We are quick to hyperfocus on troubles and to take our positives for granted. The positive events of our life can float past us like a burst of wind we never knew was there. We believe we are noticing the positives along with the negatives, but that’s not likely the case. See what I mean for yourself by filling out the grid below. List three positive experiences you had in the last twenty-four hours, along with a few details about each.
    Positive experience/ situation in the last day What was the positive you noticed? What character strengths were involved? What did you learn? Was it helpful with managing stress? Example While walking my dog, I stopped to talk with my neighbor. I noticed how friendly he was. We had a fun conversation. Zest/energy (in me); humor and kindness (in him). I felt better when I took the time to connect with someone new. I’d like to make more efforts like this. My shoulder tension eased afterward.
    Was it easy or difficult for you to do this activity? Did it take a while to come up with the examples? Most people find it surprisingly challenging. But if I were to ask you to recall three stressors from the past day, you could probably list at least ten in no time at all, right? It’s easier to notice the stressors in life. We can all do better at looking for the good, the positive, the virtuous, the ethical, and the strengths in ourselves and in the people around us. A focal point of this chapter will be targeting the development of this skill—a skill referred to as strengths-spotting. “Know Thyself” by Knowing Thy Strengths Joey, a medical equipment salesman, faced a difficult problem. His boss told him he had to give a speech in front of a hundred people on behalf of their team, and Joey hated public speaking. He avoided it at all costs. His boss knew this about Joey. Was he testing him? Perhaps he had no one else to turn to? Regardless, Joey had no choice. He loved his job and wanted to keep it. The speech would be to existing and potential future customers. It was important. Joey’s anxiety was through the roof. Would he make mistakes and mess up the business? Would he even be able to speak once he got out there? How could he face a hundred sets of eyes staring at him? Joey reminded himself about his signature strengths. He asked himself, How might my top strength of perspective help me see the bigger picture? First off, he thought, I don’t have to see this as a “problem”; instead, I can view it as a challenge—something difficult, but something I can do. It’s actually an opportunity! Joey reframed the speech as an opportunity to educate potential customers about what he knew, to show his skills and knowledge to his boss, and to be helpful to his team. Then he considered his signature strength of gratitude. Joey always felt enlivened when he expressed this strength. Why not share my gratitude to all the existing customers in the room? he thought. Early on in the talk, when I’ll likely be most nervous, I’ll thank our customers and take time to express why our team is so grateful for their loyalty. He realized this would bring the added benefits of connecting with the audience right from the start and portraying the company as a warm and appreciative business partner. Finally, Joey reminded himself of his third signature strength: humor. I do like to make people laugh, and telling stories and jokes comes easy to me, he reflected. My talk is somewhat serious so I can’t go overboard with humor, but I can work in a couple jokes and a funny story that happened to me while on the job. So Joey planned to start off with some lightheartedness by making a funny comment about the environment they’d be in. If he laughed at his own jokes, it would bring some stress relief to his body. And if the audience didn’t laugh, he decided he wouldn’t be bothered by this—he’d just continue to mix the informative with the humorous. In this way, Joey found that he could bring himself—who he was and what came most naturally to him—right into the experience. His spotting of strengths in himself helped him transform what initially seemed like an awful situation into a chance to use his signature strengths to face it and perhaps even enjoy parts of it. Spotting strengths takes practice, but it is a skill anyone can develop. It occurs on two levels: spotting strengths in yourself and spotting strengths in others. Ready for a challenge? Let’s start with the harder level—spotting strengths in yourself. When I ask audiences across the globe which level they find easier to do, 90 percent of hands go up claiming it’s easier to spot strengths in others. Looking within can feel subjective and uncertain, whereas seeing kindness or fairness in someone else, right in front of our eyes, has a clarity and objectivity about it. It seems more real. But learning to apply the language of strengths to yourself will serve you well when you interact with others and will boost your confidence during encounters with others who are also displaying their strengths. It’s a good growth step in the wise adage to “know thyself.”
