Honesty.    Perseverance.     Zest.    Curiosity.     Self Regulation.

These are my top five character strengths as assessed by the VIA Institute on Character, a scientifically validated survey created by renowned psychologists Dr. Martin Seligman and the late Dr. Christopher Peterson and used by hundreds of researchers to advance the science of character. The survey puts 24 character strengths in rank order, indicating that we each possess all of these strengths in some degree. Those at the top of the profile offer the closest representation of the “real” you, while those at the bottom are strengths that come less naturally and require more effort to manifest.

There are numerous instruments that serve as a mirror to reflect back your unique strengths — the Myers-Briggs test, the DISC assessment, Strengths Finder, At My Best, and many others. I’ve taken them all and I’ve used any number of these instruments with my clients. Why is it important to know your strengths?

People have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies. Evidence has shown that those who focus on honing their strengths are more engaged in their jobs and have a higher potential for an excellent quality of life. It’s important to know what’s right with people. Knowing your strengths and how to operate from them allows you to cultivate who you are instead of try to be who you are not. Knowing and growing your strengths leads to more authentic living.

Growing, leveraging and investing in your strengths transcends the workplace and applies to your overall engagement strategy. Your strengths come into play as an engaged community volunteer, as a member on an active board of directors, and as a citizen of the world. As a member of a team, your strengths can complement those of others to create a powerhouse with unlimited potential.

In my most recent positive psychology class of 17 participants, I was the only one who had Self-Regulation in the top 5 character strengths. So when they were done passing around the tray of cookies and no longer wanted the temptation, they said, ‘Put it in front of Amy!’ So, as you see, it’s valuable to know the strengths of others on your team so that you can maximize your effectiveness and stick to your diet at the same time ;)…

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