(about a 4 minute read)
There is a strengths movement underway in organizations, schools, and even communities in which leaders are being urged to lead with their strengths and help their teams become strength-based. If you’re not familiar with this movement, there are good reasons to join in. If you are familiar, there are good reasons to intensify your efforts. This post answers the question, “Why Strengths?”
As someone with Perspective as a signature strength, I like to see and understand the whole picture. Before investing my own time, resources, and energy into learning and applying my strengths in daily life, I wanted to know why strengths even matter. Perhaps you or someone you know feels the same way. If the latter, feel free to share this post as a brief introduction.
Below are my top 4 reasons:
- Engaging strengths is linked to the outcomes you may desire in life. If you seek fulfilling relationships. engagement at work, happiness, achievement and performance, or meaning and purpose, your strengths are internal resources that can help you shift toward those outcomes. Engaging strengths can boost your confidence, well-being, and self-esteem. It helps take your work and relationships to another level of energy, performance, and enjoyment.
- Strengths help you express yourself authentically and contribute in ways that are unique to you. It is virtually impossible for anyone else to have the same profile of character strengths as you. Character strengths are part of your core identity. When you express them, you express a level of integrity that comes naturally from within you.
- Strengths can help balance your naturally negative mindset. We all have a biological predisposition to notice what’s wrong. This probably evolved from ancient times when humans fought for survival against predators. Even the most positive people you know are hard-wired to process difficult experiences more thoroughly than positive ones. Focusing on the positive and what’s strong can feel unnatural and uncomfortable, like folding one’s arms in the opposite way. Try it, and see how it feels. If you have discomfort about engaging your strengths, overcoming this discomfort through exploration and practice is important. It can help you bring balance and energy to daily life situations.
- Engaging your strengths can lead the way to personal and professional growth. Focusing on weakness and what’s wrong only takes you so far. Robert Quinn, positive change expert and co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizations, says that focusing on the negative tends to teach us what to avoid, while focusing on the positive teaches us what to embrace. There’s an enormous chasm between the two. Although fixing what’s wrong can help protect you from harm, embracing the positive can help you boost performance and realize potential. Both approaches can be valuable and needed. But if you seek to live into your potential, you need to cultivate strengths.
Engaging strengths is a journey, a learning process of discovery and growth. I hope your journey is helping to fuel your dreams and navigate life’s daily challenges with greater ease. Learn more about the journey here.
Until next time,
Jane S. Anderson
President, Strength Based Living
Author, 30 Days of Character Strengths:
A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best
(available on Amazon.com)