“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
– Napoleon Hill
Did you happen to catch the 1993 Disney Classic Homeward Bound? If not, it’s a heartwarming saga of two dogs; Chance and Shadow, and one sassy cat named well…Sassy.
Fearing they had been abandoned by their owners, the trio takes it upon themselves to embark upon a long journey home through the rugged terrain of the Sierra Nevada wilderness.
As every epic story goes, the trio faced impossible odds however; they eventually make it home safely with the battle scars to prove it.
How did three unlikely bedfellows strategize and brave the wilderness beating the odds?
Totally unaware of it, they dug into a secret weapon; their strengths.
Do you feel like you’re facing insurmountable odds?
Maybe you are presented with a tremendous opportunity that you have to decide on quickly.
Perhaps you are blindsided by an unexpected turn of events; you have encountered roadblock after roadblock.
Either situation makes you feel like you’re trudging through the rugged Sierra Nevada wilderness.
What do you do?
The answer is a no-brainer:
Play to Your Strengths
In today’s blog post, I am going to share a secret weapon that you already have inside of you; your strengths.
I will also show you how you can maximize those strengths; not overuse them like a bulldozer in a field of daisies or underuse them like the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.
Positive Psychology defines strengths as a pre-existing capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is authentic and energizing to the user and enables optimal functioning, development, and performance.
In essence, they are the positive characteristics of your personality; your capabilities. They are the things you do very well.
Positive Psychology has identified countless strengths in human beings. The following is just a partial and by no means an exhaustive list of some of them.
You can’t use what you don’t know you have. The first place to start with strengths is to become keenly aware of them and start identifying the ones that resonate with you.
Have you ever thought of what strengths you possess? Take a look at the list of strengths and choose 3 that define you.
- Which strengths best describe you and your authentic energy?
- What strength can you use right now for what you are facing?
- How will you know it’s working?
Continue to revisit the list of strengths and intentionally notice when you are using them. As you do so, you will see your strength grow like a muscle and feel energized and motivated.
All good things have the potential to see their evil step-sister counterpart and strengths are no different.
I would be remiss if I did not give you a word of caution regarding the dark side of your strengths.
Strengths can be both overused and underused which can detrimentally affect you and others.
The following is an example of an overused strength:
An ambitious, aspiring leader (3 strengths) may unknowingly steamroll over people leaving a trail of bodies while taking a victory lap.
What is the remedy for this?
Everyone has blind spots. The remedy for blind spots is to pay careful attention to what is going on around you. There is a very close relationship between your core values and your strengths.
Strengths align with your core values and when used properly have a positive impact on yourself, others, and situations.
Maximizing your strengths should make you feel energized and ought to have a positive impact on those around you.
If things don’t quite feel right or are in chaos, check to see if you are overplaying your strengths.
The following is an example of an underused strength:
A typically brave person with strong leadership skills may feel intimidated in a new and unfamiliar setting and not exercise his or her courage for fear of being proved wrong or being made fun of.
The remedy for this is to recall a time when you were brave. What caused you to be courageous in the past? What is keeping you from standing up for what you know to be true?
Identify what that is; fear, rejection, wanting to be accepted.
Know that your strength is pre-existing. Bravery is already inside you. Take courage and face the voices telling you it’s not there.
Allow bravery to move you forward.
The truth of the matter is that all of us, whether it’s the 4th Quarter or not, will experience our own Sierra Nevada Wilderness.
That’s just a fact.
Hopefully, you can create such awareness around the character strengths you possess that you recognize how to optimize them.
By doing so, you, like Chance, Shadow, and Sassy, will make it home safely; battle-tested.
Never give up,
Always remember – Nothing is Impossible
I have created this anti-anxiety and anti-stress tool kit, proven by science, to help you reduce anxiety and stress. I guarantee you that if you implement some of these ideas and use these tools; you will navigate this uncertainty boat like a highly skilled Captain.