Another category of strengths is called situational strengths. These are strengths we call forth when we need to. For example, a man shared with me that although he had an aversion to public speaking and was terrified to speak at a community meeting, he was able to do so because his family was impacted by this meeting, and that was very important to him. So he called forth some of his less used strengths — bravery and leadership, which were best suited to the situation — to help get him through the public speaking. However, because these were lesser strengths for him, it was draining for him to do it. Therefore, people can “step up” and invoke any strength when needed, even if they find it daunting.
Situational strengths, unlike signature strengths, are not as crucial in defining who we are. The difference between situational strengths and signature strengths is that people need to express top signature strengths to feel whole and energized, but they are comfortable expressing situational strengths only when they are needed. Thus, you may feel more energy after expressing a top signature strength and less energy after expressing a strength lower on your strengths report.
During these unprecedented times, most of us are having to call forth strengths we haven’t used much in the past. Learning to combine our less used strengths with our top strengths to infuse more energy into our actions is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to get us through. For example, I’ve talked with many people who during this past year called forth their strengths of hope, social intelligence, perseverance, kindness, creativity, bravery, humor, etc. The more you use any character strength, the more your comfort level with that strength will increase, and you may experience more energy with it over time, genuinely building that strength.
This is Part 1 of a two-part article. Go to Part 2.
Author, speaker, coach, and CEO of Authentic Strengths Advantage Fatima Doman has motivated audiences across six continents to leverage their authentic strengths for transformation. An influential voice in wellbeing, resilience, engagement, and leadership, she is passionate about empowering people for sustainable high performance at work and in life.
For decades, Fatima has worked successfully with Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 clients representing a variety of industries and with educators around the globe. Her books, “Authentic Strengths,” “Authentic Resilience”, and “True You,” have been featured by ThriveGlobal.com, the Huffington Post, and Psychology Today and on TV, radio, and e-learning platforms, and her workshops have been licensed throughout the world. Learn more at AuthenticStrengths.com.