I don’t normally share newsletter only content on the blog here. But there’s a cool competition going on across there this month that, if you’re not on the list, you might like to know about.
People who live and work on their terms have a deep sense of who they are at best and play to it most of the time.
Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I was brought up. Most of the time my parents and teachers were focussed on where I’d failed or was somehow struggling, in order that I fix it.
At work and in business, more often than not our default is to look at where we’re behind; what mistakes we’ve made; what’s bad about how we’re doing.
So, it’s a little counter-intuitive to switch our focus and dare to look more at our what’s good. But that perspective shift has three key benefits:
Focussing on what’s good about you plays to who you ARE, not who you AREN’T.
The more you allow you to be you, the more you stand out as an individual, the less inner conflict you experience, and the better you feel about yourself.
Of course, being yourself more has its challenges. Some people may not like your emerging strength and clarity. But that’s fine. There are plenty others who will.
You can also achieve better results by being the best of yourself more of the time.
Think about it via the metaphor of handwriting. You have a dominant hand with which you write quickly and easily. Can you use your non-dominant hand? Well, sure. But it’s more clunky, tiring, and what you produce isn’t so hot.
Same with character strengths.
You’re more likely to experience faster and more satisfying personal growth if you focus your development on enhancing what’s good about you. Which brings its own kind of satisfaction.
Does that mean there’s no value in acknowledging weakness. Well, no. Sometimes there are aspects of ourselves that we want to master in the service of enabling our best selves. But if we focus on what’s good, we often create more psychic energy to bring these things along in a different way.
But do you know who you are at best?
There are some great free questionnaires on the market. TheVIA Survey one is a particular favourite of mine. It’s well validated and highlights core strengths you may not have thought of. Like Zest, Spirituality, Bravery, Appreciation of Beauty, and Forgiveness.
And, if you’re feeling brave and want to really galvanize yourself around your strengths, you might want to get some feedback from friends, colleagues and clients.
Choose at least ten of them, tell them you’re doing some personal development (blame me, if it’s useful) and ask them if they’d put down in writing three ways in which they’ve seen you add value, along with specific examples of instances that stood out for them.
Remember, the focus is on what’s positive about you, so you’re only asking for feedback on what’s good.
Wait till you’ve got all your feedback in, then read it and watch for the themes and trends that come through. What does it tell you? What do others see in you that you don’t, or haven’t owned or harnessed? If you did own these things, what becomes possible?
Complimentary Reflected Best Self Journey
Even more powerful is to do this process with a coach. Which is why this month I’m inviting you to join our competition to win a complimentary Reflected Best Self Journey.
I’ve used this process, which comes from Ross School of Business, at University of Michigan, across a number of scenarios now and love it so much I want to give it back to a member of the community here.
It’s so affirming to get a dump of wonderful feedback, especially when it’s written in people’s own language and with reference to key things that have happened in your life.
Even better when someone else (i.e. us!) takes care of all the pesky stuff like gathering feedback from your nearest and dearest and puts it all together for you in a finished package.
And thrilling when someone else is alongside to witness it with you, to help reflect the themes back to you, to dare you to see what you dare not, and to challenge you on the “so what’s?” it really comes into its own.
Taking part is really easy. You just need complete your name and email address via our Rafflecopter giveaway and we’ll be picking the lucky person’s name from the virtual hat on Monday, 17th June.
Oh, and to make sure you get first dibs on stuff like this in the future, sign up for free monthly updates here.