Posts tagged with ‘find your fit’

24 nov

The 3 Ways We (Accidentally) Help Our Kids Fail

JayForteI know we don’t mean to help our kids fail; sometimes we just do too much for them – we don’t make them do their work. Maybe we love them too much and want their lives to be easy. But too much of the wrong kind of help doesn’t prepare them define who they are, identify their talents, find their best place in the world and own their lives. I am a father of three daughters. I have learned some things that I feel have prepared them to step up and stand out in their lives – to own their lives. And I thought it was worth sharing.

My personal perspective is that the greatest gift we receive in life is the ability to invent our lives – we can create each day in the way we choose. And what we need to help us invent extraordinary lives – extraordinary according to our terms – we already have. We are born with unique talents and strengths (gifts) that exhibit themselves through our abilities and passions. We are great at some things, not others. We love some things and not others. Each of us is unique. Each of us is different. Learning about this difference is the key to inventing our most amazing lives, and helping our kids invent theirs.

For example, I am good at and love details, precision, social research and writing. My kids are not at all like this. They are more social, more scientific and are more take-charge. They would hate my job. And though I may feel that my job would be good fit for them and would give the resources to be successful in life, they don’t feel this. They must get up each morning and be thrilled by life. Following in my footsteps is not be the best choice for any or all of them. They need to choose for themselves those things that play to their particular talents, interests and passions. This is how they become successful. This is not what many parents do.

As a greatness coach and a parent, here are the most significant three ways I see that we (accidentally) help our kids to fail:

1. We do not help them know themselves – what they are good at and what they are passionate about. So many of today’s kids are very self-unaware; they have little sense of who they are, what their talents are and what they are passionate about. They go through life on autopilot – being directed by parents and friends – doing very little of their own thinking.

It is our role as parents to help them learn how to identify their talents, interests and passions. Many times our talents are so closely connected to how we think that we have a difficult time identifying them. This is a great opportunity for parents to share what they see in their kids and dialog about it. Catching a kid doing something great, and commenting on it, helps him notice his behaviors. And as much as we learn about what we do well, we also learn about what we don’t do well – also critical information. We aren’t good at everything but we each are good at some things. Learn to identify those things and we help our children learn to play to their strengths.

2. We don’t show them enough of their world, and talk to them about their options, so they can choose wisely in work and life. Critical to their success in life is first to know themselves, then to know their world. Their greatest success and happiness will be in finding places in their world that allow them to use what they are great – to have their greatest impact. For that, they must know their world to be able to choose wisely.

Connecting to what our kids are seeing and hearing is critical – particularly in today’s intellectual age. Kids see so much more than their Boomer parents saw at their age. And this information needs conversation – to help them become aware of what appeals to them and what does not. Family vacations, reading together, reviewing websites together, learning projects and being active in the community are ways to show kids what things are available – how large the world is. The more kids start to show interest in areas, the more they should be encouraged to investigate careers and work in those areas.

3. We define happiness for them by telling them who they should be, what they should do for work and how they should live. Many parents believe they know better so they choose their kid’s life directions. I remember telling my father as he told me what my profession was to be, that for me to be successful, happy and own my life, the choice about who I am, what I do and how I live, must be mine. Parents take away life accountability when they dictate the steps of life. The more we encourage our kids to know themselves and to know their world, the better decisions they will make about their lives. This allow us to be the guide from the side in their lives – available for counsel but always relinquishing the decision to the life owner. This is critical to help create the next generation of responsible, happy and personally successful people.

Each of us receives the gift of inventing one life – our own. It is entirely our choice how large or small we invent that life. In my coaching, I regularly see that parents want to ensure their children have happy and successful lives, so they take over and dictate life’s decisions. This generally creates the opposite response – instead of helping our kids feel successful and love their lives, they become unhappy and disappointed, feeling like they are living someone else’s life.

Our greatest role is to prepare our kids to take the baton and run their lives. We help them run successfully when we guide them to discover their unique greatness, understand their world, then find their best fit. There is a great place for each of us in life. Find that place and we love our lives. And loving life is what we want most for our kids.

