Everyone Has Strengths
Author: Michaela Wegener
Character Strengths are the positive aspects of personality. They have a great impact on how we feel, think and behave.
The science of strengths started in the early 2000s, when a group of scientists in the young field of positive psychology started to explore character in a new way. The result was the VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). It describes the classification of 24 positive traits in human beings. Since then, a lot of scientific research has been performed to explore the concept and its use across many different contexts and cultures.
Every person can show all the 24 strengths, but each has a unique profile. The highest strengths in the individual profile are called “signature strengths”.
The individual way of how to show and use these strengths is like a fingerprint, the individual key to our best self.
How to use the cards
The cards were developed to work with signature strengths in a context where simple language is used.
You can print the set in full size (in A4) or smaller (postcard or business card size) using the link below.
1. When you start to work with Character strengths, use the cards first to get an idea of your own signature strengths. That will help you to get an idea of the concept. Also, it will make it easier for you to see the strengths in others.
Ask yourself which 3-5 of these values give the best description of my personality?
When I use the strengths in my everyday life, which of them:
- will give me joy and make me feel energized when I use them?
- will help me to have a steep learning curve?
- are so close to me that I couldn't imagine to do without it for a week?
- will help me most to cope with a challenge?
If you wish, you can also use the free online version of the VIA-Survey to explore your signature strengths. You will find it here:
2. Use the cards to learn more about the strengths of the people around you, give them feedback about their strengths and experiment with strengths-based cooperation.
Here are some ideas on how to do it:
- Observe when a person is completely in his element, showing signs of feeling happy and alive. Which is the most obvious strength the person is using in this situation?
- Discuss your observations with others in the person's network and collect more examples.
- Explore the interests of a person. Which are the strengths behind it?
- Give strengths focused feedback by giving the card to the person and explaining where and when you saw him/her using this strength.
- Explore with the person: How can he/she use this strength to reach an important goal or overcome an obstacle?
- In person-centered planning: Which are the strengths that the person wants to show more in his/ her life? How does he/ she want to do that? How can you support him/her to do so?
And, when collaborating with others: How can you combine your strengths in a most effective way when you work at your task?
Or when working with groups: Each time you meet, in the beginning use some of your time together to explore one of the 24 character strengths:
- What is the value behind it? What does it mean to show it in our context?
- Who in the group shows good examples on how to perform this strength?
- What can we learn from this person as a group?
Download the free Character Strengths Cards (pdf) here.
For more ideas and background information, please feel free to contact me:
Michaela Wegener firstname.lastname@example.org
The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.
Everyone Has Strengths © Michaela Wegener 2021.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.
- Character Strengths cards PDF | 3.81MB