Bring On Your Strengths In 2019

Happy New Year my dear friends! I hope you all had a lovely break and holiday season with your friends and family and I hope you are back feeling refreshed and re-energised. I had a great time with my family, did a bit of travel and was extremely fortunate to be with the people I love and enjoy some warmth and sunshine. I’m filled with gratitude.

I’m personally excited for 2019. I’m starting my part time Masters Programme – an MSc. in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology next week and I can’t wait to challenge, stretch myself and learn more. I also want to continue to focus on mental health and wellbeing; grow my coaching practice and work with more women.

This is in tune with my purpose – to empower and change lives of women through coaching. I want to continue to focus on the care and wellbeing of my family and of course my own self-care so I can be my best self. That is me, in a nutshell.

Over the holidays I read Robert Biswas-Diener’s Book on Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching and there is this excellent sailboat analogy on strengths and weakness that I want to share with you.

He says – “Let’s pretend that you are a sailboat. But, unfortunately, you have a leak. Lets call that leak your weakness. Now if you have the least shred of common sense, you will not ignore that weakness, that leak because you will sink. I absolutely urge you to attend to that leak. In fact, it is critical you do. In the real world – our weaknesses can make us capsize or sink unless we take care of them.

Having taken care of that leak you should understand one very important thing: even if you stop the leak 100% you will still not be able to get anywhere! It is your sails – your strengths in this case – that actually give you forward momentum. You need to take care of your leak to prevent yourself from sinking, but you need to hoist your sails to catch a favourable wind and move forward.”

In this same book, Biswas talks about 4 reasons we don’t focus on strengths.

  1. We are adapted by evolution to be vigilant for problems.

  2. Problems often feel pressing.

  3. Social norms dictate that we retain some modesty.

  4. We are not always aware of our strengths.

My friends, it is our strengths rather than our weaknesses that are our greatest assets of growth. So what are strengths? Strengths are tasks or actions that you can do well. These include talents, knowledge and skills. People use these traits and abilities in their daily lives to complete work, relate to others and to achieve goals. Everybody has their own set of strengths.

We all have our weaknesses and strengths. But have we really taken the time to see what they are? So today, to kick of the New Year strong I want to offer you an introspective tool/questionnaire that you can work on over the next few days to get an understanding of what your strengths are and how you can consciously use them this year. Here goes:

  • Let’s rewind 10 years. What are some of the keys learnings you would like to share with your younger self? So, if you are 40 years old today what would you like to tell your 30 year old self?

  • What are some of the things you were proud of in 2018? These can be big or small achievements.

  • Using the above responses as a guide, what do you think are your current strengths?

  • Rate your top 5 strengths.

  • What do you think are some of your current weaknesses?

  • What strengths would you like to build on, introduce, learn or work on this year?

  • What does expressing these skills/strengths look like for you on a daily basis?