After the initial rush of excitement that comes from taking a strengths assessment and starting to recognize your own strengths, it's easy to get confused about what to do next. We all hear the advice about developing and using our strengths, but what does that really mean exactly? Without some clear strategies in mind, it is easy for your strengths results to eventually end up unused in a stack of papers on your desk…or even worse, to land in your recycling bin! So here is a list of 10 great things to do after you have completed your strengths assessment of choice (i.e., VIA Character Strengths Survey, Clifton StrengthsFinder). Try these any or all of these ideas for yourself or share them with others if you are a Community Strengths Champion™!
- Read your assessment results thoroughly and make note of or underline some of the phrases that really speak to you. This might sound like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many people just glance at the summary of their strengths results without really reading them thoroughly and thinking about them.
- Have a debriefing conversation about your results with someone who understands the subject of strengths. (Don't know anyone you can speak with about your strengths results? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you get started…)
- Find a buddy (or several buddies!) who will work on your strengths with you for 3 months of concentrated effort. For example, encourage a friend to take the same assessment and then meet once a week to encourage and coach each other. You and your friend can work through the rest of the items on this list together. And if your assessment results include some suggested activities for developing your particular strengths, you and your friend can do some of those activities together as well.
- Share your results with some of the primary peoplein your life and get their feedback. Ask them: How have you seen this strength show up in me?
- Pick one strength at a time to really study and understand how it shows up in you. Observe yourself and look for signs of this strength that are already present in your life. Think about opportunities in your life that could be improved by using this strength proactively. Look for examples of this strength being used successfully in the world around you, or even in books, thenews or the movies. Do this activity for each of your Top 5 strengths.
- Rewrite the definition of each of your strengths in your own words. It will be hard to really know and use your strengths until you can articulate what they mean to you. What does each of your Top 5 strengths look like in you?
- Think of 3 to 5 things you have done that you are really proud of and then list how your strengths contributed to those accomplishments.
- Look for signs of your strengths in your childhood memories. What are your earliest memories of having your strengths?
- Think of a job, role or activity where you really excelled and then write down how your strengths helped you to be successful with it.
- Give yourself a one-week challenge and intentionally try to use one of your strengths in a new or different way for 7 days in a row. To make it even more fun, do this challenge with a friend and talk about what you have each discovered about yourselves at the end of the week.
- Wait a minute? Number 11? You caught me. Yes, this is supposed to be a list of 10 suggested activities, but the beauty and power of strengths is that when we are using our strengths, we are naturally energized and motivated to do more. So here's a bonus suggestion for you: Make a list of the things that you are particularly good at or love to do because of your strengths. Be sure to include at least 1 activity or behavior for each of your Top 5 strengths. Use this list to help you evaluate opportunities that come your way. The more chances you have to use the behaviors on your list, the more you will enjoy a given activity!
Whenever you need to motivate yourself or bring new energy to your life, try one of the suggestion on this list. Most of them can easily be repeated as a way to reconnect with your strengths from time to time.
I hope this list is helpful to you and helps you get started on a lifetime of knowing, growing, and showing strengths!