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When it comes to personality strengths development, researchers believe it’s not enough to simply “use” them. Rather, we need to discover how to draw on the right personality strengths, in the right amount, in the right situations to create the outcomes we want.

The best way to think about each of your character strengths is that they operate along a continuum- at one end you underplay your strengths. At the other end you overplay your strengths. But in the middle you’ll find the ‘golden mean’ of your strengths where you’re able to apply them effectively in different situations to create your desired results.

This continuum means there are three important nuances you should be aware of in personality strengths development:

1. Underplaying Your Personality Strengths

Many of us suffer from a deep level of personality strengths blindness and as a result we tend to underuse our strengths. Make sure you can name your top five personality strengths by taking the free, ten-minute VIA Survey. When you’ve got your results, you can discover how your unique personality strengths are valued in your personal and work lives. Think of the times when you’ve been really engaged, energized and enjoying what you were doing. This will help you with your personality strengths development.

2. Overplaying Your Personality Strengths

We’re prone to overplaying our personality strengths when we’re passionate and excited about using them. For example, when we overplay personality strength like hope at work, we can see so many opportunities to make great things happen and ways to achieve this that we tend to over-extend and over-commit ourselves.

Each of our personality strengths have what researchers call a “shadow-side”. Be mindful of where your personality strengths are creating difficulties for you and start to explore ways you can dial them up or dial them down in different situations to create the outcomes you want.

3. Colliding With Others

Your personality strengths may sometimes collide with the strengths of your friends and colleagues. For example, at work, someone who is high in creativity and always coming up with new ideas and ways to move forward, may find it challenging working with a colleague who is high in prudence and excels at being conscientious and sticking with the plan to deliver short and long–term goals.

Developing your personality strengths has been found to help you feel happier, more engaged, and have a greater sense of meaning to your life. So how could putting your personality strengths to work each day unleash new possibilities? The first step in personality strengths development is taking the free VIA Survey.