John C. Buckley, PHD Student in Educational Leadership @ Ft. Lauderdale campus


“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” –Aristotle

“Know thyself” is a term originated by Greek philosophers and was inscribed on their structures. It has been recited innumerable times throughout centuries. Do you really know yourself? Consider these thoughts:

  • Do you know your gifts and strengths?

  • Are you acquainted with your temperament and personality type?

  • Have you identified your skill set?

  • Are you familiar with your leadership style?

There are 3 core principles that make you unique:

  1. Your Story- Uniquely yours and only you can tell it best.

  2. Your Skill Set- Your skills, gifts, talents, expertise, temperament; all of your unique traits that make you…YOU.

  3. Your Style- The presentation and delivery method or mannerisms you display to others.

In 2015, consider building your own personal strengths or gifts file. This is a virtual or physical file system that you place personal assessments, self-reflective writing, journaling about your gifts and talents, or other discoveries about your unique skill set.

You may be asking, “How does having a personal gifts file help me?” What is the “commercial value” in knowing these things?  What is the takeaway?

Here are 3 reasons to start it today:

1. Having a personal strengths and gifts profile helps you discover HOW you fit in with others.

You are the best advertisement of YOU. The next time that someone asks you about what you do, be prepared to give them a 60-second verbal bio that you have rehearsed about yourself. Make it sound both real and natural too. Start practicing being more confident about who you are and what you bring to the table, whether in small group conversations, a corporate environment, or even in a crucial job interview. People who exhibit confidence know who they are and what they’re all about!

2. Having a personal strengths or gifts profile helps you discover WHERE you fit with others.

Let’s face it, we all have had the “boss from Hades”! We felt we wanted out yesterday! Why? Bad blood, bad chemistry, or just a bad fit in a position on the job. We had the WHERE all wrong. We didn’t know where we fit and just took a shot at a J-O-B and crashed and burned. When we know our gifts and skill set, we can be better positioned with leaders and teams where great chemistry is happening.

3. Having a personal strengths and gifts profile helps you discover WHY you fit with others.

Only you can answer the why in this equation. Why do you do what you do? When you know yourself better, you’ll know the why. The why is the reason you get up in the morning. Someone once said, “If your dream doesn’t excite you enough to get you motivated and passionate, how can you expect it to motivate others to do the same?” Knowing more about yourself helps you discover why you do what you do.

Here are 3 steps to jump start your strengths and gifts profile right now:

Step #1: Grab a manila folder (Pick your color; mine is light blue.) and write on it “My Personal Strengths File”. Put it where you can see it and put EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU in it. (Yes, it can be on your personal device too.)

Step #2:  Create a document in your file and title it “The Perfect Dream Team”. These are the types of people that you want to work around and that possess the skill sets, temperament, leadership style, etc. that complement YOU. (Hint:  Look at your skill set and see if you can connect with others like you who possess some of the same ideas, temperament, goals, dreams, etc.)

Step #3:  Write your core values and mission statement. These give you what you believe in, tell you what motivates you, and help you discover the “why” behind everything you do. Here is my personal mission statement-“Assisting others in discovering, developing, and deploying their personal strengths and gifts to become exceptional leaders in every sphere of influence.” Now, try to develop a short and succinct one (1-2 small sentences) and place it in your file. You should refer to it as often as possible in this new year until it becomes a permanent mindset in your life.

STUDENTS: Please email your submissions/questions/comments to the ELSE Student Editor, Kayla Bianchi at: