Tag Archives: development

Strengths

My way to strength-based development

Two years ago, the company I work for organized a strength-based development training for its managers. A company based in Stockholm came to our office and ran a number of workshops. This was my first encounter with the idea of focusing on what I’m good at, not on my weaknesses. What a shock! Someone told us that we should develop the areas where we are strongest. During those workshops we learned what our top strengths were. We talked with our colleagues about how these strengths are visible in our day-to-day behavior. This is how the fascination with strengths-based development started for me.

Unfortunately, after two or three workshops we discontinued the program. But the knowledge and curiosity stayed with me. A few months later, one of my colleagues reintroduced the idea of strengths development in our office. He and his team had taken an assessment test called Gallup StrengthsFinder and they discovered their top five strengths. But they took an additional step,too – they visualized the collective strengths of their team. This time I was really hooked. I started to read about the Gallup StrengthsFinder program and about Donald O. Clifton (the creator of the StrengthsFinder). I took the assessment myself, discovered my strengths, and started to analyze them. The next step was obvious for me – go to the Gallup Certified Coaching Accelerated Course. There I met two awesome coaches from Gallup and more than 20 people from all over the world who were into strengths development as much as I was. That week was transformative for me. I learned so much, experienced a lot, and came back even more motivated and encouraged to work with strengths. I want to use them in my personal life, at work, and to help others.

You may ask what is so exceptional about this approach. You see, during most of my life, I experienced a very different approach. For example, back in primary school, I was good at math and physics. At the same time, I sucked big time in music, art, and practical subjects. Still, I was forced to spend the same amount of time on all of them. I know that the time spent on music lessons, being forced to sing and so on, was a waste of my energy and time. I could have spent the same time learning math, which I use much more in my adult life. If I had had spent more time on math, I probably would have become a better programmer. That’s why I’m so fascinated with this different approach. I should focus on what I’m good at, work on it, and excel at it, because that’s where my biggest potential lies. I love that thought!

I’m still in the process of learning about and understanding my strengths according to the StrengthsFinder. This will be a long process, for sure. Understanding my strengths is the first step. The second will be finding examples of these strengths in my life, in my behavior, and in the way I think. And the third will be consciously applying them in my life. These three steps in Gallup’s approach are called “Name it, Claim it, Aim it.” This is what strengths-based development is all about.

  • Understand your strengths (Name it)
  • Recognize how you use these strengths (Claim it)
  • Use your strengths to grow and to solve your challenges (Aim it)

I’m aiming to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and I’m currently in the middle of the certification process. This process includes coaching a number of people. When I talk with these people during coaching sessions, many of them also find focusing on strengths to be very encouraging. When we start to talk about their strengths more, we find a lot of examples of how they play an important role in our lives. It is amazing to observe how liberating it is to focus on strengths and to realize that we do not have to battle our weaknesses. We all have strengths that, when consciously applied, allow us to achieve what we want in the way that is best for us.
I will leave you with one very personal thought: I really believe that by focusing on my strengths I can become the best possible version of myself. This is what I try to do, and this is the message I want to spread!

Are you interested in knowing more about your strengths? Contact me! I’m passionate about this subject and I would love to talk with you about it!
Photo by  Phil RoederCC BY

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Personal development Productivity

The miracle morning

I know what my miracle morning is. I would love to have this kind of morning every day. I bet you would like to experience it, too. But do you know what the miracle morning looks like? If not, I can give you a couple of hints.

Every morning, I try to get up earlier than I have to. I’ve had this habit for many years. I know that I need no more than 30 minutes to prepare for work and I deliberately wake up at least one hour earlier. Am I crazy? I know a few people who think so. But I have several reasons for putting myself through an early morning wake-up call every day.miraclemorning

I really like to run in the morning. It energizes me for the whole day, giving me the ability to do more. For a couple of years, this used to be my only reason for getting up earlier. But recently I read a book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. The concepts presented in this book were revolutionary for me. After reading it, I decided to expand my morning routine. It helped me understand why I felt so good after my morning runs and made me decide to accomplish even more before moving forward with the rest of the day.

In the book, Hal explains that by doing something for your personal development, you give yourself a huge boost for the whole day. He suggests doing this as early in the day as possible, preferably first thing in the morning. Before you go to work or before your family wakes up, you can do something for your personal growth. Isn’t it tempting? Before everyone is awake, you can exercise, read, meditate, and much more. The author proposes a structure for each morning and explains it using the acronym Life S.A.V.E.R.S.

  • Silence – meditation, prayer, etc.;
  • Affirmation – affirmation,  sentences you read to yourself about your commitment to do everything that is needed to achieve your goals;
  • Visualization – imagining yourself in a situation you would like to be in, such as doing something you want to achieve;
  • Exercise – running, push-ups, sit-ups, anything to get your blood flowing;
  • Read – reading something—a book, an article, etc.;
  • Scribe – writing an entry in your journal about what happened the day before, what you want to remember, repeat, do differently, etc.

This is what is described in the book. The author writes that these activities can be spread out over one hour or as short as 6 minutes. This depends on your personal schedule and on how much time you have. The most important thing is simply to do it every day. Even if you spend 1 minute on each element, you will still benefit from this process. Just focus on doing it every day.

This is a beautifully simple idea. By doing these six things, you can help yourself grow, develop, and improve. No matter what the rest of your day looks like, you’ll know that you’ve already done something positive for yourself. I love that concept!

After reading The Miracle Morning, I immediately knew that I had to implement these six routines. When I thought about all of the things that I could accomplish before starting the day, I wanted to implement this routine immediately. Then I remembered one crucial rule I try to live by – only one change at a time. I remembered that it’s simply impossible to build more than one habit at a time. I was already running in the morning. And suddenly I wanted to add 5 more habits to that time! I decided that I would change one thing at a time in my mornings. So I started with reading. I’ve always wanted to read more, but I constantly have too little time for it. Since the beginning of January, I’ve read 15 minutes almost every morning. So far, I’ve already completed four books only by reading for 15 minutes each morning! How awesome is that? Now I am ready to add one more thing to my miracle morning. I think it will be journaling. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What do you think about the concept of the miracle morning? Can you get up a few minutes earlier tomorrow and do something for yourself? Let me know how works for you!

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