Expressing Gratitude

 by Phylinda 

A few years ago I testified at a murder trial. The murder was a senseless tragedy and the evidence resulted in a conviction (the suspect left his cell phone and DNA at the scene. There were witnesses.) It was a memorable experience, but what really stood out to me was how the detectives and District Attorney went out of their way to make sure I was okay, and made me feel safe in what could’ve been a difficult, dehumanizing situation. They were kind even though they were exhausted. The detectives who escorted me to the courtroom had already been up 24 straight hours or more working another case. When the trial was over, I left a voicemail to thank the D.A. and the detectives for their work. I said how they handled the case, and thanked them for their hard work. I was surprised when he called me back. He said that in his 20 years of practice I was the only person from the general public to express gratitude for his work. He said how much the phone call...

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An Illuminating Experience with Strength

Not long ago, I met someone who is a chef that comes to a person’s home and cooks meals for the week to their specifications and leaves. We meet initially and she interviewed me for an hour to find out what my goals are, what I liked, what I didn’t like. She showed up with bags of groceries and went to work without very little conversation. She left 3 hours later and I was blown away.

Although we didn’t talk much while she was here, I did stop through the kitchen as she worked and watched as we made polite conversation. I sampled one of the dishes that was prepared and watched her work. It was delicious and effortless, not just for me but for her as well.

Whenever I cook a meal, it’s something I have to psych myself up and then, while preparing the meal I need to fully concentrate. I read the instructions many times during the process. I constantly doubt if I’m doing something right or putting in the correct amount or doing things in the proper order....

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Signs A Person Isn’t Connecting to Their Themes

Uncategorized Dec 04, 2018

What are the signs that this person isn’t connecting to their themes? Does this person not connect with any of the top 5 themes? Or is it more like one or 2?

After working with thousands of people the debated outcome is that Strength Themes are extremely accurate.  If you have worked through all the following and the person still is not finding their results to be accurate, then I would suggest retaking it. Here are a few suggestions to try if someone is not connecting to their themes. 

- First, try explaining what the themes are. They are patterns of feelings, thoughts and behaviors. What’s a pattern? Well, if something happens 1 time, it’s an event. But if the event happens over and over, then it’s a pattern. For example, if you have an old rug or carpet, you can see the traffic pattern worn into it. If someone walked across it 1 time, it wouldn’t leave a worn pattern. But, if overtime people walk from the living room to the front door then...

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Help Me See What You See

strengthsfinder Nov 27, 2018

The purpose of this article is to provide one of the best ways I’ve found to use your talents to improve communication and relationships. It started with six simple words.

I sent an email to Terrie, one of my closest collaborators. I wanted her to evaluate web application that I thought could be useful for our youth program. So, I sent her an email with a link to the website and a note that said “Look this over and let me know what you think.”

Terrie was not convinced the web application would be useful. Instead of giving me her reasons for why she felt that way, she simply said “Help me see what you see.”

This prompted a powerful moment of self awareness about my themes, particularly my #1 theme of Strategic. It took me a few seconds to see how the web application would be useful, but it took me 20 minutes to type out an email to Terrie explaining my reasoning. It was much easier for me to just say “Hey, look this over and tell me what you...

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Engagement Helps Produce Happiness

Uncategorized Nov 13, 2018

“Positive” does not necessarily mean “warm fuzzies” or “touchy/feely.” It can also be interpreted in a mathematical sense. A positive number is one that is greater than zero. If I have five apples and someone stole four of them, I would still have a positive number even though something negative happened. From an economic perspective, positive means that the results produced from a course of action are greater than the resources invested. In psychology, positive means forward-moving growth and development for the individual. This is not always a “feel good,” rose-tinted experience.

To the contrary, positive growth often involves tackling negative experiences head-on in order to move forward. Positive means employing advantages at our disposal to overcome adversity, and attack problems where from where we are strongest. Operating under traditional psychology, someone dealing with loss of a loved one or a traumatic experience might start...

