Signature Strengths

One of the things about the Positive Psychology in Application event I’m holding is that there’s a lot to cover in the four hours. So I’m doing quite the unordinary task of talking about every topic I’m planning on presenting so that it’s there for people to refer back to when they want. Some of this stuff I spoke about before I ever planned to do an event like this. I naturally had enthusiasm for the topic so it wasn’t hard to write about topics like #3goodthings or finding your third place.

As I’ve said before, there’s no such thing as IP in the L&D world. We all do the same things, we’re just getting there in different ways. Claiming IP doesn’t help anyone, least of all our clients. That’s why I’m writing about all the things I’m going to present at #ppia. It’s information you can readily access from other sources, so I can’t lay claim to any of it. And I’m certainly not developing anything unique from it – and even if I was, there’s more to be done in collaboration than there is being the owner.

In my post on Positive Deviance, I briefly mentioned this piece on signature strengths:

A signature strength is something which, once you identify it, becomes your defining feature. That is, it is something which creates such a sense of purpose in you that you use that strength in the work you do, the way you live and the way you are.

I love this concept. I love it because every one of us has the capacity for finding their signature strength. In my case, it’s taken me many conversations, many different experiences, and a long time to be able to unravel what my signature strength is. I’m a Positive Deviant. And ever since I unleashed this awareness I can reflect back on everything I’ve done that’s ever been meaningful and think to myself – that was me expressing this strength of mine, I just never knew it.

More, though, I realise that I can – and will – use this strength in anything I choose to get involved with in the future. I can use that strength to help me succeed. I can use that strength to help me help others. I can use that strength to do something to help my community and beyond that society. Just thinking about it motivates me, and gives me a deep sense of purpose.

Kinda hippy huh?

Only if you think this kind of thing isn’t worth understanding.

I’ve had the right kind of people around me to help me gain this awareness. My family has been supportive of different things I’ve wanted to do with my life, like skiing, or taking a few days off with friends while my wife looked after the kids, or subscribing to a journal, or buying a new house. My friends have always challenged me to ensure my thinking is clear and giving me unwavering support. The people I’ve come to know through my networks have helped to support and build on ideas where they thought there was merit. I’ve had the presence of mind to read, learn and develop what knowledge I have because there’s just too much in this world to appreciate. I’ve had the self-belief to be able to develop an idea, put it out there and make it a reality.

I’ve been lucky.

Not everyone has that around them.

Not everyone will find their signature strength.

For those who can afford to navel-gaze like this, being able to spend that time to unravel what your signature strength is is only going to be beneficial.

The bloody awesome thing about a person’s signature strength is that it doesn’t just define them and permeate through everything they do. The bloody awesome thing is that it gets used for others. At its heart, that’s what Positive Psychology helps us to realise. When we act generously and graciously towards others, we increase the long last effects of feeling good that we bring on ourselves. When we act purposefully in ways that help us achieve positive feelings, we will only end up living a better life, and helping others to lead better lives.

I’d love to say that from reading this you’ll be able to find the answer. In truth, you need someone to help you have that conversation. Be it a mentor, a coach, a good friend or a partner, it needs to be someone who you trust has your best interest at heart and can help you uncover what your signature strength is.

Good luck.

Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

3 thoughts on “Signature Strengths”

  1. As I’ve mentioned above, it took the help of a coach to help me get clarity on my signature strength, and I’m now able to see how it’s been true in so many things I choose to get involved with in life.

    I don’t assume though that a coach is needed for everyone, self-reflection on such things is equally valuable and you need to give yourself the time and headspace to unravel that.

Say something...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s