Step 1: Learn About It

Step 2: Put it into Practice

Strengths are natural capabilities and skills that each person has. When you use your strengths, you tend to feel energized. To identify your own strengths, you can take a character online test such as the VIA Character Strengths Survey. Or you can ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I enjoy doing?
  • In what areas of my life have I been most successful?
  • What sort of activities fill me with energy? When do I lose sense of time because I’m so engaged in an activity?
  • What makes a day really good for me?
  • When do I feel I was at my best during the past week?

Be sure to focus on your strengths, rather than specific skills. For example, “running” isn’t a strength, but “discipline” is. You can do this by asking questions such as “What makes me good at running?” or “What about myself allowed me to be successful in this area?”

Take a moment to think about one of your personal strengths—for instance, creativity, perseverance, kindness, modesty, or curiosity. Consider how you could use this strength today in a new and different way. For example, if you choose the personal strength of perseverance, you might make a list of tasks that you have found challenging recently, then try to tackle each one of them.

Describe in writing the personal strength you plan to use today and how you are going to use it. Then, go ahead and do it—act on your strength as frequently as possible throughout the day.

Repeat the steps above every day for a week. You may use the same personal strength across multiple days or try using a new personal strength each day.

At the end of the week, write about the personal strengths that you focused on during the week and how you used them. Write in detail about what you did, how you felt, and what you learned from the experience.

Adapted from Greater Good in Action

It’s important to find new situations where you can continue to develop your strengths. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are there new opportunities where I could use my strengths?
  • What is the impact of a particular strength on others? What feedback do I get from others about this strength?
  • When I’m at my best, and how can I be like this more often?
  • Is there a new way to deal with an existing problem using my strengths?
  • Is there a completely new way I could use my strengths. This could be a new hobby or project, or even a career change.

When you learn to spot strengths, you’ll begin seeing them everywhere. By learning to spot strengths in others, you’ll eventually start to notice your own strengths. Keep a strength-spotting journal. For one week, you can make a daily entry where you describe strengths you noticed in other people. Examples might include:

  • I think my daughter asked 100 questions at dinner tonight. She’s very curious, which I believe is a strength.
  • My wife has a great sense of humor. I had a bad day at work, but she helped me see the ridiculousness of the situation.

During the next week, use your strength spotting journal to document how you used your own strengths on a daily basis.

Step 3: W(RAP) it up

W(RAP) It Up: Create a plan to move forward.

You’ve learned how to use your strengths, which is important for resilience. Click on the link below, print it out and think about: what should you stop doing, continue doing, and start doing.

Step 4: Explore Further

To learn more, explore our recommended resources.

Books

  • Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  • The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality by Ryan Niemiec

podcasts