Breaking Free – March 2013 – Springing Ahead


Breaking Free                                           832-886-6452                                                  Vol 7, Issue 6

“Spring Ahead Using Your STRENGTHS”

March 2013

Here in the US, we started Daylight Savings Time this month where we turn the clocks ahead one hour in order to make the days “longer”. To remember which way to move our clocks forward or backward there is a saying “Fall back, Spring ahead.”

“Spring Ahead” I thought that would be a great title for this month’s newsletter because all human beings have a natural propensity to move forward and grow. There is, however, a little problem with the approach that most of us take. For instance:

  • In schools… When I was in school my teachers would give us lessons and then test us on what we learned. When we got our grades, we’d focus on what we got wrong and how to make it right.
  • At work… My supervisor would meet with me once a year to go over my performance review. Every year he/she would say a few things about what I did well and then focus on what I needed to improve. Then, almost without fail, my supervisor would recommend that I take a class on what I was worst at doing.
Fixing weaknesses does not help a person to spring ahead. Come to think of it, it actually makes a person fall back. Spring Ahead with MindWorx

As I look back on my life, I’m thankful that my parents didn’t take the same approach as my teachers and supervisors did in school and at work. You see, I really liked athletics growing up and I was pretty good at sports. So, do you know what my folks did? They enrolled me in Little League Baseball, Knee-High Basketball, and I played softball, tennis and basketball in high school. One of my sisters was good in band and you know what my parents did, they made her play basketball, tennis, and softball. NO!!! They didn’t do that! Our folks bought her musical instruments and took her to band concerts. Two of my sisters were good at twirling things so one was in the color guard, and the other was a majorette. Did my parents say, “Trac, you should really work on your twirling skills because while you play basketball pretty well, you are really terrible at being a majorette.” NO!! So why do we use that approach when leading our teams or trying to improve ourselves?

What kind of leader are you?

  • Do you look for the things that your team members are terrible at and then tell them to take a class in that subject or skill area?
  • Have you ever noticed that people LIKE to do the things that they are good at doing?
  • Do you know when people like to do things they will do them more often and with a great attitude?

What would happen if you looked at all of the things each of your team members are good at doing? What if you focused on their strengths? Do you think you’d get better results? more productivity? more cooperation?

Studies in productivity from the 1950’s and 60’s have shown that when you take the time to acknowledge and use the goodness and uniqueness of your team you will get 40% more cooperation and productivity. That’s pretty good, right? But wait, there’s more! Studies from the 1990’s and 2000’s have shown that intrinsically motivating your team by focusing on the individual’s strengths increases cooperation and buy-in by 50-80%. Wow! What if you could tap into that potential?

How do you develop yourself?

  • Do you tend to focus on the things that you are not so good at and try to put plans in place to “fix” you?
  • How motivated are you to take on those tasks in areas where you know you struggle?
  • What if you were encouraged to take a class or do some work in a skill area that you were good at and enjoyed doing? Do you think you’d be inspired to do that?

In what area do you excel? What would happen if you focused on your strengths? Would you be more motivated to improve and grow? I bet that you would. And, not only would you learn and grow MORE in the area of strength, it would also help you to spring ahead!

A Strengths-based Approach

Marcus Buckingham in his book Go Put Your Strengths to Work, says, “Conventional wisdom tells us that we learn from our mistakes. The strengths movement says that all we learn from our mistakes are the characteristics of mistakes.”

  • You can’t learn about success by studying failure.
  • You can’t learn about wealth by studying poverty.
  • You won’t learn about health by studying disease.
  • You won’t learn about happiness by studying sadness.

If you want to learn about success and wealth and health and happiness, you must study success and wealth and health and happiness.

A person or an organization will excel only by amplifying strengths, never by simply fixing weaknesses. Jim Collins in his book Good to Great wrote that great companies focus on the few things that they can do better than anyone else in the world. Peter Drucker wrote that the best, most competitive companies “get their strengths together and make their weaknesses irrelevant.” That is exactly the approach that you should be taking for yourself and those you lead. Your strengths (and their strengths) are your greatest asset and they need to be your first line of focus.

Improving Your Decision Making by Using Your Strengths

The approach of your leadership development program at Break Free Consulting LLC is to help you focus on your STRENGTHS! We teach you how to consistently use your best thinking and valuing habits – the ones that give you the best perspectives to see the most options – to make your best choices and decisions.

You are making decisions that impact your success every hour of every day (except when you’re sleeping.) How can you be sure that you are using your best thinking?

I can assure you that if you are spending time trying to fix your weaknesses, you are NOT using your best thinking. How can I be so sure? By focusing your brain and thinking on what you are not good at, you are telling your brain (by the focus and attention) that you actually want more of your weakness. Think about how your brain programs your habits. The thoughts and actions that you think and do most often become your habits. If you continue to pay attention to your weaknesses, your brain doesn’t know that you DON’T want it. Your brain actually thinks that you want to do more of your weakness and tries to conserve energy by making it your automatic habit.

Learning how to utilize your thinking strengths is the easiest way to accomplish the success that you want in your life and your career.

Classes Starting Soon!

To help you SPRING AHEAD, we will be starting 8 week MindWorx coaching programs in the next month. The purpose of this program is to teach you how to SHIFT to your thinking strengths more often so that using your STRENGTHS becomes your first thought and new habit.

 Would you like to learn more? It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Take the VQ Profile and receive your First Steps report via email.
  2. Schedule a quick and informative 20 minute call with me to discuss your results and how the coaching program works.
  3. Register for the MindWorx 8-week group coaching program. Also offered in one-on-one coaching format if you prefer. (PMI certification holders will receive 10 PDUs for completing the program.)

MindWorx Coaching Program

Use how your Mind Worx best to reach your success!

Upcoming Workshops


If you are in Houston and are looking to improve your leadership skills, you’ll want to register for one of these upcoming workshops.


You will have 2 more dates to choose from including SATURDAY, March 23rd. Register today!!!


Upcoming Speaking Engagements

Over the next 2 months, Traci will be speaking in:


London, ON Canada

Providence, RI

Click here for more information and events scheduled after April.



Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.

– Parker Palmer


When I dare to be powerful — to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

Audre Lorde


“In examining the potential of individuals, we must focus on their strengths and not just their mistakes. We cannot be limited by what they may have spilled in the kitchen.”

– William Pollard


“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever- lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

– Sir Winston Churchill


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

– Aristotle



First Steps VQ Profile

Do you know which of your mind’s perspectives are the clearest?



Try our FREE Assessment


Then schedule your free coaching session to review your results and learn how to put them into action!!




 I would love to hear what you think about this edition of Breaking Free.  Please leave your comments below.