Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Working towards your strengths

A friend told me to take the Strengths Finder assessment a long time ago and somehow I didn’t get around to it until now. Perhaps, at that time, I wasn’t in a place to reap the true value of this. The book came up again recently during an interview. I walked into the Director’s office and saw all three Strengths Finder books prominently standing up on her desk.  I got excited and we ended up talking for a while about the books and how it was used in the company. I was quite impressed and decided I wanted to take the assessment. The next day, I bought the book and took the assessment. The timing was perfect because I’m conducting a very focused job search targeted for  job roles and organization cultures that are in line with my strengths and interests.

The concept of focusing on strengths is a shift from my last career, where the emphasis was placed on developmental areas. Everyone at every level of the company had developmental areas, so there was a greater emphasis on this than catering to strengths.  While I generally liked my job, I recognized early on that it often caused nervous energy for me. I realized that the nervousness came whenever I was working in an area that wasn’t a strengths or interest for me. My belief is that there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to developing weaknesses. There needs to be a certain level of proficiency and understanding, but after that time is wasting trying to develop weaknesses into strengths. It’s unnatural and takes away from time spent working in strength areas.

Here are my top 5 strengths from Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment:

  1. Maximizer
  2. Connectedness
  3. Futuristic
  4. Relator
  5. Intellection

This assessment has insight that is valuable to all types of relationships: co-workers, friends, family, mates/spouses, children. I’ll use the Intellection strengths as one example of how dead on this assessment was for me. Here’s a brief description:

Shared Theme Description: People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

Ideas for Action: People may think you are aloof or disengaged when you close your door or spend time alone. Help them understand that this is simply a reflection of your thinking style, and that it results not from a disregard for relationships, but from a desire to bring the most  you can to those relationships.

The Ideas for Action section gives suggestions on how to put this strength to use and things to share with others. I wish I had read this when I was in business school and shared it with my roommate. I remember one day her saying that she used to get offended when I would go in my room and close the door for a while, but after a while she just learned that its what I do and it wasn’t directed at her.  She didn’t understand how I could go in my room and close the door for an hour and then reemerge ready to talk and play.

I couldn’t believe she thought this was directly at her because it was not my intention. When I read the description above, I thought about her. It is dead on in expressing the purpose for needing to be alone…to ultimately be able to strengthen the relationship. While I know these things about myself, I have to remember that others don’t necessarily know these things about me because they have  a different  way of framing things based on their own strengths. This book is a great way to deepen the understand of yourself and foster better relationships in your life.

So here’s to Quita for learning about my strengths the hard way. Thanks for being patient!

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Law of Attraction

I mentioned in a previous posts that I listened to an audio book and wanted to briefly post about it. I decided to try this instead of reading because I realized that I haven’t had to time to read on this trip. I usually do a lot of reading when I’m on vacation because it helps me relax and escape mentally. On this trip writing has been that therapy. So that let me to the audiobook. I had doubts that I’d be able to actively listen to the whole thing without drifting off, but it turned out to be perfect in this setting. I started listening to it while waiting in the train station, on the train and while walking around the city. Occasionally, I missed not being about to write things down, but the fact that I could “reread” this entire book in two hours made up for it.

The book I choose was: Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don’t Want by Michael Losier. I had already read The Secret, which is another book on this same topic, and hoped it wouldn’t be a repeat of that, but it picks up right where The Secret leaves off. It gives you tangible ways to change your thoughts, beliefs and words. As someone who likes to take action, I enjoy books that make me feel inspired to take action after reading it. This book did that and I started some of the exercises immediately.

I’d highly recommend this (audio)book to anyone wants to make changes in their life, especially if you’ve read and enjoyed The Secret. I also recommend audio books for anyone who enjoys reading but doesn’t have the time to sit and read.

The Acomodador

Just a few days ago, I was so conflicted about what I would do this summer that I almost ended up doing nothing. So how do you go from two wonderful options to nothing? You allow yourself to get paralyzed by fear. Paulo Coelho calls it the Acomodador, or giving up point (see excerpt below). Looking back, I realize  that this is what happened to me. I allowed the fear of the unknown (a.k.a. the “what ifs?”) to consume my thoughts and completely change them. What if I don’t find a job? What if no one wants to rent my place? What if I go broke? What if…What if…What if…? As you can see the “what ifs” get progressively worse and more absurd as time goes on. Just allow yourself to sit with fear and it’ll take you on a mental ride where you find yourself questioning everything. I had reached my acomodador. Fortunately, I knew the source of my anxiety and  did finally  make a decision thanks to the listening ear of a few friends and a kick in the butt from one who basically told me to stop the foolishness and just do it.

So, I’m going to Spain!  I had to take it back to focusing on my dreams and aspirations, and not my fears. I love to travel, I want to learn Spanish, I have the time travel, I have people to travel with, my ideal job is to be a travel journalist…the paella, sangria and siestas are an added bonus.

“The Acomodador, or giving up point – There is always an event in our lives that is responsible for us failing to progress: a trauma, a particular defeat, disappointment in love, even a victory that we did not understand, can make cowards of us and prevent us from moving on. As part of the process of increasing our powers, we must first free ourselves from that giving up point, and to do so, you must review your life and find out where it occurred.” -The Zahir by Paulo Coelho

Close the door

Today was my last official day at work and I have mixed emotions. I know this is a great thing for me and that God is closing this door for a reason, but it doesn’t get rid of my feelings of anger, disappointment and frustration. So I’ll let this passage from a book by one of my favorite authors, speak for me. This passage can be applied to any situation where closing a door is necessary to move forward.

…there are always some stories that are ‘interrupted,’ and they are the stories that remain nearest to the surface and so still occupy the present; only when we close that story or chapter can we begin the next one…

That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose.

People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.

Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability, or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life.

Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.