Strengths in Action - Mr Cool

Nick Highton - Assessment Consultant

This remembrance weekend marked the tenth anniversary of my Grandad’s passing. To mark the occasion, we shared a photo of him on holiday, 18 months before he died. As is often the case with photographs, it brought back many memories, including one that perfectly illustrates my top strength: Centred.
2006: My Grandad shortly before flying over the Grand Canyon. Not pictured: the pilot.
A month after the holiday, my English class were each asked to prepare a presentation on a topic of their choice. I chose to talk about the history of the location I had just visited. As an adult, I’ve met very few people who actively enjoy giving presentations. This was even more true for teenagers.

I still remember the presentation to this day: preparing the cue cards; meticulously rehearsing at home; finding I could remember the presentation without looking at the cue cards; using them anyway; making sure I made eye contact with the audience. In the end, I survived and my teacher was very complementary – even appreciating my efforts to make eye contact. Though I actually still have the scrap of paper that he provided comments on, the one thing that has always stuck with me is something he said: Mr Cool.
‘Excellent organisation + flair. Real insight. Good eye contact’
What does ‘Mr Cool’ mean? I can think of many other phrases that communicate the same thing - cool, calm and collected soon springs to mind – but ultimately, it boils down to being largely unfazed by pressure. This doesn’t mean that I’m completely immune to nerves - there are still occasions where nerves do creep in – but this was the first time I’d ever considered myself as someone who never let pressure or nerves get in the way of what I was doing.

This is exactly what Centred means: a calmness and poise, regardless of the situation. It’s a strength that served me well as a student juggling a relentless onslaught of deadlines and exams, and continues to do so in the workplace.

As an Assessment Consultant with Capp, I am faced with unexpected change and challenges on a weekly basis. No two days are the same, so knowing that I won’t be shaken by what tomorrow holds gives me the confidence to fully commit to everything I do. Those around me know that when things get tough, they can rely on me to get things done.

In a world where the hustle and bustle of daily life are coming at increased costs (most notably to mental health), it is important to reflect on our own strengths, and how we can use them to thrive in an ever-changing world. Discovering my top strength only confirmed something I’d always known, but it helped to remind me of its value, and how often I draw on it.