Creativity and Social Intelligence

Big-hearted cognitive coach Sas Petherick shares her strengths

To launch our new set of 24 Character Strength pencils, #drawonyourstrengths is a campaign to help you find and cultivate your best qualities. We've invited some of our favourite thinkers, writers, artists and entrepreneurs to share their strengths with us.

We spoke to Sas Petherick. Sas is big-hearted, 'bullsh*t free' cognitive based coach, and the force behind #mymindfulyear - a warm invitation to bring mindfulness into your life (but not the 'chew on a raising for 10 minutes' kind). Sas took the VIA Strengths Survey, and here's what she discovered:

What were your top three?

Creativity, Love of Learning, Social Intelligence.

Were any of those particularly surprising?

I was very surprised that Creativity was top! I am also kind of delighted with that - I’ve always been a very enthusiastic consumer of other people’s creativity, but its taken me a long time to appreciate my own creative tendencies. I think we all have an inherent creativity - and it's not necessarily about being able to paint a recognisable landscape - I think it's our way of being. We humans aren't the fastest, deadliest or even the smartest creatures here on Spaceship Earth. But we are the best at solving problems, and this requires an innately creative nature.

When do you draw on this strength most often - and with whom? (Don’t be shy!)

Definitely in my work. When I’m coaching with a client who is going through a big hairy life change, one of the ways I can help is to offer fresh perspectives. So my creativity definitely helps for coming up with new ways for clients to see situations that can seem intractable when they're armpit-deep in it. I think metaphors especially, can be incredibly powerful for helping people to shift themselves forwards.

And what were your least-used three strengths?

Teamwork, Self-regulation, Prudence.

Do you agree?

These made me laugh - yes, absolutely true. Before coaching, I spent decades in senior corporate roles, running large teams. I was never very good at staying 'on message', or being loyal to the Board if their decisions didn’t make sense to me.

Strengths are like muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they become. Is there a way you could use your top strength to help you build up your least-used strength?

Prudence is about being careful of one’s choices and not taking undue risks - so finding a way to be ‘Creatively Prudent' feels a bit oxymoronic to me. The further into my forties I go, the less bothered I am about being careful. I’ve found that mostly, things work out.

Simply naming a strength in someone can amplify it. Who could you reach out to right now and compliment on one of their strengths?

Love this question! My friend Jeanine is the embodiment of Zest. She absolutely sees life as a massive adventure and I always feel more alive in her company. I am in awe of how she has embraced motherhood in her fourth decade with much Zest. And her daughter Wren (aka: Wrenegade) is displaying signs that this is an inherited strength, which I am very excited by.

To discover your own strengths, you can take the VIA Survey here. We'd love to hear what you find - once you've completed the survey, share your top 5 strengths and tag us @storeforthemind. You'll be entered into our competition to win your very own set of Character Strengths Pencils, with a detailed guide to help you build on your strengths and use them daily.