By Robin Olson, Senior MCS Student
How many times have you said to yourself, “I cannot believe I just did that? What is wrong with me?” Now, consider this: Have you ever said to yourself, “I cannot believe I just did that? What is right with me?”
My first class at the Mindfulness Coaching School was S-T-R-E-T-C-H! Becoming the Incredible Coach You Truly Are. Before the first session, we were asked to complete the VIA Survey of Character Strengths from the University of Pennsylvania. My top two character strengths were listed as Curiosity and Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence.
After getting my results, I thought, “Now what do I do?” However, when my personal coach brought my strengths into a couple of coaching sessions, they began to take meaning. I found purpose by utilizing them to create antidotes when my inner critic or gremlin is taking over. When I am hesitant about something, I put on my trusty Curiosity Shoes and take a walk one step at a time. When I am feeling down, I unpack my Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence and am uplifted by sudden shift in perspective.
Now realizing the major impact my unique character strengths have had on my life, I began using the character strengths concept more frequently with my own clients. For incoming clients, I ask them to complete the survey and then we discuss the results during our first session. Many times the results are not a surprise, but occasionally they are. I keep each client’s strengths handy in subsequent sessions, and, depending on the client’s agenda, we can focus on and extrapolate on a particular strength. For a relationship issue, maybe honesty is needed. If change is occurring, we might do a body scan around bravery, discovering where the client feels it and seeing what insights may arise.
In my own story, I called upon bravery to talk with my supervisor about job satisfaction. We discussed my need to continue to learn new tasks and she was responsive to adapting my job duties. Have fun with your strengths! These strengths help us understand ourselves more fully, which increases our self-confidence as we work toward our goals.
When we embrace what we do right, not only do we more quickly recognize our strengths, but we begin to see the strengths in others. We begin to see what is right in others. And, by seeing what is right in others, we cultivate greater positivity and interconnection in the world.