E + R = O, and it’s not algebra!

 

29COVER-jumbo

Well this is a bit of a flash back to year 10 mathematics and to be honest, algebra was never one of my favourite things. In case you feel similarly to me about algebra, I ask that you hang in there.

This equation, when applied well, can change your life!

Yep, dead-set change your life.

I was reminded of this simple equation in a book that I have been reading, The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield.

What it stands for is the EVENT + your RESPONSE will = the OUTCOME. Simple, elegant and oh so true!!

Let me give you an example. You arrive at the shopping centre and the car park is full. You spot someone pulling out of their car space and pop your indicator on, signalling that the space is yours. The person backs their car out and as they straighten their car up to drive away, another car ducks in behind them and grabs YOUR space. This is the Event.

So how do you respond?  You put the park brake on and jump out of your car – this is unacceptable! You march over to the parked vehicle and bang on the window. The driver, who is staring down at their phone, looks up with a start. She opens her window and you go to town: “What the hell are you thinking!! How could you not see that I was sitting there waiting!! You took my spot you idiot, I hope you have a crappy day!”. This is the Response.

You storm back to your car, get in, pacify the children in the back seat and when you look up, there is the other driver, looming over your bonnet. She starts to yell and scream at you “How dare you abuse me, you stupid woman! It’s people like you that make the world so screwed up. I didn’t see you and if you had just spoken to me, maybe I would have been willing to move but not now. I feel sorry for those poor kids in the backseat to have a mother like you, you crazy woman”. This is the Outcome.

So, your kids are now all shaken up having witnessed the whole thing, you have more adrenaline in your system than what is healthy for you, and there is a growing  rage inside you at the injustice of it all.

Here’s the question, if you had responded differently, how different would the outcome be?

E + R = O

Event + Response = Outcome

Sexy isn’t it!!

Let’s revisit the example. The driver steals your spot. You hurrmph, this is quite annoying. You sit there and wait until the driver gets out of her car three minutes later. You wind down your window and stick your head out.

“Excuse me, I was waiting for that spot, did you not see me?” you ask calmly.

“Oh no I didn’t see you, sorry about that. I would move for you but I am flat out and have to just run into the shops and grab some medicine from the pharmacy for my daughter. She is at home on her own waiting for me to get back and I am so stressed”.

“Look, no problem. I hope your daughter feels better soon”.

So, your kids witness a quality example of speaking up for yourself as well as a demonstration of empathy and kindness.

E + R = O

Event + Response = Outcome

We are continually at crossroads in life: do I go this way or that way? The only variable in this beautiful little equation is your response.

The event is what it is. Whether it is a positive or negative event doesn’t actually predict the outcome of the situation. I am sure many of you have had negative events happen yet because of how you have responded the outcome has been positive.

Your response on the other hand, is 100% up to you. Every minute of every day you get to decide how you show up, how you respond and therefore how pleasurable and happy your life is.

When we truly stand in full responsibility for our responses then the outcomes we achieve will reflect that.

And that equals a happier, calmer and more positive life.

 

 

Love your Inner child and your life will change

IMG_3763

There is a photo on my desk that I look at every single time I sit down to work. The photo is of me which most probably sounds pretty arrogant…….

“Jeez, why would she feel the need to look at a photo of herself?” I can hear you saying.

Well, let me clarify, it’s a photo of four year old me and I stole it from my Dad’s house. To be honest I doubt he has even noticed, I mean I didn’t notice the photo for years. Quite the metaphor really!

I wonder how many times I walked past it without even a sideways glance? It has been in a frame, in various positions across several houses for the last 37 years. My Mum was an avid photographer and my childhood was captured in no less than 46 albums, me aged 0 to 18. Looking at the photo I can see why my Mum chose this particular one to elevate to frame status.

This picture absolutely captures me as a happy, carefree child. I have a cheeky grin and I can clearly see my playful nature in my eyes and smile. I am dressed as a good child of the ’70s should be: red, blue and white striped tee shirt under blue overalls – completely fitting of the decade!

When I did finally notice it, it was only because I had started doing consistent and focused work with my Inner Child. As Tony Robbins says “Where focus goes, energy flows”. I was now noticing the little girl not only in myself, but in the environment around me.

Just like the photo, I had not been seeing her at all, and yet she was dying to be understood, nurtured and loved.

I stole this photo because when it finally made its way into my awareness it was the perfect visual I needed of my inner child. I realised that it was this little girl I had been talking with, nurturing and developing a relationship with. I love that I can now look into her eyes through this picture each and every day.

Inner Child work is a vital component of personal growth and development because it reconnects us with the distressed element of ourselves, the little child. This is really about the fact that the majority of what we are contending with in our adult lives comes from our childhood – or more specifically our young childhood below ten years of age.

When we reconnect with these wounded parts of ourselves, we can begin to discover the root of many of our beliefs, fears, insecurities and sabotaging behavioural patterns.

This is where the true healing happens! By giving your inner child the love and connection he or she so desperately wants, you will start to very quickly and powerfully resolve adult problems.

As Raul Lopez Jnr, author, speaker and founder of Live Again Co says: “Heal the boy and the man will appear”. Torn from and then abandoned by his father at age 7, Raul spent the next 17 years on a rollercoaster of drugs, gangs, imprisonment and much more until he decided enough was enough. Reflecting back, he realised that he had work to do with the little boy inside himself who was still struggling to understand why he wasn’t enough.

Raul made poor choice after poor choice in pursuit of healing the ache inside of himself, and nothing was working. After beginning his journey of self-exploration and discovery in his 20s he realised that for things to truly change, he had to heal the little boy inside himself.

We don’t even realise that we are dealing with a wounded little kid most of the time. Yet the more connected we are to our inner child, the more developed and mature we are as adults. There is a powerful and definite relationship between these two parts of ourselves. It can be very surprising what comes up through inner child work – stuff that we did not have conscious awareness of, beliefs that were formed completely out of context, and “gap filling” which is our little child mind making up the story because we don’t understand the bigger picture.

This work is not about dealing with symptoms and using band aids. This is about getting back to the very core of where your beliefs, fears and behavioural patterns started – your childhood.

This is true healing in every sense of the word!

As I sit at my desk each day, I now always take a moment to check in with that little four year old girl. I ask her how she is doing and is there anything that she needs. This is such a simple action but it has produced profound results for me.

If you have never done any inner child work there are tons of resources around. You can work with a coach like me, access tons of information through books and the web, or attend a workshop.

At the very minimum, find a photo of yourself and pop it up somewhere that you will see every day. This act alone will promote the development of one of the most important relationships in your life.

 

 

The Right Questions

ques-to-improve-relatiosnhp

So here it is:

The QUALITY of the question you ask will dictate the QUALITY of the answer you get.

The answer you get will dictate the decision you make.

The decision you make will dictate the action you choose.

The action you choose will dictate the life you create.

The life you create will dictate how much happiness you experience.

It really is that simple.

If you ask yourself HIGH QUALITY questions you will end up with HIGH QUALITY answers. These are answers that contain truth, options, possibility and solutions.

Alternatively, if you ask yourself crappy questions then you are only going to get crappy answers.

Examples of crappy questions might be:

Why does nothing work out for me?

Why does no one love me? or

How come I always get treated so badly?

These crappy questions are LOW QUALITY questions. Can you feel the energy of them when you ask yourself these questions? It is very challenging to answer these type of questions in a way where you can grow, feel positive, or even be motivated to change. The nature of these crappy questions ensure that you must go further down the emotional scale to answer them.

The significant thing about the questions we ask ourselves is that they lead us in a particular direction. When we wake up one day and realise that we are desperately unhappy it is sometimes because of the questions we have been asking ourselves – not just yesterday, not just last week, but over the last month, year or possibly even decade.

We don’t often realise that the questions we ask ourselves today will dictate the future we will live in the coming years.

For example the terrible marriage didn’t happen overnight, the $50,000 debt wasn’t just one bad decision, and the extra 30 kilos didn’t really sneak up on us. These situations all came from bad choices, which were based on bad decisions which were often based on BAD QUESTIONS in the first place.

So: How do you learn to ask yourself better questions?

