How to Reconnect with Your Strengths in Times of Uncertainty

From November 2019 to January 2020, while  the entire personal development community was working towards 2020 personal goals setting and planning a new decade, I found myself being confused and hesitant. I usually enjoy doing these reviewing and planning exercises myself—looking at the last year achievements and setting goals for the year to come. I like helping others doing that, too. But something inside did not feel right this time around.

I could try to convince you (or myself) that I had the feeling of something brewing—but that wouldn’t be true. I simply felt that the timing for my personal goals review was not right—and I decided to let it be, until I am ready.

And when Connected Women, the community powering success, happiness, & work-life balance, invited me to run their 2020 Planning workshop—I suggested a different subject:  Mood for the Year: Strengths Inventory. I decided to focus on assessing our personal strengths and using them for self-motivation and self-empowering. The workshop took place almost 3 months ago, with success. It seemed that the idea was very relevant back then. And how relevant it became now when abnormal is a new normal, when all our plans are falling apart, many targets and goals seem unrealistic, and most of the things we came to rely on are either disappearing or are not available. But our strengths stay with us no matter what.

I invite you to spend some time thinking about the strengths that you possess and write them down. Think about making your own strength inventory. Be prepared, it can be very emotional, both hard and rewarding, at least in my own and my clients’ experience. But the result will help you navigate through these times of uncertainty and stress.

1. Start with writing down all your strengths which come to your mind.  

If you believe you don’t have too many of them—dig deeper, start with something small, don’t miss or ignore anything. Look at different aspects of your life, both personal and professional.

  • Are you a good listener, do you have strong analytical skills, are you great in inspiring others or in implementing idea to practice? Maybe you stay calm under pressure, you are brave, you get things done, have a wicked sense of humor, have an impeccable taste, you are good with babies, you could easily engage a group of people in a fun activity, you can reassure and support others when they feel down, you are an enchanting  storyteller, you create beautiful bouquets of flowers, you bake… 
  • If you think that it’s not very modest, remind yourself that you don’t need to publish the list in The Times magazine, so you modesty should give you a break for a while.
  • If you are the one who likes dwelling on failures or mistakes, note that each mistake and each failure helps building strengths, and concentrate on what you’ve learned.

Keep returning to your list every time you think of a new strength.

2. When you see the list growing from two-three strengths to ten, twenty, fifty, your rational self won’t allow you to forget about them anymore. You’re now permanently equipped with the greatest tool you can always use at the moment you have doubts about yourself. This list will always remind you about your source of inner power.

3. Your emotional self will also appreciate the effort—each strength you add is a mini-hug you give yourself. The positive energy emerging during this exercise is amazing.

4. When you work on the list, you will most likely recall that “once upon a time” you were great in painting or dancing, solving puzzles or decorating a house. You’ll remember that you wanted to: 

  • Write a book, record a song, start using new apps;
  • Help solving a global sustainability crisis or simply listen to your beloved ones better
  • You will remember your dreams which you used to brush away…

Welcome thoughts about your talents, dreams, and wishes. You will most likely start doing more of those things which make you happier and that will increase your strengths and add few more to your list.

5. Your strengths “inventory” helps you embrace your authenticity, understand yourself better and be more of who you are. The list will be something very unique. Through smiles or tears, you will come to realize that you are stronger than you thought you were—that you will be able to develop new plans and will achieve new targets. And that your strengths will support you through times of uncertainty.

Save these as an inspiration for later!