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Strategize Organize LLC
Newsletter Volume 8, Issue 1
 
A Strength of Character
 

Background
 

We often think about how to better ourselves.  We tend to compare ourselves to others and envy their strengths. It is more effective, however, to live and work from our own strengths, particularly our character strengths.  Why?  Because when we are trying day to day to
 
get up on time,
leave on time, 
find clean clothes/purse/phone/keys, 
process paper work, 
put things away
 
we can feel frustrated, stressed, and overwhelmed.  We blame these struggles on ourselves, and we can curse our weaknesses when things aren't going the way we envisioned. 
 
Of course, it's possible and profitable to work at these day-to-day challenges but understanding the core of who we are and operating from that understanding can bring us greater fulfillment.
 
I recently heard David Giwerc, author and ADD coach, talk about character strengths.  He referred to the VIA Institute on Character where you can take a free survey to find your character strength profile. I took the 15 minute survey of 120 questions, and I enjoyed noticing my character strengths as I moved through my day. With this keener awareness, I brought more of my strengths to my activities and interactions.  (Click on this link to begin building upon your own character strengths.)
 

About the Character Strengths and the VIA Institute on Character - Information from the website

 

"Character strengths are viewed as our positive personality in that they are our core capacities for thinking, feeling, and behaving in ways that can bring benefit to oneself and others."
 
"The VIA Survey only measures your good character, for instance qualities such as: love, kindness, fairness, zest and hope. Research shows that people who know and utilize their unique strengths have stronger relationships, find more engagement in their work, and lead happier, more fulfilling lives."
 
"In general, character strengths seem to assist in reducing the likelihood of distress and dysfunction while encouraging tangible outcomes like:
  • Greater happiness
  • Acceptance of oneself
  • Reverence for life
  • Competence, mastery, efficacy
  • Mental and physical health
  • Positive and supportive social networks
  • Satisfying, engaging, and meaningful work
  • Accomplishment of goals
  • Greater engagement and life meaning
  • Higher work productivity
  • Increased likelihood of work being a life calling
  • Less stress and improved coping
  • Greater academic achievement
  • Improved close relationships

An Alternative Approach


Though this newsletter has focused on the VIA institute's approach to character strengths, the strengths approach is widespread in the education and leadership communities.  For additional reading, you could check out books like Strengths Finder 2.0 or Strengths for Leadership.
 

Final Thoughts
 

We each possess our own unique strengths.  Though others can and should inspire us, a more achievable and fulfilling goal is not to become more like those we admire, but instead to notice and nurture the seeds that are already planted within us, ready to grow.   

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