Harness the Power of Signature Strengths

Harnessing the power of your VIA Signature Strengths is a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Using your character strengths leads to a sense of empowerment and brings the benefits that accrue with increased positivity.

Title Photo by Carlos Jairo

Transformation – A Story

Alex had always been a high achiever, setting BIG (Bold-Important-Gratifying) goals and reaching them one after another. Yet, despite her accomplishments, she often felt a sense of emptiness and a nagging feeling that something was missing. It was during a particularly challenging period at work, where long hours and high stress abolished any sense of fulfillment, that a colleague introduced Alex to the VIA Signature Strengths.

Curious but not expecting much, Alex took the test, thinking it was just another personality quiz. However, the results were eye-opening. The test revealed that Alex’s top strengths were Creativity, Curiosity, and Love of Learning. Suddenly, things started to make sense. Those moments when Alex felt truly alive and engaged were always when these strengths were in play – brainstorming innovative solutions, diving into new subjects, or simply exploring new ideas.

Inspired by this newfound understanding, Alex decided to make a change. Instead of focusing solely on the tasks at hand, Alex began incorporating her strengths into daily routines. Meetings became opportunities for creative problem-solving. Lunchtimes turned into short but fulfilling moments to read about new topics. Even in conversations with colleagues, Alex’s curiosity led to deeper, more meaningful connections.

Gradually, the sense of emptiness faded. Alex’s days were still busy, but they were filled with new energy and satisfaction. By aligning her daily activities with her innate strengths, Alex not only became more productive but also significantly happier and more fulfilled.

Now Alex’s transformation didn’t happen overnight. The journey started with a simple step: understanding and embracing her unique strengths. It required a plan, consistent effort, and periodic reflection. But by following this path, she was able to harness the power of her signature strengths.

Finding Your Strengths

Just like Alex, you have unique strengths waiting to be unleashed. Understanding and leveraging your unique strengths can be transformative. The VIA Signature Strengths survey offers a powerful framework for identifying and cultivating these strengths. Once you know what yours are, you can use your unique combination of Signature Strengths to begin to unlock your full potential.

Research into the character strengths and virtues has compiled an impressive list of benefits. This is from the VIA website:

  • Greater happiness
  • Acceptance of oneself
  • Reverence for life
  • Competence, mastery, efficacy
  • Mental and physical health
  • Positive and supportive social networks
  • Satisfying, engaging, and meaningful work
  • Accomplishment of goals
  • Greater engagement and life meaning
  • Higher work productivity
  • Increased likelihood of work being a life calling
  • Less stress and improved coping
  • Greater academic achievement
  • Improved close relationships

Bridget Grenville-Cleave, in the book Positive Psychology: A Practical Guide, writes: “There is growing empirical evidence to suggest that using your strengths every day is beneficial to your psychological well-being in a number of different ways.” [Grenville-Cleave]

What do you gain when you play to your strengths? Research suggests that using your strengths daily improves your well-being in a number of ways.

  • You experience increased resilience. You’re able to bounce back quicker and higher when you experience a setback.
  • You enjoy increased vitality. You feel more energetic, more “alive”!
  • You see a decrease in your stress levels. As your resilience goes up, you find less to be stressed about.
  • You have increased confidence and self-esteem. You feel better about your ability to do what you need and want to do.
  • Your happiness increases. And by happiness, we’re talking about all the aspects of positivity and well-being.

First Step: Take the Test

The first step in this transformative journey is to take the VIA Signature Strengths test. This scientifically validated survey helps you identify your top strengths from a list of 24 character strengths. These strengths are universal across cultures and hold the key to your personal and professional growth.

Taking the test is simple and straightforward. Visit the VIA Institute on Character’s website, create an account, and complete the survey. The results will give you a detailed profile of your signature strengths, offering valuable insights into your core attributes and how you can harness them in your daily life.

