May 10, 2018

Rethinking Resolutions

Over the past few months, we started the Provost’s Book Club in the UAMS academic sector. So far we’ve had book club members from across the university meet to discuss the first two book selections.

The first book chosen, Strengths Finder 2.0, is one of my favorite leadership books because of the simplicity of its theme (i.e. play to your strengths), and the opportunity it provides for discussion about those things that make each of us unique. The premise of the book is that most people spend their lives trying to get better at those things that need improvement rather than focusing energy to further develop areas of strength where the efforts may have far greater impact.

Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D. Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and UAMS Provost

Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D. Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and UAMS Provost

As I think about my New Year’s resolutions, I can’t help but connect the ideas generated from StrengthsFinder and my approach to the new year ahead. My resolutions always seem to center around healthier living (less sugar and bread, more exercise), completing some big projects around the house, or getting more organized and efficient.An online assessment is included with the book to help readers identify their individual strengths from among 34 themes, along with plans to further improve those strengths. My StrengthsFinder 2.0 results showed my five top strengths to be: Strategic, Learner, Responsibility, Relator and Futuristic. In a nutshell, I enjoy learning new things and like to think about “what’s next.” I tend to enjoy spending time with a few close friends, and my kids describe me as a constant problem solver (perhaps to a fault).

But this year, I’m wondering if it would be more beneficial to focus my energy in areas where I already have some innate ability or passion. Perhaps, I’m more likely to succeed with resolutions that allow me to do the things I’ve wanted to do but that seem more like indulgences. My love of learning could be translated this next year into a few photography classes, or maybe I’ll find cooking classes that introduce me to a new type of cuisine. For the “Relator” strength, the authors recommend making time for family and close friends and making an effort to spend time socializing with team members and colleagues outside of work. My problem solving and “what’s next” strengths are what keep me enjoying time at UAMS.

I’m extremely optimistic about 2017 and all that it holds. I challenge you to think about making resolutions in the next year that match your passions and inherent talents. Best wishes for a Happy New Year!