After a short errand one day last week I returned to my workstation and noticed that my heart rate was elevated. It was the end of the third week working from home during this COVID-19 pandemic.
After many years with the military, this current operation reminded me of the urgency and heavy weight of responsibility I felt when we helped in many other crisis situations in the past. We responded to Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti Earthquake, Super Storm Sandy, the Ebola epidemic, and other military training exercises – too many to count.
While at my workstation, I soon realized I was in a STRESS RESPONSE. This was caused by trying to quickly support my team and our mission and the worry about the unknown nature of COVID-19 and how it spreads. I also had the personal concern that I could bring the virus home and infect a loved one. As I resumed work, I began to feel overwhelmed and my heart rate still did not lower.
What do you do when that happens? I used to just keep working and hope that somewhere down the road it would subside. But this time that approach didn’t help.
I have learned that when our bodies respond to stress, they produce stress hormones preparing us for action. When these stress hormones are surging, the relational side of our brain is shutting down. When that happens, we lose the ability to be creative, and to stay open to the people around us. As for me, I can become fixated on solving the problem, fixing the problem person, or escaping the danger. But, this time I tried a different approach.
Here are THREE steps of my STRESS RESPONSE that helped:
ONE. I took a break. I left my workstation and sat down in a chair. I closed my eyes and emptied my hands. I began to do box breathing (a deep belly breath for 4 seconds in, a 4 second hold, a 4 second exhale, and a 4 second pause). I did this many times over several minutes. Normally when I do the 4 second exhale, I usually recite a positive saying. For you it could be a mantra; for me it is always a Scripture. Any positive saying will do. After a while, I felt my heart rate begin to stabilize.
TWO. I began to remember a joy-filled memory. As I pondered a fun encounter I had with someone special to me, I noticed that I felt more peaceful.
THREE. I did some spiritual grounding exercises that always help me stay centered in my spiritual life. I prayed. I listened. I waited in the quiet. After these three steps, I felt peaceful, engaged in my work, and my heart rate HAD indeed returned to normal.
These steps only took about five minutes, and I did them in a chair in my office. I could have done them in my car, or on a walk, or anywhere. What do you do when you feel the stress of your mission, your relationships, or life in general? Give these three steps a try and see if they help you to have a different STRESS RESPONSE.
Have you ever wanted to move to a new stage of life, a new career, get into shape, lose a few pounds, have a better relationship with a friend, spouse, or loved one? What is holding you back? I believe our greatest enemy is: Inertia!
This inertia comes in many forms: the status quo, almost good enough, I will wait till the perfect timing, I am not smart enough, I am not talented enough, if only. These are all excuses and lies that we all believe and tell ourselves daily. What if we could overcome this inertia and move forward with our decisions with one simple new one-/hour monthly thing we do?
Sounds too good to be true? It could be, but I have found that having an Executive Coach has been a key to overcoming this problem in my life. Here are some examples of how my coach has helped me in practical ways.
In many decisions I let fear keep me from moving. An acronym for fear that I like is FEAR: False, Evidence, Appearing, Real. When I become anxious or fearful, my mind starts to race 100 miles an hour, and I struggle to shut it off. It runs towards the cliffs that are imaginary in my mind! At least 90 percent of the fears that I have never come to pass. So most of that emotional energy is wasted on nothing! Fear also kills my desire for fulfillment. We have a bias that causes us to fear loss more than we want fulfillment. If I focus on fear, I will not reach fulfillment in my life. My coach has helped me by allowing me to voice these fears, hit them head-on, and replace my fears with my long term desires. My goals become my compass and true north for my brain’s activities, allowing my mind a positive fuel to move me forward, rather than the negative fears that keep me afraid and overwhelmed by the negative outcome possibilities.
Another truth I have come to realize is that living reactively does not meet our deepest needs. As we go about our daily lives, we rush from one thing to another and look back after yet another week and think, “Have I really accomplished anything this week?!” This can lead a deep-seated dissonance between what I am doing, what I value, and what I want out of life long term.
As I process these feelings with my coach, simple questions, without judgement, have been very helpful. Questions like: What makes this worth pursuing? What is causing you to feel stuck? How does this align with who you are, and who you want to be? If you look back in 20 years, what advice would you give yourself? Who are you becoming through this decision? These questions help me to process why I feel this dissonance and how to say “No” to the urgent activities that pop up every day.” This allows me margin to say “Yes” to what I value most, health, fitness, relationships, and other deep-seated life-bringing values.
