Happy Character Day!

(about a 2.5 minute read)

Tomorrow (September 26, 2018) is Character Day! Character Day is the day people around the world link arms to celebrate what unites us as humans: our character strengths.  As you can see, I’m celebrating early. In honor of Character Day, for two days, I’m offering half off my print book 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best on Amazon.com. The price you see is the discounted price.

Readers tell me they’re giving it as gifts to friends and family; including it in work with coaching clients and in workshops; adding it to reading lists for courses they teach; and starting their own 30-day practice groups. Stock up and save while it’s half off!

On Character Day, hundreds of thousands of schools, workplaces, families, and individuals will be sharing the research and practice of character strengths. Thank you Let It Ripple Film Studio for launching Character Day in 2014! If you haven’t registered to participate in Character Day, no worries. There are many simple ways to celebrate character strengths. For instance:

Get and Share Resources
1.  Watch the brief, inspirational video The Science of Character. If you’ve already seen it, share it and introduce others to the research and practice of character strengths.

2.  Take the free VIA survey of character strengths or offer it to someone you know who hasn’t taken it.

3. Request these free discussion kits to use in your next character strengths discussions.

Boost Your Strengths Wisdom
4.  To understand why strengths matter or when describing to someone else why they matter, access the hundreds of research findings on the VIA Institute on Character website. They’re organized into topics such as character strengths in the workplace, education, and relationships.

5. To learn more about a specific strength, go here and click on the strength.

6.  Check out these books to expand your knowledge.

Practice and Have Fun With Character Strengths
7.  Post your signature strengths (top 5 strengths) in a prominent place such as the refrigerator, the entryway to an office, or a journal. This will remind you of who you are when at your best. Better yet, if you’re part of a family, work team, or other group, post everyone’s strengths and notice how they bring goodness, meaning, and performance into each others’ lives.

8.  Brighten someone else’s day by noticing and appreciating his or her strengths. Practice strengths-spotting your postal carrier, neighbor, barista, pharmacist, or anyone you encounter during the day.

9. Perform a random act of kindness. Clean the kitchen without being asked. Purchase a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you. Offer to carry someone else’s heavy bag.

10. Send a note or text of gratitude expressing thanks and praise to someone you appreciate.

There are virtually limitless ways to infuse strengths into whatever you do and wherever you go. Most importantly, you don’t need to wait for an annual event to celebrate character strengths. Just take a step!

May we celebrate character strengths today and every day.

Until next time,

Jane S. Anderson
President, Strength Based Living
Author, 30 Days of Character Strengths:
A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best
***half-off for two days – September 25 and September 26 – at Amazon.com***

 

Strengths Conversations That Connect

(about a 4 minute read)

Do you regularly have strengths conversations? A strengths conversation is a simple discussion about your strengths or someone else’s. Many of us probably don’t have strengths conversations often enough. In modern life, we tend to rush through the day and focus on what is urgent but not necessarily important. It takes intention and commitment to shift our mindset to what’s strong, but it’s worth the effort.

In his book Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing strengths expert Ryan Niemiec summarizes numerous studies about the benefits of knowing and applying character strengths. He says that character strengths are linked to things we want more of in life, like greater happiness, work satisfaction, engagement, meaning, confidence, goal achievement, and vitality. Building strengths conversations into your daily routines can put you on the path to these and other positive outcomes.

There are virtually limitless ways to strike up strengths conversations. Below are a few examples in different settings.

In a Team Setting
Ask your team members to share examples of when they felt engaged or energized. Name the strengths they used. Brainstorm ways to apply these strengths on team tasks. Keep the conversation going each week and find new opportunities to apply strengths. Watch the energy, connection, and engagement amp up.

In a Social Setting
Spot strengths in your friend as he accomplishes something new or persists through a challenge. Tell him why you value those strengths. Notice how this brightens his day.

In a Family Setting
Start a strengths-spotting ritual at dinner time. Ask one family member to describe something that went well during the day and have the other family members name the strengths they noticed in that person. Make sure all family members get their strengths spotted. Feel the positivity boost within the whole family.

My #1 strength is Creativity, so I came up with my own strengths conversation starter. I found an artisan who crafts words from metal and asked him to create metal wall art of my immediate family members’ top strengths. You can see our top strengths below in the picture.

   I mounted these metal works of art in the den, where we tend to gather with family and friends. When guests visit, they notice and ask about the significance of these words.

They are reminders of who we are individually and how we live as a family. Fairness and Kindness are strongly held values that tend to govern our interactions. Interestingly, two of us have Fairness as the #1 strength. Creativity helps us be flexible with each other. We each play a role in maintaining this family culture.

I like to ask my guests what resonates as their top strengths and why. In five minutes or less, we touch on each other’s unique capabilities. This short conversation is uplifting and infinitely more inspiring than one that begins with the question: How are you?

When and where can you begin a strengths conversation? Take a moment to write down a few ideas. Choose one and put it into action. Even if you’re not an enthusiastic conversationalist, you may find this a simple, positive way to connect with others.

Until next time,

Jane S. Anderson
President, Strength Based Living
Author, 30 Days of Character Strengths:
A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best
(check it out here)

 

How Many People Does It Take to Make a Difference?

(about a 3 minute read)

Need a little inspiration today? I recently came across a brief video and had to share it. It will invite you to consider what you can uniquely contribute to the world right now, a theme that ties in nicely with character strengths.

In the video, a key question is posed: How many people does it take to make a difference? The answer:  Just one. You.

Take two minutes to watch How Many People Does It Take to Make a Difference?

How can you make a difference today? Start by living into your strengths a bit more. Character strengths are multi-faceted, so there’s always a way to go deeper. Use Social Intelligence to better understand others. Turn Kindness toward yourself when facing a hardship. Try Bravery to stand up for and give a voice to the voiceless. Wherever you are on the strengths journey, go a little deeper and discover how your strengths are pathways to meaningful conversations and contributions that only you can make in the world.

As it says in the video, where you are right now is the entry point.  Jump in!  If you know someone who can use a little inspiration today, please share this message.

Until next time,

Jane

*A special note of thanks to the folks at Compendium, Inc.for this video and their book The 1 Book: How Many People Does It Take to Make a Difference?

Jane S. Anderson
President, Strength Based Living
Author, 30 Days of Character Strengths:
A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best
(check it out here)