Personal strengths. The things you are good at. Your greatness in a few words. Do you know what yours are? Have you sat and really thought about it? Well, now is your chance. And I am making it extra easy for you too.
The best reference material for looking at your own personal strengths is 'Character Strengths and Virtues' by Peterson and Seligman. I used it to elicit my strengths when I started and I still use it to check in and see how I am evolving. It's a lot easier to have a guide such as this than to just sit down and try to pull them out of your brain.
Peterson and Seligman distilled everything down into 24 strengths, and the process to find yours is very simple. Are you ready to find your own personal strengths?
Before you get started though, one word of advice: be honest. You will not get a true reflection of your True Self if you do not. Select those that resonate and reflect YOU, not the you people want you to be, the you you want to be or the you people see on the outside.
Below you will find the list of 24 personal strengths and some qualifier questions to help you decide if it's a yes or a no for you personally. All you need to do is go through the list crossing out the ones that do not apply to you, until you are left with the 3-5 that are you to a tee.
It took me a couple of sweeps to get mine as I was truly open to the honesty of the process but you may need longer - or conversely you may need less time. It can take a little bravery to face a few of the things you need to improve. Don't let this bother you because you're likely to get more honest the more sweeps you do, and this will only benefit you in the long term.
The 3-5 strengths that are left are the things about you that are the most dominant. Use these traits regularly. These things represent YOU. Knowing your strengths can help you to build your personal brand, or for use in any situation where you need to demonstrate massive skill. Your strengths will also help highlight your values - if you haven't already done so.
As a result of the exercise you are about to start, I found my personal strengths to be:
2. Love of learning
4. Appreciation of beauty
I go through this process every year to see how I am evolving as a person and to keep abreast of who I am becoming. I recommend you do this too - maybe as part of your new year preparations.
So, are you ready to find out your own personal strengths?
Good luck and feel free to share your strengths with us in the comments below.
Peterson and Seligman's 24 Character Strengths
(Simplified version courtesy of Joyful Days)
Personal Strengths of Wisdom and Knowledge
1. Creativity - Are you good at looking for novel solutions to tricky problems? Do you enjoy seeking alternative ways of doing things? Is your mind constantly challenging the status quo and looking for a better way?
2. Curiosity - Do you ask lots of questions and stop only when the other person is obviously tired of answering? Have you had your fair share of accidents and injuries because you just had to try something out?
3. Open-Mindedness - Are you able to hold two contradictory thoughts at the same time while others are taking sides? When presented with a radical idea, do you consider it a possibility instead of judging it right away?
4. Love of Learning - Is there always a book in your bag so you can pull it out to read when you have a few spare minutes? Do you get an adrenaline rush from learning new skills or attending classes or seminars?
5. Perspective - Can you see things from different points of view without making a conscious effort to? Do people tend to respond to your thoughtful comments with “I never saw things that way…”?
Personal Strengths of Courage
6. Bravery - Do you readily go where angels fear to tread? When everyone is holding back, are you the one who stands up to volunteer with words like “what the heck” or “you never know until you try”?
7. Persistence - When others are ready to quit, are you the one who encourages them to try just one more time? Have you doggedly worked at a problem until you find the solution instead of giving up or passing the problem on to someone else?
8. Integrity - Have you ever told the truth knowing that it would cost you money, friends, and perhaps your reputation? Do you do the ‘right’ thing all the time, even when no one is watching?
9. Vitality - Do you inject energy into the projects you’re involved in? Do things seem to somehow pick up speed when you around? Do people give more of themselves when you are working alongside them?
Personal Strengths of Humanity
10. Love - When you look at people, do you see what they look like or do you see who they really are? Do you feel a deep appreciation for everyone you meet because each is unique and special?
11. Kindness - Are in incapable of walking past a street busker without dropping a few notes or coins into his box? Have you done good deeds for strangers on a regular basis because you saw the difficult situations they were in?
12. Social intelligence - Can you sense the mood of people in the room the moment you walk into it? Are you able to tell who gets along and who does not after a quick observation? Do people readily ‘click’ with you even when they don’t get along with each other?
Personal Strengths of Justice
13. Citizenship - Are you proud to be a member of an organisation or nation?Are you an ambassador for your company or country? is loyalty to this group very important to you?
14. Fairness - Were you the child who kept saying “that’s not fair”? Have you given up your share of something because you felt it was not right that other people didn’t have the same privilege? Do you see everyone as having equal rights?
15. Leadership - Do people look to you for guidance in chaos or in general? Does a group seem to ‘gel’ only when you’re there to hold it together? Do those in your group excel under your tutelage when they weren’t making it elsewhere?
Personal Strengths of Temperance
16. Forgiveness - Are you able to let go when people have repeatedly hurt you? Do you understand that harbouring a grudge hurts you more than it hurts them? Do you accept the frailty of human nature and allow people space to make mistakes?
17. Humility - Do you constantly learn from other people, even those who are younger or less educated or experienced than you? Can you accept praise graciously while not taking personal credit and walking on air immediately after?
18. Prudence - When given two options, do you usually choose the less risky, less expensive, less high-profile one? Do you tend to view others’ excesses as flamboyant or extravagant, and often advise people to ‘tone down’?
19. Self-Control - Are you able to deny yourself what you want because of a higher purpose or objective? When tempted to spend or eat beyond your plan, can you smile and say no most of the time without feeling deprived?
Personal Strengths of Transcendance
20. Appreciation of Beauty - Do you pause often to take in a view, gaze skywards, or observe animals in motion? Does a sense of awe sweep over you often when you contemplate the vastness of nature and the intimate details of life?
21. Gratitude - Are the words “thank you” on your lips and in your heart practically everyday? Is your reaction to people, events and things one of appreciation and gladness that this wonderful thing came your way?
22. Hope - Can you always see the silver lining when others see only a dark cloud? Is your mantra ‘tomorrow will be better than today’ or ‘don’t worry, everything will be ok’ or ‘things will work out, you’ll see’?
23. Humour - Can you see the lighter side of almost every situation? Do you see the folly of human self-importance? Do people relax around you because you help them to take themselves and life less seriously?
24. Spirituality - Do you feel connected to a source that is higher and deeper than yourself? Are you detached from things of this world? Do you feel that the ‘real’ world is inside you rather than outside?
Which apply to you most? Which are your personal strengths?