Naysayers have little power over us – unless we give it to them.

Arianna Huffington


But What About

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get when working with partners.



Is a strengths-based life just happy wishful thinking?

A strengths-based perspective is not the art of inventing something that doesn’t exist.  It is about seeing what we frequently overlook, creating a fuller picture of the world that sees both the challenges (which we “over-see”) and the possibilities.  In fact, it is a highly practical way to look at life.  When we activate the best in ourselves and others we are simply more likely to be able do the things we want and to enjoy the experience.


Is this a way to avoid dealing with difficult conversations or situations?

If you are fiercely living your strengths in the world, you won’t avoid anything.  You will simply face situations differently, and I would suggest more effectively.  For instance, you won’t shrink from giving someone feedback regarding underperformance or missed expectations, but you will do so in a way that acknowledges their strengths and guides them to use those strengths to resolve the matter.


How are character strengths different from strengths finders?

The quickest response is that strengths-finders are about what you do, and character strengths are about who you are.  We can also think of character strengths as the building blocks that go into creating strengths-finder strengths. For instance, Woo might be considered a combination of zest and social intelligence.


Do you fake it till you make it?

No.  Adopting a strengths-based life is only possible with absolute authenticity.  If you don’t truly see your own strengths, no one else will.  If you don’t truly see strengths in others, your efforts to elevate others, create relationships and encourage achievement will fall flat and likely do more harm than good. Additionally, if you attempt to conceal anger or other emotions under the thin veneer of a fake smile, research suggests you will get absolutely no benefits associated with positivity.  In fact, Barbara Frederickson summarizes research in Positivity as follows. “Mountains of research tell us that anger can kill, especially if gratuitous or overblown.  This new discovery suggests that insincere positivity can kill, too.”


Will strengths change over time?

Yes and no.  Your strengths profile may see shifts over time, particularly with significant life events.  However, Ryan Niemiec reports that less than 1% of repeat VIA survey takers have no overlap in their top 5 strengths when completion is separated by 6 months and that 76% have 3 to 5 strengths in common across administrations.