Posts tagged with ‘strengths’

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 www.TheGreatnessZone.com and www.LiveFiredUp.com.

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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 , , , , , , , , , , , ,

24 may

Conditioned to Think You Can’t

JayForteA friend and I had a discussion this morning about what influences our perspectives. He reminded me of how a 5-ton elephant can be controlled with nothing more than a chain and a post.

When baby elephants are captured, they are restrained by a chain connected to a post, anchored to the ground. Because of their small size, they try to pull free but cannot. They then learn that when chained to the post, they cannot get away – and they remember this. So as they become an adult elephant, very capable of pulling free from the chain, they don’t think they can, so they don’t try. An early memory told them they can’t and now they never challenge it.

We are like elephants. We have early memories about something that influenced us and we bring that perception to today. It could have been a comment, a look or a response by someone that we knew or maybe didn’t know. It could have been an event that backfired like stumbling in front of others and we are now convinced we can never be on stage, in front of an audience, or lead a meeting. We are frequently chained to think we can’t – even though we can. Here is a personal example.

As a kid I had a terrible interdental lisp. When it was pointed out to me, I stopped speaking, tremendously worried that I would embarrass myself. As I started speech therapy I found I had an easy ability to learn a language and to articulate sounds – something I never would have known. I quickly learned a new way to pronounce an “s.” Today, I am a speaker. Imagine. If I had let the terrible events that introduce me to my speech impediment control me, I would have been like the elephant chained to a post, thinking I should be embarrassed about myself and stay out of the public. I would have never chosen my favorite work and my best fit – speaking to audiences about talents, passions and possibilities. I can imagine doing nothing else. I broke my chain. And I found a strength in the process.

Many of us remain captive to “I can’t” thinking, like the elephants chained to the post, because we don’t know ourselves well enough to know how capable and strong we really are. The more we connect to our unique talents, strengths and passions, the more we find our internal strength – the strength that helps us realize our futures are not dependent on our pasts. We are not limited by events that happened to us. True, they influence us, but we have attributes (call them gifts) that help build our courage and our confidence to break our chains and come through stronger, braver and better.

From my perspective, life events are placed as obstacles to help us stop, think about a better way, and get to know ourselves better. When we encounter an obstacle we can act like the elephant – to stand still and give in. Or, we can think our way through it and realize we are more capable than we imagined. And when you do this several times, you develop the courage to consistently do it and life becomes yours to invent.

To help you break your chains, consider the following:

- Think of one “I can’t” situations that currently limits you. Think back to the event that made you feel incapable, unworthy, unable, etc.

- Assess your talents and strengths. What attributes do you have that allow you to move past this limit – what attributes do you have that will help you break your chain?

- What is the first small step you can take to move past this limit – to see how capable you are and to develop your confidence?

- Try one, then another, then another. Then throw the chain away.

There are truly some situations where “I can’t” may be the right response. But we use “I can’t” significantly more frequently than we should because we are controlled or influenced by things said or done in our past. Today gets built today – there is no particular reason why it must be like yesterday unless you want it that way.

What is true for you today? What are your talents, passions and strengths, and how do they give you the confidence and courage to say “I can” instead of “I can’t.”

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 www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on May 24th, 2010 in Career, Diet and Fitness, Family, Finances, Global/Social Change, Health, 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 www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

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 , , , , , , ,