Understanding who we are is important for many reasons; it helps with relationships with others and helps us to concentrate on our strengths rather than to struggle in areas where we are less strong.
To help my clients I use personality questionnaires, values cards and sometimes discuss strengths. There are books and self-assessments you can follow with strengths but many people prefer something more tactile.
I’ve recently come across ‘At My Best’ Strengths Cards and I love them. Not only are they useful and powerful, they also look beautiful, and to me with a strong interest in design and beauty, that’s important to me.
The cards come in a bright box, orange and gold and within this box are 48 cards and a small instruction booklet. On one side is a word such as Resilient, Dependable and Empathic and on the other a related image.
These really are beautiful cards.
The back of the box says that you can use the cards in coaching, teambuilding, 360 feedback, career discussions, staff development and training and the website provides ideas on how to use the cards.
I’ve trialled these ‘as if’ I was one of my career coaching clients. I wanted to see if this was going to be something my clients would like to use.
I followed the instructions and chose to focus on my work life, and consider my strengths in this domain.
Looking at the word side of the cards, I sorted through the pack, trying to identify the 5-10 strengths that define me at my ‘absolute best’ at work.
It was a bit of a challenge to narrow down to just 5-10 and I think some people may find it hard to work out how to choose. When my clients work on their values I give them guidance on how to rank values through comparing every card against each other, so if you would like to have similar guidance let me know once you have bought the cards and I’ll let you have guidance.
After some deliberation I arrive at my final 9:
The instructions encourage me to reflect on:
- How does each strength show itself?
- How often do I use each of them?
- How can I make better use of them (e.g. to help others)?
- Do I ever risk over-using any of them? How can I manage that?
- What do I notice about the mix of strengths?
Taking my top card, Organised, I made a note of how I do this without even thinking, in my work and in my personal life. My clothes are divided into categories, my DVDs and CDs are in alphabetical order and I love making sure my files are clearly labeled. Could I use this more widely? Well I think my computer files could be better organized, I put too many documents into folders that could be better sorted and I’m currently working through that. I know that both my family and clients would see this as a strength.
I am encouraged to repeat the exercise, focusing on a different part of my life. Perhaps I spend too much time organising things when I could better spend my time doing something else. I then decided to consider being creative. I use my creativity to help my clients identify solutions to problems and to help them see beyond their personal view. But I no longer write poetry, or do creative embroidery. I used to love making handmade cards and books and it’s made me realise I should spend more time on a creative hobby.
I really love these cards, and because of the beauty of the cards and presentation think they are well worth the money.
I used the cards from an individual perspective but these could also be used in a team environment. There are a number of exercises you can use in this context, including placing them picture side up with each team member choosing the image that they think best reflects the team at its best. Everyone then talks about why they chose that card. I’m looking forward to trying this out with my organizational clients.
You never know how much things will cost and given the high quality and beauty I expected them to be around£50 a pack based on the prices of other card sorts I’ve seen so I was pleasantly surprised to see that the cards are on sale at £30 plus VAT.
I’ve been talking with the Work Positive team who have agreed to offer an amazing 1/3 off for all my readers! This promotion, saving £10 per pack, is available for the whole of August. Just use the code ‘AmazingAugust’ at the checkout.
What are you waiting for? Head on over to www.atmybest.com and buy the cards while the discount is still available, you’ll be so annoyed if you miss out on a big saving like this. I’m getting some packs ready for presents for a couple of close friends.
If you use the discount code above, 15% of the sale will also be donated to my chosen charity – MatchMothers. I’m a trustee of this charity, focused on supporting mothers who live apart from their children.
Working through the cards alone may be enough for you but you may also like to discuss them with someone, so to discuss please get in touch.