“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Use this checklist to make the most of your strengths. Learn how to identify them. How to analyse them. How to use them. And how to build on them.
Checklists are good for self-help. They give you a list of the actions you need to take to achieve your goal. And they do so in a sequence that helps you to learn. You just take one step at a time. Until you get to your goal.
This is the best way to build your strengths. And to achieve your goals.
Identify your five greatest strengths
☐ Log on to www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edy/questionnaires.aspx. Click on the authentic Happiness Inventory Questionnaire. Click on register. Complete the questionnaire. It takes about twenty-five minutes.
☐ Or buy Martin Seligman’s book “Authentic Happiness” and complete the questionnaire on page 114. You can get this book at http://www.amazon.com/Authentic-Happiness-Pstchology-Potential-Fulfillment/dp/0743222989.
☐ Identify your five highest scoring strengths from your answers to this questionnaire. Which compares your answers to those of the thousands of other people who have taken the test. And puts them in rank order from one to twenty-four. Your highest scoring strengths are your greatest strengths.
Separate signature strength from learned strength
☐Ask ten people who know you well to give you detailed feedback on what you do well and not well. What they would like to see you keep doing, start doing or stop doing. Compare they answers with you top five highest strengths. This will give you a clear picture of what your signature strengths are.
☐ Look at your top five personal strengths. You will feel comfortable about most of them. Using them comes naturally to you. Because these are your signature strengths. They are part of you. Using them makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
☐ If you are not comfortable using a strength it is not a signature strength. It is a learned strength that you can perform to an acceptable level. You can use these strengths to make a living or pursue a pastime. They are important but using them does not make you feel happy or fulfilled.
☐ Another way to confirm your signature strengths is to see if they meet one or more of the following criteria.
- I feel a sense of ownership of them as if they are the real me.
- I feel excited while using them specially at first.
- I experience a rapid learning curve when I use this strength specially at the beginning.
- I continually learn new ways to use this strength.
- I yearn to find ways of using it.
- I feel as if I am destined to use this strength.
- I feel invigorated and not at all exhausted while using it.
- I create and pursue personal projects that require me to use it.
- I experience joy, energy, enthusiasm, and sometimes ecstasy while using it.
Use your signature strength to increase your satisfaction
☐ Increase your satisfaction by using your signature strength every day. If your job does not require you to use them you need to change it or find a pastime that allows you to use them.
☐ Identify the signature strengths you use at work. And how much time do you use them for each week. See if you have more scope for using them at work.
☐ Which of your signature strengths do you use in your leisure time. How can you increase this? Are there other leisure pursuits that would give you more scope to use them.
☐ Set yourself a goal to use your two or three signature strengths for at least an hour or two each day. Doing so has changed my life. And increased the level of satisfaction and fulfillment I enjoy.
Build on your signature strengths
☐ Use your signature skills for an hour or more each day. This will build them up for you. In much the same way as exercise will keep you physically fit.
☐ Use them in as many settings as you can manage. Using them every day in the main areas of your life will bring you an abundance of gratification and authentic happiness.
☐ At work choose jobs and assignments that lets you use your signature strengths every day. Reconstruct your present work to use them more. If you are a boss choose employees with signature strengths that fit the work you want them to do. Let employees restructure their work to use their signature strengths where this allows them achieve the goals of the job.
☐ See your relationships as a source of strength. Use them to support your signature strengths. You you can strengthen your relationships by doing the following:
- Before parting find out one thing that each of you is going to do before you meet again.
- When you meet again have a low stress chat about what happened in the meantime.
- Express affection, appreciation and support as is appropriate for the nature of the relationship.
- Spend time together once a week. Where just the two of you meet in a relaxed setting to update your relationship.
- Express your admiration and appreciation at least once every time you meet.
☐ Your pastimes are another area for using and building your signature strengths. Select pastimes that provide you with opportunities to use your signature strengths. For me reading, researching and writing this blog lets me use my signature strengths.