Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Honoring What Is True

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. - Anna Quindlen

In October, I attended The Women of Faith Conference in Portland. One of the guest speakers was Marcus Buckingham. I liked what he had to say and bought his book Find Your Strongest Life.  He starts you off with a quick questionnaire that can be found HERE.

I've taken it several times, the first couple with top of my head answers and this last time, really thinking them through, but I generally come up with the same top three roles.
My lead role is Motivator or Caretaker. As a Motivator, your strongest moments are when:
  • You laugh - and also when you cry.
  • You make others laugh.
  • You are told, "You're an inspiration to me."
  • You are able to take charge of a group and raise their spirits.
  • You plan a celebration for someone and see her reaction.
As a Caretaker, your strongest moments are when:

  • People confide in you.
  • Your friends come to you over others.
  • You anticipate what someone else will love and get it right.
  • You relieve others' stress.
  • You find a productive way to include someone who has been left out.

My supporting role is Creator. As a Creator, your strongest moments are when:
  • You figure something out.
  • You spend time by yourself reading, writing, preparing your mind.
  • A fresh insight dawns on you.
  • You have an in-depth conversation with someone.
  • You get a chance to show your expertise.

The best thing about this book is his philosophy that you must search for your strong moments - not those things that you are necessarily good at, because those moments might be the very thing that is draining your life right out of you. You may be an excellent accountant, but if going to work every day is sucking out your life's blood, is it really the right place to be focusing?

I think a lot of us are just getting by in life. We are hanging on by a thread many days. There are some things we cannot change, but there are strong things in our life that we can focus on to lift ourselves up.

This is an exercise straight from the book (Find Your Strongest Life):
  • Life throws a lot of moments at you: Some strengthen you, and some don't. Take the Strong Life test and share it with others. It can help you cut through the clamor of your life and pinpoint your strongest moments.
  • Learn to quiet your mind and receive the emotional signals life is sending you. Only then transmitting your plans, goals, and dreams out into the world.
  • See weakening moments for what they are, take their power seriously, and promise yourself that you will act to move them out of your life.
  • Don't "do more to feel more." You will wind up feeling less.
  • To pinpoint in vivid detail the strong-moments in your life after you've taken the Strong Life test, try this exercise: Take a pad and draw a line down the middle of it. At the top of the left write a big "+" sign, and on the right mark a big "-" sign. Carry the pad around with you and anytime you find yourself in a moment where you feel successful, in flow, in control, energized, scribble it down in the "+" column. Write it right then and there, in the moment; don't wait until the end of the day or the the week -- you won't be specific enough. Anytime you feel the opposite -- unsuccessful, you can't concentrate, out of control, panicked -- scribble it down in the "-" column.

Do this for two weeks and see if you can find areas that are making you feel unsuccessful or not lifting you up. Can you get those moments out of your life? Great. The bigger picture, though, is to find and focus on what your strong moments are. You want to get more of that in your life. Don't focus on the weak moments, focus on the strong moments!! One of the most important things this has taught me is that I need to take the focus off of things my children do that seem to me to be negatives and focus on what their strong suits are. Wee girl is messy. I need to get over it. Wee girl is funny and loves to sing and act. Prosper it!!!!!! Encourage it!!! Feed it!!!

I swear, if you do this exercise for a week or two, you will be amazed at the day to day things you can rearrange or focus on to make your life stronger and ultimately more joyful. When you find a strong moment, get as much out of it as you can. Make it happen more often!!
  • Did you take the test? What are your lead and supporting roles?
  • Think about yesterday or this morning...What strong moments did you have that you want more of? 


Emz said...

THIS . . . "giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself."


Jen said...

I like this. A lot. I've tried to weed out the areas that bring me down and concentrate more on the things that make me truly happy. I don't know if I could carry a pad around with me for two weeks, but I'm sure it would be helpful.
My leading role was: Advisor
My supporting role was: Motivator
Both descriptions sounded like they were right on!

ERG said...

I ended up with caretaker/teacher. Funny...I was a teacher before I had kids.
I really tried to not overthink each question, but I always want to give the "right" answer.

Thanks for the post. My hubby is considering a major job change and this might be helpful for him.

Julie said...

Jen, it's seriously powerful stuff! I have a friend (you know who you are!!) who sat down to really think about it and realized that all the previous week she couldn't come up with a single strong moment. ACK!! We can't live this way!
It's not how we are supposed to live!

Julie said...

ERG ~ My SIL went to the conference with me and she's a teacher. I asked her if she thought her primary would be teacher and she said she wasn't sure. I'll have to see if she ever took the test and what it revealed!

Good luck to your husband! I hope he finds what truly fits him!

Quinton J said...

Okay...I'll do it...for 2 weeks...But I have a feeling I'm going to run out of paper on the "+" side with all my strong moments.

I'll post back and let you know how I'm doing or ask to borrow more paper...

Julie said...

Q - it would not surprise me in the least that your "+" side would be completely full! I like it!

Helen said...

Julie, do you know that I"m still walking around with my book in my bag? right now I'm working on his marriage advice when I get a chance. I am at a point where I only see what my hub ISN'T doing, so I'm trying REALLY hard to take note of what he is doing...even though it's not what I want!!! LOL...ok, I can admit it - I am very hard to please, but atleast I'm TRYING!!!!!

My Life and Running said...

Great post. I also have lead role as Caretaker and supporting role as Creator. Might just have to try the "strength" exercise!

Tricia said...

thanks for donating :)

leave the correlating number of comments on the giveaway post (15) a bit of a pain, but this way you'll get the correct credit

(disregard if you have already done so:)

Julie said...

Helen - I liked the "catch him doing things right" part.

It reminds me of a favorite marriage series I listened to earlier this year where Pastor Mike encouraged us to make a great effort to always give our spouse the benefit of the doubt. It is so easy to come to the wrong conclusion as our first thought... Often when I've confronted Steve about something I think he's done or said purposefully to irritate or hurt me, when he's allowed to explain himself, it was not what I thought at all...and vice versa.

We see even the most simple circumstances in two such completely different ways sometimes, that it ABSOLUTELY AMAZES ME.

So I "try" now to make my first thought be something positive. I must admit this is rather hard for me...but I'm just a work in progress, after all...