The Strengths Workbook by Sally Bibb [Book Review]

In Review
The Strengths Workbook

Sally Bibb

Genre of Book
Business Life

Number of Pages

LID Publishing

Have you ever explored or assessed your strengths? What are you naturally good at, and love doing at the same time? Knowing your strengths is to have a greater understanding of who you are – an essential first step to start leading a more fulfilling and happier life. The second step is to use those same strengths more often, so that you can build memento, confidence, and also have the required amount of psychological energy to overcome eventual obstacles and setbacks. In her most recent book, The Strengths Workbook, Sally Bibb helps you throughout this process by offering you an eight-week personal development programme in which you will not only learn to identify your strengths but also find ways to use them at your advantage.

According to Sally, strengths are what we are really made of. In other words, they are clear representations of who we are as unique individuals. Each one of us has a constellation of strengths that is very personal. When we embrace such set of strengths, we feel more energised and happier. However, when we rarely use them, we start to feel drained and depleted. I have experienced this to be true, and I have also witnessed it often when working with clients and with my students. Strengths-based approaches are incredibly powerful, because they bring out the best in people and they serve as catalysts for good-behaviour. For instances, it’s much easier to motivate someone to change their behaviour after a strengths-focused exercise than after just going over the pros and cons of change with them.

As I mentioned earlier, The Strengths Workbook offers you an eight-week personal development programme in a book format. As such, I have to stress here that, in order to benefit you the most, this book requires your attention, dedication and patience. I would strongly recommend that you first have a good look at it – literally flick through its pages – and then go back to the beginning and take it week by week. The book in itself is very user-friendly, and it really is a workbook, in the sense that you have enough space to write down your answers if you wish to write on it. I personally wrote down my answers on post-its and added them to the pages, but you can also use a separate notebook or a computer file to compile and record your progress as you go along.

Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect each week. On Week 1, you will be invited to recall and record life moments in which you felt particularly proud, happy, or even confident about yourself. Such moments can often give us some an idea of our core strengths. On Week 2, you will dive deeper and answer a set of powerful questions such as what you love doing, what brings you joy, and how do you feel when you have a chance to use your top strengths, among many other interesting questions. Week 3 will then teach you more about the link between your strengths and your motivations. This was, for me, one of my favourite weeks, because it allowed me to understand better why I do what I do and how I can transform something I don’t want to do into something that is more doable and exciting for me. Week 4 is all about values and how they are connected to our strengths. I learned, for instances, that some of my values include making a difference, doing the right thing, honesty, and freedom.

On Week 5, you will be invited to deal with a very important aspect which is our tendency to over-use certain strengths and neglect others. Thanks to Sally’s workbook, I identified learning as one of my top strengths and that I tend to use this strength to feed my procrastination! Learning is great, but if I become aware of when I’m overusing it and neglecting other important aspects such as doing the right thing, I can then prevent myself from being overstressed and overworked at some point. On Week 6, you will be invited to look at your weaknesses in a more constructive manner. Instead of beating yourself up about what you are not so good at, the idea is to mitigate them whenever possible. Week 7 is also very important as it will raise your awareness to what you can and cannot change. I found this week to be very relevant after working on Week 6’s exercises. Finally, Week 8 will help you make an overview of your entire progress throughout the workbook by giving you space to review and summarise what you learned in each week.

As you probably guessed by now, The Strengths Workbook is a very practical book that I truly recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about their strengths, motivations, and values, because learning about why we feel so good when we engage in specific tasks or activities, and how we can create more of that in our daily routine can do wonders for our wellbeing. It has been a great companion on both my commute and quiet times. My favourite part of the book is actually when Sally talks about why strengths are so important and how we need to let go of harmful ideas such as you should be a well-rounded person or that it’s unrealistic to expect to enjoy your job. This kind of assumptions prevent us from being who we truly are – and, most of all, they prevent us from being happy!

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