For some time now, psychologists have been exploring the question of whether we should work on developing our top strengths or instead look to develop our weakest strengths. In one study to get closer to the answer, they tested two groups of people. Following completion of the VIA strengths survey, the first group were asked to participate in a daily activity which utilised their top strengths. The others were asked to do the same but working on their bottom five strengths.
After two weeks when the test was complete, both groups demonstrated an increase in well-being scores. However, when the wellbeing measure was checked again six months later, only one of the groups showed a continued boost in well-being; the group who had practised using their key strengths daily.
The reason behind this was pretty straightforward; people using their strengths will find this more enjoyable and energising and are therefore more likely to continue the practice. People using their weakest strengths will find it onerous, draining and will be less likely to persevere.
This is one of the reasons why I believe strengths-work to be at the foundation of good coaching. If we are aware of our strengths, then we can play around with a variety of ways to tackle challenges and achieve goals with far more success and enjoyment.
If you’d like to raise your feel-good factor, ask yourself:
Do I know what my top five strengths are?
How can I use these strengths in new ways each day?
With this knowledge we can begin to work on our weaknesses, but from a different angle:
How can I use a top strength of mine to tackle this particular weak point?
For example, if you are not great at completing tasks but have ‘competitive’ as a top strength, then setting up personal deadlines, timing the tasks and planning rewards may appeal to you.
The beauty of this approach is that solutions will be personal to you and far more enjoyable to work on. However, it isn’t always easy to know what we are truly good at; some strengths lie dormant when we don’t need to call upon them. If you’d like help finding your top strengths and exploring new ways to tackle challenges, you can book in for a one-off strengths session with me. Call 07491 656020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.