Understanding Strengths: The Key to Happiness
For our purposes, “strengths” is defined as “a characteristic that is often present in one’s personality.” We all have behaviors and ways of being that are unique to us, and that we use to deepen our talents and find success in life. We feel comfortable in our skin when we know which strengths make us feel most alive and spark our “best self.”
There are many reasons why we should all be versed in what our “strengths” are and how we can use them effectively.
One of the most powerful reasons why we should all know our strengths, and particularly those at the top, is because of the research showing its impact on our mood and effectiveness. For example, it’s been found that just knowing your top strengths and deliberately using them in new and creative ways increases happiness – even as far as six months into the future! This finding is crucial because all success in life is now found to be the result of being happier first, and not the other way around; we do not become happy BECAUSE we are successful, we become successful because we start in a flourishing place, and using strengths assists in getting there.
In addition to being a mood-lifter, knowing and using your top strengths in deliberate and creative ways has also been found to increase one’s chances of succeeding at valued goals. For example, if we rank high in “social intelligence” or “bravery,” we can more easily call upon our courage to take a big risk, or pick up on social nuances and chemistry to create team harmony.
There are some well-known ways to study and describe strengths. For many years, test have been used to help measure someone’s tendencies towards being high in themes like “strategist,” “relator,” maximizer,” “achiever” or “competitor” and how terms like “curiosity” and “kindness” express themselves in your daily lives. Researches have shown that when managers tailor jobs in such a way that an employee’s strengths are called upon regularly, workers are not only happier and more engaged at work, they are also more successful.
It’s been observed that when people lead with their strengths, they not only feel more authentic, others report feeling more comfortable around them, as well.
The opposite occurs when one tries to exhibit a behavior that isn’t natural. For example, if someone who is not particularly modest tries to be self-effacing, it won’t be very effective. Another person who isn’t strong in “appreciation of beauty and excellence” might have trouble pausing and savoring a spectacular sunset, and asking them to do so would create awkwardness.
To achieve our “best possible self” and the life we dream of, it is imperative that we see ourselves honestly, and that we understand and use the tendencies that bring us the most satisfaction and success. Not only will your journey be more fulfilling, it will create the destinations that suit you best.
Ask yourself: If I were living my best possible life, how would my top five strengths have contributed to getting there and how can I begin using them more effectively to go in that direction now?
(Adapted from an article written by Caroline Adams Miller)
ACE voice: Be mindful of how those strengths align with the position you are looking for: After you have made your list of strengths, pair each of your strengths with an aspect of the job description. This will show how you measure up in regards to the tasks at hand and the company culture. Keep in mind that this is not the time to be humble!
Renuka Tandon is Director and Chief Consultant at ACE Impression. She provides customized image management and personal branding consulting to corporate executives and business owners targeted towards professional growth and business success . Click here to contact Renuka.