Using Your Strengths in a Radically Different World

According to Gallup, wellbeing comprises five areas: Purpose/career, social, financial, physical, and community. When our wellbeing suffers, we are less engaged in our lives. Applying our strengths is one way of improving our wellbeing.

A few months into the pandemic I noticed a decrease in my social wellbeing. Upon reflection, it appeared opportunities to use my strength of Woo seemed non-existent. Clearly, my love for getting to know people and making new connections required a new approach. Through conversations with students, faculty, and staff I discovered I was not alone in feeling as if I no longer understood my strengths. What I discovered was I knew my strengths as they were in the world before COVID, and now I must  begin to reframe my strengths in the context of the life I am living now. If you are feeling the same, here are some strategies to begin reframing your strengths.

  1. Our strengths are our natural talents and we have to be intentional about applying them in productive ways. 
  • Identify what each strength looks when at its best. Does that still apply to the world we live in today? If not, how can you reframe this strength to be used in the context of the world right now? 
  • Now, take a moment to identify when each strength is creating an obstacle for you. Be aware of when your strengths hinder your success, and ask yourself which of your other strengths can help you overcome that barrier. 
  1. Of the five areas of wellbeing mentioned above, identify the areas where you are thriving. Then identify which one you are struggling to fulfill. To address this need, ask yourself what is out of your control, what is in your control to meet this need, and how your strengths can help you? Journal, meditate, or talk through these reflections with a friend, peer, or colleague.
  2. Now you’ve identified an area of wellbeing to address and how your strengths can help. Write down a SMART goal or habit and post it somewhere you will see it regularly. Be sure to incorporate your strengths into the process of reaching your goal.
  3. Use your resources. Students, if you need help navigating this reflection, schedule an appointment with StrongPoints today. For faculty and staff, consider reaching out to Human Resources  for resources and strategies.

You might struggle to start reframing your strengths because you’re burned out. This is the biggest obstacle to engagement and motivation. Gallup’s research reveals those who have someone in their life who encourages their development are less likely to be burned out. Ask yourself, who is investing in me? If you can’t identify someone, maybe that should be your SMART goal: to find someone who encourages you to develop as a person, student, employee, etc.

The CliftonStrengths assessment provides you with the language to identify your natural talents, which are a tool to support your wellbeing. However, a word of caution: don’t rush through the difficult emotions. Understand where they are coming from and then apply your strengths to the situation. It won’t always be easy, but be patient and give yourself some grace.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330