Sometimes I get stuck because I try to make a decision through one frame of reference or decision-making strategy. Since I cannot find a path using this strategy, I stay immobilized by it. Having another person asking me questions from another strategy has been of great value to me as well. A few examples of strategies that we use are:
Rationale: “What are the pros and cons of pursuing each option?”
Relational: “How will this course of action affect those around me? Family, Co-workers, friends?
Alignment: “How well does this decision align with my passions, values, calling?
Spiritual: “What decision would best align with my faith? What is God saying to me on this?
Cost: “What would it cost you in terms of time and resources to do this? What would it cost me if I do NOT do this? What cost is there to me if I do nothing and make no choice?
Risk/Reward: “What is the payoff for each opportunity? What is the opportunity cost of each? What is the risk? What steps could minimize the risk involved?
In many decisions, we face fears, both known and unknown. To overcome this inertia we feel (which causes us to avoid people, places, decisions, or actions) hiring a coach that you can trust and act as a sounding board is one of the greatest investments in your life you can make! Hire a coach today!
Who doesn’t love being comfortable? Hopping on the couch and turning on Netflix, is probably one of my favorite things to do. The pursuit of living comfortable lives drives most of our career and family decisions and we all can benefit from relaxation. But comfort, or at least making comfort and being comfortable our chief aim, can be detrimental. Like a slow-acting poison, if left unchecked, it can cripple your ability to pursue your passions and get in the way of good decision-making.
I live in Colorado and our weather can be very unpredictable. A few weeks back, as I was driving home from work, a cold front was moving in and brought with it freezing rain. I really didn’t want to turn the heat up on the defroster because I was bundled up and preferred that it didn’t feel like I was driving a sauna on wheels. Instead I chose to keep my windshield wipers working feverishly. After a few minutes, my windshield was becoming more and more obscured and I had to say goodbye to being comfortable so I wouldn’t die in a fiery car crash.
This perfectly normal, everyday experience actually led me to a somewhat profound conclusion; making the right decision often requires accepting some level of discomfort. While I was fixated on being comfortable, the only solution that made sense was the ineffective use of my wiper-blades. No matter how fast they moved, they couldn’t keep the ice at bay, and for a few moments, I felt like there wasn’t another solution.
While the idea of being comfortable sat on the throne of my decision making, I was temporarily paralyzed. This realization happened in a split second, but it made me think, “What other areas of my life had I abdicated control to the allure of living comfortably?” As I kept driving, a little warmer than I wanted to be but finally with a perfectly clear windshield, I started thinking about the territories in my life that comfort was threatening to overcome. I quickly realized that over-prioritizing comfort was negatively impacting some of my parenting, professional development, hobbies, chores, and relationships.
Whether we admit it or not, comfort keeps us on the couch when we could be running. Comfort keeps us scrolling through our phones when we could have been reading. Now I’m not saying that being comfortable is wrong (all things in moderation right?), but I am saying that if you only ever make decisions with comfort as your chief aim, then you’ll probably experience life at half (or a lot less) of what it could be. The problem is when we spend too much time protecting our comfort.
Making lasting change in your life will be uncomfortable. In fact, all good things in life come with challenges. The dream job you finally landed will have its fair share of frustrations. Your soulmate won’t always understand you. The beauty and joy of a newborn child will also bring sleep deprivation and poopy diapers. The best things in life require effort and so will making positive change.
I would venture to guess that most of us (if not all of us) have areas in our lives that we want to change or improve. And since you’re human, I bet comfort gets the better of you from time to time. Comfort gets the better of me more than I care to admit (does this count as admitting it?). But if you recognize the issue, you can start to change your response.
So, if you aren’t satisfied with some area of your life, or you’re not reaching your goals, I want you to ask yourself a couple of questions. First, “Am I unsatisfied with ______ because I’m prioritizing comfort over taking action? If the answer is yes, then ask, “What realistic step can I take today that will move me in the right direction?”. You might find that you couldn’t imagine a different way of approaching the problem all because you were too focused on being comfortable. Making progress and good decisions will bring with it discomfort, but it’s through discomfort that exponential growth occurs!
“When people start operating in their Strengths instead of overcompensating for their weaknesses, that’s when the magic happens.” – SAM Morrison
At the beginning of 2019, SAM owned her own business as a publisher of a local neighborhood magazine, which she loved. However, she was feeling exhausted, overworked and underpaid. She knew that God had something different for her but was not sure what that was. She wanted a company where she could have significance in other people’s lives, but she also wanted to work from home and help others do the same.
