Cultivating Strength Interview

When we live connected to our strengths we are more likely to feel a sense of purpose that gives rise to psychological well-­being and happiness. In this exercise we invite you to take a deep dive to the origin of your signature strengths. The VIA provides a lens from which we can view and reflect on our strengths. A signature strength is a character trait that is deeply held – a trait that is part of defining one’s essence. It is a very strong tendency of thought, feeling, and action. As opposed to other character strengths, signature strengths are so central to a person’s psychological identity that suppressing or ignoring any of those strengths would seem unnatural and very difficult. There are many different kinds of stories that might be told. While some might include positive emotions, many tales of courage, justice, humanity, wisdom, temperance, and transcendence are filled with struggle or adversity. All of these situations provide us with valuable lessons.

1. After reviewing your VIA results you may recognize some strengths as very familiar or you may have a different understanding of your strengths. You know yourself best. How do you describe your signature strengths?
2. Next, pick one or two of your signature strengths and think about the origin of these strengths and connect them with your early experiences. Some strengths feel as though you were born with them, they are just part of who you are and have always been. They are part of your temperament. Other strengths are learned through experience, some are even learned through adversity or especially challenging circumstances. What might give your partner a pretty clear picture or idea about where this strength came from? Tell the story of the origin of your strength(s).

• What are the factors that were important to the situation?
• Who noticed this strength and endorsed it for you?
• What good things have come from the times that you have “lived into” or actualized this strength?