My motto for the week is progress over perfection! Although it was wonderful taking a full 2 week break, I still have a lot to catch up on.
It’s the season for resolutions. This year, I resolve to evolve. Over the last 3 years, my life has changed significantly. Some of the steps have been little and some of them bigger.
I had a baby.
I opened Flourish Yoga in Braddon.
I launched Making Canberra Happy.
I quit my government job.
I started decluttering my house.
I let my vegetable garden die. (yes, this falls in to the achievements because letting it go was really hard to do but keeping a small child happy and healthy and keeping myself sane were higher priorities).
I started to live by my core values, and accept myself as I am.
As a teenager, I was a daggy maths nerd with braces. I was definitely not part of the cool crowd. I floated from one friendship group to another, searching for my tribe. I was trying so desperately to fit in that I didn’t really know who I was. It was only in year 11 that I started to hang out with a group of people who valued me and helped me to acknowledge my strengths.
Then came most of a medical degree and a similar level of social anxiety. I used to go to the gym every day so I could avoid the lunchtime banter. I’m an introvert at heart. I’m very happy alone. Then, in my second year of uni, I set up the Tas Uni Bushwalking Club. The rock-climbers used to refer to us as the “picnic club” because we did a lot of day walks (mostly due to a lack of decent equipment). Again, I found a tribe that I was comfortable with. I found a group of people who valued nature over fancy clothes and who preferred camping to staying in a hotel. (As an aside – I’d never stayed in a hotel until I started my government job!)
It wasn’t until much later that I discovered:
– it’s okay to be introverted.
– it’s okay to see beauty in numbers.
– it’s okay to be intellectually minded.
– it’s okay to be an all-rounder – to have a wide variety of interests. It’s okay to love art & music but also to love kicking a soccer ball or manipulating data in a spreadsheet.
The main thing for me, was acknowledging my strengths.
Getting in touch with our strengths is more important than trying to “fix” our weaknesses.
What is a Signature Strength?
Signature Strengths as having the following characteristics:
- A sense of ownership and authenticity (“This is the real me”)
- A feeling of excitement while displaying it, particularly at first
- A rapid learning curve as the strength is first practised
- A sense of yearning to find new ways to use it
- A feeling of inevitability in using the strength (“Try to stop me”)
- Invigoration rather than exhaustion while using the strength
- The creation and pursuit of personal projects that revolve around it
- Joy, zest, enthusiasm, even ecstasy while using it
(M. Seligman, Flourish: A new understanding of happiness and well-being – and how to achieve them, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London, 2011, p.38.)
Prof Seligman and his team identified 24 Signature Strengths:
1. Curiosity/Interest in the world
2. Love of learning
3. Judgement/critical thinking/open-mindedness
4. Ingenuity/originality/practical intelligence/street smarts
5. Social intelligence/personal intelligence/emotional intelligence
7. Valor and bravery
10. Kindness and generosity
11. Loving and allowing oneself to be loved
13. Fairness and equity
17. Humility and modesty
18. Appreciation of beauty and excellence
21. Spirituality/sense of purpose/faith/religiousness
22. Forgiveness and mercy
23. Playfulness and humour
It’s a big list. See if you can find 5 that fit the description: “this is the real me”.
For those that are interested, here are mine:
– Love of Learning
– Critical thinking
Use your strengths
Commit now to using your strengths in a new way each and every day for the next 7 days.
If you’re struggling a bit to find ways to use your strengths, here’s a list of 340 different options.
And here’s a blog with lots of other ideas for using strengths.