Things took a big turn for her after she went through the WeAlign Strengths Alignment Package with Coach Dale. The powerful insights she got motivated her to take action to better align her work with her strengths.
She shut down her work with the magazine
She created a new company “Your Admin Ninja” to do Virtual Administration
Your Admin Ninja opened for business on April 1st, 2019
One month later SAM was fully booked
The company has continued to grow
As of February, 2019, she is employing seven (7) other Ninja’s part-time
SAM says that she learned several things while getting coached through her strengths:
About who she truly is and what she is naturally good at.
She had been trying to fit in a box based on other people’s expectations of her.
While she thought she was good at some things, they really didn’t come natural.
By focusing on what she is naturally good at, she can be exponentially better at what she does.
Have you ever had an “aha” moment? When, for a split second, you had perfect clarity and you knew what direction your life should take. Like a spark landing in dry grass, your passion seemed to roar into existence, and you knew that your life would never be the same because of_________. With your heart racing, head filling with ideas, and a completely new outlook, you set out on a journey to pursue this new passion. But as days, weeks, months, or years crept by, the excitement of that initial spark faded, and the fire went out.
If you look back and wonder why, you’ll probably find a number of reasons. You might have relied solely on the initial spark to keep you going. Maybe you made such drastic changes in pursuit of your passion that you overwhelmed yourself and gave up. Maybe you believed a lie that you’d never be able to get where you want to be and so you never truly took steps towards it. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t have to be this way.
If we treated pursuing our passions like keeping a campfire lit, we’d have a much higher chance of succeeding. Keeping a campfire going is simple but requires effort and a little discernment. You have to continuously collect wood and you have to know how much you can add without smothering it. You can’t expect a fire to burn forever if you aren’t intentionally feeding it and you also can’t expect it to stay lit if you feed it too much. Now I know this sounds obvious, and it is, but so many people either don’t feed their passions or they smother them. Keeping the fire burning is probably one of the most important aspects of achieving goals and I believe this analogy gives a great picture as to what it takes to keep pursuing your passions. Here’s some practical wisdom that’s helped me.
1: Just because the fire exists, doesn’t mean it will stay lit on its own
You’ve got to keep your fire burning. So often people set out on the journey of becoming better and expect the emotions of that initial spark turned inferno to carry us the rest of our lives, when in reality, our passions and dreams are fragile and need to be fed if we want to be successful in our pursuits. No matter what your goal is, you’ve got to build in repeatable habits that will keep you on track.
If you’re an aspiring bodybuilder and you’re only going to the gym on days that you feel motivated, chances are you’re going to have a hard time making significant gains. If you’re setting out to write a book and expect to be taken by a wave of inspiration every time you sit down if front of your computer, then chances are you’ll spend the rest of your life working on the same book.
On the day his Jersey was retired, Kobe Bryant, in his speech, said this to his daughters, “those times when you don’t feel like working, you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself but you do it anyway: that is the actual dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And if you guys can understand that, then what you’ll see happen is that you won’t accomplish your dreams. Your dreams won’t come true. Something greater will.”
Keeping the fire lit everyday takes grit. It takes determination. But most of us focus our motivation in trying to replicate the initial spark rather than just adding another log to the fire. When you apply grit and determination to building life giving habits, your goals can be bigger than you ever imagined.
2: Keeping the fire lit is simple but will take effort
You’ve got to gather the wood and feed the fire if you’re going to keep it lit. It really is that simple, but it will require continuous effort. My coach, Kim Avery, once told me, “all success rises and falls on the level of our habits.” This is where we have to put in the work, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as we tend to make it. In a previous blog post, I mentioned taking small attainable steps towards your goals. If you know where you want to be in life, then think about what habits you need to form or which bad habits you need to dismantle, that will get you closer to your goal.
For me, I wanted to read more books. My reading list seemed to be growing longer and longer and I was barely making any progress. In 2020, I decided to start reading 45 minutes a day no matter what. I knew this was realistic for me and it’s already paying off. In the first 9 days of January I had finished my first book and I ended the month having read 3! In 2019, I read 7.
