Friday, August 13, 2010

Take Action #2 - Discover Your Strengths

One of the greatest gifts I received was learning about my strengths from the book Now, Discover your Strengths by the Gallup Organization. A great friend and avid reader Karen Hoffman suggested the book to me in 2004. It completely validated and gave me the words to describe what I loved to do most. The book shares great stories about Bill Gates, Oprah and Tiger Woods (pre-drama of course) and how being phenomenal only happens when we are operating in our top strengths.

This may be a reason why so many corporations never become phenomenal – because they don’t hire people based on strengths or natural gifts. They hire based on a resume and past experience. I find it interesting that so many companies have you take aptitude tests, Myers Briggs and other personality and compatibility tests – but why? Do they use them? I think they are just making sure you are sane and have the capacity for the job, but whether or not it is a fit for your natural strengths is too hard to define. Most companies are “activity-based companies” rather than “strength-based companies”.

I would encourage you to purchase the book – I think it is around $15. There is a code in the back of the book that you use to go online to take the test.  There is only one code per person so it doesn’t really work to share this book. I am going to purchase the book for my kids and find out what their strengths are. What a joy it would be to actually know your children’s natural strengths and help them become exactly what they were made to do – rather than become a doctor because their dad was or taking over the family business because that’s what you do. What if you could be the best counselor in the field, but you were doing accounting because that is what your parents said you should do. Just because you understand the mechanics of numbers, doesn’t mean it is a natural fit. I met with an old friend, Jonathan Jones last week who actually works with companies to help them understand their employee’s strengths and what to do with them. Visit his site to learn more.

So what does this have to do with Taking Action? Everything. Sometimes we are frozen because we are stuck in a dead-end job or we know we are supposed to be doing something different but we don’t know what. This experience will enlighten you – guaranteed. Minimally, it will help you define yourself to others in interviews, dates, your boss, etc. For example, I am a Futurist – not a historian – don’t much care what happened yesterday, I am already on to tomorrow. I am also a WOO (Win Others Over) – I LOVE a networking event because I want to get to meet as many people as possible – where someone else might be a Relator which means they could spend the entire evening talking to one person. The only way I could spend the entire evening talking to one person is if they were the only person in the room.

When I was a young mother I got my real estate broker’s license and worked for a commercial real estate firm. They put me in a window-less office and had me briefing leases all day….. I managed to venture out to a networking event and you would have thought I had won the lottery – my energy and enthusiasm for commercial real estate went crazy. But when I came back and told my boss that we should be doing something like that every day, he said “we don’t have time for such nonsense, you need to brief these leases.” Needless to say, I was so depressed crying in the bathroom most days, finally went on depression medication and when I had an allergic reaction to the meds, I decided that perhaps it was “situational depression” – quit my job and amazingly became a happy person.

So, TAKE ACTION by finding out what your "natural" strengths are and stop spending time on your weaknesses.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Take Action #1 - Do Your Homework

Many times we delay taking action because we don’t have enough information. In the “old days” it was a real pain to gather information. We had to go to the library, make phone calls, physically visit a business/house/person we were interested in, purchase publications, wait for our 5:00 News show to come on, etc. Of course now we have access to any information we want 24/7 – we just have to know what to look for and where to look.

If you are stalled and not even sure how to take action, start researching how others have done what you want to do. For instance, if you have always wanted to open an ice cream shop, start following other ice cream shop owners on Facebook, or look up information on Ice Cream franchises, visit an ice cream shop, look up financials on ice cream shops, ask your family what they like about ice cream shops, etc.

Perhaps you are looking for a new job . How about looking at the companies you WANT to work for rather than what is available? Have a conversation with someone who works for a company you would like to work for – really find out what it is like. Go on an interview with a company that you are “ok” not getting – great practice to see if you want to get back out there. Go to LinkedIn and see who's hiring and ask a friend to make an introduction.  Just gathering information sometimes either catapults us into action, excitement and energy OR gets us turned on or un-enthused and we decide to change course.

Maybe you aren't using your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts like you should because you have no idea how to promote, make changes, block those ridiculous applications like hugs, kisses, flowers and Farmville (sorry for those who love it).  Go to to find out everything you wanted to know about Social Media - it has been my #1 resource for figuring out Social Media.

Once you have done the research, you WILL Take Action – you will either be energized to take the next step or you will take action by closing the door on that idea. BOTH are taking action. Sometimes not pursuing something is just as valuable as, and many times smarter than pursuing. However, until you have done the homework, you may be stagnant and/or think it is a great idea – go find out IF it is a great idea.

Here are some resources you may want to consider when doing research: there are the obvious: Google, Bing, Ask, but others like Yelp, Angie's ListIntuteAbout.comNoodle Tools are great resources too. Not sure where to buy glasses, get a haircut, form an LLC, volunteer? Start researching so you can be informed to Take Action!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ready to Take Action? Let's Get Started!

Over the rest of this year, I will be sharing with you ideas on how you can Take Action in your business, in your life, in your relationships and more. I will share 111 ideas between now and January 1, 2011 (1-1-11). My goal is to post most days taking into account days off for holidays, vacations, etc. By the end of the year, you will have a great start to 2011 with a complete list of how you can Take Action every day.

My hope and intention is that you will be inspired to Take Action.

Understand that most of these ideas are something that EVERYONE can do – if they want. Some ideas may not resonate with you – some may hit right on the mark. Hang in there with me, because my purpose is to help you be whatever it is that you want to be and it all starts with ACTION. God nor anyone else is going to get us off the couch to pursue our dreams. Others and God can certainly help us – but WE need to be the ones that step up and step out of our comfort bubble.

All of these “ways to Take Action” will help move us in a positive direction – make us a light to others – make others want to be with us - in our space – buy from us – help us.

If you have stories on how you have “taken action”, please e-mail them to me .  I will be gathering stories for future posts and the book.

Thanks for following my blog and tune in every couple of days or become of a fan of 111 Ways to Take Action on Facebook