THE CHOICE FOR LIFE

By Terry Carter, Editor

When you were a child, what inspired and powered you each day? Why did you fly out of bed each morning?

Were you:

A) Filled with energy 24 hours a day, always chasing the next game, party or thrilling ride because of the fun? If so, you may have played sports or joined dance, band/orchestra or theater classes as soon as possible.

B) The curious one who liked to read, study, get ahead of homework and evaluate opportunities/situations? If so, you were a strong student and enjoyed learning new hobbies, skills.

C) Did you join the events already organized or started by family and friends and let others show the way? If so, you may also have been the peacemaker in your family. You were the glue for your family.

D) Or did you play leader of the pack as a child with all of your friends trying to keep up with you and the trends you established? If this was your natural strength, you made the bold choices without regret and adjusted strategy to win games, contests and really just control the room.

Nearly all of us have two of these four characteristics as a personal strength, and they work together as a team to make us the person our friends and family loved when we were young. Trouble is, not all of us find a career with our born strengths. We often have to learn new skills like organization, promptness, setting an alarm clock and being nice to co-workers to earn and keep a job.

Still some skills feel like a cage that boxes us in, so we cannot grow to our potential. If you had those characteristics as a child/student, you probably don’t feel tied down by your gifts.

untitled-47

With your answers in mind, now consider: Are you using that personal strengths in your current life and career that helped you grow into a valuable adult? Odds are that nearly half of you are not using your natural strengths.

About two decades ago, I was recruited to work at a technical support call center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a significant change from my journalism career and customer service background. I entered the job with a natural strength combo that was fun-loving and ready to lead a team.

Call center work, however, focuses on analysis, deductive reasoning and troubleshooting with great customer service. I could have failed at that position because it didn’t suit my natural strengths. But I was looking for a new opportunity at the time — ALERT: fun-loving people get bored easily, and leaders leave jobs if they are not given growth opportunities — was eager to learn something new.

So I sat at a desk and took incoming calls on computer problems, but my fun-loving side got to play Nerf basketball and video games while solving major hardware/software issues. In retrospect, I can attest that my analytical skills are now among my best skills that I can draw on in any situation. It was semi built-in like my base characteristics because I have always been very good with numbers.

Conclusion: If you are working and using your childhood strengths at full force, congratulations. You probably have good self-esteem and knew your advantages in life before you picked a college and career path.

If you have switched away from your natural strengths, you have two options: Enjoy the journey and learn all you can from this new opportunity.

Or investigate the true strengths in your childhood and reconnect with those super powers. If you were a follower, you can become a leader again without departing a quality employer or partner. Keep your eyes open for a chance to plug-in one of your dormant powers. The world will thank you.

untitled-127

My advice to 98 percent of adults is to remember your childhood and the happiest times. Whatever you did on those days will still bring you joy today. So do the homework and chase personal happiness over career happiness.

We all know a lot of unhappy coworkers or bosses who never seem to smile or enjoy the moment. That attitude sucks, friend. It hurts that person’s health and the attitude — if not the health — of everyone they come in contact with.

Since you are likely interest in living your best life and not a miserable waste of time, I suggest we all actively pursue happiness at home, when we look in the mirror, when we drive and at work.

Let your smile come out and play. Studies are showing that happy people are more productive, even if they spend extra time playing on the Wii or meditating. And a happy office — hey boss, this is in your hands too — not only works better together, but the employees are more loyal and they go out of their way to help coworkers.

Let the leaders lead. Let the peacemakers lead too because they are not confrontational; it is a sweet change to the Type-A hot head.

Bottom Line: We are all magnificently made with unique and wonderful talents. Don’t hide your glory. Let it shine and share your perspective, wisdom and skills with those around you. This is another way to improve our little blue planet.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

WHAT MAKES YOU BETTER

By Terry Carter, Editor

Personality tests are fun games to play on the Internet. They appear meaningless. Most of us don’t take them seriously. However we all have strengths, tendencies, preferences and weaknesses that affect us each day of our lives. 

Knowing your personality or style is a major step forward in improving your skills, relationships and ultimately your future. Likewise as you understand personality traits, you will begin to comprehend your micro-managing boss not as a monster, but as a detail-oriented leader. By simply crossing your Ts and double checking your match, you will improve his view of you.

