Step 2: Put it into Practice

When you learn to spot strengths, you’ll begin seeing them everywhere. By learning to spot strengths in others, you’ll eventually start to notice your own strengths. Keep a strength-spotting journal. For one week, you can make a daily entry where you describe strengths you noticed in other people. Examples might include:
-- I think my daughter asked 100 questions at dinner tonight. She's very curious, which I believe is a strength.
-- My wife has a great sense of humor. I had a bad day at work, but she helped me see the ridiculousness of the situation.
-- During the next week, use your strength spotting journal to document how you used your own strengths on a daily basis.
One strategy you can use to implement new skills is to reflect on how you typically react when someone shares good news and become aware of some of the pitfalls when responding to your friends and family. Here are some of those pitfalls:
-- Squashing: Pointing out problems or providing negative feedback.
-- Shutting Down: Responding with low energy; not caring or being distracted.
-- Stealing: Focusing on yourself (one-upping); ignoring the event.
It may be helpful to spend some time thinking about the last week. Were there times when you squashed, shut down, or stole your friend’s good news? What was the circumstance? What did the person say? How did you respond? Looking back, what could you have said or done differently? After this reflection, try a new behavior next time such as asking questions or showing authentic support. Compare how you felt when celebrating good news versus squashing, shutting down, or stealing.
Strengths are natural capabilities and skills that each person has. When you use your strengths, you tend to feel energized. Or you can ask yourself these questions:
-- What am I good at?
-- What do I enjoy doing?
-- In what areas of my life have I been most successful?
-- What sort of activities fill me with energy?
-- When do I lose sense of time because I’m so engaged in an activity?
-- What makes a day really good for me?
-- When do I feel I was at my best during the past week?
Be sure to focus on your strengths, rather than specific skills. For example, “running” isn’t a strength, but “discipline” is. You can do this by asking questions such as “What makes me good at running?” or “What about myself allowed me to be successful in this area?”
It’s important to find new situations where you can continue to develop your strengths. Ask yourself these questions:
-- Are there new opportunities where I could use my strengths?
-- What is the impact of a particular strength on others?
-- What feedback do I get from others about this strength?
-- When I’m at my best, and how can I be like this more often?
-- Is there a new way to deal with an existing problem using my strengths?
-- Is there a completely new way I could use my strengths. This could be a new hobby or project, or even a career change.


W(RAP) It Up: Create a plan to move forward.

You’ve learned how to use your strengths, which is important for resilience. Click on the link below, print it out and think about: what should you stop doing, continue doing, and start doing.




  • Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  • The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality by Ryan Niemiec