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Strengths Hero BLOG

To be a hero for anyone else, you first must be a hero to yourself. ~Nadalie Bardo

Circles of Influence

 

Sunday, March 15, 2020 is unique. What's going on in the world right now means something different to each person. The two questions below or versions of them are running through most people's minds... 

1) What does this mean?

and 

2) What should I do? 

The Circles of Influence Video will help you answer those questions. It's something I recorded a few years ago and I'm sharing it today in the hopes that it will help someone (hopefully many people) better navigate this moment in time. I regularly refer to the four circles in my own life and I help bring clients back to them whenever they are feeling one of two general categories of emotion... 1) frustrated, angry, irritated, etc. or 2) fearful, sad, depressed, hopeless, etc.

The antidote to either of those categories of emotion is to... do whatever it takes to pull yourself back into the center two circles. Those outside circles, especially during crisis times, can be a powerful draw that can take a person...

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Life Is Short — Just Be Yourself!

As I was checking out at the grocery store the other day, I saw People Magazine with a cover of Melissa McCarthy. The caption under her photo read, ‘Life Is Short. Just Be Yourself.’ Of course, I picked up the magazine to read her thoughts on this topic. 

In reading the article, I found Melissa’s message is mostly to her two daughters and to anyone else struggling to fit in. She talks about how every person has those moments of worry about what others think of you. I would add that we also have those moments of worry over what we even think of ourselves. Everyone, at one time or another, has questioned whether or not who we are is good enough... good enough to be loved, to get a job, to succeed in life, etc.

The answer, by the way, is YES! You are special, unique, one-of-a kind and you have massive potential.

The Supercharge Your Strengths Course is about identifying what makes you unique, how your mind is naturally wired, what areas interest you and keep...

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Have you been waging psychological warfare on yourself?

In the North Korean POW camps there were fewer cases of physical abuse than in prison camps from any other major military conflict throughout history. Why then was the death rate 38% – the highest POW death rate in U.S. military history? The full story is absolutely fascinating but the bottom-line is that the soldiers experienced extreme hopelessness.

In my 30+ years of coaching, I have found that people commonly use two of the primary psychological warfare tactics on themselves or others that were used to “torture” soldiers:

1)   Self-criticism

2)   Withholding positive emotional support

Self-criticism:

Regular “therapy” sessions were held with groups of 10-12 soldiers. The entire focus was to confess all the bad things he had done, as well as, all the good things he could have or should have done but didn’t.  How much time do you focus on what you haven’t done well, should have done better, etc.? What about with...

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Ten Characteristics of a Self-Actualized Person

On a previous blog post I posed the question… Are you self-actualized? And we reviewed Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs leading to Self-Actualization. 

When I researched Maslow’s Characteristics of a Self-Actualized Person, I found many iterations from countless people so this is my take on what I discovered. The exciting part for me was realizing that I am moving closer and closer to that elusive state even though I'm certain it is a life-long journey. Also, I'm more convinced than ever that taking a strengths approach to life and work is fundamentally important, along with the other empowerment and leadership skills I’ve learned, personally practice and share with others. Check out the ten characteristics below to see how you are doing on your journey ;)

  1. Acceptance of themselves and others. Self-actualized people have a comfortable acceptance of self, others and nature The shortcomings and contradictions of the human...
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Are you self-actualized?

This is a BIG question and probably a much better one is are in you intentionally in the process of being self-actualized? What about your business – is it evolving? How are you supporting others in your personal and professional life to grow and develop?

Do you remember Abraham Maslow? He is most famous for his theory of “self-actualization.” In Maslow’s era, psychology had a single-minded focus on mental illness. Neurosis and psychosis were the central themes psychologists studied and sought to understand.

Thank goodness Maslow asked a new question: “What does positive mental health look like?

A man after my own heart... he stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a "bag of symptoms". His lifelong research into this area yielded a new concept that is still growing in understanding 60 years later… self-actualization.

According to Maslow, the happiest people were able to...

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What the Heck Is a STRENGTH — Really?

