Flow is that mental state when you are “in the zone.” You are energized and focused. Time seems to disappear. You make meaningful progress in that activity and, if someone were to ask how you felt during that activity, you would describe it as quite enjoyable. During flow, any of the factors that cause you to procrastinate are gone such as self-doubt or time pressure. In fact, traction may be one of the most defining elements of flow. You find your footing, make tangible progress and have an innate desire to keep going. You have a sense of personal control over the situation, and your talents, knowledge and skills come together.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced: Me-high Cheek-sent-me-high) in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience popularized the concept of flow in psychology.
Flow situations have three defining qualities:
1. You get immediate feedback on your progress. Not necessarily feedback from other people, but...
Memorizing your themes is a powerful beginning to unlocking the incredible value of your themes. Unless you memorize your themes, you won’t be able to observe them in your day-to-day life. If you don’t observe them, you can’t find ways to use them effectively.
One of the first things you can do after getting your StrengthsFinder results is to memorize your Top 5. We provide a way to make it easy. Below is a form you can use to get the ball rolling.
It all starts with creating your mnemonic and practicing it. Rehearse your mnemonic a few times and then it will stick. Give it a try.
One of our participants, Patricia Ford, made an amazing mnemonic. She included words and images that resonated with her. We encourage you to follow her example to fully engage in remembering your themes. Search or draw images that help you connect to your Top 5 themes. Print and post where you and others will see it daily. Take a picture and store it on your phone. Consider making it...
Edward "Chip" Anderson, Ph.D. was "known to many as the 'father' of the strengths movement in higher education" (Azusa Pacific University). He co-authored, along with Don Clifton, StrengthsQuest: Discover and Develop Your Strengths in Academics, Career, and Beyond. His commitment to helping people develop their talents was truly inspiring. During his lifetime, he wrote one of the best resources for discovering the potential in each theme: "The Genius and Beauty Found Within". One thing we particularly like about this paper is that he focuses on the positive aspects of each theme.
He had a passion for taking groups through all 34 themes so that they could gain an understanding about their unique abilities and about the thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns of others. We encourage you to first read through your top 5 themes. Then, take time to read through the remaining themes.
I was inspired to create a list of things that engage and energize each theme. This idea came from a conversation I had with my brother. His #1 is Communication. While we were talking, I could tell he was in a low moment and feeling overwhelmed. He said he didn't want to talk about it (but I could tell he needed a shift in his energy) so I hacked into his themes without pushing. I merely laid out the bait and said "okay, we can talk about it later, but just give me a few highlights of what's going on." Within minutes his energy mounted as he articulated what was going on. When our call ended (an hour later) he was in a much different place--full of energy, optimism and resolve. It made me realize that with our themes, we often just need to lead them to water and they will drink on their own. Themes are abundant sources of energy if we can tap into them. So, this list is my attempt to articulate the water for each theme. This is just a first draft and I welcome insights to make the...
In 1786 the poet, Robert Burns, wrote a poem upon seeing a louse on a woman’s bonnet at church. The most famous stanza is translated here in standard English:
Oh, would some Power give us the gift
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!
At the risk of oversimplifying, if we can see ourselves as others see us then we could better see our imperfections and correct them.
Dr. Clifton was worried about the opposite problem: the inability to see ourselves objectively and in our entirety makes our greatest qualities invisible to us as well. If we could see our strengths then we could harness them to live more efficaciously and with greater joy.
Dr. Clifton believed everyone possesses strengths—things they can do better than any random group of 10,000 people, things they can do consistently and near perfectly. Other people can see our strengths that we, ourselves...
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