BUILDING CHARACTER WITH A 30-DAY PRACTICE (BOOK REVIEW)


This article authored by Rosalinda Ballesteros Valdes, director of the Institute for Wellbeing and Happiness at Universidad Tecmilenio, was originally published on PositivePsychologyNews.com on May 22, 2019.


Jane Strunk Anderson’s book, 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best lays out a month-long series of practices to help people intentionally develop their own character strengths. It can also be used by coaches or team leaders to help people work together to develop habits around character strengths.

Positive Psychology highlights the importance of focusing on strengths. Lea Waters, professor at the University of Melbourne, defines strengths as what you do well and enjoy doing that benefits others. Anderson explains that character strengths are core capacities for thinking, feeling, and behaving in ways that can bring benefit to self and others.

Who is the author?

Jane Anderson has studied character strengths with the Wholebeing Institute and the VIA Institute on Character, and she has taught them in the Wholebeing Institute and to her clients. She is now running a 6-week program called Rise and Thrive in 2019. In her biography on the Strength Based Living site, she states:

“Sometimes it’s necessary to improve weaknesses and what’s wrong, but I find that as a society we’re good at focusing on the negative and less practiced at pursuing the positive. I hope to change that.”

She herself has worked her way through more than forty 30-day practices, by herself and with friends, so this format comes very naturally to her.

What is in the book?

Anderson invites you, the reader, to start by creating a personal strengths profile using the VIA Strengths Survey that is freely available online. With this profile in hand, Anderson’s book leads you through the following four-week practice:

  • Week 1: understanding your own strengths
  • Week 2: building relationships based on your strengths and spotting the strengths of others
  • Week 3: building competence in the use of your character strengths so that you don’t overuse, underuse, or misuse them
  • Week 4: perfecting your own development

Every activity or exercise is organized with a question and reflection format that allows you to evolve consciously your understanding of your own strengths and shows you ways to truly ignite your personal development. One of the wonderful things about this book is that each week closes with a summary of the week activities, and the last three days of the 30-day period are used to look towards creating your own future practice.

What did I particularly enjoy?

The book is written from an easygoing and warm perspective. It has a good balance of explaining why the activities work to make you a better version of yourself with a very practical and simple daily exercise format. I especially liked having a 30-day format. When trying to create a habit, repetition is key. Although the book includes 30 different exercises, they are related and build on each other. That makes the book habit forming, especially if you go through it more than once. The book also leads to a beneficial change of mindset by shifting the focus from deficit improvement to boosting strengths.

Anderson proposes a progression in terms of the depth of the activities. The simpler ones are in the first week. More complex and reflective exercises are presented as the month advances. This is one of the specific things that I value about thinking about character strengths for a month: there is a start, a progression, and an end to the improvement plan.

Anderson’s book, besides helping you to understand your unique character strengths profile, also invites you to look at others through the lens of their unique strengths profiles. I could personally relate to one of the exercises where as a reader I was invited to look at conflict as a collision of strengths. If each of people in the conflict are using their strengths to determine their particular views of the situation, what would happen if I changed to use a different strength?

How did I use the book?

One thing that I did with a group of friends is that we all started with the activities at the same time. Then we had brief discussions on each of the exercises and shared our experiences. After finishing the 30 days, we realized that the book also allowed each of us to customize strengths practices to our own personalities.

By now I hope you are interested on the practice of knowing and also developing a strengths-based focus using the VIA Character Strengths classification. If so a copy of this book for yourself can be the perfect tool to begin and keep going. You might also want to subscribe to her Strength Based Living newsletter to get ongoing reminders to practice.
 


References

Anderson, J. S. (2018). 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best. Strength Based Living LLC.

Anderson, J. S. (2019). 3 key questions that shift you into strengths when you’re stressed. Strength Based Living blog.

Anderson, J. S. (ongoing). Strength Based Living web site. Subscribe to be informed when a new round of the Rise and Thrive class is scheduled.

Niemiec, R. M. & McGrath, R. E. (2019). The Power of Character Strengths. VIA Institute on Character.

