Strengths Spotlight: Intellection

by Kaitlyn Dyleski, Assistant Director – Office of Student Involvement and Leadership

Nerd.

Bookworm.

Daydreamer.

Seeing Intellection in my top 5 initially brought those words to my mind; all of which I fully embrace.  However, as I read more about Intellection as a talent, I began to see the moments in my life when I had been utilizing it. I began to notice moments when a thought would get away from me and I would just start thinking about it and researching more information (this is where my Learner talent intersects). I began to notice that other tasks would be left undone because I had gone on to pursue this other idea or thought. In those moments, I was not just casually thinking about this idea.  I was thinking about it from multiple perspectives, I was considering alternatives, and I was interested in gaining a deep understanding of the concept. Basically, I like to think, a lot.

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In my work, I have found Intellection to be useful because for me it is inherently interesting to research things that are only slightly relevant to my specific job responsibilities.  For example, I am not directly responsible for deciding how a lounge space is shaped, furnished or painted, yet I have read several different articles about what makes a room functional and comfortable for students to study in, build community in, or have an event in. What type of seating is best, what color paint should be used, etc. I know, I sound like I should have considered a career in interior design.  Still, for me, having that information in my back pocket makes me feel prepared to talk to students and colleagues about what might be needed in the campus center. Simply having the information makes me feel comfortable. And, I found it really interesting to read about; just because.

Like any other theme of talent, Intellection has not been without its downsides. I have always been slow to add my two cents to a conversation, both personally and professionally.  I used to attribute this to my introvert personality, but now I understand that Intellection was likely playing a role as well.  I like to really process whatever is being talked about and develop my own opinion internally before voicing it.  Unfortunately, many times this has led to me not sharing at all because the group has moved on to a different topic or the meeting has ended altogether. Missed opportunities, for sure.  When I was in graduate school, this was incredibly frustrating for my supervisor.  He kept saying to me, “your ideas and opinions are valuable, but the whole group needs to hear them.”  After that, I worked to add my opinion more quickly and frequently.  It was becoming apparent to me that the thinking I was doing would only be valuable if I shared it.

On the other side of that coin, however, is the great benefit that I usually fully filter and vet whatever is about to come out of my mouth.  My initial, knee-jerk reaction is rarely shared because I spend so much processing before I vocalize my thoughts.  This has saved me on countless occasions.

I have also found ways to utilize my talent of Intellection in tandem with my other talents (Learner, Context, Input, Connectedness). With four out of my five falling in the Strategic domain, I have found ways to use these to collect information that will help me to accomplish my tasks if I can plan them out appropriately.  Now in the day to day life of student involvement, the best-laid plans are usually interrupted, but because I have collected the information and planned ahead of time, I am also able to adjust because I feel prepared.

In a society that values the non-stop, go, go, go mentality I am challenged by my Intellection talent, but I also find immense value in it. I try to create moments to tease out a concept or dissect a new article about student development. Only if I utilize it can this talent become a Strength and only if I share my knowledge can it be valuable to my team.

Introspective.

Philosopher.

Scholar.

I think those are a better fit.

“I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about.” –Arthur C. Clarke, writer

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About cindykane

Director of @BSUInvolved and interested in leadership and professional development strategies. Mom, scholar-practitioner, looking to make an impact! http://www.linkedin.com/in/CindyWKane
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