Exploring your strengths
1 SIMPLE exercise to understand what makes you tick
Step 4 of 6 in finding a career that makes you happy
Last week, we talked about knowing yourself by identifying your values and exploring your personality profile, which enables you to understand how you behave and make decisions.
Another big step on your journey to finding a career that makes you happy is knowing your strengths and understanding what makes you tick.
Let’s be positive
Positive Psychology is the most recent field of psychology, having only been introduced in 1998. It focuses on happiness, well-being, positive emotions and meaning in life. With a scientific approach, it studies the factors that enable people to flourish.
Rather than focusing on 'what's wrong with people?’, such as other fields of psychology, it asks the questions 'what is right with you?' and ‘how can you be even happier?’
It's based on the belief that people can lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, cultivate what is best in them and enhance their experiences of work, love and play.
Positive Psychologists have been studying different topics to understand what makes people thrive, such as:
The foundations of well-being: according to Dr Seligman’s PERMA™ theory, there are five building blocks that enable flourishing: Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments.
The state Flow: described as the mental state of being completely absorbed, focused and involved in your activities at a certain moment, as well as deriving enjoyment from doing that activity.
Mindfulness: described as “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.” (Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley)
Learned Optimism: it is about cultivating a talent for joy, in opposition to feeling that we have no control over what happens to us.
Strengths: they are defined as "positive traits/capacities that are personally fulfilling (…) and aligned with numerous positive outcomes for oneself and others." (Niemiec, 2017)
Strengths - what are they?
There are many definitions out there, but my favourite is the one by StrengthsProfile:
A strength is something that you're good at, that you do often and that you enjoy doing.
When you use your strengths, you are energised and motivated. It's not just something that you can do, it's something that you love doing.
To make it very clear, your strengths ARE NOT your skills. Skills are things that you’ve learned to do, you might be good at them, but do you truly enjoy doing them? That’s the difference. Some of your skills might also be strengths if you get a buzz out of doing them.
Knowing and using your strengths has lots of benefits: it increases your self-belief, it builds higher levels of happiness and you have more positive energy. When organisations enable their employees to work to their strengths, higher levels of employee engagement and performance have been measured.
So there’s really no reason not to look at your strengths!
Let’s explore your strengths!
If I asked you what your strengths are, you might look at me blankly. Apart from the interview room, it’s not a question we’re used to answering authentically. So here’s a straightforward exercise for you to do to explore your strengths.
First, answer these 2 questions:
What activities give you an energetic buzz when you’re doing them - to the point that you may lose all sense of time?
When do you feel most like the ‘real you’?
Then, look at the list of 24 Strengths by the VIA Institute on the worksheet and divide them into 2 categories:
your energisers - things that you love doing, give you energy and want to do more of.
your drainers - things that you don’t enjoy doing, drain your energy and want to do less of.
Finally, for each category, look at your current situation:
Do you get to use your energisers often in your job and life in general? If not, how could you use them more?
Do you have to rely on drainers in your job and life in general? If yes, how could you reduce their use?
If you want to go further in your exploration of your strengths, you can take the £10 StrengthsProfile test, which will pick your top strengths and weaknesses out of a bank of 60 strengths. But reading a report on your own can be a bit dry.
I’d recommend getting in touch to arrange a discounted 90-minute strengths profiling session (£99 instead of £150 until the end of August). During this session, we’ll debrief your report together and discuss ways of using more of your strengths and less of your weaknesses.
OVER TO YOU!
Download the worksheet, grab a pen and free-up at least one hour to work on your strengths. Add another hour if you also want to complete the Strengths test online.
Once you’re finished, discuss your ideas and thoughts with a supportive friend or family member. Find someone that will fully listen to you, challenge you and add value to your thinking.
You could also start the conversation with a career coach. A coach will ask you the right questions to make you think about what you truly want to do, and help figure out the next steps in your career change journey.
If you’re ready to invest in your career change, I've designed a 6-step online programme combining insightful workbooks and powerful coaching conversations. You do it from the comfort of your home, at your own pace, and I'm here to support you throughout your journey.
In next week’s blog, we will explore what’s stopping you!
Don’t miss it, follow me!