Waters, L. (2017). The Strength Switch: How The New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish. New York: Avery.


Image credits
Picture of Jane Strunk Anderson from her web site, Strength Based Living
Be strong Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash
Group of friends Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash


Providence, RI Group – Rise and Thrive in 2019



Rise and Thrive in 2019: A Strengths-Fueled Path

Providence, RI Group 

If you’re ready to register for the Providence, RI Group, you’re in right place!

Here’s how to take your next steps:

STEP 1: MARK YOUR CALENDAR 
Below are the dates for the upcoming Wednesday evening group. All times are listed in Eastern time.
**Exception: the 5th workshop is on Thursday, not Wednesday.**  

Wednesday, May 15, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (Eastern time)
Introduction, Getting Started, & Pre- Course Survey

Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (Eastern time)
Week 1: Exploring Your Best Self

Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (Eastern time)
Week 2: Connecting & Building Relationships

Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (Eastern time)
Week 3: Boosting Confidence & Competence

Thursday, June 13, 2019, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (Eastern time)
Week 4: Living Your Strengths

Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (Eastern time)
Celebrating, Taking Your Practice Forward, and Post-Course Survey

STEP 2: REGISTER TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT
Fill out the Tickets section below, and click on the BUY NOW button. Then follow the prompts to make your payment of $45 securely with PayPal. You will be able to use a debit or credit card or your existing PayPal account without releasing financial information to us. You’ll also receive a confirmation via email for your records.

STEP 3: GET READY
You’ll receive your copy of 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best at the first workshop, and you’ll meet the author, Jane S. Anderson, at one of the workshops. Please bring something to write in and with.

We look forward to seeing you soon! If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact Karen.

Dr. Karen S. Whelan-Berry
Chief Learning Officer, Wholebeing Institute
Signature Strengths: Bravery/Gratitude/Fairness/Kindness
KarenWB@WholebeingInstitute.com

 


Jane S. Anderson

Author, 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best
President, Strength Based Living LLC
Signature Strengths: Creativity/Humor/Perspective/Honesty
Jane@StrengthBasedLiving.com

 

Tuesday Evening Virtual Group – Rise and Thrive in 2019 (7 pm – 8:30 pm Eastern Time)



Rise and Thrive in 2019: A Strengths-Fueled Path

Tuesday Evening Virtual Group

If you’re ready to register for the Tuesday evening virtual group, you’re in the right place!

Here’s how to take your next steps:

STEP 1: MARK YOUR CALENDAR 
Below are the dates for the upcoming Tuesday evening virtual group. Note that all times are listed in Eastern time, so you may need to adjust to reflect your time zone.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Eastern time)
Introduction, Getting Started, & Pre- Course Survey

Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Eastern time)
Week 1: Exploring Your Best Self

Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Eastern time)
Week 2: Connecting & Building Relationships

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 – break week, no workshop

Tuesday, May 28, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Eastern time)
Week 3: Boosting Confidence & Competence

Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Eastern time)
Week 4: Living Your Strengths

Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Eastern time)
Celebrating, Taking Your Practice Forward, and Post-Course Survey

STEP 2: REGISTER TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT
Fill out the Tickets section below, and click on the BUY NOW button. Then follow the prompts to make your payment of $45 securely with PayPal. You will be able to use a debit or credit card or your existing PayPal account without releasing financial information to us. You’ll also receive a confirmation via email for your records.

STEP 3: LOOK FOR YOUR BOOK AND MORE INFORMATION
We’ll mail a copy of 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best to the address you provide at registration. We’ll also email you about logging in to the virtual calls and getting started.

We can’t wait to see you! If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact Jane or Karen.


Jane S. Anderson

Author, 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best
President, Strength Based Living LLC
Signature Strengths: Creativity/Humor/Perspective/Honesty
Jane@StrengthBasedLiving.com

 


Dr. Karen S. Whelan-Berry
Chief Learning Officer, Wholebeing Institute
Signature Strengths: Bravery/Gratitude/Fairness/Kindness
KarenWB@WholebeingInstitute.com

Monday Evening Virtual Group – Rise and Thrive in 2019 (7pm -8:30 pm ET)



Rise and Thrive in 2019: A Strengths-Fueled Path

 

Monday Evening Virtual Group

 

 

If you’re ready to register for the Monday evening virtual group, you’re in the right place!