Jay Forte is a business and motivational speaker, and greatness coach. He is the author of The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World, and Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition. His coaching and programs inspire executives, employees, parents and students to discover and play to their greatness, to live and work with passion, power and purpose. More information at and

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Posted by Jay Forte on November 24th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Teens, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

28 oct

Get Ready to Pass the Baton

JayForteAs parents we all love to think our kids are great at everything. We love it when they walk early, talk early, excel in art class, earn good grades and are athletic. We brag, we boast – we feel so proud. It’s natural.

But nature, biology and even divine intervention seem to feel that we aren’t good at everything – that we should specialize. We are all different and must learn to understand ourselves to know our specific talents, strengths and passions – those attributes unique to each of us – so we can learn to find our best fit in today’s world. And when we find our place, we can create our best and most personalized lives – lives that are just right for us.

Inspired by our DNA are brain connections that are strong in some areas and weak in others. Early in our brain development, the brain allows the weaker connections to wither, allowing our strongest connections to lead. These connections create our personality, preferences, talents, strengths and passions. We are hardwired in very particular ways and our greatest performance (and happiness) happens when we understand this hardwiring and use it to make meaningful decisions about our work and life.

Science supports that we are good at some things and not others; we love some things and not others. Our greatest impact happens when we play to what we are intrinsically good at. We start to know this as we reach our later teenage years. Some realize it sooner, some later. But to realize what we are good at and are passionate about takes effort. It takes work. It takes work that each of us must do; we can’t do this work for our kids.

As parents, our role is to get them ready so we can pass them the baton of life – to be capable of taking it and running their life’s race. They choose where, how fast, with whom and how to run.

We are their coaches and trainers. We help them see their greatness – their talents, strengths and passions. We introduce them to the world so they can start to determine their best place – their best fit. We introduce them to the world so they realize they have choices – and the best choices will be those that allow them to play to what they are great at and passionate about. To be able to make these choices, they must know themselves and their world. And we bring all this together for them when they are young. We help them they discover the unique gifts they are born with and start to find their best place in the world that lets be who they were created to be.

When each of my three daughters graduated from high school, we hosted a “passing of the baton” ceremony. We explain that in the past 18 years, we have worked to help them discover who they are and have tried to show each of them how big the world is – to see all that is available. But when the baton is passed, they will own it all – their direction, success, happiness and choices. They will need to find their best fit – their place in their world – to be happy and thrilled by life each day. This is what is required to take the baton – to own your life.

We are still available for counsel and conversation but they must use all that they have seen to start to make wise personal choices – not to please us, be who we think they are supposed to be, or live as we feel they must – but, rather, to define happiness and success for themselves. We don’t tell them who to be. We remind them they must be the best at whatever they choose – and their best and happiest lives will be built around what they are good at and are passionate about doing.

Each of my three daughters has chosen wisely for herself; each took the baton and has owned her decisions, career and life. We may not always agree with the choices, but we realize they now own and invent their lives – as we did so many years ago. It is a wobbly process to start but with the right coaching, they learn very quickly to make good decisions.

Someone told me once that the worst thing a parent can hear their child say is “I have a miserable life.” We want our kids to be successful, but must also realize that success in our eyes may not be success in theirs. Maybe the better line is that we want our kids to love their lives and be thrilled by life each day.

So how can you coach your children well, to be ready to take the baton when it is passed to them:

1. Spend meaningful time with your kids and let them share what they think, feel and love. Listen generously.

2. Expose them to many things; many times our kids become things or do things because they didn’t know greater things were available. One of my favorite ways of showing kids the great choices in the workplace is to Google “job titles.” The sites show titles of jobs that many of us never knew we could be. It expands their options.

3. Watch the personal biases and judgments as kids start to connect to what matters most to them. An impartial approach allows kids to consider everything.

4. Careers and interests don’t always follow from parent to child. Allow children to search for those things that capture their interest, and always require them to see how what they are interested in fits in today’s world (they still have to make a living and move out of the house!).

Our kids are great – at some things. And effective coaches help their players (or kids) discover the things they are good at and then work hard to get better in those areas. This allows them to move from good to great. And to be successful in life, you must find your thing, then be great at it.

