Identifying Personal Strengths Through Defining Moments

Contributor: Shannon Malkovsky. Lesson ID: 10237

What do Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey and you have in common? You all have strengths! They are found through adverse circumstances. Discover yours with video and personal interviews and reflection!


Practical Life Skills

Life Skills
learning style
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Imagine yourself 15 years from now: You are in a career that you love, using your talents and strengths. You enjoy going to work every day; you actually look forward to it! Work doesn't feel like work to you.

  • How did you find this career?

It started from identifying your strengths! It started from this lesson!

Today, you will identify your personal strengths through defining moments in your life. You will learn about two diverse public figures through a video and reading, and have the opportunity to work with a partner. This lesson has it all!

  • What is a strength?

A strength is something that you do very well; something that comes naturally to you.

Take a minute to read Knowing my strengths, courtesy of Going to College, to understand personal strengths.

  • What are your personal strengths?

Take a minute to write down a few of your personal strengths, and how you display these strengths.

Often it is during times of adversity or challenge when our personal strengths are most obvious.

For example, a person might demonstrate the strengths of bravery or open-mindedness in order to overcome adversity, or perhaps engage in the strengths of curiosity and integrity as they face the challenge of pursuing a dream.

Often referred to as defining moments, these moments are points at which the essence of a person’s character is revealed. Therefore, taking the time to reflect on such moments can be one of the most effective ways to recognize our own strengths (and those of others) and understand the powerful role they play in our lives.

Young people are filled with limitless potential; however, sometimes they are unaware of all the resources that can be found within themselves. In other cases, they may be aware of their own strengths, but uncertain of how to use them in ways that are constructive rather than destructive.

When we utilize our strengths constructively, often we experience what is best described as a state of flow — tasks are neither too hard nor too easy. We are absorbed and engaged, we perform at our best, which then makes us feel enthusiastic and invigorated.

This means that we are more likely to participate in life (rather than become alienated from it), to enjoy activities (rather than to find them dreary), and to have a sense of empowerment (rather than helplessness).

Now that you have learned about personal strengths and defining moments, it’s time to learn about two people who have led very successful lives, and determine what their defining moment was.

You will have the opportunity to learn about two diverse public figures (Warning to parents: Some of the language and situations may be rough.):

  • Steve Jobs
  • Oprah Winfrey

Explore 43 Surprising Facts About Steve Jobs (, which include:

  • He was a college dropout, but continued to attend classes informally after he dropped out.

  • When he did attend school, he had a low GPA of 2.65.

  • He had a biological sister that he reconnected with later in life.

  • He cut Apple's philanthropic programs.

Please watch Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address below:

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Now, explore 18 Cool Facts About Oprah Winfrey (, which include:

  • At 17, Oprah won the Miss Black Tennessee Beauty Pageant.

  • Oprah grew up in a poor family and was teased at school for the clothes she wore.

  • Oprah had a son when she was 14 years old, who died as an infant.

  • Oprah was sexually abused as a child.

Watch the Mini Bio: Oprah Winfrey below:

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