Strengths Spotlight: Intellection

I wrote a thing for work. Check it out if you are interested in Gallup’s Strengths Quest or finding value in creating time to think.

Professional Development Reflections from Student Affairs at BSU

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




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…

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I let my shoulders drop. I hadn’t event realized that they were living up at my ears all day.

I unclench my jaw, suddenly realizing, that is probably the origin of my pounding headache.

I am starting to realize I spend an excessive amount of time in this way. Shoulders lifted, jew clenched, stomach sucked in, etc., etc.

All of this helps to explain the neck pain, back pain and headaches. I don’t need a MD to know that this is probably really bad for me and is probably not a way to live. But, I am often caught unawares, when suddenly, I release something that I was tensing.

The worst part is I can’t pinpoint what is causing it. I am not sure what stressors are causing my body to revolt against me in this way. And more importantly, how has this become normal for me. Why does it take so long for me to realize this tension is even happening?

I don’t consider myself to be overly stressed on daily basis. I mean, I have stressful moments/days, but I don’t feel constantly stressed. Or do I?

So, I have turned to yoga. I have begun making an effort to get up and leave my desk more often. I have tried to be more aware of what my body is doing. But every once in a while, my body still betrays me.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to remove all of the tension for my life, literally or figuratively. But I know I need to pay more attention to it when it shows up.



remember who you wanted to be.

A couple of days ago I found a bumper sticker that my mother gave me when I was in college. It has a simple white background and the words are spelled out on the page in a slightly fancy font so as to not look too plain. I don’t know exactly when she gave this bumper sticker to me, but the funny thing is that I never actually put bumper stickers on my car. They might go up on a bulletin board or get stuck in my mirror or placed on a water bottle with a vague level of permanency, but they are never placed on their intended destination.  Anyways, I found it tucked among other items that I had in a box that once decorated my room. The sticker simply says “Remember who you wanted to be” and while I am not quite sure of my mother’s original intention, the phrase struck me again when I unearthed it.

As I come to the close of the first year at a new job, I was struck by the simple reminder. I stopped for moment and reflected on where I was year ago and where I am now. I paused and thought about the slow transformation that has taken place. While I am far from content with my performance and overall efforts this past year (annoying perfectionist that I am), I did marvel at the changes that have happened. I am, overall, a happier person. I feel as though I have returned home and I am being challenged in a way that is helping me to grow and be better. I love my work, the people and the place. My well being is a little more balanced.

When I think back farther to college and who I wanted to be then, I don’t think that I am that far off now from what I wanted to be. I may not be in the exact field that I thought I would be, but the end result is very similar. Every day I get up and try to make the world a little better. My methods are just a little different. And while I know that you can’t progress forward if you keep on looking back, I think a little reflection was needed as I close out my first academic year in a new place.

So I rehung that bumper sticker; it has reclaimed a place on my mirror. It is a simple reminder every morning of what the goal should be; of what I want to be:  someone who helps to make the world a little better.

50 Shades of Honesty.

Yes. All of this.

hannah brencher.


I wonder what I will tell them.

I mean, my kids. I wonder what I will tell my kids one day about the world I grew up in. I wonder how their world will look different than my own. I wonder how connected or disconnected this world will be when their hair is long and their knees are scraped and they’ve been standing here long enough to learn that life is both a symphony and a tragic, little poem.

I hope I will have the courage to reach them from beyond the screen. I hope they will see by my own life that I didn’t hide and I didn’t avoid the hard stuff. I wonder if I will have to swallow hard and tell them, “It’s really easy to pretend.”

Because that’s the truth: It really is easy to pretend. It’s easier to hide behind a good story. It’s easier…

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Who runs the world? Girls.

Who’s that girl?? It’s Jess!

