Tell me 3 strengths you have?
Go on don’t be scared…..
Are you finding this difficult?
Is it because you were told not to brag as a child?
Is it because you’re humble?
Is it because no one ever asks you this question?
What consequences does this have on our life if we don’t identify what we’re good at and focus instead on what we’re not good at? The problem is that we think that strengths will take care of themselves and we should focus on our weaknesses which result in risk if we don’t but your strengths can actually fade over time just like muscles can.
In experiments people who identified their strengths were happier and less depressed however the effects did not last. They have to be used over a sustained period of time. In an experiment by Google they found that people who planned out a way to adjust their current jobs by incorporating their strengths were able to achieve significant gains in happiness and job performance over the next 6 months.
When we feel like we’re sinking in life we don’t tend to focus on our strengths but we can end up focusing on what we don’t have instead. We focus on our struggles however if you consciously focus on what you’re good at and what you have then you will quickly shift to a more positive mind-set where you can achieve a lot more.
“Strength grows in the moments when you think you can’t go on but you keep going anyway”
So, what is a Strength?
It is a Psychological characteristic that can be seen across different situations and over time. It is the ability to provide consistent performance in a given activity. For example, Mahatma Ghandi showed human leadership, Florence Nightingale showed kindness, Thomas Edison showed creativity and Victor Frankl (Author of A Man’s Search for Meaning) showed Hope. A strength usually also produces good consequences.
People generally think that you go and see a Psychologist with an illness such as depression or anxiety. However, since the early noughties Positive Psychology founded by Martin Seligman actually focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses with a focus in building the best things in life rather than repairing the worst.
Therefore, building strengths and using them in daily life is very much a matter of making a conscious choice. I personally love this approach and once I get my clients to focus on their strengths then I see a much quicker shift in what they are trying to achieve as their energy increases and motivation gathers as they are doing the things that they like to do.
So, how do you find out what you’re good at?
There’s a variety of ways, but you can start by taking a look at the signature strength cards shown in the pictures below.
Check off the strengths that you believe describe who you are at your core.
Go back over the list and identify the strengths that you put into action a lot (every day).
Then work out if there are any discrepancies for example you might be very creative but you don’t show that strength strongly at work or with your family
Then monitor yourself for a day; choose an ordinary day and go about your day as you typically would but with one change. Set your phone alert to signal you every 30 minutes and when the alarm sounds ask yourself “which character(s) strength was I just using”. Keep a log for half a day/1 day to keep track of what happens. Write down the strengths you were using and how. Patterns will then emerge which will identify your strengths.
Watch out for signs of excitement
What makes your speech faster, your breathing heavier and when do you become more animated? You can see that someone feels alive and motivated when they’re using a core strength.
What do you do differently than everyone else? In a situation where you are truly using your strengths you will stand out from the crowd. Your approach will be unique, so think about how you are different?
Each person possesses several signature strengths. These are strengths of character that a person self-consciously owns, celebrate and (if they get their balance right) then uses every day in work, love, play and parenting.
1. Take a look at the strengths cards and identify the ones that REALLY resonate with you.
2. Then ask yourself these questions:
· a sense of ownership and authenticity (the real you?)
· A feeling of excitement while displaying the strength
· A feeling of inevitability in using the strength (try and stop me!)
· The creation and pursuit of your work and lie revolve around it
Or you can ask someone what you’re good at
When it comes to assessing our own talents and abilities we are full of blind spots. If you can see yourself through the eyes of others, your vision will become clearer and you could give that person feedback to help them too.
Your strengths can and do change over time so be aware that this is a snapshot at exactly this point in time. You can work more at the ones that you feel that SHOULD be your strengths but aren’t.
If you want your strengths to be ranked in order then you can take a free online survey. I get my clients to complete this survey then we look at the strengths that might be lower down the list that they want higher and we can work on this using a variety of tools and techniques.
Now that you know how to identify your strengths, you now have the formula for living a good life. Using your signature strengths will bring you authentic happiness and abundant gratification.
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