It occurred to me today that maybe it’s time to breakdown a few terms I tend to throw around in my conversations about strengths. By now you know I’m strongly encouraging you to become a STRENGTHS HERO for yourself and others but at a basic level – what is a STRENGTH?

Let’s start with the word TALENT. A talent is simply a natural way we think, feel and behave — nothing more…nothing less. You could also refer to it as a natural tendency.  If you are not in charge of your talents or natural tendencies, they might even operate more as compulsive ways to think, feel and behave. Talents, natural tendencies just are and they can show up very early in life. When I was four, the lamp wasn't working so I got out a screw driver and opened the outlet to "fix" the light. While my mother was less than impressed with my natural "talent" to just jump in when I encounter something I want to do, I have been able to develop and direct that...

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The world has just lost Kobe Bryant — a true STRENGTHS HERO!

“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.” ~Kobe Bryant 

When I watch and listen to the outpouring of love and admiration for Kobe, I’m deeply touched. He is a phenomenal example of a person who has dedicated an astonishing amount of time, energy, focus and determination to developing, mastering and turning his natural talents (and some say marginal in basketball initially) into not only his strengths but his Superpowers.

The real reason I say he is a true STRENGTHS HERO though, is because he also dedicated himself to inspiring others to bring out their greatness.

It seems though that his true natural talents were not his athletic prowess but his legendary work ethic and passion for learning and studying how to play smarter.

In long-time Lakers head trainer Gary Vitti’s book, he writes quite a bit about Kobe and specifically about where his success came from.

“He was talented, but...

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But I Need a Kick-In-The-Butt

 

Maybe you do need a kick-in-the-butt – I suppose we all need a swift kick once in a while but I guarantee you that a steady diet of kicks in the ass will not work!  

There are two primary forms of motivation we all deal with which are 1) pain / consequences and 2) pleasure / rewards. Which is more powerful? Well that depends. Pain or consequences can be very compelling in getting us to start or stop something and I definitely utilize this tool personally and in my coaching but SPARINGLY!

Here’s the thing, pain works in short doses at the right time. If you are on the edge of doing something you want or need to and you are capable (whether you know it or not), then a swift dose of immediate consequence can be perfect to get yourself moving. However, if you use this tactic consistently it loses its power and it will take more and more pain to get you into action. That’s a very unfulfilling and unhappy game to play in life. And...

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Now, Later, Never...When to Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can be very effective whether that means giving yourself a simple pat on the back or using some other type of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is widely accepted as a powerful method of teaching, training and building positive habits and behaviors.

But WHEN should you give it to yourself (or someone else)? 

Utah State University published a behavioral guidelines checklist which confirms that  positive reinforcement is most effective when it occurs immediately after the behavior. The guidelines also recommend the reinforcement should be presented enthusiastically and should occur frequently. One of the beauties of a simple pat on the back is that it can easily be done in the moment.

The shorter the amount of time between any behavior you want to reinforce and the subsequent positive reinforcement, the stronger the connection will be in the brain — remember the brain tells us to move TOWARD pleasure and AWAY from pain.

Delay of...

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What does the word Cornucopia have to do with Talents and Strengths?

The word cornucopia came to me this morning. Since it’s a word I can’t remember ever using before unless I was reading it – probably around Thanksgiving, I became interested in what relationship it might have to being a Strengths Hero for myself and others. So of course, I Googled a couple of thesaurus sites for the word Cornucopia and here’s what I found…

plethora, quantity, torrent, wealth, affluence, avalanche, capacity, copiousness, deluge, flood, fruitfulness, fund, heaps, loads, lots, mass, mine, mountains, oodles, opulence, peck, piles, gold mine, mother lode, treasure trove, wellspring, abundance, feast, plenitude, plenty, superabundance, and more.

Got the idea?

Natural talents and potential strengths are plentiful in YOU and in OTHERS. The only question is whether or not you have trained your mind to notice/discover them and then to grow and develop them. In a world of chaos, blame and focusing so much attention on problems, we can get trapped...

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