What are your signature strengths?
Our professional life and private life are closely connected. When we are unhappy with our career we are most likely also bringing that to the kitchen table back home. In this blog post, I am introducing the concept of signature strengths, how to reveal those strengths and what they have to do with you being not really happy with your current job situation.
Which people are particularly influenced by their profession?
Above all, those who identify strongly with their work. There are different career orientations here: Either I go to work to earn money – then it doesn’t really matter what I do. Or I perceive my profession as a vocation. In this case, I want to fit in with my job. If my character traits and strengths do not match my field of activity, frustration and the feeling of not being in the right place can easily arise.
What happens when we can no longer identify with our profession?
Identification is very important; if it is missing, job satisfaction decreases. Our signature strengths play a key role in this context. These are the strengths that are most pronounced in us and that define us. (check the box for a detailed definition of the term signature strengths).
We are more likely to perceive our job as a vocation if we can use these strengths regularly in our day-to-day work. And that in turn leads to greater satisfaction. We can train specifically to use our signature strengths as often as possible. In my coaching sessions(LINK), strength definition and reflection play a huge role. Instead of focusing on weaknesses, it is much more efficient and fulfilling to focus on strengths and see how they make life more worth living. Strengths define us much more than weaknesses and yet it is human nature to focus primarily on things we are not good at. We spend a lot of energy and time trying to compensate for weaknesses rather than thinking about how our strengths will carry us forward without much extra effort.
Signature strengths – a definition
Signature strengths are those strengths that are particularly typical of a person and are used willingly and frequently. One can speak of a signature strength if various criteria are fulfilled. Among others, the following criteria are mentioned by Peterson and Seligman (2004): A sense of authenticity toward the strength (“this is really me”), a sense of enjoyment while performing the strength, and an intrinsic motivation to perform the strength. Typically, individuals exhibit three to seven signature strengths.
Who is responsible?
When we are in a paid job environment, we often wait for the employer to make a decision instead of taking action ourselves. It is up to us to deal with the signature strengths. Often it is even in the nature of employers to focus on their weaknesses. Then waiting for the employer is even counterproductive. When we are in between jobs, we often let our weaknesses interfere with our confidence in the job search process. However, the CV should be a paper that demonstrates our personality and our competencies and we are much more defined by our strengths than our weaknesses. For many in between jobs, a mind shift is required to see this as the lack of acknowledgment by a superior or colleagues is weighing heavily on our shoulders.
Let's work on your signature strengths
On the web, you will find many very good (and some really bad) signature strengths tests. It is important to inform yourself about the methodology beforehand. From my own coaching background, I recommend the VIA Strengths Finder and I am also using this test in my coaching practice. Defining your core signature strengths is the first step. However, much more important is what comes next: Using that information and turning it into an asset in your career journey! Want to know more? Let’s have a chat about your strengths and how coaching can help you to turn it from pure knowledge to actually using it in your favor. You can book a free discovery call here or check out my 3-months coaching program here.
Let’s focus on what you CAN do and what you DO bring to the table! You have so much to offer!