Last weekend, America
celebrated her freedom
on Independence Day.
This event got me to
thinking about our
personal freedoms and
how precious this gift
is to us. But how many
of us that live in free
countries actually take
advantage of that
As I speak to many
people all over the
globe, I am realizing
that it is individuals
who choose to keep
themselves bound by not
making good choices or
knowing that they have
choices to make.
Let's look at your last
performance review. If
it is like most
reviews, your supervisor
will sit down with you
and go over the areas of
improvement. Sure, some
you what they think you
are doing well, but in
the end, your development
plan will be based upon
your weaknesses and how
to fix or improve them.
on the Farm"
If you'll bear with me, I have a
short story I'd like to tell you. There once was this
puppy named Sparky who was born on a large, beautiful farm.
There were acres and acres of fields, a forest with trees
and large rocks, a stream that flowed through the pastures,
a large barn and farmhouse... everything you'd want on a
farm. As the puppy grew up, she was encouraged to explore
the different areas of the farm. At first, the Sparky
wasn't allowed to stray too far from the farmhouse and barn,
but later she had the full run of farm grounds. It was
fantastic! She was free! Free to explore and
grow, run and jump, climb and dig. She learned a lot of
excellent dog skills and was a natural at many of them.
Then, her owners taught her how to catch balls and Frisbees.
She became a fine retriever as she learned how to 'mark'
(watch for falling targets that she will later retrieve) and
perform blind retrieves (where she has to rely on her owner
to tell her where the target is located using a whistle and
hand signals). She sure was good at this... maybe even one
of the best. Retrieving made her happy; she seemed
passionate about it. She was
successful, still free to roam all over the farm, and loved
to watch her owners take pride in her abilities.
Then, one day, Sparky's cousin
pointed out that there was a fence that went all the way
around the farm. He told her that if she really wanted to be
successful, she'd find a away to get to the other side of
the fence. For the first time, Sparky noticed the fence that
went all the way around her incredible farm. It seemed to go
on forever. Hmmm, she wondered... what was this? A barrier?
Sparky became engrossed in the fence. Instead of practicing
her retrieving and other skills, she would run off every
morning and look for ways to get over, under or around the
fence. She studied the fence (would've taken classes on the
fence if she wasn't a dog.) She spent days trying to jump over it... weeks,
trying to dig under it... months, trying to run around it.
She didn't want to retrieve any more as she was determined
to overcome this obstacle. Finally after years of
trying, when she couldn't find a way to triumph over the
fence, she resigned herself to being a old farm dog. She
didn't even want to retrieve any more. And retrieving just didn't seem
to be as fun, especially knowing that she failed at
overcoming the fence.
Freedom is in your strengths
Does your life experience sound
a little like Sparky's? How often do you focus on what
you can't do? Do you obsessively look for problems
that you need to fix? How often do you allow others to set
expectations and define your goals?
I meet so many people who are
shackled by their weaknesses. Their thinking habits are
wrapped up in overcoming these "barriers" and rectifying
their shortcomings. They set
expectations around overcoming their weaknesses and fixing
their problems. They forget to play to their strengths and
look for opportunities to succeed doing what they really
like to do (and are really good at doing.)
Do you have the expectation that
"I can do anything" which is usually followed by the
implication that "I can do anything and be successful at
it." I know my grandfather told me that when I was
younger. Sure it sounds good, but it's not the truth. I can't
be successful at anything and neither can you. (That
doesn't sound like something a coach and motivational
speaker should say, right?) But it is the truth.
I can't win American Idol; I'm
not going to win an Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics;
I'm not going to be the next Food Network Star. I can not do
anything and be successful at it. I could try and try to
learn how to sing. I could spend years and boatloads of
money on a singing coach and a performance coach and an
image consultant. But my chances of winning would still be
zero - I can't and won't sing well (as this isn't one of my
talents) and I'm too old to be eligible anyway.
But I can do something!
do something too!! What are your strengths? When
I ask people that question there is often a full minute or
more of silence. So I ask you, what are your strengths?....
Write them down on a scrap of paper. Go ahead, take a
few minutes, I'll wait.
Now, what are your weaknesses?
Do those thoughts pop into your mind almost immediately?
They do for most of the people I talk with.
Your brain readily retrieves the
thoughts that you focus on the most. If your weaknesses come
to mind faster than your strengths, you may be spending your
time trying to get over, under or around your fences.
it! Turn around. There is a vast field of opportunity for
you. It's right there in front of you. It is your
strengths... your natural gifts and blessings. Start to
focus on them and you will soon find freedom and joy and
peace and happiness in your life and in your career.
Look for your Strengths
If you can't figure out what they are because you
have focused on your weaknesses for so long, ask a
friend, family or colleague for help. Even though your
mind may disagree with them, give them the benefit of
the doubt. Many times they know your strengths better
than you do.
Ignore your weaknesses
What you think about most is what your brain
turns into your habits. If you are focusing on
your weaknesses, even to FIX them, you are actually
telling your brain that you want to make your weaknesses
Take this free assessment
Advisors free assessment will point out your natural
valuing and thinking strengths. Plus you can schedule a
free 30 minute consultation with me to discuss your
results with me. We will put them into the context of
your life so that you can start using your strengths
Don't want to try my
free assessment, then check out
Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. It's a terrific
book about strengths that comes with an access code to take the
online Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment.
Look for ways to strengthen
Start with your dominant talent. Then add skills,
knowledge, and practice to the mix. Building your
strength will also help you to find your passion. Our
teaches you the skills, knowledge and gives you the
practice that you need to ignore the thoughts that are getting in
your way and go into your mind to get a more balanced
and productive thought. We help you to scientifically
strengthen your strengths!
Help others to see their
Develop the habit of strengths-finding (in yourself and in others)! By
helping others around you know and understand their
strengths, you will become more successful... your team
will become more successful. If you're a leader, don't
try to get your team members to overcome their
weaknesses, send them to training and workshops that
focuses on their strengths... assign them tasks that are
aligned with their strengths. You will be amazed at the
progress you make when you take this approach.
I'd like to finish with
a story from Mark Twain.
He described a man who
died and met St. Peter
at the gates of heaven.
Knowing that St. Peter
was wise and met all of the souls
that passed this way,
the man asked St. Peter
He said, "I've
military history for most of
my life. So, can you
tell me, who was the
greatest general of all
St. Peter responded
quickly saying, "That's
easy. It's that man over
must be mistaken," the
man responded, "I knew
that guy on earth and he
wasn't a general. He was
just a common laborer."
"That's right my
friend," assured St.
Peter. "He would've been
the greatest general
of all time if he
had been a general."
What is your
Claim it today! Every
human being has talents and strengths that they were given
at birth. These strengths are what lead you to feeling and
experiencing freedom. Are you developing yours? Do you know what gifts
you were given? Your strengths are just waiting to be
uncovered. If you'll allow me, I would love to help.
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