One resource the Spirit Bear team gives high marks to was discovered during advanced teacher training under Helen Stutchbury of Camp Utopia Teacher Training. This particular resource is a book by Tom Rath called StrengthsFinder 2.0. When you purchase the book, you receive access to an on-line test that is -- as the cover jacket notes -- “rooted in more than 40 years of research, [and]… has helped millions discover and develop their natural talents.”
Once you take the on-line test, you are given a list of 5 key strengths your results indicate you possess. The author suggests that identifying your strengths is much more beneficial (and profitable), than trying to uncover and improve upon areas of weakness. Looking to develop, nurture, and capitalize on your strengths fits in perfectly with the concept of Spirit Bear Yoga. A bear doesn’t spend time trying to be more cat-like or work on his singing skills like the birds of the forest. Instead, he puts is energy into what he instinctively knows he needs to do to survive and thrive.
The emphasis on strengths this books advocates helps us to appreciate the gifts others have as we recognize our own. Instead of comparing our results to others and feeling inadequate for what we can’t do, we have our own list of strengths that make us able to contribute in a unique way. Furthermore, if we lament or focus on the strengths we don't have, we will miss the opportunity to develop the those we do. A bear that tries very, very, hard to fly will not be not be successful -- no matter how much effort he puts into it! His efforts are much more beneficial to his survival when focused on a strength, like hunting. The book shares what the bear exemplifies: effort + natural strength = maximum results. There is no place in that equation for dwelling on weaknesses.
We have included the book as part of the required resources for the Seva Teacher Training program at Yoga Pod Waco, and have also found it valuable in working with other teachers and staff at the studio. It is empowering when we are asked to work from our strengths and are able to reach out to others for help in the areas where they are stronger.
We encourage you to check out his tool – whether you want to learn more about yourself, or want to help a team you are on function more efficiently. It’s Spirit Bear Approved!