Being brilliant…at work!


It’s all too easy to be overcome by self-doubt in the workplace. A mum who is confident at home suddenly asks herself, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’ But the answer is ‘Who are you NOT to be?’ Debra Close from Flourishing Mothers explains how you can be your best self at home…AND at work. 

Are you cringing as you read that you can be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous’? Does it feel too vain? Like an impossibility for you?

Actually, it’s not that hard. The trick is to identify and use your strengths to your advantage, even if you aren’t sure what they are!

It’s not only WHAT we do at work, but HOW we approach our jobs that matters. This includes how we handle situations, relate to others, give and receive information, what we pay attention to and how we get motivated. When we act or communicate in ways that align with our strengths we get a buzz. We feel like the “real” and “best” versions of ourselves.

Researchers at the Centre of Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) in the UK surveyed more than 40,000 people and observed 60 performance-based strengths. Their tools ranked a person’s strengths according to 3 dimensions:

  • How often the strength is used
  • How well the strength is performed
  • How energising it feels for a person to use the strength

Research shows that when people use their strengths more, they’re more likely to kick goals at work, feel motivated and confident, and have feelings of wellbeing.

So, for peak performance at work, it’s best to be good at something, AND feel energised by it. You may excel in putting together complicated spreadsheets, but the details may grind you down, leaving you feeling flat and cranky, so your performance starts to suffer. You may be the most creative problem-solver in the office, but if you’re called on constantly, you can burn out.

If you’re not strong in a quality your job requires, you can use areas where you do excel to compensate. For example, your strength might not be small talk, but your job requires networking, so consider using other strengths like curiosity, or narrating stories, or by finding common ground in humour.

Here’s 5 ways you can begin to spot your strengths:

  1. What activities give you a buzz when you do them?
  2. What are you doing when you feel like the “real you”?
  3. What activities come naturally to you, it seems without even trying?
  4. Do you have activities you do simply for the love of them?
  5. Monitor your tone of voice, facial expressions or body language – when you notice a shift in passion, energy and engagement, you’re probably talking about or using your strengths.

The answers to these questions should suggest a field or skill that is a strength for you. Take the strengths challenge and feel brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous!

Flourishing Mothers work with clients’ strengths to help them recraft their way of working to enjoy their jobs more, and help them find work they love. This information was adapted by Flourishing Mothers from the work of CAPP and Alex Linley.


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