The Strengths Revolution – Part 2

I first heard about the strengths theory in 1993 and was mesmerized when I found Donald’s Clifton’s book that he wrote with Paula Nelson in 1992 titled Soar with Your Strengths. I’d spent so much of my life focused on what was wrong with me and trying to fix it as well as downplaying what I was good at because that was considered vain and bragging. And there, in one paragraph, suddenly I’m being given permission to not only acknowledge but celebrate my strengths AND use them to the maximum because not only will it make me happier, more confident and productive, it will make me a better performer and help everyone I come in contact with be encouraged to do the same!

Here’s the updated version of that paragraph in Marcus Buckingham’s book The Truth About You that changed my life:

(Pages 41-43) “A weakness is any activity that leaves you feeling weaker after you do it. It doesn’t matter how good you are it or how much money you make doing it. If doing it drains you of energy, you’d be crazy to build your career around it.

Of course, a strength is the opposite. A strength – your strengths – are any activities that make you feel strong. To discover your strengths, you must look beyond “what you’re good at” and pay really close attention to what you’re feeling before, during and after the activity. Your feelings will tell you what your strengths are.

“Here’s a simple way to remember what to look for when trying to spot your strengths:

S = Success. If you have some success at the activity, it may be a strength.

I = Instinct. If, before you do it, you find yourself instinctively looking forward to doing it, it may be a strength.

G = Growth. If, while you’re doing it, you find yourself easily able to concentrate (your synapses firing, your brain literally growing), it may be a strength.

N = Needs. If, after you’ve done it, it feels like it fulfills a need of yours, it may be a strength”

My work as a professional speaker and writer changed that year and every program and published writing I’ve done since then has included the message of appreciating and acting on and from your strengths. In fact, that theme runs through both of my books.

In My Mother, My Friend, it’s all about focusing on your mother’s strengths and using that to help you identify and use your own strengths and hers to strengthen, heal and celebrate that relationship.

In Living with Enthusiasm, you learn how to apply your strengths to turn your funk into fun and stress into success every day.

These books are a great beginning and they’re just a beginning. Add regular reinforcement and practice through interactive in-person meetings, and you can increase morale and team performance dramatically. In a challenging economy, identifying and building on personal strengths is a great way to keep your organization moving forward.

If you’d like to bring the Strengths Revolution to your organization, along with other leading edge positive psychology ideas and resources that are life-changing in a dynamic, interactive format, email or call me at (858) 792-6786. My services include strengths coaching and presenting a keynote speech, training seminar, onsite workshop, inservice, leadership retreat or sales meeting. This is such exciting information and I’d love to share more of it with you!


The Strengths Revolution – Part 1

One of the key elements of feeling inspired about your work and enthusiastic at work is the ability to know and use your personal strengths on a daily basis. Sadly, most people either don’t know or don’t use their strengths at work. According to research done by the Gallup Organization, only 17% of people are able to put their strengths to work on a daily basis. What about you? How often do you use your strengths at work?

If you’d like to explore more about the “Strengths Revolution” (coined by Donald Clifton and Marcus Buckingham), and learn what your strengths are, my favorite books are Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and StrengthsFinder2.0 by Tom Rath. Both books include a coupon to take a “Strengths Profile” that over 2 million people have taken on the Gallup website (be sure to check the book to make sure the coupon is there. My coupon was ripped out, which I didn’t discover until I got to my computer to enter it). What you’ll learn about yourself is more than worth

If you want a simple Strengths Theory explanation and easy reading to discover your strengths or help a teen discover theirs, definitely pick up The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success by Buckingham. Not only is it an engaging read, you’ll find yourself excited to answer his questions. Plus, it’s the kind of book you’ll go back to again and again for quick reminders on how to make the most of your day by being your best.

According to Buckingham, whom I had the great pleasure of meeting last year, here is the best advice you’ll ever get:

  1. Performance is always the point…so don’t expect your organization to know you like you do.
  2. Your strengths aren’t what you’re good at and your weaknesses aren’t what you’re bad at…so you’d better find out what your real strengths are.
  3. When it comes to your job the “What” always trumps the “Why” and the “Who”…so always ask, “What will I be paid to do?”
  4. You’ll never find the perfect job…so every week, for the rest of your life, write your Strong Week Plan.
  5. You’ll never turn your weaknesses into strengths…so fess up to your weaknesses and then neutralize them.

Take the time to identify your strengths and you’ll find yourself taking more inspired action and creating remarkable results at work and in the every area of your life.


Tap into Your EnthusiMaster!

This morning at the gym in my yoga class I was in the middle of our final meditation when I heard a voice within say, “This is sooooooooo good!”

Because I’ve learned how much wisdom these inner voices can offer when I pay attention and listen, I responded silently to the voice, “Who are you?” I heard this joyful reply, “I am your EnthusiMaster!”

EnthusiMaster! What a hoot! I’ve used a StairMaster, but an EnthusiMaster? I laughed out loud and smiled the remainder of the meditation. I couldn’t have consciously conjured up this image if I tried, and yet out of the depths of my subconscious comes a perfect description for that part of us that loves exercising our joy muscles by tapping into our natural enthusiasm for the activities, people, ideas, and dreams that give us energy and allow us to feel happy.

What’s even more fun is that for the past several weeks I’ve been working long hours on a new website that highlights my new enthusiasm self-coaching program (subscribe to this blog) and you’ll be notified). This EnthusiMaster is a perfect reminder of the gifts that arise from cogitating deeply on something that fascinates you.

Where is your EnthusiMaster hiding? What fascinating ideas, dreams, or projects are waiting for you to bring your EnthusiMaster to life? If you’d like help tapping into your Creative Source and natural enthusiasm to manifest a dream or project faster and with more fun, email me at mary (at) marymarcdante.com and let’s set up a introductory coaching session to make that happen.