If you are interested in our coaching tutorials, feel welcome to download them for free. Additionally you will find several worksheets from my publications, as well as exercises for your personal development.
Welcome to the practical part of our institute’s work.
Maybe you’ve taken one of our tests or read one of our books. Or perhaps you’re just curious to see what exercises we use in our work, and find out how you can learn more about yourself.
The following pages provide some information and suggestions on a variety of different topic areas that may be of interest to you.
- Strengthen strengths
- Develop optimism
- Encourage success
- Find purpose
- Improve the quality of your relationships
We hope you enjoy browsing and trying out these exercises!
Using one’s strengths is an important part of leading a successful, fulfilling life. To make the most of my potential, I need to be able to use my strengths every day. There are a variety of different ways you can explore your strengths. For example, you can take a test like the VIA Character Strengths test (find the test on the Institute website).
Reflected Best Self
It’s also possible to explore your “Reflected Best Self”, an approach developed by …Quinn. To do this, start by choosing 5-10 people in your life. Ideally, you’ll select some family members, a couple of friends and a few co-workers. You’ll ask these people to describe your personal strengths and list specific examples of when and how you’ve used these strengths. You’ll compile all of these strengths and see if there are ones that are similar, or that people mentioned more frequently than others. These are your core strengths.
Using your strengths
In addition to knowing our strengths, it is essential to be able to use them effectively in our everyday lives. First, you can take a look back at your successes to see which of your strengths you used to achieve them. You can also consult the table below, and identify which strengths you’d like to use in which areas of your life (hobbies, family, career, etc.) in the future. Please try to be as specific as possible.
The gratitude diary is one of the most effective exercises available to help you develop a positive view of your situation and improve your overall well-being. In comparison, this exercise is quite simple:
Write down the things for which you are thankful on a regular basis – as often as you’d like. Some people enjoy this daily ritual, while others feel pressured by their everyday routines and prefer to write once a week. The most important thing is to keep this diary regularly. You can use an empty notebook, a calendar with a little space for your notes, or the form below this text. While some do this exercise each morning to start the day in a positive, thankful mood, others like to write in their diary in the evenings as a way to wrap up the day. See what time and frequency work best for you, and try to do this exercise for at least six weeks. You’ll notice empirically measurable success after six weeks.
Are you thankful for someone in your life, but have never really told them? Write a gratitude letter in which you describe what you’re thankful for, and why. Arrange a meeting with this person and read the letter to him/her.
Noticing and celebrating your successes is important to gain a clearer perception of your self-effectiveness. Simply continuing to push forward doesn’t give us the space to acknowledge what we’ve already achieved.
Get a folder or spiral-bound book with transparent sleeves and collect symbols, certificates and letters that represent your successes. This could be a university diploma, a letter of acknowledgment from someone important to you, or a trophy from a competition you once won. It could also be a statement of an athletic achievement, an article you finally got around to writing, etc. etc. etc. Collect these papers, photos and documents in transparent sleeves and be sure to leave some space to enter some more things – about everyday events in which you’ve achieved something that wasn’t easy. You can also collect motivational quotes or guiding principles in this folder, or photos of people who’ve supported you in your success. Also include space for a list of “celebration rituals” – like going to see a movie, taking a nice bath, or having a nice dinner – whatever you enjoy. The next time you have a success to celebrate, you can choose something from this list to enjoy your achievement. And if your internal critic starts to complain that you’ve not achieved anything, you can prove it wrong.
Overview of success
If a success book requires too much effort, you can create a simple Excel table. List a number of areas in which you’d like to see more success. You can write every day or as often as you’d like, and ask yourself the question: What did I succeed at today?
Every person as a different idea of what seems meaningful and what doesn’t. This also differs from situation to situation. For example, humanity has been thinking about the meaning of life since our existence began. We can approach this question by thinking about what’s personally important to us. Here are a few simple exercises to help you:
Imagine you’ve died after a long life (if this is too sad for you, imagine it’s your 90th birthday) and your friends, family and former colleagues have gathered to say goodbye (to celebrate). Certainly a couple of people would want to say a few words about you on such occasions. What do you wish people would say about you? The characteristics, actions and traits that come to mind are especially important to you.
Best Possible Self:
Imagine that you’re successful at everything you try to do. What would your life look like in five years? What would you have achieved? What people would be in your life? And what would you be doing with your time?
Giving makes people happy. Studies have shown that there is no better way of combatting the blues than to do something nice for someone else. You don’t need to start a major charity organization. It’s enough to do a couple of kind things every day. For example, you can write a nice message to someone, bring a coworker a coffee, let someone ahead of you in line, or help an elderly woman carry her groceries home. These friendly actions not only make the person on the receiving end happy – they also make us happy. Try it for yourself! Develop an awareness of the little pleasantries in life. You can also make a list for days when it’s difficult to approach others, and try to do 3-4 things. Here are a few suggestions:
Take a string or rope (at least a couple of meters long, or you can draw on the floor using chalk) and create a circle around yourself. Try to get a good sense of the amount of space that’s important to you, and how much you need to feel protected. Think about how this feels. Remember this feeling, and think about it time and again. This line doesn’t represent an untouchable wall, but you get to decide who can enter this space – and who may not. Preserve this space.
It’s impossible to avoid conflict. It can also be a sign of development and analysis. Arguing shows that we care about each other! But fights can be destructive and lead to irrecoverable damage. It’s important to be aware of the fact that there are no winners or losers in arguments. Instead, these provide opportunities to engage in a dialogue and find new solutions.
Rules of communication during conflicts
- Describe instead of Judge
When we’re upset, we tend to judge and generalize all the things annoying us. Neither helps in a conflict. An even better way is to focus and describe one’s feelings regarding a specific situation.
- Solve instead of Accuse
An essential aspect is not trying to accuse the other but expressing what one wishes for or what could help. Terms like “Always”, “Never” or “Everyone” generate a need for justification and self-defence which do not contribute to a meaningful communication.
- Listen, Listen, Listen
As the other starts talking, we’ve started creating a mind-set full of suitable refutations. However, it results in a lack of information that the other tries to communicate to us. We do not have to respond directly by counter blowing everything that has been said. Instead, we should question whether we’ve understood what the other is trying to say.
- Stay to the topic
Try to focus on one particular topic. Otherwise you spark off a fire of critiques going from detail to “oh and what I’ve always wanted to tell you…”. Thereby conflicts mostly escalate, making one of the interlocutors feel rejected or overstrained.
- Eye to Eye
Respect and appreciation are two of the most important values to be hold during an argument. Violence, no matter physical or verbal, results either in escalation or in withdrawal, hence not conducive for a constructive conflict.
- Take a Break
If one feels emotionally fragile (whether it’s caused by anger, sorrow or insecurity), it helps to demand a break, to be able to stabilize again.
- Observer’s perspective
Imagine you see yourself from an outside perspective: How would you observe your position in the argument? This perspective simplifies to check whether you are still right on track or accidentally shifted to focus on winning or losing the conflict.
- Outstanding issues
Resolving outstanding issues can be a great way to start a conversation, leading the path for a common solution finding.