Do you know where your strengths lie?
What do you feel comes naturally to you?
Imagine we were able to flip the lens through which we view ourselves. What if, rather than focusing on our areas of need and weakness, we focused entirely on seeing ourselves through our personal strengths? What would that look like? And how empowering would it feel?
We live in a world that is challenging and full of rapid change. One way we can help to ground ourselves is through a sense of self-awareness. When we know, really know, who we are, we can stand strong in that knowledge through change and uncertainty.
24 Character Strengths
Scholars at the University of Pennsylvania’s VIA Institute on Character have identified 24 character strengths that we all possess to varying degrees. They also created a simple test that helps to show us which of these characteristics are our strongest. When we understand our inherent strengths, we can use them to better manage stress, navigate relationships and achieve our goals.
As a coach I find most questionnaire assessments limiting; however, I use the VIA Character Strength Questionnaire with almost all my clients. I find it to be a fascinating tool to facilitate meaningful conversations about how to bring positive change into our lives
Through taking this test, I learned that perspective—the ability to take stock of life in a bigger picture—is my number one strength. This has helped to inform my practice as a coach. One client, Esther,* discovered that a love for learning is something that guides her choices. And another client, Matthew,* realized the power of perseverance in his character. This information is not only interesting, it is useful, vital even, in helping us to figure out our path and achieve success.
If there is one thing we know, it is that each human being is unique and we each have our own gifts and talents. When we identify those gifts, we gain the ability to use them to our advantage. I encourage you to take this short test:
Then take a moment to reflect on the results.
Do you agree with them?
Were any of the results surprising?
Are there character strengths you value and wish to develop further within yourself?
Can you think of an area of your life to which you might affect change by using these newly identified strengths?
There are wonderful discussions to be had and I think you’ll find that this information can be transformative.
I can’t wait for you to discover your strengths and to think about how you might use those strengths right away to help make a decision, heal a struggling relationship, or simply achieve a goal.
*names of clients have been changed to ensure confidentiality