Building on Your Strengths
In today’s world, we all tend to focus on our weaknesses and on negative things going on around us. It’s hard not to with the news blaring 24/7 from our TV and computer screens, and with bosses, teachers, family members, and maybe even your significant other only too ready to point out your shortcomings. But what if instead, you were able to focus on what you are able to do well or do right? Instead of focusing on your faults, what if you focused on your strengths? I believe that focusing on our strengths will help us to accomplish more, to bounce back from adversarial conditions, and to boost our confidence.
What Are Your Strengths?
In order to build on your strengths, you first have to know what your strengths are! I mean, that only makes sense, right? If you can, write out a list of your top strengths. Think of things that you’re good at both at work and at home. Think of things you’re good at in the relationships in your life. Think of things that make you feel excited when you do them- things that increase your energy level.
You can also ask people who you are close to what they think your strengths are. Ask your friends, significant other, or family members. They may be able to see things that you don’t because of their different perspective.
Write a list of things that you like to do and examine what exactly it is that you do. Maybe you like playing basketball. What about that do you like? Maybe you like the competition of the game. Or maybe being part of a team and working together to reach a common goal. Maybe it’s the friendship you share with the other people playing. Or is it being able to display athleticism or skill? Anyone of this can be a strength in this situation.
Finally, you can try taking a strengths assessment. The one that I found is called Strengths Profile and can be found here.
But what about My Weaknesses
It’s probably not a bad idea to write a list of your weaknesses while you’re already here writing! While the focus of this blog is on increasing your strengths, it’s also a good idea to strengthen your weaknesses as well. I just don’t want your main focus to be on your weaknesses. I think that focusing on your weaknesses will only serve to make you feel defeated and negative. It will lower your self-esteem. So, build on your strengths, but also improve on your weaknesses. Now, back to strengths building!
How to Use Your Strengths List
Now that you know what your strengths are, it’s time to put them to work for you! So, the first and perhaps most important thing to do is to use your strengths every day! Research shows us that this doesn’t even have to be for a long length of time- as little as 10 min a day will build a new habit for you. So if you believe one of your strengths is being able to write well, find ways to incorporate written communication into your daily life. Maybe send emails to people you haven’t spoken to in a while or start a blog on a topic that interests you.
One thing to remember is that it is possible to overuse your strengths and turn them into a flaw. It is important to keep a balance in your life. Use your strengths, but also work to strengthen your weaknesses.
Using your strengths daily is a proven way to increase your happiness, decrease anger, and even decrease any physical pain you might be experiencing. Using your strengths can ultimately increase your motivation and your self-esteem.
If you need help identifying and building on your strengths, I’d love to talk with you more on this subject. To contact me or find out more information on self-esteem counseling, please follow the link.