Here’s how to take your next steps:

STEP 1: MARK YOUR CALENDAR 
Below are the dates for the Thursday mid-day virtual group. Note that all times are listed in Eastern Time (ET), so you may need to adjust to reflect your time zone.

Monday, April 1, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (ET)
Introduction, Getting Started, & Pre-Survey

Monday, April 8, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (ET)
Week 1: Exploring Your Best Self

Monday, April 15, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (ET)
Week 2: Connecting & Building Relationships

Monday, April 22, 2019
break week – no workshop

Monday, April 29, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (ET)
Week 3: Boosting Confidence & Competence

Monday, May 6, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (ET)
Week 4: Living Your Strengths

Monday, May 13, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (ET)
Celebrating, Taking Your Practice Forward, and Post-Survey

STEP 2: REGISTER TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT
Fill out the Tickets section below, and click on the BUY NOW button. Then follow the prompts to make your payment of $45 securely with PayPal. You will be able to use a debit or credit card or your existing PayPal account without releasing financial information to us. You’ll also receive a confirmation via email for your records.

STEP 3: LOOK FOR YOUR BOOK AND MORE INFORMATION
We’ll mail a copy of 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best to the address you provide at registration. We’ll also email you about logging in to the virtual calls and getting started.

We can’t wait to see you! If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact Jane or Karen.


Jane S. Anderson

Author, 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best
President, Strength Based Living LLC
Signature Strengths: Creativity/Humor/Perspective/Honesty
Jane@StrengthBasedLiving.com

 


Dr. Karen S. Whelan-Berry
Chief Learning Officer, Wholebeing Institute
Signature Strengths: Bravery/Gratitude/Fairness/Kindness
KarenWB@WholebeingInstitute.com

Thursday Mid-Day Virtual Group – Rise and Thrive in 2019



Rise and Thrive in 2019: A Strengths-Fueled Path

 

Thursday Mid-Day Virtual Group

 

 

If you’re ready to register for the Thursday mid-day virtual group, you’re in the right place!

Here’s how to take your next steps:

STEP 1: MARK YOUR CALENDAR 
Below are the dates for the Thursday mid-day virtual group. Note that all times are listed in Eastern Time (ET), so you may need to adjust to reflect your time zone.

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm (ET)
Introduction, Getting Started, & Pre-Survey

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm (ET)
Week 1: Exploring Your Best Self

Thursday, March 7, 2019, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm (ET)
Week 2: Connecting & Building Relationships

Thursday, March 14, 2019
break week – no workshop

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm (ET)
Week 3: Boosting Confidence & Competence

Thursday, March 28, 2019, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm (ET)
Week 4: Living Your Strengths

Thursday, April 4, 2019, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm (ET)
Celebrating, Taking Your Practice Forward, and Post-Survey

STEP 2: REGISTER TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT
Fill out the Tickets section below, and click on the BUY NOW button. Then follow the prompts to make your payment of $45 securely with PayPal. You will be able to use a debit or credit card or your existing PayPal account without releasing financial information to us. You’ll also receive a confirmation via email for your records.

STEP 3: LOOK FOR YOUR BOOK AND MORE INFORMATION
We’ll mail a copy of 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best to the address you provide at registration. We’ll also email you about logging in to the virtual calls and getting started.

We can’t wait to see you! If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact Jane or Karen.


Jane S. Anderson

Author, 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best
President, Strength Based Living LLC
Signature Strengths: Creativity/Humor/Perspective/Honesty
Jane@StrengthBasedLiving.com

 


Dr. Karen S. Whelan-Berry
Chief Learning Officer, Wholebeing Institute
Signature Strengths: Bravery/Gratitude/Fairness/Kindness
KarenWB@WholebeingInstitute.com