How To Make The Most Of Strengths
September 20, 2013 by VIA Institute on Character ·
Thank you to Lisa Sansom, chief positive interventionist at LVS Consulting.
So you have taken your VIA Survey. You have found your top Signature Strengths, and you are working with them – enhancing some, dialing down others, and generally having fun. Now what? Did you know that your strengths are not only good for you, but also good for others?
When you started learning about strengths, this may have been a very new concept for you. And like any new concept, you may have struggled to explain it to others and to yourself. However, now, you have more words to explain strengths and to identify strengths. When you learn more about strengths, you are simultaneously increasing your strengths vocabulary.
With your new vocabulary and insight into strengths, you can turn this outwards to others. This will help you to see strengths in others, and you can let them know what you see.
Consider in your family – when your child makes a messy but inspired painting; of course this shows Creativity, but also possibly Zest and Perseverance.
Consider at work – that employee who takes forever to do a meticulous job, but holds up the project in the process, is demonstrating Perseverance, Prudence and Judgment.
Consider at the grocery store check-out – that clerk who jokes with everyone and slows down the line by sharing a completely irrelevant story. Naturally, you can see Social Intelligence, Zest and Kindness in there.
Seeing and appreciating strengths in others has great benefits for you – it slows you down, reduces stress, focuses you on the positive and the good. And once you start telling others what strengths you see in them, it creates better relationships as trust and positivity grow.
Yes, of course you are going to be frustrated at your child’s mess, at your co-worker’s slowness and at the clerk’s lack of efficiency. But how would you rather go through life? Frustrated or appreciative? And when you recognize and appreciate strengths in others, it gives you a chance to enhance your own strengths as well. In the examples above, your child is giving you a chance to work in your strengths of Love and Appreciation of Beauty. Your colleague is giving you a chance to work in your strengths of Leadership and Perspective. And that clerk is giving you a chance to work in your strengths of Self-Regulation, Humor and Gratitude.
Work with your strengths, and with the strengths of others, for the greater benefit. And let us know in the comments below how it goes for you!
Lisa Sansom is the Chief Positive Interventionist at LVS Consulting. She works and plays at the intersection of positive psychology and the workplace. She is an accredited coach and works with leaders and teams to help them improve their positive impact in the workplace. Lisa is also a corporate speaker and trainer. In 2010, Lisa graduated from the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. For more information about Lisa and her work, please visit http://www.lvsconsulting.com.