What is a personal strength?
A personal strength is a characteristic that we can bring to various areas of our lives. These strengths give our lives meaning and help us move in the direction we want to move in. They are inner characteristics, which, if we embrace, can help us face life’s challenges. Personal strengths are on-going processes that never reach an end. They can be accessed at all times. For example, the personal strength of dedication is something that can never be fully achieved, but is something you will always work at being better at.
When we talk about personal strengths, we are talking about things like integrity, courage, optimism, dedication, patience, perseverance, focus, creativity and so on.
How will identifying my strengths help me?
For athletes, recognising and using personal strengths is a key component that allows them to become successful sportsmen and women. In many areas of life, including training and sports, self-doubt and negative thoughts can interfere in achieving one’s goals. Many people forget or downplay the personal characteristics they possess. Recognising these strengths can serve as a strong foundation with which one works towards their goals. Drawing on these strengths, particularly in challenging situations, can help to work through and overcome any obstacles.
I don’t know what my strengths are! How do I identify them?
It is not unusual for people to be completely unaware of what personal strengths they possess. Many people find it hard to identify what these are, and without knowing this, it is impossible to access them and use them to help you reach your goals. So, identifying your personal strengths is the first step. Perhaps start by writing a list of as many as you can think of. If this is too daunting, you can always read through a list of strengths and identify which ones “jump out” (see Identifying Personal Strengths worksheet).
How can I use my personal strengths to help me achieve my goals?
Knowing what yours strengths are enables you to use them to your advantage. Personal strengths can be used in this way when setting goals. They help to create a firm base from which you can work towards your goals. A personal strength can also act as a very powerful motivator, helping you continue to work towards your goals despite any obstacles that may arise along the way. The key is to pair the basic goal setting strategies (see SMARTr goals) with an identified personal strength. Using personal strengths in this process also helps to ensure the goal is meaningful (see Personal Strengths and Goal Setting worksheet).