For me, the greatest success as a parent is a happy and passionate son or daughter – one who loves his/her life and does each day what he/she does best. That is success in my book. I don’t need or want my kids to be like me – unless that is what they want. Besides, the world needs us all to be different, to add the texture, color and richness of ideas and impact. We invent our world by those who live in it at this moment. To have the best world, we need everyone in their “greatness zone” – that place where they are connect to their best and share it with all of us. Help them get ready to take the baton and live their greatness.

Jay Forte is a business and motivational speaker, performance consultant and life coach. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and The Greatness Zone; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform Your World. Jay guides organizations – their leaders and managers – in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He coaches individuals how to reconnect to their talents and passions to achieve extraordinary personal and professional performance – to live their greatness. More information at and

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Posted by Jay Forte on October 28th, 2010 in Career, Family, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Teens | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

10 apr

Who Are You, Really?

JayForteI was watching an episode of CSI: Las Vegas and was suddenly struck by the theme song “Who Are You” by the band The Who. I don’t watch much TV but I can always find time for a new or rerun episode of this show. But until this moment, I have never been very attentive to the theme song. It got me thinking…

Who are you? Not your name or whose husband, wife, father, mother, son or daughter you are. Not your employee role, what town, state or country you live in, or what ethnic group you are from. I am looking for something deeper – more about what makes you really you.

Much of my work involves helping people rediscover their passion for work and life, and this starts with really knowing ourselves – who we are. To do this requires becoming proficient at listening to and watching ourselves – to notice how we feel, think, react and respond. This is the best mechanism to know ourselves.

We are each a unique bundle of DNA – manifested by our talents, passions, strengths, personalities and even communication styles; no two of us on the planet share the exact combination of attributes. This uniqueness is both our gift and our work. It is our gift because it allows us to invent a life that is just right for us. Our greatest happiness and impact happen when we play to what we have been given. To do this, we first must know ourselves.

And that brings us to our work. It would have been easier to have received an owner’s manual on the first day we arrived on the planet; a manual that listed our particular attributes – the things that make us unique. But the divine inspiration for us is smarter than that.

To access these gifts (because I guess nothing great is free) we have do our own work; no one can do this work for us. We learn about the gifts we received – the unique talents, strengths and passions that came bundled in our DNA – gradually over life. We have a lifetime to be introduced to our specific attributes. This allows us to learn and invent. The more we learn about what we are great at, what we love to do and what makes us feel successful, the more we invent the next things in our life. Learn and invent. This is part of the plan to help us define and own our lives.

Life becomes more authentic, more customized and happier the more we know who we are –what gifts we were given, how to use them and how to make make our greatest impact.

So to get good at listening, watching and connecting to yourself (knowing yourself), say each of the following then list five ways you notice it happening in you:

  1. I am good at (and list 5 things that come to you naturally).
  2. I am happiest when I am doing (list 5 things).
  3. I wish time would never end when I am doing (list 5 things).
  4. I am most proud of myself when I (list 5 things).
  5. My greatest impact is when I (list 5 things).

You can list more or less than 5; the goal is to get you to notice yourself because the best access to your specific gifts – those gifts that allow you to live the best life for you – is through self-awareness. And for more impact, look at yourself in the mirror as you do this.

So, you received amazing gifts – your talents, passions, strengths and personality. Most people become acquainted with only a small portion of all they received. They miss out on what makes them unique and great. They don’t know who they are. What a waste for them and for the world. Because when you play to your talents, strengths and passions, not only are you more authentic and happier, you also bring your best to the world. And we all know the world could use more of our best.

Commit the time to know yourself. Then build the best, most extraordinary and meaningful life based on the true you. This is your life; own it. And start by knowing who you really are.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and the on-line resources, Stand Out and Get Hired, and The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual. He has just completed his new book, The End of Average; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit and Transform Your World; chapter downloads will soon be available on his website. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at

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Posted by Jay Forte on April 10th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories, Spirituality, Teens | 3 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

03 feb

The End of Average

JayForteLife is not a dress rehearsal – we get one great ride around the sun. And if this is my one shot, I intend to approach it with the most love, enthusiasm and energy I can muster. I don’t want a life of coulda’s, woulda’s and shoulda’s. As George Bernard Shaw’s says, “I want to be all used up when I die.” Nothing left undone. Excited and fired up each day. No regrets. And definitely not average.

