As part of my “passion project” of facilitating health and wellness coaching sessions for women, I am often met with surprise from coaching clients at just how “deep” some of the coaching goes and how we delve into areas women weren’t expecting. Many come looking for ways to be more engaged in eating healthier, being more active, or reducing stress, and are surprised when coaching winds up being so
much more. One of the first things we do is talk about strengths. One of my favorite quotes from Wizard of Oz’s Glinda the Good Witch reminds me of how strong we really are: “You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” We have the strength to do hard things, we Just sometimes need to tap into those strengths, remembering what they are and applying them to our goals.

Strengths are inherent qualities and capabilities that enable us to overcome challenges and to not only survive, but to thrive. It may be resilience, determination, creativity, kindness, or courage, recognizing and tapping into these strengths may greatly impact overall health and wellness.


Research in positive psychology, led by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman (2004), emphasizes the importance of identifying and leveraging strengths to cultivate resilience and enhance mental health. By focusing on what we excel at and not looking at only weaknesses, a strengths-based strategy fosters a sense of empowerment and self-efficacy.

As an example, someone with a creative spirit may find that their “happy place” is doing something artistic like painting, drawing, or crafting with artistic pursuits, which can serve as a therapeutic outlet for
reducing stress and self-expression. Someone whose strength is kindness may like to volunteer in their community and find their purpose is helping others.

Whether your personal health and wellness goals involve eating healthier, being more active, work-life balance, relationships, spirit and soul, or anything else in your personal wellness space – or for my coaching clients, their “wheel of health” (A Time to Bloom Health and Wellness Coaching, n.d.), drawing upon one’s strengths to succeed in these areas is a great strategy.

Below are some questions to help you think about the strengths that I use with my coaching clients (Vanderbilt, 2020), along with a list of words to help you get started in identifying your strengths. Consider spending some time self-reflecting to identify your personal strengths and how they might apply to successfully meeting your health and wellness goals, or just general life goals.

Questions to get you thinking about your strengths:

  1. What did you absolutely love to do as a child? What were those experiences and moments where you were most joyful and engaged?
  2. Think about your life now. When do you feel completely absorbed and happy with what you are doing? What are those experiences that leave you feeling energized?
  3. Describe a time when you felt tremendous pride in an action of yours. Describe it in detail, and howyou contributed to that event or action happening.
  4. What event(s) are you looking forward to in the future?
  5. If someone very close to you were to give your top 3 strengths, what do you think they would say?

    List Your Top Strengths Below

    1_____________________________________
    2_____________________________________
    3_____________________________________
    4_____________________________________
    5_____________________________________

    Strengths List (this list provides some examples – you may have others!)

    Ambitious
    Appreciation of beauty
    Artistic
    Bravery
    Compassion
    Connector
    Creativity
    Critical Thinking
    Curiosity
    Devoted
    Empathetic
    Emotional Intelligence
    Enthusiasm
    Equality
    Fairness
    Faith
    Forgiveness
    Generosity
    Gratitude
    Honesty
    Hope
    Humility
    Humor
    Integrity
    Judgment
    Kindness
    Leadership
    Love of Learning
    Loving
    Modesty
    Open
    Mindedness
    Optimism
    Passion
    Perspective
    Playfulness
    Practical
    Prudence
    Sense of purpose
    Spiritual
    Spontaneous

Here’s to uncovering those inner strengths and using them to create a healthier and well lifestyle.

“You’ve always had the power, my dear!”

Sources:
A Time to Bloom Health and Wellness Coaching (n.d.). www. https://atimetobloomcoaching.com/

Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification

(Vol. 1). Oxford University Press.


Vanderbilt Medical Center, Health and Wellness Coach Training Program (2020). Strengths Worksheet.