Happy Character Day, September 27, 2019!
What is Character Day?
Character Day is an annual event dedicated to the development of character strengths. Character strengths are 24 human traits like gratitude, leadership, and honesty that cultivate what is right and good in communities, schools, organizations, and families around the world. If you wish to cultivate greater happiness and success in your life, unleashing your character strengths is a pathway forward.
For instance, a participant in a group I taught recognized how she often overplayed her top strength appreciation of beauty and excellence. This overuse led to unrealistic expectations of her team and of herself. She had an “aha” moment when she realized how the unintentional overuse of this strength kept her moving toward self-defeating perfectionism rather than her own potential.
Over time, she learned to notice these situations, to pause, and to intentionally dial down this strength. She was then able to engage more useful strengths, like prudence, to carefully plan her next moves. As a result, she became even more productive and less stressed.
Join in the fun – it’s not too late!
It’s not too late to join the more than 200,000 groups from 125 countries and 50 states by creating your own Character Day event. You can participate as an individual, group, or organization. Get started here.
For another approach to joining in, below are 18 ways to celebrate Character Day. This list provides activities, links to resources, and ideas for spreading the news to others.
Introduce Yourself or Someone Else to Character Strengths
- Join over 8 million people worldwide who have taken the free scientific character strengths survey.
- If you’ve already taken the survey within the past year, invite someone close to you to take it by forwarding the above link. Explain that their survey results reflect who they are and what they do when at their best.
- Familiarize yourself with the science behind the character strengths framework by watching the inspirational 8-minute video The Science of Character.
Boost Your Awareness and Learning
- Working with someone who has also taken the survey, share stories about the other’s strengths. Give examples of when he or she used them and why you appreciate them. This foundational practice called “strengths-spotting” provides a common language of what’s strong. It also boosts your ability to notice and appreciate strengths in action.
- Spot strengths in someone who rubs you the wrong way. Notice how they, and you, respond differently to being noticed and valued for positive traits.
- Notice the character strengths all around you, even in your favorite book, movie, or TV characters.
- Dive into a character strength that resonates with you right now. See how it cultivates excellence, boosts relationships, or elevates meaning.
- Learn more about who you are at your best by purchasing and reviewing a character strength report tailored to your unique profile.
- Power up with a personal 1:1 debrief session with me that will bring your strengths to life.
- Post your top 5 signature strengths at home or work in a visible spot as a conversation starter.
- Lead with a bit of research when introducing character strengths to your boss, a client, or a family member. Check out the world’s largest database on character strengths to locate key findings about character strengths in the workplace or parenting, character strengths and achievement or wellness, and a variety of other topics.
- Learn how to develop each strength in the inspiring book Character Strengths Matter: How to Live a Full Life .
- At your next family meal or team meeting, name the strengths each person used throughout the day and the positive outcomes that resulted instead of asking how things are going.
Practice and Experiment
- Add to your toolbox by ordering a free character strength discussion kit from Let It Ripple Film Studio, the found of Character Day. Use it with your family and team.
- Take your practice into your own hands with a 30-day guided strengths practice using my book 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best. Half off to celebrate Character Day – 2 days only!
- Embody your character strengths with Megha-Nancy Buttenheim’s moving strengths practice set to music Moving With Your Strengths: A 30-Day Practice for Everybody – and Every Body
- View your team or family through a lens of strengths by creating a grid of everyone’s top 5 signature strengths. Simply list each character strength along the bottom of flip chart paper, give each person 5 sticky notes, ask them to place their sticky notes by each strength, and watch the group profile emerge. Notice what the resulting profile says about the group.
- Choose one of 70 research-based activities from positive psychology’s only field guide for practitioners: Ryan’ Niemiec’s Character Strengths Interventions. Choose from among exercises that boost awareness and use, enhance meaning and engagement, build resilience and problem management, or elevate goal setting, achievement, or mindfulness. Try one yourself, then offer it to a friend, team member, or family member.
Character Day typically occurs near the end of September each year. If you’d like to know the actual date or be reminded about it next year, subscribe to my newsletter.
Really, though, every day is character day. You don’t need an annual event to spread the research and practice of character strengths. On any given day, simply choose one of the practices that resonates most.
Perhaps there are other practices you’ve tried yourself. If you’d like to offer them for publication, email me at Jane@StrengthBasedLiving.com. I’ll include them with your name, if you agree, in my blog post next year.
In the meantime, enjoy Character Day, a global day of celebration of what’s best in you!