It’s easy to spot the weaknesses of character in ourselves and others. While it’s important to always try to improve, it is equally important to understand the goal posts we strive towards. Strength spotting involves identifying and using our signature strengths, and spotting others doing the same. The language of character strengths provides a productive platform for appreciating the meaningful contributions you and others make to yourselves, each other and the world around you.
Fast facts about strengths:
- Each person has a unique set of signature strengths that comes naturally to them and contributes to their identity as a person (Park & Peterson, 2009)
- Use of signature strengths leads to patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that result in higher levels of performance and functioning (Linley & Harrington, 2006)
- People who use their signature strengths show increased well-being, effort and academic performance (Lounsbury et al., 2009)
Identifying your signature strengths is the first step. The Values In Action (VIA) Classification of Character Strengths offers an evidence-based platform for identifying and discussing six virtues, that are further broken down into 24 character strengths (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Discover your signature strengths by completing the survey available for free through the VIA Institute on Character website.
Gathering your top five from the survey is just the start. Remember, your strengths reflect how you perform when you’re at your best. Take a moment to do some strength spotting. Reflect on a time you might have used one of the 24 character strengths. Who were you with? What were you doing? How did you think, feel and behave? Were you energised? Have you used these strengths, or others, to overcome a challenge? Ask your family, friends, teachers and coaches what strengths they see in you. Do they agree with your top five? Or do they recognise different strengths in you?
Strengths can evolve naturally as you encounter different experiences. But they can also be learnt and developed. Over the next week, we’ll be looking at ways you can add intentionality to developing a profile of signature strengths that best serves your ‘Why Story‘.
Keen to learn more about signature strengths? Contact The Posify Group to discuss how we can assist you, your school or your workplace in using signature strengths to boost your optimism and increase your productivity and well-being.