Empower Yourself by Focusing on Your Strengths

By Angela Hayes, Ph.D.

Most of us have a tendency to pay too much attention to our weaknesses. Focusing on your areas of strength can make a big difference in your job search, your view of yourself, and your life as a whole. Research strongly suggests that focusing on building strengths moves people toward their goals much more quickly than trying to shore up weaknesses. Exploring your strengths and thinking through how you can use them more frequently, in additional contexts, can help you capitalize even further on your unique strengths.

Positive psychologists Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman have developed a classification system of strengths called the Values in Action (VIA) Strengths Survey. This questionnaire measures strengths in a consistent, reliable and valid manner. It is available for free at http://www.authentichappiness.org. Individual strengths are ranked from the top 5 through the least developed. Many people have never had their strengths assessed and find that just looking at their results helps them understand themselves in new ways. Knowing these strengths can also help you decide among various job opportunities because research strongly suggests that if you are using at least 3 or your top 5 strengths (and ideally all 5) in your job, you will be happier, more motivated and more likely to gain a promotion.

Here is an excellent article that further explains each of the VIA signature strengths and details how they can be utilized/developed: http://www.viacharacter.org/resources/ways-to-use-via-character-strengths/

Angela Hayes, Associate Director of Alumni and Online Career Engagement

Angela Hayes serves as the Associate Director of Alumni and Online Career Engagement. Prior to coming to CSU, she worked as the Assistant Director of Alumni and Graduate Student Career Services at Kansas State University. She has a B.S. in Psychology, an M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and a Ph.D. in Professional Coaching and Human Development. She’s a nationally Board Certified Coach and a nationally Certified Health and Wellness Coach.

She has a passion for helping others to see their lives as full of possibilities and un-tapped potential. She views changes/transitions (both planned and unplanned) as opportunities for individuals to discover and plan out what they really want from their careers and lives.