This exercise invites you to enhance your connection to your strengths, qualities,
experiences, skills and attributes. By taking the time to focus on these things, we hope you will be reminded of some resource that you can rely on, cultivate, or use in a different way. Sometimes the simple act of remembering what our strengths are, can create that bit more resource.
You will need a pen and paper, possibly some coloured pens and a comfy chair.
Use your pen and paper in whatever way you like - a list, a picture, a word cloud, a mind map – whatever works for you. You may want to use different colours. There is no right or wrong.
We will refer to strengths throughout this exercise. You may prefer to think in terms of skills, qualities and/or attributes. Please keep in your mind the word that’s most useful to you.
Be curious - try not to judge yourself for ones you may not feel you have, or fear that it’s somehow “showing off” to recognise your strengths
Begin by noticing and noting down the skills, strengths, qualities and/or attributes you have that spring to mind. What are these for you?
Keep going – keep noting them.
Sometimes we use our strengths so much and so naturally we forget to acknowledge them as strengths. What comes so naturally to you that you forget to acknowledge it as a strength? Add these to the page.
What would other people say your strengths are? Have your most trusted colleagues and friends in mind, and add the strengths they would say you have.
How did these strengths show up yesterday or in the last week?
And last month? Last year? Travel back in time in your mind noticing and noting the moments when you have demonstrated or drawn on these strengths.
As well as noticing the obvious examples, look for some more subtle ones too.
(Here’s an example to support your thinking. Take determination for example – you might recall clear and sustained determination that has led to an achievement. And a less obvious example - a brief moment of steeling yourself that meant you moved forward with something. What are the quieter, more subtle ways you have shown these strengths?)
When have other people noticed these strengths - what was happening then?
What happened as a result of you showing this strength? What impact did it have on yourself and on other people?
What kinds of things do you do when you are using this strength?
How do you hold yourself and what do you notice about your body?
And now take a moment to look back at what you have noted. Circle a few words that stand out for you. Note something you would like to remind yourself of in the coming weeks and months.
What might remind you of this strength that you have circled? Maybe something you noticed about your body and how you hold yourself in these moments of strength? Maybe an image in your mind of something you have just thought about? Maybe a song, or a word or a phrase you could pop on a post it note? Or a photograph on your phone, or an object?
Over the next few days, revisit this, add to it when further ideas pop into your mind.
If you like this exercise a downloadable version is here:
Take 20 is inspired and adapted from The Write Place™ with thanks to Elaine Patterson and Karyn Prentice of PattersonPrenticeDesigns