Maximise your strengths!

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What are your strengths? Strengths are what are going to make you, your colleagues, your family, your friends, better, happier and more productive people! I know what you're thinking, but what about our weaknesses? How can we function if we don't improve the areas that are lacking? Well the answer is, easily! 

Positive Psychology focusses on strengths to help you become more productive, happier people. We can even use our strengths to aid the areas that are not so strong, or our challenges (let's not call them weaknesses!). 

We all have strengths. They are mainly innate. We have strengths that have come naturally to us and we have those that we have developed over time. They are ours, we 'own' them! And so we should! 

There are basically three different types of strengths.  We have 'realised strengths'. These are the things that we are good at, people search us out because we have these strengths and they energise us, we love using them, we are absolutely fantastic at them and we know it!  We have 'unrealised strengths'. These are strengths that we are brilliant at, they energise us, people seek us out because of them, but we don't use them much because we don't realise they are a strength for us.  Then there are 'learned behaviours'.  These are the strengths that we are really good at, people look to us to use them often, we know that we are good at them, but they drain us and do not excite us. We use them a lot because people expect it. 

The important thing is for you understand your strengths, what they are and how best to utilise them. Dial up your unrealised strengths and dial down your learned behaviours. It's even better if you can find ways to use your realised or unrealised strengths to cover your areas of challenge. I know that one of my 'challenges' is anything numerical! Those of you who know me are now saying out loud 'Oh absolutely!!'.  But delegation and inspiring is a strength of mine, so I use those skills to inspire and delegate to my colleagues any task to do with numbers - budgeting or project costing. My colleagues, who understand my issues with numbers - are more than happy to take over. After all, jobs gotta get done, best do it properly, eh?

So, how do you find out what your strengths are?  Well there are a few ways but let me share two.  Values in Action (VIA) was developed by Martin Seligman (total guru in Pos Psych!) and is available online for free. Follow this link https://www.viacharacter.org/www/.  It will provide you with a report on your strengths for you to consider.  The other way is to have a Strengths Profile completed by a certified Strength Profiler.  The Strength Profile was developed by Alex Linley (another Pos Psych guru!) and Strength Profilers are certified through the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology in London. A Strength Profiler can set you up with the appropriate Assessment, which provides you with an Executive Profile providing immense detail into your strengths and can be printed out. The Strength Profiler will then do a debrief with you in order to help you analyse and best use the profile to best effect. 

Focussing on your strengths is a very powerful tool and allows you better results than focussing on weaknesses (research proves this). Strengths allows you to work from positivity, with a growth mindset which improves all aspects of your work, rest and play.  

I am a Strength Profiler and have witnessed first hand the power of strengths. One of my clients discovered that she has Adherence as one of her learned behaviours. She is constantly being asked to develop plans according to policy. She hates it, it drains her but knows that she is good at it. She has learned that Enabler is one of her realised strengths.  So I encouraged her to use her Enabler to give power to her staff to complete the plans, particularly those staff who have Planner or Detail as their unrealised strengths. It has been a Win:Win for her! Her staff are grateful that she encourages their growth and she gets the plans done!

So, please consider using your strengths for work or life in general.  If you would like more information, please come and chat. If you would like your Strength Profile done, I can arrange that for you.  

So I ask you again - what are YOUR strengths? Can you really identify what they are? Do they energise or drain you? Can you use them to counter your weaknesses? Are you using them to give you meaning and ensure you have a productive & positive life?  Come into the clinic, contact me online or by phone and we can discuss ways that I can help.

Emma Hackett