Talking strengths

If you’ve taken time to identify your personal strengths through reflection, talking to others or using one of the strengths tools available, you’ll probably be thinking – what now?

One activity that could be beneficial is talking about your strengths with someone you trust. Talking about ourselves in a positive way and highlighting what we do well won’t come naturally to everyone. The first few times you engage in this activity you might feel a bit awkward as many of us tend to downplay our positives.  

This activity may therefore have more impact (and feel less like bragging!) if the person you choose to do it with is also actively participating and aware of their own personal strengths.  This will allow you to both engage with the conversation and bounce ideas off each other.

what to do

  • Have a list of your identified strengths visible to refer to.
  • Talk about your strengths – what did you or other people identify as your main personal strengths? Were some more obvious than others – did anything surprise you?
  • Share examples of situations when you have used some of your top strengths. Make sure you also include some of the strengths identified by someone else or a strengths tool and not just the strengths you readily see in yourself.
  • Choose one of your main personal strengths and identify two new ways you could try and use it over the next week. Commit to doing this and feeding back to each other on how it went.
  • If you enjoy this activity, it can be revisited and engaged with.

benefits

Spending time talking these through with another person can help to make your personal strengths more ‘real’ to you and allow you to openly recognise that we don’t always see the positive in ourselves – other people can often spot strengths in us that we can’t. In addition to this, research suggests that identifying ways we can use our personal strengths in new ways improves our happiness and overall life satisfaction.

Thanks for reading!

FURTHER READING

Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist60(5), 410-21.

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