I’ve also noticed an interesting shift in perspective. Whereas before, the thought of reading and how long my reading list was felt overwhelming, now I find it exciting to get those 45 minutes in each day. It’s also led to me looking for opportunities throughout the day when I could be reading. I even had a moment the other day when the kids were in bed and I normally would have just grabbed my phone, but thought to myself, “I want to read!” I know it probably sounds funny, but this was a huge moment for me. Now I’m probably reading on average 1-1.5 hours a day. I’m thrilled to think about how many books I’m going to get through this year!
Whatever change you want to make in life will take effort, but there are simple ways to establish good habits that can be scaled up as they become ingrained in your everyday life. A two-hour gym routine might start out as 30 minutes a day in your basement with dumbbells. Writing a book, might start out with the habit of writing one page a day. Meaningful change rarely happens fast and often starts small. Don’t despise small beginnings! It doesn’t have to be monumental. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking. All it has to do is keep the fire burning so that on the days when you don’t feel like it, there you are doing it anyway.
One of the most important things a leader can do is build trust in his or her leadership and among the group. A significant and often undervalued factor in building that trust is the leader’s emotional maturity. Often, leaders expect others to trust them based on their position, their track record and experience, or the brilliance of their strategies. Yet emotional maturity, and in particular the leader’s behavior in difficult situations, has more impact on the trust level of the group than any other factor. People want to know: Are we in this together?
A key test of emotional maturity is behavior under stress. When things are going well, it’s much easier to be patient, supportive, respectful, and encouraging. When there is a significant problem or the volume of work reaches a certain threshold, it’s much more difficult.
Here are two questions to ask yourself, and others you trust and who will be honest with you, about your emotional maturity, and especially how you react under stress. They’re not yes or no questions, but more of a never/rarely/sometimes/usually/always scale. Certainly, you want to be working towards both qualities as the day-to-day norm. As the depth and strength of your emotional maturity grows, you will be able to continue to manifest them under increasingly difficult circumstances.
How well do I remain relational?
To “remain relational” means to continue to focus on the relationships with people rather than just task execution. Do I still care about and am I willing to listen to what others think and feel? Do I just want to make the problem, person, or feeling go away? Do I duck for cover, and try to make sure I can look good even if things go badly? Do I go into the “I’m going to fix this” mode, where I interrogate, judge, feel very certain that I’m right or at least smarter than everyone else, and try to pressure people to do things my way?
There are gross deviations from remaining relational, like screaming at people and openly playing the “blame and shame” game. It’s also possible that you can lose your ability to remain relational and still remain (at least on the surface) fairly professional and polished. Even in the latter case, people will sense that it’s about the problem, not about really working together and respecting one another, and will feel like they can’t trust you fully.
How well do I act like my best self, in line with my values and the group’s values?
My identity is linked to my values and the values of my group and is expressed in my behavior. Again, there are gross violations of values like illegal behavior or intentional deceit Few will follow you if those things are exposed. At the same time, most people expect a higher standard than strict legality and factual correctness. If say that I value things like fairness, respect, and transparency, is that what I consistently display, or do I make decisions that are expedient but not in line with those values?
Most people don’t expect perfection. They realize that life is complex, and that there will be times when you slip from your standards. However, they also expect a level of consistency, and your humility to acknowledge and apologize when you’ve slipped in your behavior, and for you to show improvement over time.
Emotional maturity may seem subtle, but with trust being one of the major assets of your organization, it’s worth the investment.
Have You Ditched Your New Year’s Resolutions Yet? I didn’t make any, but I am making bite-sized changes that will compound over time. If you’re tired of beating your head against the wall every winter as you rely solely on will power to make positive change in your life, then I’d encourage you to keep reading!
The other day I was standing by the copier, scanning a bunch of documents, and I heard a buzzing noise. After a second of looking around, I noticed that a fly had gotten stuck in the blinds. I decided to free this fly from it’s impending doom, but immediately after it was free, the fly took a hard-right turn into another set of blinds. In that moment, I thought about all the times I set out to make meaningful change in my life only to lose steam and divert back to familiar struggles. Since it’s that time of year, I decided to focus on the fact that New Year’s resolutions don’t work, but bite-sized, “you know you’ll do it”, changes produce extraordinary results over time.
I know some of you might be thinking of the rare individual who actually sticks to their resolutions, but the majority of human beings struggle every year to make significant improvements to their lives. You know what I’m talking about. For some of you, 2019 might have felt like a rinse and repeat cycle of getting stuck, then getting unstuck, only to get stuck again. This could be for a number of valid reasons, but at the end of the day, stuck is just stuck.