    To begin strengths-spotting, you’ll want to have a sense of the positives you’re looking for. This is where being familiar with the foundational language of strengths is crucial. You’ve been building your knowledge of the 24 strengths since you began reading this workbook, and it’s been growing chapter by chapter. It might be helpful to have at hand a copy of the VIA Classification in the introduction, which contains all of the strengths and their corresponding definitions. For once you know what you’re looking for, you can set the intention to spot strengths in action—in other words, you can put on “strengths goggles” to help you see past the boring routines of life to discover your strengths and to find exceptions and positives within your stress and discomfort. Wearing “strengths goggles” is not Pollyannaish or onesided; rather, it brings in a perspective of reality that is often missed in today’s world. Strengths-Spotting in This Moment You can start practicing spotting strengths in yourself this very moment. What character strengths are you using right now as you read this chapter? Maybe you are using prudence, because you plan to read only for another fifteen minutes. Maybe you are using perseverance, because you are tired but you’ll still keep going. Maybe you are using creativity to review the list of strengths and think about yours in a new way. As in most situations, any of the 24 character strengths are possible. Which are you using right now and how?
    To spot character strengths is to add substance to any situation. Consider the two stories below, in which the exact same thing happens in each: Version 1: I woke up this morning, had breakfast, and got dressed. As I drove to work, I encountered a lot of bad traffic and the drivers on the road seemed angry and aggressive, often cutting me off. I arrived late for a work meeting and therefore apologized to my boss.
    Version 2: I woke up this morning with a feeling of zest, excited to start the day. For breakfast, I used prudence to be thoughtful and careful about my choices considering my high cholesterol, so I had an egg-white omelet with fresh vegetables with my coffee. As I got dressed, I paused to marvel at the smoothness of the material and vibrancy of the colors of my clothes (appreciating the beauty and excellence), which my spouse had pressed for me the preceding day. I felt spurts of gratitude for my spouse. As I drove to work, I encountered a lot of bad traffic and the drivers on the road seemed angry and aggressive, often cutting me off. I practiced forgiveness, letting go of these minor irritants as they occurred, while being aided by perspective, seeing the possible bigger picture that perhaps some had emergencies to attend to and others were experiencing anger and therefore in need of kindness and compassion. I arrived late for a work meeting, and feeling a bit embarrassed, I mustered up the bravery to apologize to my boss. I was honest about the situation and was clear to self-regulate my urge to blame the traffic for my lateness and instead took responsibility for not having planned ahead enough to account for the delay. The plot of each version is identical, but a significant difference emerges in the details, the nuances. The first recounting is mundane, whereas the second is more interesting and engaging. The second version offers insight into the narrator—how this person approaches life in general and in specific situations. It’s the ten character strengths mentioned directly that infuse the story with greater meaning. They lead to a deeper understanding of the person’s psyche and their relationships, allowing the listener/reader to generate more questions. One of the best ways to learn about your strongest qualities is to deploy a strategy that psychologists refer to as self-monitoring—closely observing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors over a specified period of time. Self-monitoring is a science-based method used to help people improve in a range of areas, such as anger management, emotion management, and stress management. You can apply this tool to learn more about your character strengths and the subtle ways in which they appear in your life. Self-Monitor Your Strengths Begin to track the many ways in which your character strengths appear in your daily life by using the self-monitoring sheet below (also available for repeated use at http://www.newhar binger.com/42808). First, decide on a period of time in which you will track your strengths. This might be one morning, one day, or one week. Next, decide how you will remind yourself to keep up with tracking your strengths. A smartphone alarm or timer set to chime at various intervals throughout your chosen period of time usually works well. Whenever you hear the  chime, pause to check in on the strengths you are using, no matter how subtly, and how you are using them in the situation at hand. Day/Time Current Activity Character Strength(s) How I’m Using My Strengths Other Comments (emotions felt, obstacles to using strengths, and so forth) Tuesday/2:30 p.m. Team meeting Curiosity; leadership Asking various questions of teammates; offered to lead a new project Felt excited; one obstacle was I didn’t want to step on teammates’ toes in offering to lead the project
    Wadifa Club
    writer and blogger, founder of Dog food planet .

    Related Posts

    Post a Comment