Like most things, it’s through training.

A phenomenal book to help us decipher the decisions we make is called The Right Questions by Debbie Ford. Ford is a New York Times bestselling author and is a very wise woman indeed. In this book, Debbie offers ten profound questions that will help you change the choices you make – ultimately empowering you to fulfil your life dreams.

In the first chapter of her book, Ford uses the analogy of our “internal flame”. This internal flame is the keeper of our life force and (depending on how well the flame is burning) will influence how good we feel in life.

If our flame is roaring like a fire then we are going to be feeling strong, confident and powerful. We will speak our truth and live courageously. We will ask for help when needed and take the necessary action to live our best life. A strong flame propels us to higher states of consciousness where self-love and emotional freedom reside.

When our flame is dim we are more vulnerable, frail and weak. We doubt ourselves and are more apprehensive. When our flame has not been cared for it means we hunger for things outside of ourselves to make ourselves feel better. We don’t communicate as clearly, we worry, and our immune system is more suppressed.

Ford’s book is all about bringing awareness to the decisions you make by asking yourself powerful, high quality questions. These ten questions allow you to get real about why you are choosing what you are choosing and to sit within the truth of it all.

Depending on the answers you get from asking these questions, you can now make an informed and empowered choice to either stick with your decision or make a new one.

Think about something that you have made a decision about recently – it can be big or small. Now run your answer through the following ten questions (some of the questions may not be applicable so just use the ones that suit).

Here they are:

  1. Will this choice propel me towards an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past?
  2. Will this choice bring me long term fulfilment or will it bring me short term gratification?
  3. Am I standing in my power or am I trying to please another?
  4. Am I looking for what is right or am I looking for what is wrong?
  5. Will this choice add to my life force or will it rob me of my energy?
  6. Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve or will I use it beat myself up?
  7. Does this choice empower me or does it disempower me?
  8. Is this an act of self-love or is it an act of self-sabotage?
  9. Is this an act of faith or an act of fear?
  10. Am I choosing from my divinity or am I choosing from my humanity?

It is amazing how illuminating these questions are. There is simply nowhere to hide and that is what makes them so powerful. The more connected to your truth that you are, the brighter your flame will burn and the happier your life will be.

Happy question asking J

 

 

Four things you want to know about yourself to create massive change

y3FSbq

So you want things to be different.

You have had enough of the status quo. You look back and realise that you have been living the same year over and over again: nothing seems to ever really change and you feel frustrated and disillusioned.

What if there were some key pieces of information that, once you have learned about yourself and put some focus into, would help you take steps in the direction your soul truly wants to go?

Sounds good huh?

Here are the four things you absolutely want to know and learn about yourself so you can create the change in your life that you are so desiring of:

  1. Know Your Outcome

If you want to create massive change in your life, you have to know what that massive change is!

What do you want? Get super clear on your outcome by creating a very clear picture of it in your mind. Visualise the details of it, add colours to it and make it bright in your mind’s eye. Alongside creating the clear picture, ask yourself what you would be hearing when you have achieved the outcome? What would you be saying to yourself? Lastly, feeling the feelings of what it would be like to have the outcome, turn those feelings up and connect with them. Is it feelings of joy? Peace? Success?

Now capture that, write it down, draw it out and put language to it.

So often, people don’t spend time getting the clarity on what they want. They get very clear on what they DON’T want (which serves a purpose to a point) but there needs to be a time when the focus shifts to what they DO want.

As simple as it sounds this is a step that is so often overlooked.

  1. Understand Your Core Values

Have you ever had an experience where the thing you were doing just felt wrong? For example working in insurance and declining claims even if they were worthy of being approved? Or being around children and feeling super frustrated at the mess and chaos?

More than likely you are experiencing a core values conflict.

For someone who deeply values integrity or honesty, declining insurance claims for no reason would hurt as it would be so out of alignment with their value set. The person who values order and neatness is going to struggle working in a classroom with 25 five-year-olds who are energetic, messy and totally free spirited.

Values are a part of us and they represent what we stand for. They represent our unique, individual essence and they are constantly operating whether we know it or not. They are how we measure the world and they provide us with a personal code of conduct which we measure ourselves and others by.

