The blog this week was written by Wendy Hutchison, a Community Broker at The Arcadia Institute. Merriam-Webster defines strength as: the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way.

At the Arcadia Institute’s Building a Community of Belonging forum on March 26th, small groups spent time defining, identifying and realizing the strengths of individuals with disabilities that shared their story of success.

There were three types of strengths that came from the groups: inner strengths, outward strengths and overall strengths.

Many inner strengths about the character of the individual were identified: honesty, positive, independent, self-esteem, responsible, hard worker, confident, motivated, leader, committed, initiative.

Outward strengths or those that are drawn upon to move ourselves from where we have been to where we strive were realized as: Willingness to learn new things, take a chance, be courageous, take a risk, create redirection, be a good problem-solver.

Strengths that allow the individual to connect with others and are useful in building teams were identified as: having fun, relationships, community, getting along with people, knowing the impact of sharing their passion.

It was clear as these individuals shared their stories, that they were able to use their inner strengths and also build new strengths as their confidence grew along with their opportunities.

Everyone needs strengths to be successful in their work, home life and community. They are the qualities that allow us to maneuver through any roadblocks, issues, unexpected events or other hurdles that life serves us. The inner strengths, outward strengths and connection strengths that these individuals possess and the combined strengths from each of the three categories are what each of us draws upon to deal with problems in a determined and effective way.