The ESSENTIALS: Life Purpose & Balance – Leveraging Strengths and Opportunities (Digital Curriculum)


True self-knowledge emerges from a willingness to study all of ourselves, including our best and worst, our strengths and weaknesses. The Character SWOT Analysis provides an intentional, structured exercise for expanding our self-knowledge about the current state of our character strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the SWOT Analysis challenges us to identify opportunities to enhance our strengths, reduce our weaknesses, and acknowledge threats to putting good character into action, allowing one to reflect on and improve their character.


No matter what you call them — character skills, SEL skills, positive psychology strengths, employability skills, 21st-century competencies, or even soft skills— these foundational skills are essential in every family, school, extra-curricular, sport, employment/STEM readiness program, community, or workplace.

The ESSENTIALS is a research-based character development and leadership enhancement program designed for educators working with middle and high school-aged youth. The ten focus areas in The ESSENTIALS series represent critical competencies for developing character and culture skills needed for success in school, extra-curricular activities, work, and beyond.

The ESSENTIALS modules draw upon nearly 25 years of applied research and development in K-16 education, workplaces, and sports.

Educators can introduce each ESSENTIALS module as a single experience or break it into several 15-minute lessons. Students can use the module’s core tool or strategies repeatedly to master the competency over time. In addition, each module includes several extension activities and teaching ideas, allowing for extra practice throughout a course, semester, or year.

View all 12 ESSENTIALS modules / topics

The ESSENTIALS – Frequently Asked Questions

Leveraging Strengths and Opportunities – Flipbook

Leveraging Strengths and Opportunities: The Character SWOT - SEL and Character Skills


The ESSENTIALS: Series Introduction

Introduction to Essentials

CASEL Core Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Competency Alignment: Self-Awareness

Six Pillar Alignment: Citizenship