I might not be the most academic person, but I’ve got this…
When you ask if students if they know their strengths, most will default to just 3-4 ideas of what a “strength” could mean.
She’s the smart one.
He’s the sporty one.
That’s the artsy one.
But there is so much more to our strengths and who we are!
“I had no idea that was a strength!”
One of the reasons students love the MyStrengths process is that they quickly realise that there is a vast array of different personality traits that exist and could describe them. It’s a relief to many that the world isn’t simply split into the smart ones or sporty ones. We’re not divided into creative ones or logical. It’s not even as simple as being a left-brain or right-brain person.
The truth is, there are so many nuances and expressions of our strengths.
When Tannath discovered her own Top 5 Strengths, she instantly felt affirmed and seen for who she is and the natural personality traits that had already started to surface. She now had language and labels to help her understand why she does what she does.
“Positivity? Oh yeah, that’s definitely me. I’ve always been upbeat, energetic, fun, optimistic. You can’t get me down”. It’s not because Tannath has a perfect life. She has as many challenges and obstacles as the next person. But she just has this natural optimism that sees the glass half full, not half empty.
“Creativity? I write, I sing, I dance, I express. I even have a recording studio at my house – and heck, maybe I want to be a little bit famous!?” It’s important for Tannath to have language for her creative brain and for her family and community to know that these are strengths to be recognised, harnessed and developed.
“I might not be the most academic person, but I’ve got this in my favour”
As Tannath was telling us about her strengths, she used this line, “I might not be the most academic person, but I’ve got this in favour”. It was like she was saying, “I don’t need to be considered smart in order to feel good about myself. I like these other things about me – and I’m gonna go for it!” Imagine if students right across the country were to have this kind of revelation!?
This statement captures the essence of self-assurance and worth that we want for all of our children. You could place any phrase at the beginning of the sentence and it would be a building block for confidence and positive wellbeing.
“I might not be the most popular, but I’ve got this in my favour…” Yes, you do!
“I might not be artistic or musical or creative or expressive, but I’ve got this in my favour…”
“I might not be the tallest/ fastest/ best looking/ but I’ve got this in my favour…”
It’s not just Tannath
Every day we meet amazing young people like Tannath, who have got so many different strengths in their favour. Most have never named it. But as they gain language and labels for their strengths, the scripts start to come out:
Dave, slays it on the guitar and is building toward a career in music. “I might not be built like my footy player friends, but I’ve got this in my favour”.
Voni, has this amazing eye for fashion and design. She can walk through an op shop and know what furniture is retro and cool compared to just old and junk. Soon she has an online store followed by thousands, recycling older pieces into amazing furnishings and fashion. She’s got the Visionary strength, Creativity and intuition. “I might not be the most academic person, but I’ve got this in my favour.”
Liam is the academic one. His brain is just naturally wired for information. He loves to research things and will often know more than the teacher in certain areas of passion. He’s already got early entry into University and he’s rapidly moving toward a career in biochemistry. “I might be a bit awkward and not the life of the party, but I’ve got this in my favour”.
If we can help students use the Tannath phrase, their brains will start to change from anxious to acceptance. They will move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. They will shift from the prevailing self-doubt toward self-acceptance.
“I might not have it all, but I’ve got this in my favour”.