Do you know what I've noticed about people who've got their act together? You know the ones;
- They're busy but focused
- They have time to do everything
- They're great at what they do
- They're having fun
- They're content (or they seem to be).
I wonder whether they have a clone or have outsourced their drudgery but I've also noticed that they know what they're good at and they make sure they do it. Lots of it.
Here's an example. I've long admired my friend Michelle. Michelle gives the impression that she can do anything. She works hard, she runs her household, she's raising great kids, she volunteers, she's infinitely organised, she's always helping someone else.
Michelle has worked for herself and for others; sometimes doing several jobs at once. When a job no longer fulfils her needs she finds another one. When she's ready to make a change in her life she gets on and makes it. She has her moments when it all feels too hard but these are short lived and after a mini meltdown (and perfect coping techniques; checking in with others, exercise, meditation, sleep) she gets back on track and makes stuff happen. She's a do-er, she's focused and I love that about her.
Many years ago Michelle asked me to help her figure out what she was good at; what her strengths were. We did some questionnaires, we brainstormed, I asked her lots of questions and she gave me her best answers. We made lists, we talked about what she loved to do, what gave her energy and what she felt she was best at. Over a couple of get-togethers we built a little profile of Michelle's strengths. It was great fun.
Over the years when Michelle has found herself at a decision point she's checked in with me and we've reflected on that profile and what we know about her strengths and what she loves to do. I'm quite sure that she uses that information all the time to inform her decisions, whether she's conscious of it or not.
We all have strengths that we use every day. They're innate and they're energising.but most of us don't know what they are. Sometimes that's because they feel so natural to us that we don't recognise them as special or unique. Sometimes it's because we've never thought to reflect on them.
- Knowing and using our strengths helps us to make important decisions in life
- Knowing and using our strengths is linked to feeling happy and content
- Knowing and using our strengths gives us energy and helps us to find the focus we need to do more of what's important.
How do I figure out my strengths?
The great part is, it's not difficult to figure out your strengths. You can start with the free VIA Strengths Questionnaire (you'll need to register as they use data for research purposes but they won't sell you stuff).
Once you've completed the questionnaire and have your report, reflect on your strengths. Spend a bit of time thinking about where and how you use those strengths in your life. (This is known as 'strengths spotting'.) Look for tasks or challenges that get you excited and energised; that you could do all day if life and its commitments would let you. Think about your successes in life and how you were using your strengths at the time. Reflect on when you're most content and how you might be using your strengths then.
If you're keen to learn more about your strengths and how you can use your strengths for success I'd love you to join the Potential Psychology community. Every month I'm sending community members tip sheets, exercises, questionnaires and activities on finding and using your strengths as well as other information about positive psychology and well being. I'll also keep you up to date on the news from Potential Psychology including my courses, online psychometric testing and of course the blog posts . I'd love to have you involved!
Do you know your strengths? How have you used them to make life better?