Do you ever wish you had different strengths?

May 8, 2018

I’m pretty clear about my strengths and weaknesses as a leader, wife, mother/grandmother and friend. But I cannot excel if I am only focused on changing weaknesses. I’ve learned that to excel, I must look toward my strengths.

For almost two decades, Bridge of Hope has been seeking to serve families facing homelessness and Neighboring Volunteers from a strengths-based perspective.

Dr. Robert Hewitt, who serves on our national board, led a workshop at the Bridge of Hope conference several years ago, which outlined 9 core principles of strength-based practice. Here are three that I believe all of us (whether leaders, volunteers or in the helping professions) can strive to live into:

  • An absolute belief that every person has potential. It is their unique strengths and capabilities that will determine their evolving story as well as define who they are. Instead of an “I will believe it when I see it” approach, it’s a “I believe and I will see it” posture.
  • What we focus on becomes one’s reality. If we focus on strength, not labels (seeing challenges as a place to foster capacity instead of something to avoid), we can help give birth to hope.
  • Positive change occurs in the context of authentic relationships. People need to know someone cares and will be there unconditionally for them. When we stand beside others, supporting change instead of “fixing,” we are building on strengths.

And here’s a brief video on strengths based practice as well.

As we walk with families facing homelessness, we can best follow the example of Jesus by seeing other people’s strengths first, instead of focusing on their shortcomings. That’s true for all of us. And if we focus on strengths first, I believe we’ll all do better at loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Always trying to see strengths,

Edith Yoder
Executive Director

Do you ever wish you had different strengths?