Shhhh! Can you hear it? There’s a revolution taking place at this very moment in our workplaces and it’s being led by employees – just like you and me.
Fed up with jobs that drain our energy, bosses who undermine our confidence and the financial handcuffs that rob us of our choices, there’s a grass-roots campaign underway aimed at restoring people’s happiness.
And you could be the tipping point.
You see a decade ago 63% of us believed we’d grow most at work by fixing our weaknesses. As a result only about a third of us could name our strengths – those things we’re good at and enjoy doing – and only 2 out of every 10 people said they had the opportunity to do what they do best each day at work. But today this is all changing.
Recently we discovered 64% of us now believe that it’s actually building on our strengths that will make us more successful at work. As a result half of us can now name our strengths and 5 out of every 10 people told us they get to do what they do best each day at work.
And while some of us are fortunate enough to work for enlightened organizations and bosses who are actively encouraging us to focus on our strengths, 25% of us are developing our strengths at work without anyone’s permission or support.
Because developing your strengths may be the secret to enjoying your work.
People who get to use their strengths each day tell us that are more likely to look forward to going to work. They generally feel engaged and energized when they get there. They are more likely to believe that what they do in their jobs makes a difference and is appreciated. And as a result they are more likely to describe themselves as flourishing at work. How are they pulling this off?
Why A Strengths Challenge?
When I first uncovered the science of strengths I dreamed of spending more of my days in a blissful haze of fulfilling, joyful and rewarding work. It all seemed so easy.
Discover what your strengths are. Use them as you move through each day at work. And then luxuriate in the benefits of feeling more confident, energized and engaged at work.
How hard could it be?
It turned out to be much tougher than I thought. You see between a job I didn’t really like, a family to tend, and friends to keep up with, I just couldn’t seem to find the time to fit using my strengths in. Despite my best intentions, after discovering my strengths weeks ticked by with no changes at all being made to the way I worked. I was just “too busy”. Sound familiar at all?
Eventually I realized that not having the time to start doing more of what I did best each day at work made no sense at all. So I started researching small, busy-proof ways I could put my strengths to work.
Unfortunately I’m yet to discover how to manufacture more hours in the day, but I did stumble upon an easy way to fit in little behavior changes. You see researchers at Duke University estimate up to forty percent of our actions each day are not conscious choices but mere habits.
That’s a little more than six hours each day we spend on unconscious habits.
No wonder William James, the father of modern psychology, cautioned that: “All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits—practical, emotional, and intellectual— systematically organized for our weal or our woe, and bearing us irresistibly towards our destiny, whatever the latter may be.”
Luckily, researchers at MIT have found that our habits run on a simple loop of: cue, routine and reward. A cue triggers off your habits, you perform a routine, and then receive some kind of reward which means next time the cue goes off you’ll repeat the pattern again.
So how can we harness our brain’s natural patterns to make it easier to develop our strengths?
With my challenging schedule in mind, I decided to start small with an 11-minute daily strengths habit. Why eleven minutes? It was busy-proof. No matter what was going on, I could always find 11 minutes somewhere in my day.
When I first took the free VIA Strengths Survey, the strength of curiosity featured in my results but I felt like I had no real outlet for it in my job. So in an effort to learn one new thing each day I created the following 11-minute strengths habit:
And my eleven minutes were done. Cue. Routine. Reward.
And this tiny habit felt so good, I did it the following week and each week after that. Until 9 months and 36 emails later, my boss called me into his office and said clearly they weren’t tapping into my potential and would I be willing to teach these ideas right across our business. And just like that my dream job was created.
What I learnt was that when you choose to develop your strengths – even for just 11 minutes – others have the chance to see the potential that radiates from within you.
By the end of the week significant changes had taken place with many of the participants reporting they could now name their top five strengths, find ways to do what they did best each day and feeling like they were more engaged and energized in their work.
Due to the overwhelming response we’ve had so far, we will be hosting the challenge again and we can’t wait to deliver it in an even bigger and better format. So you don’t miss out, simply enter your details below and we’ll notify you when our free strengths coaches are back online to help you.
And for a limited time only when you sign up, we’ll gift you access to a library of free strengths tools – including an ebook, video training series, and podcasts – so you can start putting your strengths to work right away!