Using and Building on Your Strengths
People will often try to build up their perceived weaknesses, but I would challenge you to instead build on your strengths! People who focus on their strengths tend to have increased self-esteem, are happier, and are more confident. Plus, your strengths will improve faster than your weaknesses. Studies done on the work environment have taught us that focusing on our strengths can improve our performance at work including employee engagement as well as personal happiness of the employee.
Identify Your Strengths The first step is to identify what your strengths are. Strengths aren’t just something that you do well. They also include things that you enjoy doing and things that energize you. Performing your strengths will make you feel good. If something you’re doing is easy for you and you’re good at it, but it drains you, don’t consider it a strength. That is just learned behavior. For it to truly be considered a strength, it needs to encompass all 3 traits: be easy to do, be something that you enjoy doing, and be something that energizes you.
For some, identifying your strengths can be a very difficult thing to do, so here are some tips to get you started.
· Have you received any awards at work or school? · Is there something that’s easy for you to do? · Is there anything that you really enjoy doing? · Have any of your bosses or teachers complimented you? · When you do a particular activity, you get into a flow state where you lose all track of time because you’ve become absorbed in the activity · Take a free online inventory. Check out the VIA inventory of strengths here.
Choose Your Strengths Check off the strengths below that you feel fit best. Check at least 3 of your greatest strengths. You can also use the lines to write in other strengths that you possess.
o Creativity o Bravery o Kindness o Forgiveness o Optimism o Flexibility o Gratitude o Curiosity o Honesty o Social Awareness o Relationship building o Compassion o Humility o Humor o Persistence o Organized o Problem Solving o Love of Learning o Enthusiasm o Love o Leadership o Self-Control o Spirituality o Appreciation of Beauty o ____________________ o ____________________ o ____________________ o ____________________
Make a Plan
The next step is to make a plan on how you can build on your strengths. Make it concrete with specific actions. The more specific your plan, the better chance it will have to succeed. Consider one or more of these steps:
1. Increase your knowledge of your strength. Take a class, read a book, attend a lecture or do some research online.
2. Develop a plan to use your strength every day. Again, be specific on how you will use it. Are you good at planning? You can start meal planning on a weekly basis, or plan a birthday party for your friend, and plan the weekly family schedule. Are you good at writing? Write a family newsletter, start a blog, or write an article on a subject of interest.
3. Develop a related skill. For instance, if you identified leadership as one of your strengths, then improving communication or giving others feedback would help to improve your leadership skills.
4. Teach someone else your skills. It is known that when you teach someone a skill, you become better at it. Better at organizing your thoughts and noticing the gaps in your knowledge.
Building up your strengths will take effort over time. You won’t be able to make changes overnight but stick with it and you will see the changes that you’re looking for.
If you would like to talk more about building your strengths or would like to start self-esteem counseling, please follow the link. I’d love to talk with you.