Eileen T. O’Grady

| 03/06/2017

Strengths as a Superpower

Strengths as a Superpower

Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing. -Quincy Jones.

Play to your strengths. New research from the field of positive psychology and beyond has been providing the scientific underpinnings for why this matters and the benefits that using your strengths brings. A Gallup analysis reveals that people who use their top 5 strengths (from a list of 24 possible categories) every day are more likely to report an excellent quality of life, be engaged at work, be more productive, and less likely to quit their jobs. Strengths have volume control and we are empowered to turn them up or down.

Strengths can become game-changers when we:

a) are aware of them; and

b) learn to use them in an intentional way; and

c) tone them down when they are no longer serving us.

Intentionally shifting to focus on strengths can help our weaknesses become less noticeable. Using strengths is like calling on an old friend who is there when you need them. Each person is wired distinctly and we are often blind to our own strengths. Once we get to know what we are good at and what comes naturally to us, we can boost our ‘A-Game’ in many areas. Here are three examples from my coaching practice that show how using strengths with purpose and intention can:

Enhance the health and overall well-being. Lori’s strength was the love of learning. When she embarked on a long weight loss journey, she found free, online nutrition courses from top universities. She turned her love of learning strength lose on her weight loss journey, transforming everything her family consumed. By systematically learning a new approach to nutrition, she lost 70 pounds.

Buffer against, manage, and overcome problems. Carol’s strength was an appreciation of excellence in all that she did, and felt bewildered and frustrated when others whom she worked with didn’t. She was perceived as difficult, never satisfied, and a perfectionist by her team. Carol’s appreciation of excellence had gone wrong and was overused. As she became aware of this, she kept her eye on excellent output and quality and dropped perfectionism. At the same time, she deployed her razor-sharp humor and playfully teased herself and others on her tendency to want excellence in everything.

Improve your relationships.  David’s strength was the ability to love and be loved. After a contentious divorce, his ex-wife had alienated his son from him. He used his keen ability to love on forging a new relationship with his son, based on just the two of them with great warmth and authentic affection. Despite the mother’s alienation, David could develop a strong bond with his son. He masterfully used his ability to love and cultivate a deep connection with his son.

Click here to take the Values in Action (VIA) Survey which analyzes your top 5 strengths.

Dr. Eileen T. O’Grady is a health coach and has been a certified adult nurse practitioner who has practiced in primary care for over two decades. In that role, she experienced a wide breadth and depth of humanity with disorders of the mind, body, and spirit.

She has come to believe that what really prevents many of us from becoming well are lifestyles that do not support wholeness. The transformative change process is of great interest to her because she believes deeply that internal change leads to wellness, and that many disorders and diseases are entirely reversible with dramatic lifestyle change.


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