Spreading Kindness Through Strengths

Here is another monthly guest post from our friends at American Bear. Check them out at americanbearfilm.com.

American Bear Post for My Year Of Hugs

June 2012

By Greg

For my job, I recently went through the StrengthsQuest test, sort of a personality test that results in your top five “strengths” that are meant to reflect and inspire your work style, interaction style, and development style.

I am always wishing that I was more friendly. Actually, I fear that I spend more time thinking about how I could have a positive impact on people I encounter than actually making that positive impact. As I anticipated my top five strengths, I was very hopeful that I’d have a good showing of strengths that reflected my ambition to be kind, to be friendly, to be loving, unequivocally.

One of my strengths is Includer: a desire or ability to include people; be non-judgmental; welcome people with open arms, and conversely, make sure that my presence isn’t going to disrupt anything. Another is Empathy: experiencing someone else’s emotions, listening, intuiting their story and carrying some of that weight; being compassionate. The third I’m most excited about is Input: a desire to take in as much information as I can, and for me, that means stories, getting to know people, learning about their lives.

I don’t know why I thought it might be different – I have been thrilled to devote more and more of my time to spreading kindness and striving to inspire. We’ve done our best so far to embrace the experience we had making “American Bear” and share kindness with strangers on our own. We are gearing up for our first significant event based around kindness missions, and from planning the missions to collaborating with Guerrilla Goodness (guerrillagoodness.com) to recruiting kindness teams, my “strengths” have been an integral part of doing this “work” in the first place.

StrengthsQuest emphasizes positivity and the way strengths interact. We all have a bit of each “strength,” and we all have the power to use our interests, our abilities, our emotions, our communication, to make a positive impact. Whether it’s listening to someone’s story, smiling at each person you see, working in community development, sharing your resources (including time and energy) to brighten someone’s day or life — we all have this potential. I do still worry about over-thinking rather than just doing, but one of my other strengths is Achiever – so I will continue to push myself until I’m satisfied with the positive impact I strive to have.

These strengths are within us, which makes spreading love as simple as being yourself. You don’t need a test to figure that out – but it feels pretty great to reflect on the ways your personality inspires your work, and vice versa. Take a moment to appreciate how special it is that you’re hugging, or listening, or helping – then get back to sharing that and inspiring others to use their strengths too!

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