But I find most people don’t share this mindset. Most people are stuck in bland, boring and average; they want better but don’t know how. As the humorist Erma Bombeck said, “Normal is just a setting on a clothes dryer.” There should be nothing normal or average about life. Since our time on Earth is limited, our focus must be to learn enough about ourselves and our world, to determine how we “fit” – our way to be great in the world and live a life that is extraordinary.

Our world has actually set us up to have a great life; we are in the age of customization. Today, we can have our food, cars, music, houses, and virtually everything else our way. We personalize and customize. There should be no need for average.

But what amazes me most is we are so quick to customize our food, but so reluctant to customize our lives. Most of us do what others do, or let others tell us how to work and live. The problem is we spend too little time getting to know our inner self – our unique personality, talents, strengths and passions; we are not very self-aware. And when you don’t know yourself, you don’t know how to maximize your impact or the quality of your life. You accept average.

Each of us is born with a unique set of neural pathways (brain responses) that ultimately form our natural response, abilities talents and passions. Some are artistic and social. Others are empirical, detail-focused and analytical. Some can sing and others can solve puzzles. Some are moved by constant communication, others are most passionate when connecting in quiet with nature.

These natural abilities represent our core thinking – we are good at these and happiest when doing them. Management psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, “People who learn to control (understand) their inner experience will determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.”

The key to ending average is to connect, communicate and understand the internal hardwired “true you” and to answer the questions, “How self-aware am I?” and “What do I really know about me?”

Here is how I explain it to my audiences: we have two ears and one mouth. Though the expression says we should listen twice as often as we speak, I add another perspective. To me, one ear should be directed out – to listen to your world – to know and understand your world. The other ear should be directed in – to listen to you – to understand your particular and unique talents, values, interests, and passions – the true you.

When you know you and your world, you can focus on “fit” – your place in this world. You can focus on working and living in areas that play to your strengths. You have choices. You can customize your life.

So here are my five steps to customize your life and develop your end of average plan:

  1. Listen inward to identify your natural abilities and talents – list what are you good at. Don’t be humble; be honest. What are you great at? What comes naturally? Many times you will need to check with others who know you well because your talents are so closely tied to your thinking that you don’t perceive your abilities as talents. List everything that comes to mind; get acquainted with your true self.
  2. Listen inward to identify what you love to do – list what you are passionate about. What gets you out of bed; what could you do all day and never be bored or tired of? List everything that comes to mind; get acquainted with your true self.
  3. Find your fit. Now review what you are good at and passionate about. Then, knowing what you know of your world, start to identify what jobs, communities, activities or projects allow you to use what you are good at and passionate about doing. Here’s an example. You love working with precision and details and are passionate about helping animals. You may identify the ideal job is working as a veterinarian, animal rescue staff, dog walker, scientist or breeder. Your hobbies may include volunteering for an animal shelter, become an dog trainer or connect the elderly with pets to improve their lives. Know yourself and then determine where you fit in work and in life – where you play to your talents and passions. You work strong and live stronger. You end average.
  4. Sculpt on daily basis. Get good at adding small meaningful things to your day. It may be volunteering for a museum, a homeless shelter or a hotline. It may be cooking for your office, organizing events in the workplace or teaching your fellow employees how to use IPhone aps. When you add small things you love to your work and life, you respond in a more engaged and passionate way. You customize. Life is better. Work is better.
  5. Commit time to stay connected to the “true you.” Life pulls you in many directions – even when you personalize and customize a great life. Build connection time in your days to stay tuned into the true you. You will constantly determine new things about you – more talents, more passions – because this is a lifetime dialog. Don’t be in a rush. Gather information. Stop and think. Include more of the true you in your work and life.

No one can do this work for you. You are unique and no one shares your exact talents, strengths and passions – your personal hardwiring. Only you can connect to the true you. Commit the time and effort to know yourself. Commit the time and effort to know your world. Find your fit. Sculpt daily to keep the energy high. This is how to make the most of this life and to put an end to average.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

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Posted by Jay Forte on February 3rd, 2010 in Career, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,