Is There A Busy-Proof Way To Put Your Strengths To Work?
June 30, 2015 by VIA Contributor ·
Let’s be honest, do you have trouble finding the time to do what you do best each day at work? To truly use your strengths not just now again, or even just most days, but each and every day as you go about your job?
You see I believe that there’s greatness to be found in each of us. I also believe most of us are living well below our potential and that the future of the world relies on us choosing to wake up each morning and doing what we do best – for the good of ourselves and others.
But just how can you pull this off?
Let’s face it often our job descriptions aren’t designed around our strengths, our bosses only seem interested in pointing out our weaknesses and we’re already too busy just trying to keep up. I get it. Back in 2007 this was my life and finding the confidence, never mind the energy, to do what I do best each day felt like a dream I simply couldn’t afford.
Until, I discovered that it took just 11 minutes of doing what I do best each day – of using my strengths – to finally create the career and life I longed for.
How could this possibly work?
Positive psychology researchers have discovered that developing your strengths – those things you’re good at and enjoy doing – helps you feel more confident, energized and happy in your job. So after figuring out what my strengths were by taking the free, ten minute VIA Survey it was clear that I was completely underplaying my strength of curiosity at work.
With neither the time nor energy to fit in one more thing, in desperation I decided to try and create a tiny daily strengths habit by using the neurological loop scientists have discovered of cue, routine and reward. In an effort to make my habit excuse-proof I decided to try applying this loop in just 11 minutes a day, so I could fit it in on even the busiest days.
Here’s how it worked:
- I spent the first 30 seconds cueing up my habit by anchoring it to the daily act of turning on my computer.
- Then for the next 10 minutes I developed my strength of curiosity by reading one new positive psychology discovery about how to enable human flourishing and seeing if I could apply this to my team.
- To reward myself I’d use the last 30 seconds to note down what I learnt and each Friday I used to package these discoveries up and send them off in an email to my boss.
And do you know what?
This tiny 11 minutes strength habit felt so good, that I did it the following week and each week after that.
Until nine months – and 36 emails – later my boss called me into his office and said: “Clearly we’re not tapping into your potential. Would you like to teach these positive psychology techniques across our business?”
And just like that my dream job was created.
Here’s what I want you to remember, when you choose to do what you do best each day – even for just 11 minutes – others have the chance to see the potential that radiates from within you.
But don’t just take my word for it. If you’re ready to feel more confident, energized and happy at work then why not put this idea to the test by joining the free one week Strengths Challenge and receive all the support you need to discover your strengths, design a small daily strengths habit and start doing what you do best each day at work. Just click here to find out more.
-Michelle McQuaid, best-selling author, workplace well-being teacher and playful change activator.