A Life of Exceptional Power and Drive: Sia Keqin's StrengthsTransform Story
“Will an AAA battery ever run out?”
The talent theme portrait of an undergraduate who worked 2 jobs and served as Captain of a Boys’ Brigade Company while providing for his family en route to achieving an honours degree.
“I will rather lose my life than waste it.”
I’ve always been involved in youth development activities. But until I discovered StrengthsFinder, I did not understand my drive nor my motivation. Only through StrengthsTransform™ Coaching did I realize that I was actually functioning at my unique best as an Educator.
StrengthsFinder facilitates discovery & application of my talents in all areas of my life. To me, strengths-coaching tells us just how uniquely strong we are and how we could leverage on our talent themes in everyday life.
(Strengths-based development emphasises on using one’s talents instead of preoccupation with fixing our weaknesses. Excellence comes through focusing on our strengths, not through the elimination of weaknesses.)
My signature themes of Responsibility | Analytical | Achiever | Arranger | Connectedness distinguishes me as a:
Committed educator who excels at systematic & evidence-based teaching. I win students’ respect through exhibiting sensitivity & fairness in the classroom.
STAGE #1: AWARENESS
I grew up in an environment where my parents placed high expectations on me. Even at 7 years old (while friends played after school), I took up multiple enrichment programmes such as Abacus & Mental Arithmetic classes. In 2007, I emerged first runner-up in the Singapore Mental Arithmetic Abacus Competition (Open category)
I regularly juggled unending rounds of arithmetic practices with many other school commitments. I enjoyed keeping myself busy and I dislike wasting time or doing unproductive work. In Junior College, I was well-known as “busiest student in school”. Many peers queried how I could juggle so many responsibilities with high drive and stamina.
Growing up with the negative label of a “workaholic”, I couldn’t understand why I actually enjoy being productive. I felt like an outcast when I chose to get to work even after school hours.
When I was 17 years old, I was appointed House Captain, as well as the Captain of my school Archery team. I also returned on weekends to develop the younger boys in the Boys’ Brigade (BB) in my high school. In spite of these, I was also able to upkeep close relationships and studies. I wondered why I was able to keep going and not burned out, even though I worked at a frenetic pace.
With StrengthsFinder today, I became AWARE that my talents make me someone who strives to be productive and yet dependable to get things going.
- Achiever – Gives me great source of energy & drive
- Arranger – Unique ability to juggle multiple priorities effectively & efficiently
- Responsibility – Ease of taking psychological ownership of tasks and being dependable
My Top 5 Talent Themes
Responsibility | Analytical | Achiever | Arranger | Connectedness
STAGE #2: PLATFORMS
Reflecting on my University life, I recognize the various PLATFORMS through which I leveraged on my talents:
(1) With Responsibility talent, I take psychological ownership of anything I commit myself to – In group projects, my peers depend on me to ensure that assigned tasks are accomplished on time.
(2) With Analytical talent, I keep questioning how I can make full use of my time for to juggle multiple demands of life.
(3) Combined with Achiever talent, I was able to work on 2 jobs, give tuition services & intern at the leading enrichment company Kingmaker while I studied.
(4) My Arranger talent helps me come up with the best way to do multiple things concurrently, leading to collaborative productivity.
(5) Finally, with Connectedness talent, I could align these with my life mission (to impact the youths to my best ability)
- Excelling in academics, allows me to acquire life skills that I can impart to youths in the future.
- Working part-time & interning allowed me to lessen the financial burden on my family.
- Tutoring youths and Boys’ brigade also aligned with my personal mission
- Active involvement with Boys’ Brigade, I am able to see my mission of developing leadership in youths come true.
STAGE #3: PERFORMANCE
During my final semester in University, being the eldest son, I had to shoulder an additional responsibility, and that is to take care of my family. Amidst the critical time period leading to the passing of my mother, I told myself to see this as a driver for me to excel, rather than letting it dwindle my ability to PERFORM. Any additional challenge to me can either drive me upwards or downwards, but I chose to see it as a platform for me to continue leveraging my talents. I did not want this situation to affect my responsibilities in other aspects of my life, namely:
- My university’s final year project (which I managed to get an A)
- Peak period in Kingmaker programmes (we successfully delivered many highly engaging and impactful programmes for schools)
- Secondary 1 boys recruitment period for Boys’ Brigade (being able to pass down the legacy to the next generation is what kept me going until today)
- Transition period to becoming the Captain in one of the Boys’ Brigade Companies (transition was smooth and I was honoured to be able to take on more leadership roles)
Although my Analytical and Connectedness talents are potential theme contrast, I used them to their combined genius by reconciling the fact that my mother was affected by unknown infections for weeks. Medical procedures and tests could not give me the answer I needed to why my mother was suffering from these health issues, but I kept my faith and eventually reconciled to the fact that this was going to be a personal impactful story which I could rely on to impact the youths in the future.
STAGE #4: AFFIRMATION
Just like many of the other youths in Singapore, I was not raised in an environment where AFFIRMATION was given readily. On the other hand, my peers would constantly be intrigued and surprised with the amount of drive and motivation that I had in whatever I set out to do.
As an educator, my colleagues often call me the AAA battery, who never seemed to run out of energy. I felt that this metaphor really suits me well not only be describing my constant drive for performance but also because I aim to impart and provide this energy to many youths I meet.
Personally, however, the many platforms in which I was able to hone my talents are the greatest affirmation to me, telling myself that I am indeed unique- The only 1 in 33 million who could do the things the way I do.
After discovering my talents, I continue to strive to be better equipped with skills and knowledge to impact the youths through Strengths-based development. In the final year of university, I became certified as Gallup’s Instructor of Strengths-based Education in hopes of bringing the strengths movement to academic institutions in Singapore. I specialize in equipping educators to implement the strengths-based approach in academic institutions, in the areas of personal development, leadership, as well as mentoring.
Despite being the only Asian representative in my batch, and classes being on Wednesdays 1-3am (GMT +8), I told myself to persevere through this certification because I truly believe that youths who are aware of their talents would be able to seize opportunistic platforms to maximise them to achieve peak performance.
Together with StrengthsTransform™, I believe that StrengthsFinder™ is a definitive tool for these students to find out their talents, which can be applied in their future career development. I hope that the students in Singapore will have higher hope, engagement and well-being.
Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.