When we honour our personal core values consistently, we experience fulfilment.

When we do not, we feel incongruent and are more likely to escape into bad habits, regress into childish behaviour, or simply stop taking action around what we have committed to.

When our core values are clear to us, we have a greater sense of self and how we operate in the world. We are able to create an action plan that utilises them to their fullest, propelling us forward towards our outcome while experiencing a sense of fulfilment.

  1. Appreciate Your Unconscious Motivation Strategy

Every human being on the planet has a strategy for EVERYTHING they do. We just don’t realise it because we tend to operate unconsciously and it is not commonly discussed.

Let me give you an example: I want you think about brushing your teeth. Close your eyes and mentally take yourself through that activity. Do you always hold the toothbrush in your left hand and put the toothpaste on with your right hand, or visa versa? Do you always wet the toothpaste before you put the brush in your mouth? Do you always start in the same spot in your mouth?

When you pay attention to how you brush your teeth, you will notice that you have a specific strategy that you run over and over again. In fact, if you are “toothpaste wetter” and you didn’t wet the toothpaste for some reason, you would notice this. It would feel wrong to you because your strategy is being run out of its normal sequence.

There are certain strategies that we learn as we grow (such as brushing our teeth) and then there are other strategies we are born with. These other strategies are called “meta-programs”. I am going to let the IQ Matrix Team explain what meta-programs are:

“Meta-programs are like software applications for the brain where one software program controls the execution of a number of other programs. The software runs in the background and directs your thoughts, beliefs, values, memories, and responses. Meta-programs are therefore mental programs that run our lives at an unconscious level of awareness. These mental programs determine how information is processed by deciding what to delete, distort, and/or generalise from your experience.

How the brain processes information on a daily basis is based on the meta-programs that are currently running in the background. You use these meta-programs to sort and make sense of the world around you. Without them the world wouldn’t make much sense, however, with them you are able to form your own beliefs, opinions and perspectives about your world, your life, and your circumstances”.

A significant meta-program is how we are motivated. Are you motivated internally or externally? Would you do more for others or more for yourself?

I will give you an example: If you were intending to go running on the beach with your friend at 5.30am and you woke up to a cold and rainy morning, would you still go?

Some people would go, even when they really didn’t want to, because they had committed to their friend. They wouldn’t want to let their friend down so they get up and get on with it. If their friend was not meeting them down there though, they could quite happily roll over and go back to sleep.

This person is externally motivated. The force that moves them is outside of them.

The internally motivated person relies solely on what is driving them on the inside. Friend or no friend, the decision to get out of bed and run is what they want.

Utilising your motivation strategy is going to help you take more positive action and therefore help you achieve your outcome. If you are an externally motivated person, find people to commit to so that you are more propelled to take action. If you are an internally motivated person, identify with that and harness your own power.

  1. Find Leverage That Hurts

People will generally do more to avoid pain than get pleasure. That means, for example, if we link enough pain to not taking action in our life, we will take action. This is called leverage.

It is simple, yet VERY effective!

I remember a very good friend of mine deciding after numerous attempts to quit smoking that he absolutely had to do it and had to do it NOW. He had tried lots of different things: patches, hypnosis tapes and numerous other methods that were all ineffective for him. He could stick to it for a while but always slipped back into the habit when things got stressful.

So what was the thing that got him over the line?

His Children.

The family was in the car driving home from Ikea when his two daughters told him honestly and openly about their fear of him dying a slow and painful death because of his smoking. His youngest daughter was crying and begging him to stop. She had recently done a school project on smoking and was consumed by fear that her dad would die. His wife, who had often asked him to quit, sat quietly giving her daughters the space to speak. My friend heard his children and in that moment made the decision that enough was enough.

He now had leverage on himself.

Being a father is his greatest joy and being a powerful role model is extremely important to him. The pain he experienced listening to his children share their fears (and knowing he had the ability to alleviate them) propelled him to take swift action around his smoking. He simply had to stop or he was not being the dad he wanted to be.

What is it in your life that you want to be congruent with? What could you use as leverage to ensure that you take the necessary action on that thing?

