Stories and strengths


I heard lots of great stories this weekend at my niece’s wedding. Family tales of silliness, sweetness, love, and laughter. Memories were shared and new ones were made, which got me thinking about how stories not only connect us to one another and to our pasts, but how they can connect us to our futures!

Talking about the stuff we love and the times we were at our bests – our Strength Stories – can help us shape the future we desire. I know we’ve been told from the day we could talk, not to talk about ourselves or to brag, but the truth is – talking about what we love and why we love it is a great way to figure out what our strengths are and how we can use them to create the lives we really want.

I’m not saying we should be monopolizing random conversations with just how cool we are, but it really wouldn’t hurt to make sure you have someone in your life, who you could talk to about the best times of your life and what made them special to you.

Our Strength Stories remind us of what makes our hearts sing; our minds tick; and what keeps us going when the going gets tough. If no one is on hand to listen, no problem, simply think and write about the moments in your life when you were at your best, when everything went right or when you were able to save the day when everything seemed to be going wrong. 

Personal success stories can provide insight and direction. Let your mind wander like a old-fashion TV intro to a dream sequence . . . picture the present moment fading as you ask yourself,  “Hmm, when was I at my best?” “When did I feel the most excited and energized, happy and fulfilled?” “What was I doing?” “Who was I with?” “How was I feeling?”

Let yourself slip into a few blissful moments reflecting you at your best. Quickly jot down the words that best describe the memory and the moment, just like you would if you were reliving a favorite family story, “Remember when we _________.” Use the “blank” as the title of your Strength Story: “The Time I_________.”

Then ask yourself the following questions about your Strength Story:

  1. What made this particular situation special to me?
  2. How did it make me feel?
  3. What can I take from this story to help me in the future?

If you haven’t already, this week might be a good time to take the free online survey of your signature strengths. Then complete your “Circle of Strengths” and my new “Tower of Strengths”, which you can use to note six of your favorite Strength Stories. If you combine the results of your strength survey with the results of these two sheets you will have a solid foundation for building the life you really want.

And, before you know it, your life may be just as beautiful, rich and sweet as the icing on a wedding cake.


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