really personal because it helps me understand my nature with some reliable and consistent language, and how my unique features may be in conflict with the environment around me. I can then share this information with others and hopefully make their experience in the world better. This is at the crux of what this is all about for me: to learn how we all can find a better fit between our authentic nature and the environment in which we live. This is the value I seek to impart through Talent2Strength.
Sure, CliftonStrengths© is great for business, engagement, professional development, and all that stuff. I have no problem with any of that, but I want to be clear that the core value of this is about positive human development.
It’s each of our individual challenge to find the fit between us and the life we live. There are no really comprehensive guides for that. CliftonStrengths© is one of the most powerful tools to help guide us toward alignment, and that’s why I take it seriously. That’s why this tool is important, why the movement is important and why I’m proud to be a part of it.
Someone once described me as being a “true believer,” and I’ll agree if it means that staying true to Donald Clifton’s philosophy and accurately applying his tool means it will help people to find alignment between themselves and their environment. After all, helping people was Don Clifton’s first priority. This is what he was about as a psychologist. He wasn’t a businessman, he was a psychologist and an educator, and he was somebody who was trying to improve the conditions for human development. This was his main passion.
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