“It’s true, I really can see a pattern in the strengths I use!”

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Download the What Went Well journal here.

My daughter Sarah, 15, had been keeping the What Went Well journal for three days and I’d asked her what she thought of it. “Hurray!” was my reply, for two reasons: the journal was working, but even more important, my teenager was seeing how her strengths help contribute to the good things that happen in her life.

I do a lot of work with kids of all ages, so I test all my new tools on my own children. The What Went Well journal is also being used with the whole senior class at Masibambane College in South Africa this week!

If you’ve been using the journal, which I gave away in last week’s post and which you can download here, I hope you’re having similarly good results.

What to do next

Once you know your strengths, you can begin building them and using them more deliberately. For most people, this leads to:

  • Greater “subjective wellbeing” (aka happiness)
  • A greater connection with whatever they do, whether it’s work, school, hobbies or engaging with other people
  • More positive relationships
  • Greater meaning in their lives
  • More success/achievement, again across domains like work and school

Here are four ways you can build your strengths every day:

  1. Try using one of your top strengths in a new way
  2. Use a strength in a new setting. Are you great at being a team player at work, but tend to be a leader at home? Try letting someone else choose the next restaurant or explore ideas for a weekend outing.
  3. Choose hobbies that play to your strengths. If you and your partner have different strengths, find activities where your strengths overlap. If you like art and he’s the social type, you mind enjoy a gallery opening or going with friends to a movie about one of your favorite painters.
  4. Use your strengths to deal with a challenge. Hate rush-hour traffic? If gratitude is one of your strengths, be thankful you have a job to go to and a car to drive. If you love learning, listen to an audiobook.

What are your strengths? What ways can you think of to use them in new ways? How can I help?