Knowing the Power of Your Strengths

 

When something intrigues me I just have to know more.

This really is not that surprising when you find out that my top strength is curiousity.

Authentic Happiness is an amazing site (be prepared; you could lose hours there) and the home of the positive psychology movement.  It offers up a wealth of information and free assessments such as the Signature Strengths test. Whether you call them values, strengths or virtues, this test is eye-opening.

“The good life consists in deriving happiness by using your signature strengths every day in the main realms of living.” – Martin Seligman, from Authentic Happiness

Based on this assessment, my top 5 strengths are:

  • Curiousity & Interest in the World: I am relentlessly curious, a life-long learner.  So NOT a surprise!
  • Zest (enthusiasm & energy): What can I say?  I have a lot of energy and I swear, it’s not the caffeine!
  • Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence: I cry at art galleries, and the beauty of nature is one of the few things that can leave me speechless (makes sense why I live in Vancouver!).
  • Capacity to Love and Be Loved: Love makes the world go ’round.  Can it be any simpler? (or challenging some days?)
  • Humour & Playfulness: My favourite strength and one that saves the day on numerous occasions!

Here’s a snapshot of my assessment:

This test gives you a direct look at what makes you tick, or more importantly what makes for a fulfilling life.

I’ve taken the test twice in the past year and 4 out of 5 strengths remained the same (one dropped to #6).  What this tells me is that I’m answering the questions as honestly as I can.  This is crucial; it’s an opportunity to get straight with yourself about what’s important to you in life.

What I appreciate about the test is its objectivity; there’s no judgment or moral opinion about which strengths are better or even what to do with them.  It’s quite simply a sneak peak into what makes you who you are, what you value.

What would you say are your top 5 strengths?

Take a moment and jot them down.

In Authentic Happiness, Martin Seligman talks about getting to know your signature strengths for the purpose of using them regularly in your every day life, and this leading to a greater experience of happiness.  He says,

“I do not believe that you should devote overly much effort to correcting your weaknesses. Rather, I believe that the highest success in living and the deepest emotional satisfaction comes from building and using your signature strengths.”

This was the key that unlocked the door for me!

I started to wonder…

How might I use my strengths every day?

What would show up if I consciously focused on them?

Without asking these questions, knowing your strengths becomes more knowledge stored in your little grey cells, not making a difference in your life. What’s the point?

So, how DO we begin to live our signature strengths?

What if, instead of writing out a “to do” list every morning, you let your signature strengths create your day?

Exercise:

1.  Review your strengths; read them aloud.  Notice how your body feels as you begin to own that these strengths are uniquely yours.

2.  Ask yourself frequently, “How can I use my strengths today?”

3.  Listen for the answers; create your actions from there.

 

Over to you:

How would knowing your signature strengths make a difference?