Finding your strengths
In the first of a mini-series from guest contributor Sarah Crittenden, we will explore what strengths are, ways to work out yours , and how to make the most of them, applying them in your daily life.
Sarah is a strengths coach and knows her mustard! She helps people and teams work out what they are good at. It sounds simple but often it's helpful to have someone independent to guide us. Everyone has strengths.
Sarah, over to you...
2020 is going to be a year that makes it into history books! This article will give some insight into how you can best use your strengths in a challenging time. Although we are all in the same coronavirus storm, we are not all in the same boat and what we are experiencing will be different.
If you are feeling out of your comfort zone and in the stretched and challenged (growth) zone, read on! The future remains uncertain, however there are things we can intentionally practice to remain anchored and rise stronger. This includes looking after our own well-being and intentionally using our personal strengths, maybe even in new ways.
I hope this article helps you identify, recognise, appreciate and value the strengths you already have as a resource to draw from. I’ll explain what strengths are, ways to identify them and practical ways to apply your strengths.
Take a moment to have a think. Do you identify with any of the following words? Can you use any of them to describe yourself? Do you think other people would use these words to describe you?
Empathy, courage, hope, leadership, developer, connectedness, belief, focus, perspective, kindness, humour, responsibility, communication, gratitude, learner, context, consistency.
When using one of your strengths you get a “buzz”, feel motivated and confident.
What are strengths? Strengths are your thoughts, feelings and actions that come naturally to you - this is where your greatest potential lies. Strengths are innate traits and talents, using them energises you - they are your fuel. You have a unique combination of strengths to be celebrated. Utilising them enables you to put the best of who you are into any situation.
Strengths act as an anchor, provide a sense of direction and help you navigate the path ahead. Life can quickly change, but who you are and what you naturally do well doesn’t change.
Let your strengths show up in your new normal. In times of change and uncertainty lean into different strengths, according to what you need.
How do you work out what your strengths are? Have a look at these tools you can use to help you find out. Give it a go - you might be surprised!
- VIA Character strengths (https://www.viacharacter.org free online survey)
- CliftonStrengths Top 5 assessment (Strengths Finder 2.0 on Amazon or www.gallup.com)
- Asking for feedback from people who know you well and have seen you thriving (“What strengths of mine have you seen in action?”)
- Self reflection
Strengths reflect who you are - at your core.
So you've taken a bit of time to think about your strengths, now what? How do I use this information I've discovered to help me? I think it's a really good idea to read up on your top five strengths to discover more about them. For example, there are always positive aspects to a strength - something that is enabled using this characteristic. But it's also useful to know how this strength could be perceived by others and whether there are any aspects to be aware of when you use this strength.
Previously how have you used your top strengths to help you?
Read about each of your top strengths to begin fully using them.
Which strength do you want to use more?
How will you use it in a new way?
Embrace your strengths daily. For one day / week focus on using one of your strengths at a time.
Thanks Sarah! What a great start to thinking about strengths. In her next blog, Sarah will think about how we can replenish our energy and how understanding our strengths helps us to do this.
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