Whether your decisions led you to this predicament or circumstances out of your control trapped you there, you can decide how to respond. Whether you wallow in self-pity or stand up and take the next right step is completely up to you. This could look like forming good habits or dismantling bad ones. It might be a simple change in perspective. The point is to TAKE THE NEXT RIGHT STEP. President Harry S. Truman once said, “Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time”. Making lasting change in your life begins by taking imperfect action regularly over long periods of time. Don’t let perfectionism or impatience keep you from moving forward.
If you want to exercise more in 2020, don’t start by going to the gym 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. If you want to read more books in 2020, don’t expect yourself to be able to read 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. If you want to succeed in making a change, start with bite-sized steps. Even if you have to break it down to reading 5 minutes a day, that’s better than setting yourself up for disappointment on February 1st when you look back and realize you successfully completed 4 days of your new resolution before taking a hard right turn back into old habits.
Taking small consistent steps is not a small achievement! Working out for 15 minutes a day consistently, when you normally don’t work out at all, isn’t a waste of time! 2020 will be wasted if a year from now, you look back and realize that you haven’t made any progress at all. 2020 will be wasted if you keep being all or nothing. 2020 will be wasted if keep believing the self-imposed lies that you can’t do it when in reality you set yourself up for failure on January 1st.
What if I told you that this year, you could break the cycle? What if I told you that many of the answers to escaping your dilemma are floating in your head right now? What if I told you that 2020 could be a year of break-through? All it will take is consistent imperfect action, one day at a time. If you’ve already ditched your resolutions, you’re in good company. Start taking small, attainable steps today, so you can look back on a years-worth of progress on January 13th, 2021.
What imperfect bite-sized action are you committed to taking consistently in 2020? Take it one day at a time and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve!
“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
Have you ever had a moment when you felt completely inadequate? For me it had to do with songwriting. I’m a musician and I’ve been playing guitar and singing for 16 years. Even though I’ve written some songs along the way, the process has felt like trying to climb a tree with fins.
Several years ago, I took part in a Facebook songwriting challenge. We were supposed to write and record 1 song a month for 6 months. This seemed like a low bar, so I decided to give it a shot. After a month and a half of songwriting at an agonizingly slow pace, I finally had a mostly finished draft and a recording. We were required to post our songs to the Facebook group, so I did.
After posting my first song, I saw that a high school student that I had mentored from church was also in the challenge and had already posted his first 2 songs. As I listened to his first one, I felt a pit form in my stomach, my heart rate went up, and I felt jealousy rising in me. And then I was angry. I turned his song off after 30 seconds because I couldn’t take how good it was. Here was another musician, 10+ years my junior, with more natural writing ability in his pinky, than I had in my entire body. I felt so small. I felt small, because I was basing my identity on an area of weakness and not strength.
These kinds of realizations happen for people all the time in every industry. I’m sure you’ve experienced something like this and probably have someone in mind who picked up a skill or job task so quickly it seemed like they had been doing it their whole life. When I heard this student’s music, it showed me, in bright neon letters, that my natural talents didn’t lie in songwriting.
To cheer me up, some people might say, “That’s alright, if it’s your dream keep at it! If you work hard enough, you can be as good as Bono or Paul McCartney! After all, they had to start somewhere didn’t they?” While this is an encouraging sentiment, there is an unintended lie at its center. The lie is this, “Anyone can do anything. All it takes is hard work.” It might be insulting that I would be bold enough to call that a lie, but please hear me out. Donald Clifton, the father of strengths psychology and creator of the CliftonStrengths Assessment, said in his book Soar With Your Strengths, “To theorize that ‘anyone can do anything’ assumes that all people are clones, possessing an identical set of talents. This, of course, is false. We are each one of a kind, with a unique set of strengths.” You see, if each of us is truly unique, then some of us must have a propensity for certain things over others.
Now I’m not saying we should never focus on areas of weakness, but if that’s the ONLY areas we focus on, then we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. Even worse, focusing solely on improving our limitations may cause us to never discover the natural talents within us. We all have genius in one area or another, but the problem is that most people focus on what they think they should be good at rather than the areas that they could be best at. If we try to force our way to excellence, chances are, we will arrive at mediocrity. When we know who we are and can unleash our strengths exponential growth will occur!