Make a Plan

Of course, there’s a difference between knowing and doing. To reap the benefits of your signature strengths, you’ve got to use them. So once you’ve identified yours, it’s time to make a plan. Start by reviewing your results and reflecting on how your strengths currently show up in your life. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How do these strengths show up in my personal and professional life?
  • Which strengths resonate with me the most?
  • Are there areas in my life where I am not utilizing these strengths fully?

With these reflections in mind, set specific, actionable goals that align with your top strengths. For example, if “Creativity” is one of your signature strengths, you might set a goal to engage in a creative project or find innovative solutions at work. Craft a plan that outlines these goals and the steps you’ll take to achieve them.

harness the power of signature strengths

Once you know what your signature strengths are, try this exercise from Martin Seligman’s Flourish:

  • Designate a time in your schedule to exercise one of your signature strengths in a new way.
  • Be sure to create a clearly defined opportunity to use it. For example,
    o If your strength is kindness, set aside one day a week to do three random acts of kindness.
    o To use your strength of self-regulation, create a tiny habit to begin working out in the mornings.
    o If you identify love of learning as a strength, join a book club.
  • Write or journal about the experience. These questions from Dr. Seligman can help:
    o “How did you feel before, during, and after engaging in the activity?”
    o “Was the activity challenging? Easy?”
    o “Did time pass quickly?”
    o “Did you lose your sense of self-consciousness?”
    o “Do you plan to repeat the exercise?”

Do the Work

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to do the work. Begin integrating your strengths into your daily activities. This might involve:

  • Setting aside time each day to practice a strength.
  • Seeking opportunities that allow you to use your strengths.
  • Collaborating with others in ways that leverage your unique attributes.

Consistency is key. Regularly engage with your strengths and track your progress. Over time, you’ll notice how leveraging your strengths enhances your performance, well-being, and overall satisfaction.


Periodically reviewing your progress is essential. Reflect on your experiences and assess how effectively you’ve been using your strengths. Consider questions like:

  • What successes have I experienced by leveraging my strengths?
  • What challenges have I faced, and how did I overcome them using my strengths?
  • Are there areas where I can improve or use my strengths more effectively?

This review process allows you to celebrate your achievements and identify areas for growth. It also helps you stay aligned with your goals and make necessary adjustments to your plan.

Do It Again

Personal growth is an ongoing journey. After reviewing your progress, it’s time to do it all again. Revisit your VIA Signature Strengths test results, update your goals, and continue integrating your strengths into your life. Each cycle of planning, action, and review brings new insights and opportunities for growth.

Remember, your strengths are not static. As you evolve, so do your strengths. Embrace this dynamic process and remain open to discovering new aspects of yourself along the way.

A Journey, Not a Destination

Using your character strengths leads to a sense of empowerment and brings the benefits that accrue with increased positivity. Plus, “when people are aware of their own character strengths, they use them more intentionally for their own benefit and for the benefit of the people around them.” [Polly]

Harnessing the power of your VIA Signature Strengths is a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. By taking the test, making a plan, doing the work, reviewing your progress, and repeating the process, you’ll unlock new levels of potential and lead a more fulfilling life. Start today and experience the transformative impact of living in alignment with your strengths. That is one step in embracing your Excelerated Life™!

Do you know your Signature Strengths? If not, is now a good time to take the test?
If you do know yours, how have you used them to improve your personal and professional life?
Share your experience by leaving a comment below.

Excelerated Strengths™ — discovering and using your Signature Strengths — is one practice for creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.

Read more about the Excelerated Life.


Grenville-Cleave, Bridget. Positive Psychology: A Practical Guide. New York: MJF Books. 2012.

Polly, Shannon and Kathryn Britton. Character Strengths Matter: How To Live A Full Life. Positive Psychology News, LLC, 2015.

Seligman, Ph.D., Martin E. P. Flourish. New York: Free Press, 2011.

This blog post includes research information and suggestions provided by ChatGPT, an AI language model developed by OpenAI. Please note that the suggestions are not official statements from OpenAI. To learn more about ChatGPT and its capabilities, you can visit the OpenAI website.

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