There’s something about humans that love to find weaknesses. I know my first instinct in any situation is to look for flaws, find mistakes, search for gaps. I do this because I want to fix them, I want to make sure a plan is perfect and has no mistakes. We do this for people too. But young people have many things they are still learning and improving on.
Focusing on flaws will not build your young person up.
But finding their strengths is a surefire way to encourage, uplift and empower them!
We’re passionate about strength-finding, keep reading to find out how to be a strength-finder for your young person.
Put the Rose-Coloured Glasses Back On
We love a bit of science and evidence-based understanding. Well, a deficit mindset is a scientific description of when most of us tend to look at a situation through the ‘what’s bad or wrong’ perspective. It’s a natural default; extremely helpful when you’re in the jungle and spot the beady eyes of what might be a hungry leopard. Not so helpful when talking to our wild teenagers, however.
A deficit mindset can make us miss potential opportunities, make us react negatively, increase our stress and anxiety, and prevent us from moving forward or developing resilience.
So when we see a situation, maybe the kitchen has been left an absolute mess after your teen has tried baking brownies, put the rose-coloured glasses on. Reframe. Yes it’s a mess, but isn’t it great they tried! And isn’t mess a normal part of life. And what a great opportunity for them to practice cleaning up after themselves. Hopefully you even get a bite of brownie too 🙂
Discover and Use Your Strengths
When you know your own strengths, it’s easier to find them in others. We can reframe our thinking and apply our strengths in different situations.
One of my top strengths is Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence. When I first learnt that, I wasn’t too sure what to do with it. Sure, I love a sunset and flowers fill my heart with joy. But how can that help me at work, or with my family and friends?
But knowing my strength was the first step. Then I took notice and discovered how it made me happy and calmed me down. And how I am good at finding excellence in other people. So I am using those strengths to make situations better.
And when someone is quiet, I notice their strength of thoughtfulness. When someone dreams a bit too big, I appreciate their creativity and optimism. When someone cracks jokes throughout a meeting, I appreciate the humour and zest they are bringing to a situation. It’s all about perspective.
Combine Your Strengths to Become Superhuman!
Imagine a world where we were all the same. Maybe we are all strong in humour or all strong in self-regulation. What a boring world. We would either be very silly and get nothing done, or have absolutely no joy and fun in a very regulated world!
See, it’s our differences that make us strong.
The great thing about strengths is that when we combine them, we can be superhumans! We need other people’s strengths to balance our weaknesses and vice versa. We want a world of colour, full of differences that can push us and grow us and support us. We learn from other people’s strengths and all use our individual strengths in collaboration in a team effort.
Take the time to discover your strengths, you could even do this together with your young person.
Check out the 24 character strengths at http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths.
And we have digital module options which focus specifically on finding and building your young persons strengths- check it out here http://burnbright.org.nz/digital_courses/high-school-forging-unshakable-foundations-pack/.