Honesty and Perspective

Daianna Karaian, founder of Thoughtful, 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 Daianna Karaian, founder and editor at www.thisisthoughtful.com. Thoughtful is a movement of people who love beautiful things, and are on the hunt for responsible, mindful design. Daianna took the VIA Strengths Survey, and this is what she found:

What were your top three strengths?

Honesty, Perspective and Prudence. (Does that make me sound like a prude?!)

Were any of those particularly surprising?

Not really. I remember as a very little girl hearing the phrase “a man of my word” for the first time, and thinking, I want to grow up to be a woman of my word. Being genuine, seeking and speaking the truth, and doing what I say I’m going to do… those things have been important to me for as long as I can remember.

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

The beauty of honesty (another word for it might be authenticity) as my top strength is that, by definition, I use it all the time. It’s not just about saying what I really think, but about making sure there’s consistency between my beliefs, my words and my actions. I try to be consistent, in any situation, with anyone. That doesn’t mean I can’t learn, adapt or change my mind. But my underlying values don’t change. They’re what guides me.

And what were your least-used three strengths?

Humour, Kindness and Spirituality.

Do you agree?

That I’m a mean, soulless bore? I hope not! But I do believe firmly in the ‘1% Rule’—at least one percent of any feedback you get is valid. I have a healthy sense of humour, but I’m no comedian. I spend a lot of my time doing nice things for others, but I wouldn’t be the best social worker.

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?

I have no doubt pure, unfiltered honesty can draw a lot of laughs. But I reckon I’m probably a few decades too old for that to be socially acceptable!

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

Over the last few months I’ve gotten to know Kate Wilson, the founder of Mulberry Mongoose. From a small workshop alongside an elephant path in the middle of the Zambian bush, she and her team of charmingly badass ladies make lovely jewelry out of local materials. It’s not easy, but her bravery, persistence and zest are making it a big success.

If you want to find out your own strengths, you can take the VIA Survey here. And 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.