Practice #2: Using Your Strengths and Skills
We all have strengths and skills we use to get things done—in school, at work, or in our personal lives. These strengths and skills, often called assets, include talents, resources, and even connections. Some examples of strengths and skills you might have include:
- Taking good notes
- Organizing events
- Building things
- Reading and summarizing things
- Researching things on the internet
- Providing good customer service
- Taking photographs
- Organizing materials or files
- Teaching sports
- Making art
- Writing and editing
- Making videos
- Updating web pages
- Making spreadsheets
- Giving presentations
- Working with children
- Growing plants
- Spreading enthusiasm
It is important to understand your strengths and skills so you can use them to benefit the community partnership. Sharing your strengths is one way of being a good partner.
It is also important to recognize that your community partner has strengths and skills too. The organization where your service learning or community-based research takes place is certainly very accomplished at some things—their organizational strength. Teams and individuals within that organization are also likely to have strengths and skills. As you begin working with your community partner, take the time to identify what your partner is good at doing too. Acknowledging their strengths and skills is another way of being a good partner.
Finally, many community partners provide support, services, or even resources to those in need. It is very easy to think about those being served in your service-learning or community-based research placement as less fortunate. However, they have strengths and skills too. Acknowledging their strengths and skills is another important way of being a good partner.
An asset based partnership:
- Acknowledges that everyone—you, your community partner, the people they serve—have important strengths, skills, talents, and resources.
- Allows for the unique gifts of each individual to contribute to the work.
- Nurtures and strengthens relationships. This results in social capital, the willingness of people to engage with one another, the trust among people and the bond between them, and social relationships that have productive benefits.
Focus on Strengths and Skills
It is important to focus on strengths and skills, especially those related to the project or partnership. Having that information will make it easier for your community partners to find meaningful ways for you to make a difference.
An easy way to identify your strengths and skills is to answer a few of simple questions. Take a minute to think about how you would respond to each question below.
One thing that my teachers have always liked about me is that I ____________.
When confronted with a hard task I've always been able to ____________.
People who know me would describe me as __________________.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
What aspects of current or past jobs do you/have you enjoyed the most?
How do you like to spend your time outside of school or work?
My hobbies are _______________.
My top three strengths and skills are: