Archives For Exploring Leadership Soulutions Monthly Word

Willpower Assessment

Some people believe that willpower is a muscle, one that is weaker for some people and stronger for others, or it’s like an emotion. But either way, I think we can make it stronger. Just like most exercise programs you need to find your base, where are you at now. Here are a couple of links to determine your willpower level;

Willpower and Self-Control: Do You Need to Improve Your Self-Discipline? (Assessment) http://psychologia.co/willpower-and-self-control-test/

The first willpower assessment my willpower level came in as high. Although I procrastinate on doing things that I consider are in my weak areas, I do have willpower to do things that I see have value in my health and learning journey. But first you need to have a reason, or purpose for doing something, otherwise you may waste your willpower muscle on something that isn’t important.

Willpower Test http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3191

The second willpower test  my overall result was 73. It says that I would be a perfect person others could come to help achieve their resolutions. I guess that’s what a professional coach’s job is, to help others achieve their goals, to help people build, or control, their willpower.

Although I’m sure you don’t need to take an assessment to get an idea on how strong your willpower is, just look at your checking account and your waistline. For me it’s the checkbook, sometimes I can be an impulse buyer, fortunately my impulse buying is usually to learn something. Now I just need the willpower to finish the books, lessons, and activities from the courses I’ve started.

Definition of Willpower (merriam-websters.com)

1. The ability to control yourself : strong determination that allows you to do something difficult.
First Known Use of willpower – 1858

The definition of willpower is the ability to control yourself. When you first think about, ‘the ability to control yourself,’ you think, or at least I do, “no problem, why couldn’t I control myself?”
Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy, is it. For some people it may be, and although I scored high on one of the willpower assessments, I struggle with controlling my actions in certain aspects of life. It mainly deals with doing the activities that I really don’t like to do, or chose not to do.
When you think about it, willpower is a muscle, just like decision making. If you have to make a lot of decisions throughout the day by the time evening comes you can’t even decide what to have for supper. This is also when our willpower muscle is getting tired and we may struggle to stick to our diet and we convince ourselves that since we had a salad for lunch and a mile walk today, we make an easy decision and eat a frozen pizza for supper instead of taking the time to cook something healthy.
James Allen wrote about training the will in his book, The Mastery of Destiny (1909), “without strength of mind, nothing worthy of accomplishment can be done, and the cultivation of that steadfastness and stability of character which is commonly called “willpower” is one of the foremost duties of person. All you have to do is conquer the weak indulgences that make you a slave.” 
Do you have the willpower, or strength of mind, to stay off social media for an hour and write, or exercise, or read a book? We tend to do what comes easy, and why not, it’s easy. If that’s the way you attack life, then great. But if you want to achieve your goals and live a purposeful life you need to conquer your weaknesses and build your willpower muscle.
Although recent research by Professor Inzlicht from the University of Toronto claims that willpower isn’t a finite source but acts more like an emotion. If willpower is an emotion then we should be able to control it, which is easier if it’s something that we actually like to do. If we “will ourselves to do something,” is it the same as changing our attitude about something?
Whether you believe willpower is a muscle or is more like an emotion, James Allen wrote that the whole science of will cultivation is embodied in the following seven rules:
1. Break off bad habits – The first step is to break away from bad habits. This is no easy task. It demands putting forth great efforts, or a succession of efforts, and it is by such efforts that the will can alone be invigorated and fortified. If one refuses to take the first step, they cannot increase their willpower, for by submitting to a bad habit, because of the immediate pleasure which it affords; one forfeits the right to rule over themselves. The person who avoids self-discipline, and looks about for some “secret” for gaining willpower at the expenditure of little or no effort on their part, is deceiving themselves, and is weakening the willpower they already have.
2. Form good habits – The increased strength of will gained by success in overcoming bad habits enables you to initiate good habits, while the conquering of a bad habit requires merely strength of purpose, the forming of a new one necessitates the intelligent direction of purpose. To do this, a person must be mentally active and energetic, and must keep a constant watch upon themselves. As a person succeeds in perfecting themselves in the second rule, it will not be very difficult for them to observe the third, that of giving scrupulous attention to the duty of the present moment.
3. Give scrupulous attention to the duty of the present moment – Thoroughness is a step in the development of the will which cannot be passed over. Sloppy work is an indication of weakness. Perfection should be aimed at, even in the smallest task. By not dividing the mind, but giving the whole attention to each separate task as it presents itself, singleness of purpose and intense concentration of mind are gradually gained.
4. Do vigorously, and at once, whatever has to be done – Idleness and a strong will cannot go together, and procrastination is a total barrier to the acquisition of purposeful action. Nothing should be “put off” until another time, not even for a few minutes. That which ought to be done now should be done now. This seems to be a little thing, but it is very important, it leads to strength, success, and peace.
5. Live by rule – The person who is to develop a strong will must also live by certain fixed rules. They must not blindly gratify their passions and impulses, but must control them. They should live according to principle, and not according to passion. What food do you want to eat, how much exercise do you want to do weekly? Set your expectations, write your own set of “Living Rules,” and then hold yourself accountable to the rules.
6. Control the tongue – The sixth rule to controlling the tongue must be practiced until one has perfect command of their speech, so that they utter nothing in peevishness, anger, irritability, or with evil intent. The person of strong will does not allow their tongue to run thoughtlessly and without check.
7. Control the mind – All these six rules, if faithfully practiced, will lead up to the seventh, which is the most important of them all, controlling the mind. Self-control is the most essential thing in life, yet least understood. The person who patiently practices the previous six rules listed, will learn, by their own experience and efforts, how to control and train their mind.
These seven willpower building practices, taken directly from The Mastery of Destiny, written in 1909, when studied and practiced, will help you achieve your goals, purpose and as the title says, your destiny. Some believe that James Allen started the self-improvement movement and with principles like this we can understand why. I would highly recommend grabbing the book, Mind is Master, The Complete James Allen Treasury, it contains 20 different books and is one of my first references for insightful reading.
With the New Year upon us, maybe we should just set a goal to build our willpower. It’s the corner stone to achievement.

No

December 5, 2016 — Leave a comment

Definition of No (merriam-websters.com)

  1. Used as a function word to express the negative of an alternative choice or possibility
  2. In no respect or degree —used in comparisons
  3. Not so —used to express negation, dissent, denial, or refusal
  4. Used with a following adjective to imply a meaning expressed by the opposite positive statement
We generally are pretty good at saying no to our kids, especially if it looks like they’re going to hurt themselves. But why is it so hard to say no to your friend, your boss or even your spouse?

No can be a harsh word, and we generally use it in response to someone asking us to do something or when we express disagreement. But not being able to say no impacts our productivity, our personal time, our finances, and our relationships? If I tell a friend no, I can’t help them this weekend, what I’m saying is yes to spending time with relatives or saying yes to learning something new or maybe just relaxing.

Saying no is important to keep relationships healthy, to keep our job, and to keep within budget, I can’t think of how many times I should’ve said no to someone wanting me to buy something. I’m just a sucker, or think that if I say no, then I’m not a nice person.

Saying no doesn’t make you a mean person, it makes you a responsible person. If you say yes to everything, you say yes to other people’s agendas and no to your own. Where does that get you, not far, but it sure helps others out, and that’s not a bad thing. I’m not saying to say no to everything, just too wisely decide what you want to spend your time, money and other resources on.

My problem is that some people don’t even need to ask and I say yes to help them out. Or worse yet if they complain about something I think I need to fix it, even if I don’t see what’s wrong. This causes confusion and dependence. People learn to expect that you’ll give them what they want, because they know you don’t say no. It’s time to break the yes habit and implement the word NO into your vocabulary more often.

So how do you say no more? First you need to know what your purpose is, what your mission is, or what your organization’s mission is. Once you know your purpose and/or mission you can evaluate the request as to whether it matches up with your goals.

Most people know what their goals are in the job they do, and it’s important to limit your yeses at work so you can accomplish those goals, even if it’s a request from the boss.

As we get into the New Year, and if you have, or are going to set goals, make a list of all of your current obligations. Which ones align with your goals? Which ones, when you read them you say, “Hell Yes,” if you can’t say hell yes then say no. Of course you may make some people upset because you canceled appointments, resigned from committees, or just said NO. The positive side is that you’ll be able to say yes to the important things in life, you’re able to reconnect with people, volunteer for organizations your passionate about, and take control of your life better.

With the end of 2016 coming quick, what do you need to say no to in 2017 in order to say yes to what will make your life better in 2017?

Journey

November 7, 2016 — Leave a comment

Full Definition of journey (merriam-websters.com)

1: an act or instance of traveling from one place to another: trip
2: chiefly dialect: a day’s travel
3: something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another <the journey from youth to maturity> <a journey through time>

Journey is a word that is simple to understand, except when we ask ourselves, “what’s my journey?”

A journey, most of the time, consists of a purpose, but when I ask people what their purpose is, some get a confused look on their face and some haven’t even considered it. If you don’t know your purpose then you’re not really on a journey. I think you’re on a ride that someone else is controlling.
Are you a passenger in your life or are you the driver of your life?

Great movies and books consist of an individual’s journey to get the prize. Whether that’s acquiring wisdom, a physical item like a ring of power, winning the heart of the person you love, or conquering the enemy – which sometimes is ourselves.

George Lucas built an empire on the story of Luke Skywalker’s journey. Lucas used the writings of the American mythological researcher Joseph Campbell, who wrote of myths and stories from around the world in his book, The Hero of a Thousand Faces.

Campbell saw a relationship, in different cultures, that individuals had when they traveled through their life journeys and it starts with the Hero being in their own world or present reality. An example would be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz being at the farm in Kansas. It’s a situation that you’re comfortable in, even if you’re struggling in that situation. This might start with a traumatic event, a sense of danger or maybe an increase in awareness. This is when we make a choice to either live with our current world or to move on.

If we chose to move on then, as Campbell states, we have a call to adventure. But we know that adventure is filled with danger, we’ll have to face our fears, which are not always physical dangers. Napoleon Hill outlines Six Basic Fears in his book Think and Grow Rich as the Fear of Poverty, Fear of Criticism, Fear of Ill Health, Fear of Loss of Love, Fear of Old Age, and Fear of Death. These fears are internal and they prevent us from achieving our ultimate desires, or completing the journey.

We all struggle with the decision to embark on the adventure, we know it’ll take us out of our comfort zone and we’ll have to face our fears. This decision is what keeps people in purgatory for the rest of their lives. They’re afraid of facing their fears so they stay in jobs or relationships that they hate, but are comfortable with because they know what it is, it’s their current world. For some that current world gets worse or you raise to a higher level of awareness and decide to accept the call to the adventure and begin the journey into the unknown.

As you begin your quest into your new world, which might be going back to college, you know you’ll face many obstacles. You’ll meet new people, some pleasant and some not, you’ll have to conform to new rules, customs and cultures. An example may be starting a new job and you need to learn how the new world operates and which employees are friends or villains. The hero, you, use your superhuman powers, or your strengths, to adapt to this new environment.

Campbell continues to outline the hero’s journey with the individual getting help, or ‘wisdom,’ from a supernatural character, or better known today as a mentor. Luke Skywalker’s mentor in Star Wars was Obi-Wan Kenobi. A mentor is someone who sees your strengths and then helps you refine and improve those strengths so that it will help you get to the next level of success, or conquer your fears, to complete your journey. This mentor gives you something that assists you on your journey, it may be wisdom or even a symbol, or talisman. If you’re going to college, that mentor maybe a teacher and the talisman could be your diploma.

What is that object or strength that gives you the feeling that you have a superpower?

Who can you mentor to help them on their journey?

Of course every hero needs a sidekick, someone who helps them achieve their goal. The lesson here is that in order to achieve big goals, you need help. Dorothy would’ve never killed the Wicked Witch of the West without the help of The Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion.

Who is your sidekick, is there someone that believes in you enough to help you live your purpose and help you on that journey?

Eventually the Hero’s journey brings them to face their biggest fear and by using all of the skills they acquired on their journey they defeat their fears and achieve success. In Star Wars the Death Star was destroyed and in The Wizard of Oz Dorothy killed the Wicked Witch. They achieved success and received a reward for their struggles along the journey. Even if it’s to get back to your original situation, which may not have changed, but you have changed, which helps to change your old world into something better, not by others becoming better, but from you gaining more experience and wisdom you learned on your journey.

How many cultures send their youth on a journey so that they can return stronger and wiser, helping them to transition into adulthood?

What wisdom and strengths did you gain from one of your past journeys?

What is your journey and where are you at on that journey? Are you stuck at the beginning, not wanting to leave your comfort zone, even if you’re in a bad situation?
If you fail to go on your journey to increase your wisdom and awareness, you may never live your purpose. One of the biggest sins a person can make is to neglect your gifts and squander a purposeful life of helping others?

Qnothi Seautum – Ego

September 4, 2016 — Leave a comment

How big is your ego, do you tend to say I a lot, and find yourself boring others while talking about yourself? Well of course not, everything you do and are is exciting, right?

There are a couple of short quizzes you can do online to do an ego check on yourself. The first one I did was The Ego Meter, it’s only about 10 questions and it aligns you up with some examples like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Hemingway and Kenya West. Mine came up as a mixture between Mother Teresa and Gandhi, called Mondhi. It explains that wherever there are people in trouble or obstacles that need overcoming, you’re there. White hats were invented for personalities like this. There is, however, a line between a superhero and goody two-shoes, so put down the weight of the world every once in a while.

The other quiz, How Big Is Your Ego/confidence, was pretty basic and the questions more geared toward school age kids, but I did score as being normal, that I have the right level of self-esteem.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

I think the biggest test to know if your ego isn’t matching social norms is to think, do I care more about myself than others. Do I talk down to people, or do I lift them up? If you think you’re better than  others, then maybe it’s time to check your ego in at the door, and lose the ticket to get it back.

Links

The Ego-Meter

https://www.sophia.org/online-courses-for-college-credit/ego-meter

How Big Is Your Ego/confidence?

http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=how-big-is-your-egoconfidence

Ego

September 4, 2016 — Leave a comment

Ego, otherwise known as I, is a word that usually describes someone who thinks highly of themselves and let’s everyone around them know how great they are. I know, a face just flashed in your mind who displays an excessive ego. But maybe that face is our own, since the super ego controls our own ego.

But why are some people more self-aware of their actions than others? It may be that they have a larger super-ego. No, it’s not that they think more highly of themselves. Having a super ego means that you’re more self-aware of how your behavior affect, not only others, but your own outcomes due to your behaviors. With an increase in self-awareness of what your actions can result in, good or bad, we learn to become more self-controlled.

Sigmund Freud popularized the three different psyches, id, ego, and super-ego.  The Id is your basic means to survive, and find pleasure. You inherit your id at birth and it responds directly to what brings it the most pleasure, and it doesn’t change through time. The Id is your unconscious and controls those habits that we either don’t know we have, or struggle to change. Why is it so hard? because your unconscious controls the majority of our actions, whether we know it or not and that is where the id resides, only in our unconscious.

The ego wants to please the id, and the ego’s behavior can be both unconscious and conscious. The ego helps us make rational decisions and delay gratification through developing self-control. For example, people who steal may be considered to have low ego due to needing that material possession before they could buy it. They let their own desires, or id, control their actions, which are against social norms. The ego helps us develop options to gain the ultimate goal, to satisfy the id, even if it eventually breaks societal rules.

The super ego is modified by your external environment and it develops when your around 3 to 5 years of age. This is why they say a child’s personality is developed by the time they’re about five. The super ego is what values and morale’s where instilled in you, or in some people’s situation, beat into them, which can really cause havoc with the id. The super ego controls the id’s impulses through either rewarding or punishing the ego through guilt. The super ego resides in both the conscious and unconscious, but also the preconscious, which is an event in the process of becoming conscious. That’s why the super ego overlaps the ego and id, it’s like a mediator between the two. I like the ice berg diagram which depicts the id, ego and super ego along with unconscious, preconscious and conscious, which only is about 25% of our reality.

This is why we struggle to understand why the office bully or how some people say the stupidest things, they lack the awareness or don’t have the ability to let their super ego control their actions. So if someone has a super ego they’re able to control their actions and emotions, where as I always thought of someone with a super ego where the ones who did whatever they could to satisfy their own needs, at the expense of others.

The Gallup organization released the original StrengthsFinder assessment in 2001 with the book Now, Discover Your Strengths. It became a New York Times bestseller and sold nearly 2 million copies. Strengths are a combination of talents, knowledge, and skills. People use these traits and abilities in their daily lives to complete their work, to relate with others, and to achieve their goals. But most people don’t know what their strengths are or how to use them to their advantage.

People who do focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are more productive individually and in teams, and are more than three times as likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.

Talents represent a capacity to do something, what makes you exceptional. Knowing, understanding, and valuing your talents is directly linked to achieving in classes, careers, and throughout your life.

A strength is the ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance in a given activity. Strengths start out as talents, they’re produced when talents are refined with knowledge and skill.

The assessment consists of 34 different themes, but they have little to say about what field you should be in, and only offer some directional guidance on what role you should play within your chosen field.

The 34 themes are; (the underlined ones are mine)

  • Achiever – driven; constant need for achievement.
  • Activator – Impatient for action; “When can we start?” Must act as soon as decisions are made.
  • Adaptability – Live in the moment; expect and respond well to new demands; flexible.
  • Analytical – “Prove it”; Insist on sound ideas; objective; Like data and patterns.
  • Arranger – Like to be a “conductor”; enjoy managing variables and realigning them to find the perfect configuration; can change mind at last minute if new idea comes up.
  • Belief – Enduring core values; Often family-oriented, spiritual, value high ethics; Success more important than money and prestige.
  • Command – Take charge; easy to impose views on others; Fine with confrontation; Like things to be clear and up-front; May be labeled as intimidating or opinionated.
  • Communication – Like to explain, describe, host, speak in public and write; Take dry ideas and give them life; use examples, stories, metaphors; People like to listen to you.
  • Competition – Always comparing your performance to others; Like to win; May avoid contests where winning is unlikely.
  • Connectedness – Believe things happen for a reason; Believe everything is connected in some larger sense; Considerate, caring and sensitive; Faith in something greater.
  • Context – look at past to understand present; Like to understand backgrounds on people and ideas.
  • Deliberative – Careful; vigilant; private; Identify risks and mitigate them; Not effusive with praise.
  • Developer – See potential in others; Like to see people develop and grow.
  • Discipline – Want things to be predictable, ordered, planned; You impose structure in your life by setting up routines and working on timelines; Detail oriented.
  • Empathy – Sense emotions of others; feel what they feel; anticipate others needs; Good at expressing feelings.
  • Fairness – Balance is important; treat people the same, regardless of their situation; Don’t believe others should have an advantage because of their connections or background.
  • Focus – Need a clear destination; goal driven; stay on task; impatient with delays or tangents.
  • Futuristic – “Wouldn’t it be great if…?”; Dreamer; Energized by what the future may hold; People may look to you for hope.
  • Harmony – Look for areas of agreement; dislike conflict and friction; Peacemaker; Believe productivity is enhanced by looking for common ground rather than forcing views on others.
  • Ideation – Fascinated by ideas; like finding connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  • Inclusiveness – Like to include people and make them feel a part of the group; Not prejudiced; No one should be ignored.
  • Individualization – Don’t like generalizations about people since everyone is different; Recognize people’s unique qualities and strengths; Good at building teams.
  • Input – Inquisitive; like to collect things; Find many things interesting.
  • Intellection – Like to think; like mental exercise; Introspective; may spend time alone thinking of questions and coming up with possible answers.
  • Learner – Love to learn as well as the process of learning; Energized by journey from ignorance to competence; Might take classes such as yoga or piano.
  • Maximizer – Like to take something good and make it great. Don’t like taking something bad and making it good; fascinated by strengths – your own and others; Focus on strengths.
  • Positivity – Generous with praise, quick to smile; always looking for the positive; Might be viewed as lighthearted; Full of energy and optimism.
  • Relator – Like to spend time with people you know; Selective with relationships since you would rather deepen your existing relationships than create superficial new ones.
  • Responsibility – Feel emotionally bound to complete commitments, or will try to make it up to someone if you don’t complete it; Excuses and rationalizations are unacceptable; Looked at as completely dependable.
  • Restorative – Love to solve problems; Enjoy the challenge of analyzing symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding a solution.
  • Self-Assurance – You have faith in your strengths; Confidence in your abilities and judgment; Always seem to know the right decisions; not easily swayed by other’s opinions.
  • Significance – Want to be viewed as significant in the eyes of others; like recognition; Want to be heard and stand out; Independent; Like to do things your way.
  • Strategic – Able to sort through clutter to find best route; See patterns; Ask “What if”; able to foresee potential obstacles in advance and select the right path.
  • Woo – Stands for “Winning Others Over”; Enjoy challenge of meeting people and getting them to like you; Drawn to strangers; Make connections, then move on to meet new people.

Each person has greater potential for success in specific areas, and the key to human development is building on who you already are.

To excel as a leader you will need to recognize, and then learn to capitalize on, each person’s unique strengths. This will keep your employees productive, energized, and satisfied. This allows you set different expectations for each person so that they can focus on their strengths. When a manager understands their employee’s strengths they can tailor their jobs and work assignments to capitalize on those strengths. When work teams are formed you can put people together that complement each other, ones with different strengths in order to establish a more productive team.

Top achievers build their lives upon their talents no matter what field they are in. They apply their strengths in roles that best suit them and invents ways to apply their strengths to their tasks.

So how do we work on our strengths? First you need to know what they are. Some times what you find easy and take for granted are actually your strengths. I would recommend that you grab a copy of the book Strengthfinders 2.0, it’s less than $20, but don’t buy used, the assessment code will be also be used. Or you can take the free online assessment (it may not be exactly as the Strengthfinders assessment).

If you’ve either done this assessment yourself or with your company, talk to your leader about your strengths and how you want to work more in those areas. If your job doesn’t consist of any of your strengths, you may consider moving to one that does. If you’re in a job that doesn’t allow you to work in your strengths you’ll probably dread going to work, achieve less on a daily basis, have fewer positive and creative moments and could even treat customers poorly.

Once you know, review your top 3 strengths and top 3 weaknesses daily, and think how you can work on your strengths, and manage your weaknesses. Weekly review the Ideas for Action for each of your strengths and how you can implement any of them throughout the week. Monthly reflect on how you’ve improved your strengths and if you’re still being impacted by any of your weaknesses. There’s also tools available online to help you implement the Strengthfinders concept into your life. The last tip, share your strengths with others so they know what areas you’re great at and instead of asking you to help them do something you’re not good at, ask you to do something that you excel in.

You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.

Please share your strengths in the comments..


References

CLIFTON STRENGTHSFINDER®

https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/Home/en-US/Index

The Clifton StrengthsFinder® 2.0 Technical Report: Development and Validation

https://strengths.gallup.com/private/Resources/CSFTechnicalReport031005.pdf

CERTIFIED COACHES DIRECTORY

https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/Coach/en-US/Directory?country=United%20States&state=North%20Dakota

Using the Myers-Briggs® Instrument with the Gallup StrengthsFinder

https://www.cpp.com/pdfs/mbti-strengthfinders-guide.pdf

Understanding Your Talents & Strengths

http://www.tamuc.edu/academics/colleges/scienceEngineeringAgriculture/documents/strengths.pdf

Take the Workuno Strengths Test Free (Similar to the Stregthfinders 2.0 assessment)

http://freestrengthstest.workuno.com/free-strengths-test.html

Strengthfinders books by Tom Rath

https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Rath/e/B001J8ZIN6/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Example – Strengthfinders 2.0 Results for David Leingang

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bywz8k2TUEkdMlFKd2FZNGVvMzA/view?usp=sharing

Strengths-Based Books from Gallup

Strengths Based Parenting (2016) – http://amzn.to/2a4Gss5

First, Break All the Rules (2016) – http://amzn.to/2azSqJE

Strengths Based Selling (2011) – http://amzn.to/2aitYIJ

Strengths Based Leadership (2009) – http://amzn.to/2alSBb2

StrengthsFinder 2.0 (2007) – http://amzn.to/2aisBJW

StrengthsQuest (2006) – http://amzn.to/2aBwmA4

Teach With Your Strengths (2005) – http://amzn.to/2aBwJe0

How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life (2004) – http://amzn.to/2aiuaHR

How Full Is Your Bucket? Expanded Anniversary Edition (2009) – http://amzn.to/2aBwmQO

Living Your Strengths (2004) – http://amzn.to/2aiyQ0n

Discover Your Sales Strengths (2003) – http://amzn.to/2a9A5zz

Now, Discover Your Strengths (2001) – http://amzn.to/2alYUvp

Stress

July 4, 2016 — Leave a comment
This Friday I had the unfortunate opportunity to attend a friends funeral. We never worked directly together or hung out, but we briefly talked when we’d run into each other. So I would call Glenn a friend because he was so easy to talk with, and I think that was why the church was full, not a single empty pew.
Glenn was one of the good guys, who was eagerly waiting for retirement, but didn’t make it in his physical life but I’m sure he’s enjoying it in his afterlife. Like most of us he had a stressful job with high demands. Now, I’m not saying the job was the reason he passed away, but stress can contribute to it. And that’s why we need to take a deep breath, (literally, take a deep breath), and slowly exhale.
And that’s the first tip to relieving stress, when you feel stressed, close your eyes (unless you’re driving, or walking) and take some deep breaths. Breathe through your nose into your belly and then up into your chest and slowly exhale. After about four or five deep breaths let your breath return to normal and just focus on your breathing until you’ve calmed down. Of course when you start to do this you’re actually meditating in its simplest form. Focus on your breathing and when the outside thoughts creep in, because they will, refocus on your breathing. The point of meditating isn’t to always have a silent mind, it’s to realize when you lose focus, push away the outside thought and refocus on your breathing or whatever it is that you’re focusing on. It helps to train your super computer to stay focused better. Making you more productive. I’ve been using the meditation app Headspace for over a year and you can try it for a free ten day trial period.
The second tip is to go for a walk. If you get breaks at work do you use them to get moving, or do you just skip them? You may feel like you’re being more productive if you work through your break, but in reality you’re more productive when you take breaks. You may even be more creative due to getting more blood and oxygen into that super computer between your ears. Even better, at least I think it is, is to do some Tai Chi/Qi Gong. Tai Chi is called moving mediation, you breath as you focus on the movements, getting a good workout, and building internal energy (Qi) instead of depleting it. If you’re interested you can do 15 minutes for free online at TaiJiFit.net at 8:00 am and 7:00 pm ctrl time, Monday through Saturday. And there’s plenty of demonstrations on David Dorian Ross’s YouTube channel, he has a good sense of humor and may even make you laugh.
The third tip is to laugh. I know, it sounds simple enough but it helps with stress because it releases feel good hormones. Put something funny in your Mp3 player and listen to it while you walk. Who cares what other people think as you walk past them laughing, just don’t stare at them as you laugh. Mayo Clinic reports that some of the short-term benefits is that laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air and stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. Long-term effects of making laughter a regular practice is that it improves your immune system. Negative thoughts cause a chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and illnesses. Laughter may even ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers and can help lessen depression and anxiety.
The forth tip to relieve stress is to take a vacation. I’m not one to preach here, but I know I need to take a vacation, sooner or later. It’s hard to take a vacation when you get to do what you like to do. I think the key is to find an activity that lets you lower stress and cortisol levels, the stress hormone that damages our body when we get too much of it. The Harvard Business Review articleWhen a Vacation Reduces Stress — And When It Doesn’t reports that positive vacations have a significant effect upon energy and stress. In their study, 94% of employees had as much or more energy after coming back after a good trip. In fact, on low-stress trips, 55% returned to work with even higher levels of energy than before the trip. We all know that vacations can be stressful, so to create a positive vacation make sure you; 1) focus on the details, 2) plan more than one month in advance, 3) go far away, and 4) meet with someone knowledgeable at the location.
Unfortunately, most of these stress relieving tips we’ve heard before, so why don’t we do them? It’s the big space between knowing and doing, called the potential gap. We can’t even imagine our potential so we don’t do the simple things. Which in turn cause us stress, it’s almost like our subconscious is having us do things to keep us in our own reality, that life is stressful.
Oh wait, our subconscious does keep us in what we think our reality is. Change starts with the thought that you can change, once you know you have control over your life, your stress levels may decrease. Once you believe you can change, you’re more likely to take action, not stress about not taking action.
So the fifth tip is to take control of your thoughts, as the book As A Man Thinketh states, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” In the chapter “Effect of Thought on Health and the Body,” Allen states, “Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought. Sickly thoughts will express themselves through a sickly body.” He continues to write, “Strong, pure, and happy thoughts build up that body in vigour and grace?” 
You are what you believe, if you want to get out of a stressful situation then believe that you can be out of it, then start to plan to do it and then of course, take action.
But it begins with belief.

StandOut 2.0

July 2, 2016 — Leave a comment

Marcus Buckingham first published “First, Break All the Rules” and then “Now, Discover Your Strengths,” brought to mainstream business the importance of focusing on developing our strengths, not our weaknesses was how we reach our true potential. He added to this conversation when he published “StandOut” which provided new insights and more important, an online assessment tool. The updated version “StandOut 2.0” gives you your own Personalized Strengths Channel, the program can send you a weekly tip, insight, or technique to help you build on that strength.

This assessment isn’t how you perceive yourself, but as others see you. The assessment does this by giving scenario examples where the choices are equally good and limited time to respond so you don’t overthink them. It uses specific “trigger words” that your true personality type will subconsciously relate to, so you’re forced to answer what first comes in your mind. The results show you how other people see you as, not how you see yourself. It claims that you can’t skew your answers to how you want your themes to come out, unlike most other assessments.

The StandOut assessment is broken down into nine different roles, unlike the 34 themes from the Strengthfinders assessment. Although the Leadership Based Strengthfinders book narrow those 34 themes down into four leadership domains strengths of Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking. More on that assessment in a future article.

The StandOut report provides you with a graph which ranks them from your strongest to weakest role. The top two roles is what your biggest contribution to the team is. Here’s an example:

StandOut Graph

The nine roles are defined as follows;

1) Advisor: You are a practical, concrete thinkier who is at your most powerful when reacting to and solving other people’s problems

2) Connector: You are a catalyst. Your power lies in your craving to bring two people or ideas together to make something bigger and better than it is now.

3) Creator: You make sense of the world–pulling it apart, seeing a better configuration, and creating it.

4) Equalizer: You are a levelheaded person whose power comes from keeping the world in balance, ethically and practically.

5) Influencer: You engage people directly and persuade them to act. Your power is your persuasion.

6) Pioneer: You see the world as a friendly place where around every corner good things will happen. Your power comes from your optimism in the face of uncertainty.

7) Provider: You sense other people’s feelings, and you feel compelled to recognize those feelings, give them a voice, and act on them.

8) Stimulator: You are the host of other people’s emotions. You feel responsible for them, for turning them around, for elevating them.

9) Teacher: You are thrilled by the potential you see in each person. Your power comes from learning how to unleash it.

My primary role is Provider and my second role is Stimulator, as replicated in the above image. The assessment gives you a snapshot of what your greatest value to the team is, here’s what mine said;

You make sure that every voice is heard. You are the expert listener. You are gifted at hearing our stories, honoring them, and then helping us to move forward. Your guiding belief is that we can answer our own questions, respond to our own challenges, find our own power to think something through and then take action. When we are down, you pull us back up and get us feeling like we have it within us to charge forward. Where some people excel at arbitration, hearing both sides and deciding for everyone, you are an excellent mediator, carefully paying attention and finding the common ground, staying positive, and keeping faith that there is indeed a resolution — all with your characteristic self-deprecating yet energizing brand of humor. You make sure that every voice is heard.

The report lists a number of different other suggestions like; You, at your most powerful; How you can make an immediate impact; How to take your performance to the next level; What to watch out for; How to win as a leader, How to win as a manager, How to win in client services and How to win in sales. It also outlines what your ideal career would be, here’s mine as other people see me;

You make us feel that we have it within us to charge forward. When we are down, you pull us back up and get us feeling like we have it within us to charge forward. This is a guiding belief of yours: that we can answer our own questions, respond to our own challenges, find our own power to think something through and then take action. You will find yourself drawn to psychology, sociology, and counseling, because they will help you understand more deeply why people get stuck, and which emotional triggers you can trip to release them. You will excel in these roles, or indeed any role that requires you to be an expert listener–here your gift will be to hear the person’s story, honor the story and then use it to help her move forward. This gift will also serve you well as a mediator. Not an arbitrator, but a mediator: someone who is paid to help each party stay positive, find the common ground, and keep faith that there is indeed a resolution. You will also shine as a facilitator. In this role you won’t get caught up in the content of the session, but instead will be attuned to making sure that every voice is heard, and that the mood of the room stays lively. Wherever you are, we will warm to your self- deprecating yet energizing brand of humor.

For those of you that know me, please leave a comment if you think this is true or not.

I definitely recommend this book and assessment, “StandOut 2.0” is a tool that enables you to identify your strengths, and those of your team, and act on them. It’s an easy assessment to take and gives you an online platform to display your results and receive tips to help you build on those strengths. You can get a book on Amazon for less than $15 and it comes with a code to access the online platform.

References;

StandOut Assessment

https://tmbc.desk.com/customer/en/portal/topics/854859-standout-assessment/articles?b_id=11035

Marcus Buckingham Wants You to StandOut

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2011/09/12/marcus-buckingham-wants-you-to-standout/#25cc0ff92dea

Free StandOut Strengths Assessment

http://www.strengthsmining.com/2014/02/persistance-without-purpose-is-just-misplaced-passion/

StandOut 2.0: Assessing Your Strengths

https://youtu.be/3J9nyE1QeP8

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory has been around for a number of decades and is one of the most popular personal assessments used. It helps individuals to understand their behavior by seeing how they prefer to use their perception and judgment.

Perception is how we become aware of things, people, happenings, or ideas. Judgment is how we coming to conclusions about what has been perceived. If people perceive things differently they come to different conclusions, showing how they are different in their interests, reactions, values, motivations, and skills.

The MBTI is broken into 16 distinctive personality types that combines eight different categories into four groups;

  • Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I): Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world?
  • Sensing (S) or Intuition (N): Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning?
  • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F): When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances?
  • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P): In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?

Your preference in each category gives you your own personality type, which is expressed with four letters in 16 different personality types: ISTJ, ISFJ, INFJ, INTJ, ISTP, ISFP, INFP, INTP, ESTP, ESFP, ENFP, ENTP, ESTJ, ESFJ, ENFJ, ENTJ. You can go to the official MBTI website to check out all of the definitions and pay for a self-assessment, or you can go to a number of sites that you can take a quick MBTI assessment for free to give you a good indication on what your MBTI is.

I won’t go into each one of the 16 type indicators except to briefly outline the Intuitive, Nurturing, Feeling, Judging (INFJ) one, because that’s what I am.

My MBTI is Introverted, iNtuiting, Feeling, Judging (INFJ). In an article by Marina Margaret Heiss, INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally “doers” as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes their drawn to.

INFJs are sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are genuinely interested in people, but INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few long-term friends, family, or “soul mates.” Occasionally INFJs will withdraw into themselves, shutting out even their mates. This provides them with both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are susceptible to as inherent “givers.” INFJs need to be able to express their creativity and insight and need to know that what they are doing has meaning, helps people, leads to personal growth and is in line with their values, principles and beliefs.

Since I’m into studying leadership, I always like to see how my personality type relates to how I lead. INFJs are often reluctant in exercising their authority who prefer to see subordinates as equals. They leave the technical systems and factual details to more capable hands, and work hard to inspire and motivate, not crack the whip. INFJs’ also expect their subordinates to be as competent, motivated and reliable as they themselves are. Basically, they lead by example.

Some of the famous INFJs, or determined to be INFJs are; Plato, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter (U.S. Presidents), Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Carl Jung, George Harrison from the Beatles, and Mark Harmon from the television series NCIS. Some of the INFJ’s that I’m afraid to say that I have the same personality type are two of the most evil men from the past century, Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

Take the free MBTI assessment to see what type you are, if you’ve never done it before I’m sure you’ll be surprised that what you do is normal for you, it’s alright to be different from others. Once you understand why you do what you do, you’ll become more comfortable with who you are.

After you take the assessment post what your type is.

“When people differ, a knowledge of type lessens friction and eases strain. In addition it reveals the value of differences. No one has to be good at everything.” ~ Isabel Briggs Myers


References

The Myers & Briggs Foundation
http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/

The Myers & Briggs Foundation assessment
http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/take-the-mbti-instrument/

16 Personality Types (free personality test)
https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

Jung Typology Test™ (free)
http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Famous INFJs
http://www.celebritytypes.com/infj.php