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The Importance of Positive Psychology in Talent2strength Courses

positive leadership Nov 06, 2018

The building blocks that define Talent2Strength and Positive Leadership originate in the field of Positive Psychology. There is a focus on finding the common understanding of the “positive” aspect in Positive Psychology. The field of psychology has three missions: 1) Cure mental illness 2) Make the lives of all people more productive and fulfilling 3) Identify and nurture talent.

In the past, after World War II, there was a shift toward a concentrated focus on treating mental illness that while absolutely important, detracted somewhat from the missions of making people’s lives better and fostering human talents. This primary focus on mental illness persisted over the next 50 years with occasional advances in the second and third missions (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, January 2000).

In 1998, a challenge was issued by the president of the American Psychological Association (APA), Martin Seligman and a group of his colleagues. Seligman’s speech to the APA...

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The Happiness Pie and Talents

talents Oct 30, 2018

What is the connection between being happy and our talents? Our talents can provide insight to what truly makes us happy.

Happiness is one of the central themes of Positive Psychology—a branch of psychology that’s exploded over the last two decades. Until studying Positive Psychology, happiness was a vague concept and had preconceived notions that happy people were the ones who were always smiling and giddy—two traits that would not describe me, for example. 

Positive psychology helped expand my understanding of happiness to include other qualities: serenity, sense of fulfillment, and curiosity to name a few. While I couldn’t relate to smiling and giddiness, I could certainly relate to these three. It wasn’t long before I realized how to expand my definition of happiness.

Researcher Sonja Lyubomisrky, author of The How of Happiness, describes the happiness pie

She offers a formula: A person’s happiness = their happiness set point, + life...

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If This is What I Don’t Want, Then What Do I Want?

alignment talents Oct 26, 2018

Successful strengths coaching can be summed up as “the transition from contrast to alignment.” One of the most universally applicable tools in our work is based upon my observations of 20 years consulting to various organizations which boiled down to one fundamental concept: There was some degree of tension between the ways things were and the desired vision for the way things should be; and my word for that is “contrast.”

Now, contrast goes by many names: drama, discord, stress, anxiety. The causes vary but the experience of contrast is universal. It is characterized by negative emotions. It’s our hard wired way of knowing when there is contrast. The problem is that negative emotions warp our vision so we do not see clearly. While this is true, contrast provides information we cannot otherwise gain. The realization of what it is we want. If only we could suspend the tumult caused by negative emotions long enough to ask one question: If this is what I...

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Confidence: The sidecar of Strength

strength talent Oct 12, 2018

Recently, I watched Hear My Train a Comin', a documentary about the life and career of rock'n'roll great Jimi Hendrix. In this film, we meet two Jimi Hendrixes. The first is one most of us may know--a master of the guitar who exuded dazzling stage presence. The second, less-known version is the incredibly shy, introverted Jimi. To two versions seem nearly impossible to reconcile, but not quite.

Jimi was unnaturally obsessed with making music, and obsession would be an understatement. He cared about nothing else. He would almost never be seen without his guitar. This explains his prowess; playing the guitar behind his head or with his teeth were just two feats he regularly displayed. He fanned the spark of interest in music to a single-minded preoccupation; and occupation; and legacy. Jimi Hendrix forever shaped the world of modern music.

The first Jimi was the embodiment of supreme confidence. The second Jimi would hardly be distinguishable from a person on the street (aside from...

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Performance Ladder

Uncategorized Oct 01, 2018

In any activities, we are all at different levels of performance. We know that one level of performance is strength—performing the activity consistently and near perfectly. But, if something is not at the level of strength, then what would we call it? CliftonStrengths© doesn’t provide for other levels of performance in an activity since its scope is themes of talent. So how can we measure the potential for strength in an activity?

Performance Ladder:

To address this gap, I’ve have adapted a model that I learned while studying under an anthropologist turned business coach named Marsha Shenk.

It makes the most sense if we start from the bottom of the ladder and work our way up. Also, you can apply this ladder to rate your performance in every activity. And then use the strength formula to apply your talents, knowledge, and skill to improve your performance in the activities you wish to develop.

For any activity, there is always a time before we learn the...

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