Monday, June 27, 2016

Fatima Doman on Focusing on Authentic Strengths to Optimize Potential

Fatima Doman talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her book, Authentic Strengths.

“Look to see the best in yourself, and then cultivate that.” ~Fatima Doman

Fatima came to the United States at the age of three, as a refugee from a war in Angola. She has been an executive coach for twenty years for Franklin Covey, and has been using positive psychology lately when she works with her clients, and received her Advanced Executive Coaching Certification from Columbia University as part of Franklin Covey’s Executive Coaching Practice under Global Executive Practice, and among the many tools she learned during that certification was positive psychology.

Positive psychology is a relatively new field in psychology that has been around for only fifteen years to date, and is based on, and has been validated by, the over two hundred research studies done around the world that show that people focus on strengths rather than weaknesses when they focus on what’s right rather than what’s wrong, and this creates greater energy and resilience and even higher functioning immune systems. Fatima notes that it’s better to work using models on humans flourishing rather than focusing on disease models, which is the methodology used in traditional psychology, and positive psychology acts as a balance to traditional psychology. Positive psychology focuses on what’s going right, and enables those who use it to work towards something they create more of, rather than avoiding particular behaviors. Fatima notes that people can coach themselves using positive psychology as well as coach others.

The twenty-four strengths of character that the book is based on came about from a study conducted by fifty scholars around the world who studied strength of character in wisdom literature from around the world, and the listing of the essential human strengths which can be found in all cultures took three years to catalogue. These are all in Fatima’s website,, where visitors can take a free survey (which is highlighted on the website) to see how these twenty-four strengths rank with them.

Fatima wrote Authentic Strengths because she wanted to share the positive message to the world, particularly as she experienced its power in her own life, and thus feels that everyone can benefit from it, so they can use their authentic strengths in their lives. She notes that research has shown that people can learn to be more optimistic as well as learn to create the conditions that enable a greater degree of fulfillment in their lives, and the science behind these are what Authentic Strengths is all about. Given the broadness of positive psychology, Fatima wrote the book as a distillation of the strength concept in a way that the ordinary person can understand.

Fatima remarks that everyone has the twenty-four strengths, but these are all present in different degrees in different people, and that we should use our top strengths more often, as these give us more energy and more engagement, and that we should create more opportunities for us to use these, thus leveraging these to create greater results. She noted that people who focused on using their higher strengths for a week experienced benefits, such as lower stress and lower anxiety, over a period of six months. Fatima notes that certain strengths can be influenced by culture, such as a higher placing of the strengths of modesty and humility in Asian cultures.

Fatima commented on a few case studies, such as herself when she worked on her strength of prudence while she worked on her book. Fatima noted the case of a high-performing VP of sales who was about to be kicked out because of the abrasive way others felt he dealt with them. Fatima identified the man’s strength, which explained why he acted the way he did - and he basically had only the best financial interests of the company in mind - and then worked with him on his communication skills, while keeping his higher strengths in mind, which resulted in him not only staying in his company but also being given equity share in the company.

Fatima remarked that it is possible for people to develop their lower strengths, and gave the example of a woman who was able to gain fulfillment by working to develop one of her lower strengths, which was perseverance.

To those who want to achieve better things for themselves, Fatima recommends that they take the strength survey on her website to discover what their top, or “signature,” strengths are, and then look for ways they can use that strength in their lives. She would like to see the message spread throughout the world, and mentioned that one of her partners in India is using the book to work with teenagers, which helps them a lot.

Fatima Doman’s website is

Purchase on Amazon: Authentic Strengths by Fatima Doman

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