As a coach I am always encouraging my clients to step into fear. This means that if I personally feel fearful around something, I have to step up and face it. If I don’t then who the hell am I to be telling people that they must step up! My leverage is remaining congruent with my identity. I feel fraudulent if I shy away from fear and that feeling is worse than the fear itself. This, my friends, is leverage!

 

Understanding, appreciating and applying these four pieces of knowledge about yourself is going to make a real difference in your ability to take action and get what you want. Take some time to explore yourself or find someone who can help you discover these things about yourself.

The moment is NOW. Do it!

 

 

 

 

Powerful Teachers change lives

Teachers_2016_intertitle

Someone asked me the other day “Who are the top three teachers you have had in your life, Kate?”.

I loved this question because I have never really thought about it! I have lots of people that I have learnt from in all sorts of areas over the years, so to actually narrow it down to the top three really got me thinking.

One of my favourite sayings is “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”, and that has certainly been true throughout my life. I count some of the kindest, most loving people in my world as phenomenal teachers, yet I also consider some of the most trying and toxic people as brilliant teachers too. I asked for some time to think about this question because I felt it deserved some closer examination and I wanted to give the right people the credit.

I would have to say that by far the most profound teacher I have had in my life has been my dad. My dad is a man who lives by principles. His world is quite black and white and he knows what he thinks with total certainty. Dad taught me SO many of the skills I utilise in my day to day life, and I often hear myself passing on some of his wisdom.

He took raising my sister and I into responsible adults very seriously and as much he was our friend, he always was the parent first (until we become adults). My sister and I delved into a brief life of crime when we got caught shoplifting in Kmart when I was 10. Dad made sure that the punishment would ensure that we never did it again and we spent the next six months weeding the garden every weekend (not to mention no TV for several months). We lived on 20 acres and had a massive garden so it was a very large job – giving us lots of time to reflect. Dad was so committed to teaching us that he was okay with being the “bad guy”, which is a great lesson to be taught!

And yes, I do like gardening so there was no permanent damage done there J

Dad started giving me books about life skills and personal development when I was a teenager. Honestly, I didn’t really enjoy reading them at the time, yet there were seeds being planted that ultimately brought me to the place of becoming a life coach and serving others. I have re-read so many of those books as an adult and am so grateful that I was exposed to them at such a young and impressionable age.

My Dad loves his family. He instilled strong family values in my sister and I and I feel very blessed to have a close and connected relationship with every member of my family. Dad set a strong example of being a leader – not only of self – but in the areas of business, family and community too and I have also carried this trait into my life.

The next teacher that I have to credit is Tony Robbins or “T-Robb” as I like to call him. I am sure some of you would know Tony as that “big American dude with the huge teeth”. He used to have infomercials that were on in the middle of the night so many insomniacs are familiar with his work.

Tony Robbins understands and reads the world with outstanding ease and grace. He absolutely loves humans and has spent his life studying them, understanding them and helping them. His great ability is to distil all of his gathered human behavioural knowledge into laymans terms. He then teaches it in a fun and energetic way so that we can apply it to our lives with ease.

He is incredibly generous and has an amazing ability to transform peoples’ lives – sometimes in a matter of minutes. As a coach there is no better role model or teacher on the planet for me to learn from.

His work has helped me profoundly both as a woman and as a coach and I am often teaching my clients his work or using his stories to explain different topics. One of the greatest gifts that I have received from Tony is a peer group that is truly outstanding. The people I have met in the “Tony Robbins world” are pure quality and teach me to be an even better version of myself. It is often said that “we become who we hang out with” so hanging out with people who are the version of who I want to be is so important.

My third favourite teacher would have to be Dr Wayne Dyer. I consider Wayne to be one of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time and I have been studying his work for years. He is like my “go to man” when I am in need of some spiritual guidance. Sadly, Wayne left the planet two years ago but I am certain he is still having an impact on the world from above!

