Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing
Play to your strengths. New research from the field of positive psychology and beyond has been providing the scientific underpinnings for why this matters and the benefits that using your strengths brings. A Gallup analysis reveals that people who use their top 5 strengths (from a list of 24 possible categories) every day are more likely to report have an excellent quality of life, be engaged at work, be more productive and less likely to quit their jobs. Strengths have a volume control and we are empowered to turn them up or down.
Strengths can become game-changers when we:
- are aware of them; and
- learn to use them in an intentional way; and
- tone them down when they are no longer serving us.
Intentionally shifting to focus on strengths can help our weaknesses become less noticeable. Using strengths is like calling on an old friend who is there when you need them. Each person is wired distinctly and we are often blind to our own strengths. Once we get to know what we are good at and what comes naturally to us, we can boost our ‘A-Game’ in many areas. Here are three examples from my coaching practice that show how using strengths with purpose and intention can:
- Enhance health and overall well-being. Lori’s strength was love of learning. When she embarked on a long weight loss journey, she found free, online nutrition courses from top universities. She turned her love of learning strength loose on her weight loss journey, transforming everything her family consumed. By systematically learning a new approach to nutrition, she lost 70 pounds.
- Buffer against, manage and overcome problems. Carol’s strength was appreciation of excellence in all that she did, and felt bewildered and frustrated when others whom she worked with didn’t. She was perceived as difficult, never satisfied and perfectionistic by her team. Carol’s appreciation of excellence had gone wrong and was overused. As she became aware of this, she kept her eye on excellent output and quality, and dropped perfectionism. At the same time, she deployed her razor-sharp humor and playfully teased herself and others on her tendency to want excellence in everything.
- Improve your relationships. David’s strength was the ability to love and be loved. After a contentious divorce, his ex-wife had alienated his son from him. He used his keen ability to love on forging a new relationship with his son, based on just the two of them with great warmth and authentic affection. Despite the mother’s alienation, David could develop a strong bond with his son. He masterfully used his ability to love and cultivate a deep connection with his son.
Click here to take the Values in Action (VIA) Survey which analyze your top 5 strengths.