Build resilience with your personal strengths

Build resilience with your personal strengths

The connection between Resilience and Personal Strengths

Imagine waking up each morning knowing you will be able to perform at the highest level while you achieve your goals, overcome obstacles, and have fun in the process.

Sound like a fairy tale? It’s not! People all around the world live this way, and you can too once you know how to use your personal strengths wisely and well.

Change and resilience

Paraphrasing Heraclitus, “Change is the only constant”. We’ve got plenty of evidence that he was right! Developing our capacity for resilience is essential for navigating the constant changes around and within us.

And let’s get one thing clear: Resilience isn’t merely gritting your teeth and toughing it out. Instead, it’s your capacity to adapt and grow through your challenging life experiences. Wise use of your personal strengths is a great way to nurture that capacity.

What are personal strengths?

Most people define a strength as “Something I’m really good at”. Getting great results is one aspect of strengths. The other is whether using the capability leaves you feeling drained and depleted, or energised and fulfilled.

Genius strengths are things you are exceptional at and that light you up when you use them. They take you into flow, and you feel like your best self when using them.

Then there are things you aren’t great at, and don’t enjoy (aka ‘weaknesses’). Old-school thinking is to work hard to turn these into strengths. But that will undermine your resilience and make life harder than it needs to be.

You can also be brilliant at things, but dislike them (aka ‘Reputation’ capabilities). Not a problem if you don’t use them often. But regular use can weaken your wellbeing and affect your ability to bounce back.

With that in mind, let’s look at how your personal strengths can build your resilience.

Build resilience with your personal strengths

Think about a time you overcame a significant challenge or achieved a big goal. How did you do that? Perhaps you saw different perspectives to help you make a wise decision? Maybe you built strong relationships and they got you the help you needed? Or perhaps you chose a path that honoured your core values?

Whatever you called upon is an indication of your personal strengths – inner resources available in bad times and good, to help you live well and achieve your goals.

Grab a pen and paper and write three lists: your Genius strengths, your weaknesses, and your Reputation capabilities (click here to use this PDF list if you need some inspiration). The following prompts can help you decide how you will use your strengths more wisely in the coming week:

• How can you use your Genius strengths to support your energy, enjoyment, and performance when you must use a weakness or a Reputation capability? Perhaps you find attention to detail challenging but feel a sense of pride and energy from doing great quality work. Then, when you must work on the details, remind yourself of how much you value and appreciate excellence.
• Sometimes you can use one Genius strength too much, and it starts to become draining. How can you pair up two or more Genius strengths to turbo-charge your results and resilience?
• Now, think about the people closest to you. Put your Genius strengths to work: how can you partner with others so that your Genius strengths help them with their weaknesses, and vice versa?

Strengths are your constant inner resource

Personal strengths are not a silver bullet – but then, nothing is! However, they are a powerful resource that you always carry with you. They cost absolutely nothing to use, make a significant difference to your wellbeing, and can help you nurture and grow your resilience beyond what you thought was possible!


About the author:

Daria Williamson is a personal strengths coach and the creator of The Strengths Deck. She is at her best when helping others discover and use their Genius strengths to create the life and work of their dreams. Daria is based in Auckland and works with clients online and face-to-face.

Carley Nicholson
[email protected]