Wayne Dyer spent the second half of his life growing his relationship to the spirit and dedicating his life to spiritual growth. He was one of the first teachers I had who gave me the belief that I always have a choice in how I feel and how I show up in the world. He also firmly cemented that this life is one of many and taught me to take a much bigger view of everything. He has read many of the spiritual texts from different belief systems and has an amazing way of weaving it all in together. He believes in peace, unconditional love and kindness.

I remember listening to Wayne speaking about soul mates once. I had a very romantic notion of soul mates and “The One” and Wayne well and truly blew that out of the water for me. He explained that a soul mate is someone who is committed to helping us grow. They are not necessarily the person who we hear harps playing and see love hearts floating above their head when we meet them!

Because our soul mate is committed to helping us grow, that often means that they bring great challenge with them. He tells a story about one of his daughters who has always given him a run for his money. He absolutely adores her but also recognises that she is a true soul mate for all the learning opportunities she has provided him as a father and man.

So there are my top three teachers. I must say that I could continue with at least another six or seven people who have been phenomenal teachers to me but that was not the question.

Remember, everyone we come across has the opportunity to be a teacher to us – if we are willing to be the student.

Something to think about…..

“But I will look like a plonker!!”

I deeply believe that feedback is the “breakfast of champions”.

So often, people shy away from giving genuine feedback because they are worried about offending someone or not being liked. I get it. I still fall into that trap too sometimes. When I was younger, I very rarely gave feedback if I thought it could be offensive to someone. The well-developed people-pleaser in me couldn’t think of anything worse than hurting someone’s feelings!

The thing about feedback, though, is it gives us the space to grow and expand in a very effective and resourceful way. If we don’t know that we are doing something, or we are unable to identify how we could do something better – would we like to know? I know I would (not that I would have answered that way 10 years ago!).

When I started my coaching journey six years ago, I didn’t appreciate the value of feedback. I also didn’t appreciate the value of stuffing up, getting it wrong, and sometimes looking like a complete dick. That sort of stuff was to be avoided at all costs!

I was so scared of being vulnerable!

I was so scared of getting it wrong!

My school years had conditioned me to not want to try something if I didn’t have the certainty that I could do it. In Years 2 and 3 I had started to fall behind in class. I didn’t learn the way my teachers taught me and I struggled with the pace at which the class moved. At the end of Year 3 my parents thought that I should repeat the year but the school said no, and I carried on into Year 4 with my classmates.

In Year 4 I was put in the special program – the only child in the class to be on the program – and was rewarded in front of the class when I completed each section of the program.

This was horrific for me!

My personality is all about connection, sameness, the tribe, fitting in, and I felt like such an outcast because of this. I started to make decisions about myself, about what I could and couldn’t do: getting it wrong was now associated with great pain.

One day later on in that year, I had come home and was telling Mum about a new activity that was being offered to the Year 4s. She asked me if I was going to join in and I said “No, I won’t be able to do it, I am not good enough”. It was after that experience that my parents made the decision to move me to another school.

I moved to a beautiful little local school and by mid-Year 5, I was completely back up to speed and on my way. The thing is, though, I had already made unconscious decisions about myself and my abilities and I had an real fear of getting things wrong. Feedback was a very scary thing for me – I didn’t view it as a growth opportunity but instead saw it as me not being good enough.

Just the other day I was with my very dear friend Songy Knox and we were talking about my blog. Songy is a woman with a huge amount of talent and I explicitly trust her wisdom, knowledge and opinions. Because of this, I asked her for some feedback on my blog.

Songy praised me for my consistency in writing each week and said that there is a lot of great information in my blogs. Then she asked me if she could be honest.

“Of course, I want to know how I can improve and do things better”.

“Your blogs are bland. I can’t see you in them. You drop a small line about yourself then dash on to talk about the next point. I want to know who you are!” Songy said.

“But if I talk about myself I will look like a plonker!” I replied.

“No you won’t, you’re just playing it safe. That’s what I mean by bland. I know you have strong opinions and some of them may cause offence but who cares?! Isn’t it better to be authentic and let people see who you are (and maybe offend some people) than to play it safe and miss the ones you want to reach?”.

Boom! There it was!

I didn’t want to get in to trouble. I didn’t want to offend someone and I certainly didn’t want to get it wrong.

This feedback was so POWERFUL for me for several reasons.

