Thursday, December 11, 2008

Making life play to your strengths Part I

One of the more robust findings in academia (Organization Behavior, Positive Psychology etc) is to try using your strengths in a new way every day. You can broaden that to structuring your work and your life to play to your strengths. Easier said than done.

First things first you need to know what your strengths are. There are a number of ways to do this.
1. You can try brainstorming with yourself. When at work do you feel most alive? What have you gone to check the time and discovered that hours not minutes have past? When do you feel 'in the zone'? More often than not you are actively engaged in something that plays to your strengths. Sometimes it worth looking through your calendar and reviewing the last few days and weeks to help remember these moments
2. Ask those around you. Speak with friends and colleagues. Ask them for their help. When do they see you at your best? What specific times have they noticed a spring in your step? They may think of moments that you hadn't even considered. Or they may simply misjudge you.
3. Take a online assessment. There are two that I always recommmend to people
a) VIA strengths assessment: go to, login then take the VIA strengths questionnaire. Warning - it's 240 questions and rather long. That said the strengths it covers are much broader than everyday work life. It will give you about your love of beauty, your ability to forgive, your creativity, your capacity to love and be loved.... interpretting your strengths is for another posting but this is the place to begin
b) buy Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. It will give you a code to do their online test (not as long as VIA). This test is more focused on your talents that strengths but that's a slightly pedantic point. The link below will take you there on Amazon

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