VIA Blog - Stories to inspire and resources to motivate.

Can You Use Your Strengths In Any Job?

September 24, 2014 by ·

chairs4With two out of every three people reporting they’re actively disengaged in their jobs it’s clear many of us hope to be more inspired in our work.

Perhaps you’re hoping for that extra bit of confidence to ask for a promotion or just to be able to act in the face of fear.  Maybe you’re hoping to be able to enjoy your work more, no matter what you’re doing or whom you’re doing it for.  Or could it be that you’re hoping others around you would finally recognize your unique skills and talents and reward you fairly for them?

For many of the people I coach it’s as simple as having a bit more energy, feeling a little happier and finally being able to create the success we know we’re capable of.

While discovering what your strengths are by completing the VIA Survey is a great place to start, in my experience developing your strengths each day at work – no matter what your job description says – with tested, practical approaches, will support you in showing-up, shining and succeeding your work.

Here are five of my favorite ways to help people have the courage to get started:

  1. Understand Your Why – Why would you bother to speak up at work, to go and start a new career, or to take on a great big job where there’s more chance of you failing than the one you’re in right now? Why would you risk the humiliation and the possibility of rejection and failure?  Margie recommends understanding “for the sake of what” are you willing to get out of your comfort zone, to take that risk, and to pursue the ambitions that excite you?
  2. Challenge Self-Doubt – Self-confidence expert Louisa Jewell recommends challenging the mental chatter in your head so you can do what matters to most to you at work. If you find your thoughts are full of negativity and abuse then challenge what you’re saying by asking: “Is that true?” Rather than having your thoughts irrationally hijacked by self-doubt, rationally look for evidence to take a more balanced point of view to what’s really unfolding.
  3. Build Your Grit – Associate Professor Angela Duckworth explains that “grit” is the passion and perseverance to stick with your long-term goals.  One way you can cultivate grit is to ask other people around you to hold you accountable to your goals and ensure you don’t quit in the face of boredom, frustration or discouragement. A common feature in the stories of top performers is that there were times where they stumbled and there were times when they doubted themselves. It wasn’t all easy for them, and in many cases, they relied on someone else, not themselves.
  4. Create Tiny Habits– BJ Fogg at Stanford University has found that by scaling back bigger behaviors into really small actions you can create dramatic shifts that last.  His tiny habits formula recommends: scaling back the meaningful changes you want to make in your work to one very small step; sequencing this step by adding to the end of a habit you already have – “After I (insert existing routine), I will (insert new routine)”; and then celebrate your completion of the step with a heartfelt “Awesome!” to create a jolt of positive emotion that helps the habit stick.
  5. Set clear boundaries– Best-selling author and resilience, wellbeing and productivity coach Valorie Burton recommends setting and keeping clear boundaries with your boss and colleagues if you want to energy to do what matters to you most. Ask yourself: “What are the boundaries you need to protect your own peace, joy and serenity at work?”  Then notice the areas where you feel the most frustrated, stressed or overwhelmed currently and be honest with yourself about the conversations it’s time to have.

If you’re looking for ways to use your strengths more in your work join Margie, Louisa, Angela, BJ, Valorie and myself for a special free podcast series starting September 29th with Live Happy Magazine on the practical strategies you can implement to help you show up, shine and succeed at the office – no matter what your job descriptions says or who you’re working for.  Reserve your free ticket here.

-Michelle McQuaid

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