Firstly, I didn’t even realise that my old pattern was playing out here in this blog. I have done tonnes of work on myself over the course of my life and I didn’t even identify that the old pattern had popped up here. This is actually not surprising as this is a new venture for me: I don’t yet understand the lay of the blogging land, and I am still operating with limited knowledge.

Secondly, I am writing this blog every week because I am building a coaching business and I want people to experience me, yet I am so busy “playing it safe” that the true me has not yet shone bright. Duh!!!

Thirdly, I know how much Songy loves and cares for me to speak honestly and frankly with my very best interests at heart. I am beyond blessed to have her in my life and on my team.

So: Feedback – Go get some! I entreat you!

Pick an area of your life where you want to experience more success or growth and then go and ask someone some great questions. Ask your boss, your friends, or your partner and ask them to be honest. It’s easy to give “nice” feedback, but that’s not where growth and excellence reside.

Remember, feedback is the breakfast of champions!

 

 

Your Greatest Strength

Whats-Your-Greatest-Strength

We are all born with a set of strengths.

These strengths sometimes come to us so naturally that we don’t recognise them as strengths, or perhaps we don’t credit them as strengths.

Some people are naturally good at communicating – they have no particular education or training around communication yet they have a real talent when speaking and influencing others. Some people are naturally good at being assertive, speaking up, and creating change. Some people are naturally gifted at resolving or minimising conflict.

These strengths often become the cornerstone of our lives. We choose careers where we are able to utilise them fully and they become defining characteristics of who we are. What is so fascinating, though, is that our greatest strength can become our greatest weakness when it is overused.

Imagine every personality trait or strength is a volume knob on a radio. When the knob is in that sweet spot, the noise coming out of the radio is perfect. You are able to hear the music clearly, it’s loud enough and it’s pleasant to be around.

When that control knob gets turned up to the higher end, it becomes very loud. The music is unpleasant because it hurts your ears, the sound quality is distorted and tinny, and ultimately you want to move away from the radio.

On the other hand, when the control knob gets turned too far down the other way, the music becomes so soft you can’t hear it. You might catch a note or two but you can’t figure out the lyrics and you know that you are missing the majority of the song.

Our natural strengths are like this. When we are utilising them in healthy and resourceful ways we get great results and we feel good. When we turn them down, they stop being visible in our life and become very hard to see and hear and they are no longer of service. And sometimes when we are stressed or are out of our comfort zone, our strengths get turned up. They get bigger and louder and start to impact us in a negative way. They have now become a weakness.

One of the most easily identifiable examples of this is with assertiveness. Assertiveness is an amazing strength to have. There are many people on the planet who would love to feel more assertive than what they are and they often look admiringly at the assertive people around them.

The problem is that when assertiveness is overdone it becomes bullying. The assertive person has gone from the strength of clear direction and the ability to get things done, to pushing and shoving in a forceful way.

Another example is the strength of being able to minimise conflict. When done well, everyone has the opportunity to speak and be heard and the conversation is led in a way where the outcome is successfully and peacefully reached.

When overdone, though, the strength of minimising conflict becomes a weakness when the conflict is avoided but the parties involved have not spoken up and been heard effectively. Often in this situation the participants leave feeling frustrated or diminished in some way.

For me, one of my greatest strengths is my adaptability. As a coach I have worked with 13 year olds and 65 year olds, men and women, and people from many different cultural backgrounds. My adaptability has allowed me to meet each of my clients where they are and connect to them from that place. Where my adaptability has become a weakness, though, is in intimate relationships – where I have adapted too far away from myself in pursuit of sustaining a relationship.

It would be easy for me to say “Well, adaptability isn’t a good thing for me; it has created problems in my life so I am going to turn the volume of it right down”. This would be a tragedy because it is one of my greatest strengths! I just have it turned up too loudly in this particular area of my life and it has therefore become unresourceful.

The skill is learning to regularly examine each area of your life and working out exactly where the volume knob (the strength) needs to be set to get the greatest results and to utilise that strength to its very fullest potential. Again, like most things it comes down to some robust self-examination, all the while being kind and loving to oneself.