Do you know what your character strengths are? Do you believe you have any strengths? We all have certain things that come naturally easy to us. If you go around asking your friends and your family what they believe your strengths are, you might be pleasantly surprised how you come across to people.
For feeling fulfilled within our life, it is actually really handy to be aware of what your strengths are. These are things that come naturally to us, things that when other people don’t have them we get confused as to why they find something you see as so simple, a difficult task. There is a website you can go onto, www.viacharacter.org, you do their survey and they will list you your strengths. What I would like to focus on is your top 5.
We spend a lot of our life trying to improve our weaknesses yet we do not spend that much time purposely working within our strengths. I know I can often fall into the trap of, okay what do I need to work through today, what is stopping me from succeeding right now. This isn’t the best approach when you are constantly focusing on what you are doing wrong. When you do focus on working from your strengths it actually has a great deal of benefits. It makes you feel like you are living your life as your authentic self, it increases your confidence, it helps you feel you have value, it increases your positive emotions and it makes tasks a lot more enjoyable.
Do you know those times when you hang around with someone and you come out of it feeling really great because you felt like you could just be yourself around them? This is the same sort of feeling you will gain from using your strengths. They come so naturally to you that you can easily fall more into flow. Once you have your top 5, try and use them in different scenarios in your life and see what a difference it makes for you. Put your focus on what your strengths are.
Here is an example for you, my 2 top strengths are Love of Learning and Emotional Intelligence according to the survey from the above website. I will use these on a daily basis in my coaching practice which is why I love my job so much. It is an industry where you are constantly learning and growing, emotional intelligence is absolutely required to navigate sessions and when I get a new client and hear their story, I will do further learning to get a solid foundation for being able to serve them best. In my career I feel I get to be my self a lot of the time because my strengths are being used regularly and to me it creates fulfillment.
As your life progresses and you go through different things, your strengths alter and change, when I first did the survey 4 or so years ago, my top strengths were bravery and honesty, these were relevant at the time as I was very much in the muck of my health journey and needed to use a lot of strength to push myself on as a daily battle and I needed to be very truthful with myself and those around me as to what was going on for me and what I needed to work on to get me back to health.
Life doesn’t always have to be about improving what isn’t working for you, sometimes it is a lot more joyful to dive into a situation focusing on your strengths and expanding them. So what are your character strengths? What do you find comes very naturally to you that other people seem to struggle with? What can you do this week to engage working with your strengths? If you have a job or tasks you are working on right now that are not exactly lighting you up, how can you use your strengths to make the situation more enjoyable?