How to Play to Your Strengths and Thrive

Five ways to leverage strengths to improve well-being.

At an early age, we are often taught that in order to succeed, we must overcome our weaknesses. As a result, many people have dedicated their energy to following this recommendation.

What if the recipe for success is actually the opposite? What if we can achieve better results and reach our full potential by developing our personal strengths rather than fixing our weaknesses?

As a coach and practitioner of positive psychology (the study of human flourishing), I am in favor of playing to our strengths. The concept of “flourishing” includes nurturing, developing and celebrating our strengths rather than concentrating on fixing our weaknesses, or what I refer to as non-strengths.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that nurturing your strengths means ignoring your non-strengths. Rather the best approach is to focus on your strengths as a way to manage and minimize non-strengths.

Each of us possess unique personal strengths and talents with which to create and live a meaningful life. And by nurturing and developing our personal strengths, the results can be more rewarding in experiencing a sense of well-being — joy, health, wealth, abundance and fulfillment in all areas of our lives.

When it comes to personal strengths, I am referring to your natural talents, gifts and abilities. These strengths are unique to you. Others may refer to them as your “God-given” talents. When applied, these strengths are effortless for you.

If you are not quite sure what your core personal strengths are, here is a simple three-step exercise to help you get started.

Step 1: Think of a specific moment when you achieved a success in which you felt deeply engaged and fulfilled.

Step 2: While reflecting on this moment, list specific adjectives to describe the talents and/or character traits you applied. Some examples of adjectives can include: courage, confidence, analytical, integrity, humor, leadership, etc.

Step 3: Review your list and choose your top five personal strengths.

Now taking it a step further, here are five ways to leverage and play to your personal strengths:

This first way is to pay attention to your strengths and integrate them in a holistic way in all areas of your life. This can include integrating your strengths in your personal relationships, career and work, finances, spiritually, health and more. Using these strengths can produce a feeling of excitement, gratification and happiness.

The second way is to nurture your strengths to increase self-trust. When you have a greater sense of self-trust, you are more willing to take on challenging goals.

The third way is to use your strengths as assets by tapping into them in times of challenges. This will improve your resilience.

The fourth way is to recognize that your strengths are your best resources for enhancing high level performance towards achieving your goals and dreams. You can also link your strengths to improve goals related to health and well-being, productivity, profitability and more.

Finally, the fifth way to play to your strengths is to connect your strengths to your passions. This action can help you gain clarity on your calling and sense of purpose in life. It can also help you identify how to express your strengths. Additionally, it can help you discover ways to create more meaning personally as well as ways to contribute to the well-being of others, the planet and the world.

By leveraging your personal strengths in these ways, you have a wonderful opportunity to create your own unique path in which to flourish, realize your full potential and thrive.