Working to your strengths, with Emma
At Livability wellbeing, reflection and happiness are the upmost priority for the people we support, our staff and our wider community. We also believe that every individual has strengths and gifts to share, which we aim to enable and empower. Emma Browning – Livability Wellbeing Programmes Manager, shares this wellbeing message among our staff and we would love to invite you, our supporters, to explore working on your strengths.
Recognising your strengths
We all have strengths in different areas in life. The tasks you might be really good at could well be the things that I find the hardest to do. Join us as we look at how working to your strengths can improve your wellbeing.
From the moment we wake up, we set about a long list of daily activities, which occupy us until we arrive back in bed again that night. Some of these tasks can feel fulfilling and easy to do and some can feel like wading through thick mud. Chances are the things that you find simple and rewarding in life are attuned to your natural strengths.
Taking the time to understand what your strengths are can help you to open up more opportunities to use them, which can lead to increased resilience, vitality, confidence, self-esteem and happiness, as well as reduced stress.
Which then begs the question – do you know what your strengths are?
Strengths are not just the things we find easy, they also have to be things we enjoy doing. You might have natural talent for organisation. So much so that you often get asked to plan events or activities because you can easily see the order in which things needs doing and you can facilitate everything without any problems. However, if you dislike the whole process and feel exhausted afterwards, then this is not your strength, it is just something you have learnt to become competent at.
A strength should feel naturally energising and lead to optimal performance. It is something you are always happy to do and you feel motivated to use. It is likely that you are already using your strengths in many areas of your life but it is also possible that you could have an unrealised strength just waiting to be discovered.
With a little personal investigation, you can uncover what some of your key strengths are. Try remembering the things you loved doing and found easy in your childhood, for some ideas. Clues to your strengths can also be found in those moments when you become frustrated with other people’s inability to do something which seems simple and easy to you. Finally ask others who know you well, often other people can see the strengths in ourselves that we are oblivious to.
Identifying strengths is big business and you’ll find many websites dedicated to it. There are also different ways that strengths can be categorised. Exploring lists on the internet can help you identify which ones pop out as best describing yourself. For example, do you consider yourself: ambitious, analytical, appreciative, artistic, authentic, compassionate, communicative, considerate, curious, decisive, determined, detail-orientated, empathetic, enthusiastic, flexible, focused, forgiving, honest, humourous, industrious, inquisitive, kind, logical, modest, moral, motivated, observant, optimistic, open-minded, organised, perseverant, persistent, practical, resourceful, responsible, serious, spontaneous, straightforward, strategic, tactful, team-orientated, thoughtful, versatile, visionary, warm, welcoming or wise?
Putting strengths into practice
Once you have a clearer idea of what your strengths are, you can put them to work. Next time you are making decisions, planning a project or have a troubling issue to tackle, you can reflect on which strengths could be of most help.
If we have strengths in some areas, it is inevitable that we will have weaknesses in others. It’s too easy in life to focus on the things we are not good at – this just grows unhelpful negative feelings. Working hard in an area that we are not strong in can help us to become more skilled but a simpler option is to join up with someone who has complementary strengths to us, because individual strengths combined can become a powerful force.