At home, it’s a good bet that 1-in-4 children gives you fits because they are nearly a mirror image of your personality, and two strong leaders will clash in the same household until they learn to respect each other and co-exist. In my family, stubbornness and leadership are strengths — and potential weaknesses — of each child. Each reminds me of a certain grandmother who most certainly would have bent any personality profile to a new setting on personal strength and a go-getter attitude.

Let me explain that I love each of my children with every breath in my body, and I would gladly sacrifice myself for them. Each is massively blessed with gifts and wisdom that would make every parent proud. All three will change the world as they remember to dream big dreams and to chase them because that is why God placed them on this Earth.

The oldest child is a natural leader, and she has flourished as an adult because she also is dependable and cares. She does not quit and is blessed with a natural ability to troubleshoot many issues. Her future is extremely bright in any industry, and she has now tied the knot with a hard-working young man. I admire her take-charge skills, her fix-it-now mentality and her potential.

The middle child is gifted as an artist, and he possesses the wisdom of a philosopher. He prefers to choose his own path and his own hours. And he bravely chose his unique path by moving to Hawaii for several years. It is a move I may have made after high school if the opportunity had beckoned. I admire his independence, his creativity and his enthusiasm.

The youngest child is the peace keeper from her childhood. Athletically gifted, she has been graced with a maturity that is equal to or even beyond her psychology-trained father. She has learned so much through trial-and-error that she now shares her wisdom with people to assist them in their daily lives. She is an inspiration to those younger and older. It is my assessment that her writing and speaking skills, among many others, will help her reach out to many more people in the future. I admire her growth and stability each day she improves her life.

This talented threesome are all unique and motivated by different forces. Yet their love for each other has never been as strong as it is now. It is all we as parents could hope for after watching the bickering, arguing and fussing among three young children.

As far as your personality goes, all of us have four behavioral tendencies, but in differing intensities. The names used vary greatly, but their meanings are similar. Most have two strengths that complement each other, such as a strong leader with detailed tendencies or a mellow person who likes attending parties, but not organizing them. Please keep in mind, all of the traits described below are neither good nor bad. They can truly be huge advantages.

Leadership Traits: Whether you call it choleric, dominance or power, this is the ability to lead, to take charge, to conquer in pursuit of a goal. Leaders lead, right? Not true. Leaders all have areas where they lead best. And as leaders mature and surround themselves with other talented leaders, they learn that it is not always necessary to lead from sunrise to sunset. Delegating becomes the better decision.

Peace Maker Traits: The opposite of a leader is a peace keeper, the individual who builds and keeps teams together. Normally this person is quiet and goes along with the leader’s decisions. They don’t rock the boat, but they are key to keeping the boat afloat in their own, subtle way.

Spontaneous Traits: The spontaneous one works on the fly and makes constant adjustments. They work better without a micro-managed plan. Give them a few genera guidelines, aim them at a goal and launch them away. This individual persuades with fun or entertainment. 

Planner Traits: Given a chance, planners plan everything, including their clothing, their route to work, their meals, the number of steps to their desk — everything. While great plans can lead to great success. Time constraints minimize planning.

Now here is your first test: Which of these general descriptions fits you best? Which is second? Third? Fourth? Most of you have two strong characteristics because they are like four points on the compass, N, E, S, W. You cannot really go east and west simultaneously, can you?

Apparently it can be done by a small minority of people — about two percent of the population. The DISC Behavior Profile focuses on dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. I took this test in 2013 and scored above a dominant 5.0 on 3-of-4 behavioral patterns. Based on natural traits, I should have scored that strong in only two areas. But I improved my results through years of intentional focused training in planning/organizational traits. 

You control your destiny. And when you understand how people around you think and respond to situations, you will be much better able to win in the game of life day in and day out. Best of luck out there.

PERSONALITY PROFILING: WHY EVERYONE CAN WIN IN LIFE

Whether you own your own company, work for a fortune 500 corporation or sweep the floors, you need to know how you operate to best help your career and your company.

As you learn how you tend to respond based on your personality — choleric, sanguine, melancholy and phlegmatic — you can more easily bring your strengths to every work or personal situation. You will also begin to see trends in co-workers, supervisors and even family members that re-affirm your understanding of personalities.

In the business world, most will claim the leadership personality of a choleric — who shows Type-A control tendencies, often with manipulation or enabling others. However everyone is a combination of at least personality types, and very few are more than 80 percent dominated by one personality type. Many of us are 50-50 or close to it between our 2 strongest personality types.

While project leaders are often choleric, that strength may or may not be best for the team of people working for a choleric project manager, for example. Many team members