Friday, October 15, 2010

How to Shine

In order to truly shine, you need to get in touch with and celebrate what’s special about you.
When I work with people on interview skills and other communication skills, I usually start off by asking them to tell me about their strengths. Many people can't separate their core strengths from their job skills. And many others have never truly thought about the question. So many of us focus on the negative qualities we possess we become blind to all of our positive traits. When you get in touch with your positive qualities and infuse those qualities into everything you do - the way you walk, stand, dress and talk - not only will people will begin to take notice, but you will feel more authentic, vital and confident.
6 Steps to Bringing Out the Best in You! 
  1. Survey Yourself! I highly recommend taking the VIAcharacter survery at It ‘s a free survey developed by a team of well noted psychologists (including Martin Seligman) who are behind the study of Positive Psychology and The Happiness Project. This survey will identify your top five character strengths out of a list of 24 strengths. (my top 5 are creativity, spirituality, wisdom, social intelligence and leadership.)
  2. Create Stories! Once you’ve identified your strengths by either deep soul searching, asking friends or associates or taking the VIA survey, start thinking of stories in your life that illustrate those strengths. How did you use your strength to bring about a change? How do you use your strengths on a daily bases? Use these stories as a basis for your elevator pitch or job interview responses.
  3. Express yourself! Take a dance class, acting or improvisation class, sing Karaoke, paint, draw, sculpt, write! Whenever we do something creative (even if creativity isn’t one of our top strengths) one of our signature strengths will jump out to guide us through it – if we let it. You don’t have to worry about doing these things “right” you’re doing them to further get in touch with and express your signature strengths.
  4. Speak your strengths. What people react to most in a person’s individual communication style is consistency; does the way you look and sound match the words you are using. Adopt vocabulary and nonverbal skills that reflect your top strengths: If “hope” comes up big for you, try using phrases like “I hope to see you soon,” “I have high hopes for this project.” Be sure your voice has lightness to it and your body language is open.
  5. Dress your strengths. Probably since creativity is high on my list, I personally have an enormous wardrobe. I try to create a style that reflects the strength I’m going to utilize on any particular day. I'm not suggesting running out and buying lots of close, just be mindful that your clothes usually speak first so make sure they communicate a quality you'd like to lead with.
  6. Appreciate your strengths. Everyday express gratitude for the special combination of strengths you’ve been given. At the end of the day, write down what you're thankful for and which of your strengths pulled you through any challenge or activity that you succeeded at.

Follow these steps and I guarantee you will not only learn to shine but be a lot happier doing it.