On Saturday I went to a day conference on women’s leadership. It was mostly directed towards female student leaders, but the speakers for the day sounded really interesting, so I decided to crash the party (it also gave my inner union nerd an opportunity to see a newly built student center). The conference was focused on “finding your voice” as a woman. The keynote speaker talked through many different pieces about finding your voice including personality type and the use of humor to break down barriers. She discussed not allowing your empathy and willingness to think about every one else first, to silence your own opinion.  Everything she was saying made sense. I began thinking about times that I have actually done that.  Times when I just agreed to avoid conflict or simply remained silent because the room as a whole was moving in a different direction.  My natural tendency to introverted habits may contribute to this, but I came up with several examples of when I could not or would not find my voice.  The speaker went on to talk about career paths and work styles, all of which allowed me to do some self-reflection.  I really appreciated her humor, candor, and understanding of the roadblocks women face in the work force.

But then we started the Q and A portion of her time.  Several young women asked the speaker questions, myself included, to which she provided excellent advice and insights. Then the conversation came around to networking and a young woman stood up and asked the question “how as a young female professional do I network with older men in my field without it being misinterpreted?” The question itself is slightly concerning, but the speaker’s answer was even more so. Now before I explain how she answered the question and express my anger about that answer, I want to say that I completely understand why the speaker said what she said. That being said, I am still frustrated by her answer.

At first, she jokingly answered “don’t dress like a stripper, not that you would, but you know, don’t do that.” The room laughed at her off the cuff answer. But then, more seriously, she answered “Don’t get drunk with your male co-workers. Don’t put yourself in danger.” She went on to explain that it is probably best to meet in their office and to make it known to your co-workers that you are seeking the mentorship of your boss, so that people are aware of your intentions.

This made me mad, not at the speaker, but at society. I also immediately thought of Legally Blonde.

What made me mad is the fact that we still need to tell young women this; that they need to “not put themselves in danger.” How are will still living in a world where people still think that a woman can only get ahead if she sleeps her way to the top, or that she is only meant to fill a quota and satisfy the human resources office. Why is this still okay? Why is this fraternal “old boys club” mentality still running rampant in our major companies in the United States of America?!?!? As campus conversations and the media focus on sexual assault and rape culture in this country, I hope that the answer that the speaker gave will soon become moot. I would hope that soon our conversations will move away from women not “putting themselves in danger” and more towards “impress them with your knowledge and wit and discuss pathways for success.”

While the speaker told a few stories of times where she was in a few extremely sexist situations, a young man at our table was muttering in disbelief. I overheard utterances of “no way!,” “that happens?,” “who really says that?”  While his naivety made me laugh slightly, it also gave me hope. It was clear to me that he is in a place of privilege where he isn’t even aware that this happens. During a break after the speaker, I talked with him a bit about what was said and he couldn’t believe there are men that behave that way. This made me think he would never participate in behavior like what was being talked about; he also wants to become a victim’s advocate when he graduates so I’m not all that surprised at his response.  If a majority of men in this next generation also think and work this way, then perhaps we are making progress. Maybe, just maybe, the next generation will no longer be subject to sexist remarks and behaviors in the workplace, or anyplace for that matter.

Things like bystander trainings, the “It’s On US” campaign and the “No More” campaign make me hope that the culture is changing. That hopefully someday soon women will feel free to be and do whatever they enjoy without penalty or discrimination. That professions and hobbies will no longer be described by a gender dominance. And, I know some of you might be thinking “yeah, but it’s a big jump from a off-color sexist comment to sexual assault.” Well, no, not really. They really aren’t that far apart and both are part of the ingrained societal concept the men are dominant to women.

I say all of this without being an expert and without ever formally studying any of this.  My statements are based purely from observations and personal experiences. My frustrations with the conversation this weekend derive purely from the fact that it is 2014 and women gained the right to vote in 1920. Why are we still dealing with this? Nonetheless, my frustration only fuels my fight. Until we change the conversation and no longer need the hashtag #yesallwomen, I will continue to educate the next generations of citizens from my little corner of the world.