You may have seen from my social media that I’ve recently qualified as an Accredited Strengths Profile Practitioner. I’m a firm believer in focusing on one’s strengths and feel this positive mindset can really help, whether it’s thinking about your personal or career goals.
Firstly, what is a strength? According to Capp, a strength is defined as ‘Something you do regularly, you do well, and energises you when doing it.’ So in this sense, it encompasses three important elements – use, performance, and energy. There’s also a lot of evidence to back up the positive benefits of knowing and using your strengths effectively. For example:
- People who use their strengths in new and different ways report higher levels of happiness and lower levels of depression (Seligman, Steen et al, 2005)
- People who use their strengths more report higher levels of self-esteem (Proctor, Maltby & Linley, 2011), higher levels of self-efficacy (Govindji & Linley, 2011) and have high levels of psychological vitality (Govindji & Linley, 2007).
- Using our strengths can help us to build resilience by increasing our confidence and ability to overcoming obstacles (Elson & Boniwell, 2011), feel less stress (Jarden, Jose & et al, 2012) and achieve meaningful goals (Madden, Green & Grant, 2011).
- Lastly, utilising our true strengths helps us to learn faster (Sheldon, kasser et al, 2002) and increase engagement at work (Gallup, 2012).
In terms of practical benefits linked to your personal career development, awareness and use of your key strengths can help you to
– determine a career or role that’s most suited to you in terms of the skills you’re good at and enjoy using
– highlight your unique personal attributes to weave into your CV and application form
– give you added confidence when talking about yourself when networking or in a job interview
So far so good, but how do we identify our key strengths? Although some people have high levels of self-awareness and feel confident knowing the attributes they love to use and use well, most of us struggle to clearly identify our unique strengths. This is where the Strengths Profile tool comes in! The tool is a simple assessment (undertaken online) that provides in-depth insights based on an your performance, energy and use. This analysis results in increased awareness of your passions and abilities, and of whether you are using them effectively. Not only does the tool highlight your key strengths, but also what drains you and what to avoid by analysing and sorting your responses into four areas (or quadrants). Very briefly, these four quadrants cover:
Realised strengths – strengths you use and enjoy
Unrealised strengths – strengths you don’t use as often (great area for development)
Learned Behaviours – things you’ve learned to do but may not enjoy
Weaknesses – things you find hard and don’t enjoy (draining).
I plan to go into these elements in more detail in future blog posts, however for now I hope I’ve piqued your interest in strengths and given you a insight into how a deeper understanding and awareness of your strengths could help you.
If you’re interested in accessing the Strengths Profile assessment and working with me to identify your unique combination of strengths, just click here to contact me.