What natural talent have you been ignoring in your life? What areas of weakness have you tried to turn into strength? As 2019 comes to a close and we look forward to new things in 2020, I challenge you to let yourself off the hook! I challenge you to discover your natural talents and hone them! I challenge you to step into the recognition that who you are isn’t mediocre. You are a genius and exponential growth is waiting for you if you focus on your strengths!
I first took the Clifton StrengthsFinder® assessment, now called CliftonStrengths® in 2011. At the time I was empty. I was at the end of a multiyear project that took everything out of me. A friend, mentor, and personal coach suggested that I take a sabbatical in order to rest, renew, and reimagine what the next phase of life would look like. As I prepared for the sabbatical, he also suggested I take the StrengthsFinder.
I purchased the book Discover Your Strengths: StrengthsFinder 2.0 and used the code that came with it to find out my top 5 strengths. I was surprised at the results. They were me! As far as I could tell they were spot on. They suggested action steps were encouraging, inspiring, and invigorating.
I would love to say that I implemented every step, and developed action plans in line with my new awareness. Nope. Instead, I returned from my sabbatical and immediately buried myself in work. Within months, I had forgotten the talent themes that described me. I didn’t forget everything, but since I didn’t know what to do with this newfound knowledge, the assessment ended up in a file that is likely still buried in my desk. My conclusion: knowing your strengths is not enough! You have to do something with that knowledge.
I had forgotten the talent themes that described me and the report ended up in a file buried in my desk.
Experience Greater Clarity
Later on, I surfaced the long-buried assessment, but I didn’t realize that the Top 5 assessment was just the introduction. So, I ordered the Full 34 report from the Gallup website, and then hired a WeAlign coach to walk me through a full Strengths Alignment.
The result has been greater clarity. Now I have a much better sense of my unique design and how my talents are deeply woven into who I am.
After taking the CliftonStrengths® assessment and getting coached through the Strengths Alignment process with a WeAlign coach, I decided to become a WeAlign Coach myself – it was that transformative for me!
5 Benefits of a Strengths Alignment
When your life is aligned with your strengths, you have greater clarity.
You have a better idea of your purpose, calling, and how to spend your time.
You have a new language for describing the power you bring to your life and work.
You can better discern how to go about your life and work using your strengths.
You even have greater energy and passion! Strengths are a foundation that you can build on.
If you haven’t yet experienced a Strengths Alignment or would like to know more about our services, contact us.
I remember the day when my daughter made a dramatic change, all because of three short words. We were living in France, and she was going to the Maternelle (kindergarten). At a parent-teacher meeting, the teacher smiled as she exclaimed, “Elle est vite!” (she is fast). Our daughter heard and immediately embraced this affirmation. For the next two years she ran everywhere as fast as she could! “I am fast. I am fast. I am fast…just watch me!” as those words of truth propelled each step forward.
My daughter didn’t realize that her teacher was affirming her mental agility (quickly learning the French language and culture), not her physical prowess. Yet, a compliment put wings on her shoes.
Affirmation turned on a switch in my daughter, just like how Clark Kent taking off his glasses and ripping open his shirt reveals the “S”—his true identity as Superman. We all have “Super” within us, but it usually takes something external to draw it out of us. Many times we may have a hunch or a feeling that something is true about us, but it’s confirmed and brought alive when others call it out. It’s the power of affirmation!
Affirming someone is simply calling out a truth of their authentic design. It’s truly who they are at their core identity. “I appreciate that you have enduring, rock-solid values” or “I love how you always love to learn” are great examples of calling out an identity truth in someone. Complimenting others is a great start too, but slightly different. A compliment is a positive statement referring to a task done or trait possessed. “Thank you for cleaning up the dishes tonight” or “that shirt looks great on you”. They both trigger the production of oxytocin, the “happy” hormone in our brains which results in smiles and warmth.
Here’s a little experiment for you this week: It’ll be easy, simple, and free. Do you want to dramatically change a relationship or your work environment? Start affirming others, and often. Find those characteristics in others that you can call out and affirm in them. If that seems too difficult to start with, then begin with a smile and a compliment. But flattery is different, and doesn’t count. Flattery is actually focused on elevating the speaker, not the receiver. It highlights a situational non-truth about the other. For example, “I loved your keynote speech” (but you weren’t there and didn’t hear it) or “I’m grateful for your leadership” (but secretly you neither respect nor trust the leader). Affirmation and compliments are a gift to the receiver, because it can produce change in the person’s self-esteem.
Affirmation will put an “S” on your chest…because we all have Super within!Let WeAlign help you discover your greatness- your true authentic design.