If you read my blog or know me in any way, you know that I am all about strength-based growth. I believe that we each have unique traits and talents that enable us to do great things.
In Positive Psychology, the scientific study of human flourishing, we call these traits“Signature Strengths”. These are the character strengths that we exhibit most often. In fact, according to Marty Seligman, “father” of Positive Psychology, we are happiest when using our signature strengths in all of our relationships – love, work and community.
One of my Signature Strengths is Courage. I have always thought that to be brave is to be exceptional.
But what about bravery in excess? This week, I decided to drive a 16-foot moving truck into New York City. MYSELF. I thought it would be fun. As I tried switching lanes, turning onto narrow streets and avoiding poles in Philly, I realized that I wasn’t being brave – I was being foolish.
I needed help. For some reason, asking for help seemed like a weakness. I thought that the Courageous, the Strong, the Successful do it all on their own. This too was foolish.
When I asked for and accepted help, the move went smoothly. My mover sent me truck-friendly directions into the City, my friend Stephanie helped me pack, my friend Geraldine’s family moved me out of my Philly apartment, my friend Allison watched Henry, and my friend Mac drove with me into New York, telling me when I could switch lanes, staying with the truck while I signed the lease, and keeping me laughing through challenging moments (like when a woman honked to tell us that the hatch was up)!. The move could not have happened without these incredibly generous, kind friends.
This experience taught me that the wisest know when they need help and they ask for it. All strengths in excess are weaknesses. Aristotle said strengths “in reason” – today, we would call this “in moderation”. We must know our strengths – AND our limitations. We must ask for help along the way. We must remember that we need others. Remembering that gave me a smooth move into the next phase of my life.
Thank you to all who helped ease the way!
ps – If you want to know your Signature Strengths, visit www.authentichappiness.com