Congratulations on taking a KEY step towards finding work you positively love to do.  You’re actually taking steps to change things.  That’s why I’ve adapted  this popular exercise from  Dik and Duffy’s book, Make Your Job A Calling for you. I know from working with clients that even the smallest of steps can create huge shifts and boost success to finding work that is meaningful AND that you love.

So, what’s the story?  Did you know that research tells us that when people use their strengths at work they tend to experience work as more MEANINGFUL?  By meaningful I mean work that takes on a kind of significant, purposeful, important, useful quality. (basically good stuff !)

I realize that talking over our STRENGTHS isn’t usually a topic of conversation most of us have on a regular basis, so….

Here’s an exercise with 5 Keys that is personal and all about identifying your strengths by exploring YOUR BEST SELF.  (There’s many examples I’m sure…we just need one!)   You’ll need a journal or several sheets of paper.   Enjoy the ride….

KEY 1 – Breathe, relax and get comfortable.

Think about a recent situation when you were at your BEST.  Review the last few weeks.  Think about the situation and get clear about the details.  It helps if you can simply describe each part of the situation in sequence.  Don’t worry about complete sentences…. use bullets….like Julie.

Let me introduce Julie:

Jule is a small business owner who is taking courses to improve her use of technology and delivery of group coaching/consulting vis a vie the phone/internet..  She was willing to share her responses.  Thanks Julie!

Here’s Julie’s Best Self example.

  • I was a part of a large virtual class that was assigned to create a virtual group presentation for an hour, promote it and ultimately go live and present to the audience that signed up
  • This was a teleclass and I had been somewhat hiding in the background, not really risking very much or letting people know me by speaking up, asking questions, etc.
  •  I made a decision to get more involved and be known…share my thoughts and be known as an active member of the group vs.  “shy’ or “reserved”.
  • So, I decided to sign up for everyone’s V group.  Everyone…that was quite a commitment when you consider attending at least 20 plus hours of presentation.
  • Not only did I show up but I actively participated in the group (not overly too much), but I was determined to add to the success of each classmate’s presentation.
  •  I also wrote to each presenter through the listserve (which goes to everyone in the class) highlighting their unique gifts, doing my best to describe the impact they made.

KEY 2 – What did you do well?

Julie’s example:

  • I signed up for each of my peer’s virtual groups and I made sure I blocked off the time and was there ON TIME.
  • I made sure to give my utmost respect and attention.
  • I made sure my responses helped the conversation move along in a supportive way; hopefully interesting way.
  • I think I wrote to each person in a meaningful, relaxed and authentic way emphasizing their positive impact to me.

KEY 3- What was the outcome?

Julie’s example:

  • I believe my classmates felt valued and validated in a creative way because I truly loved each program and listened for what they did that was so unique and special.  (They really were!!)
  •  I think others were encouraged to sign up and be supportive too as they were all reading my short descriptions after each presentation..
  • Classmates got to know me and said my involvement really felt supportive.

KEY 4-What strengths are revealed in your story?

Thinking back on it, what specific personal strengths did you show in this situation?  Stretch and list as many as you can.

Julie’s example:

  • Courage
  • Genuineness, authenticity, honest
  • Risk-taker
  • Committed
  • Leader by example
  • Creative
  • Sense of humor
  • Team Player
  • Supportive
  • Dedicated

KEY 5-Highlight the top five strengths

Circle or highlight the top five.  In what other situations have you observed these strengths?

Julie’s example:

  • Team Player, Supportive, Courageous, Genuine and a Risk-taker
  •  I’m a team player wherever I am… I’m usually a giver and will sacrifice to help another; If I say I will do something, I will…I truly have the capacity to be welcoming to people in the office and I truly respect and learn from everyone and anyone.


The Challenge- Are you up for it?  Sure you are 🙂

Now that you have your FIVE Strengths here’s the Challenge:

Choose to use these strengths more often.  Make a conscious effort to find NEW ways to use them on the job (or in other areas of your life if you don’t have a job currently) over the next week.

Then, take a moment and reflect on your experience. In what ways has using your strengths made a difference in the way you feel about your work?

Remember, when people use their strengths at work they tend to experience work as more MEANINGFUL.  So, once you KNOW your Strengths, USE them!!

Update Alert!

Recently, Julie updated the results of becoming more focused around using her strengths in new ways.  She says,

  • I’m so surprised at what seems to be so many more opportunities to use my “courage” or “risk-taking” strengths. I guess I never thought about mustering up courage intentionally, although, now that I can, look out!
  • I’ve always had to make speeches in my work and now, I’m enjoying kind of “channeling “ my strengths to help me enjoy presenting more..
  • My strength of courage and risk-taking  has helped me participate in new venues with more confidence.
  • As I plan my sessions, I’m thinking, How can my strengths of “courage” , “genuineness”  and “sense of humor”  help me with this client?   It’s easy to do…and best of all, they (my strengths) are with me everywhere I go ;)!!

You go Julie!!

Let’s start moving you to a more meaningful career. I offer a career strategy call to accelerate YOUR meaningful work success. Just go here to request it.