Many of us grew up in a critical environment and a society which looks at what we don’t shine in compared to what we do. And we do that to ourselves to. Scientists calls this a “negativity bias”. It means we are built to look for what may cause us harm. It’s a protective mechanism.
However we don’t always need to use this mechanism. It’s possible to look at what’s working; what’s beautiful in us and others and make best use of that.
Having personally benefitted from learning about my strengths, I became a strengths practitioner and now strongly recommend people to learn about their strengths. It’s one of the most important ways of discovering your Calling in life.
I recommend taking the premium version of Realise2, a strengths survey. It shows five families of strengths – thinking, relating, motivating, being and communicating. To supplement that, I’d recommend the VIA Character Survey, which shows you your character strengths. Having a debrief done with a strengths practitioner is really much more useful that doing the test and interpreting results yourself. But in case you don’t do the debrief, here are some notes to support you.
- Familiairise yourself with how Realise2 works. The notes below will only make sense if you do this first.
- If you want clues to discover your Calling, look at the Realised and Unrealised Strengths in your Realise2 results. Which of these really speak to you, and call you to bring more of them into your life and work?
- Strengths can be overused. More is NOT better. Wisdom researcher Barry Schwartz actually calls Wisdom the master strength because it helps you use the right strength, at the right time with the right person.
- Do have a look at your learned behaviours to see if any of your strengths had been overused and ended up draining you. Or perhaps a certain strength only drains you in a certain context but could really energise you in another context. For example, technical writing may drain you but creative writing may energise you and could very well be part of you discovering your Calling. So don’t write off learned behaviours completely! It needs careful investigation.
- While weaknesses are meant to be minimised in the Realise2 model, sometimes a weakness is a “hole in the ship” as Dr Robert Biswas-Diener said in a talk in Singapore. Such weaknesses would of course need to be developed. For example, if you have Compassion as a weakness, I would certainly encourage you to develop that and not minimise it. There’s lots of research to show that compassionate people are happier.
- One key difference between Realise2 and VIA is that Realise2 measures how energising it is for you to use a strength whereas VIA doesn’t include this element. So in Realise2, if you are very good at somehting but it drains you, we would call that a “learned behaviour”, not a strength. So when interpreting your VIA results, do ask yourself if your top strengths actually energise you.
- People change and so will their profiles. In fact, trainers at Realise2 advise that you take Realise2 every six months. (Trainers at VIA say the profile is pretty stable through life except if there are major life events.) If you’re using such surveys to do long term planning or discover your Calling, ask yourself which strengths are pretty stable, and can be part of such long-term planning.
If you think you and your colleagues would benefit from strengths debriefs, learn more about my strengths work at organisations. Contact me at vadivu[at]joyworks.sg to explore further.
I also do individual sessions when time permits.
Enjoy using your strengths to be of service to the world! :)