The ridiculous pursuit of being well-rounded

Multi-disciplinary, general studies, political correctness, easy to get along with, in moderation, “nice”…these are all ways that we polish off our edges to be socially acceptable and useful – even though it’s your edges that give you traction and make you interesting. Your “edge” – where the genuine You meets external reality, is where your strengths are, your genius, and it’s way more fun hanging out there than in the middle ground.

Being well-rounded is highly over-rated.

Employers who are trying to multiply the strengths of people are missing the point. Entrepreneurs trying to do it all are bound to go in circles. When you focus on building on your natural strengths, on doing what comes easiest to you, you get some serious momentum. It may be counter-intuitive, it’s certainly counter-culture because it’s been drilled into to us to work hard (all you Catholics and Ivy Leaguers say hey!) but truly, optimizing your second nature is the surest way to get a return on your investment.

Ever since I read Marcus Buckingham’s The Truth About You, I’ve been stopping strangers on the street. “Hey, get this. You know what a strength is? A strength is what you do that makes you feels strengthened, vital! And…wait, it gets better, you know what a weakness is? A weakness is stuff you do that makes you feel weakened!

Deceptively simple. Revolutionary.

Why does this make me wanna do back-flips? Because this changes everything, people. And it goes back to my root theory in life, that it’s all about feelings. It means that all that crap that you don’t really like to do, but that you’re really good at … you get to dump it! No more faking it to make it.

So what about good old-fashioned hard work? I’m all for it – when you’re moving towards the real you. No more trying to be a PR genius when what you do best is paint landscapes or make the widgets (hire a PR genius.) No more trying to come up with blue sky five year plans when you’re a short-term focused details guy (get a coach or a visionary friend to help you see the possibilities.) For me, that means I will never care about cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, being good at parties, or rocking Excel. Never gonna happen.

THE STRONG / WEAK EXERCISE
Buckingham has a powerful exercise that I loved. For one week I wrote down what made me feel strong and what made me feel weakened/drained. This showed up on my “weak” list: unqualified meetings make me feel like a loogan.

I was scheduled to have tea with an acquaintance of an acquaintance. I trusted the referral and so I made the date in haste, with a quick “sure, how about the café by so and so’s.”

A few weeks later when I was walking to the meeting, I was feeling really resentful and pissy. WEAKENED. Because I hadn’t bothered to ask, I had no idea why the person actually wanted to meet. And I was feeling like I’d betrayed my time, my priorities. (And sure enough, the meeting could have happened in 15 minutes over the phone and I wouldn’t have had to find parking or rush to pick up my kid.) Conclusion: I feel strong when I ask, when I clarify, when I know The Point. I feel weak when don’t value my own time.

The masters focus on what they do best … on their NATURAL CAPACITIES. They stay in their zone … and the zone is what feels good, damn good.

So I what makes you feel strong?
Do more of it. And more still. Find ways to get even better at it, sharpen your saw as the old master of effectiveness, Stephen Covey puts it. Push your edge. Dare to be focused on your natural capacities. Say yes to what you love, what inspires you, what lights you up. It takes some kahunas, but it beats well-rounded mediocrity any day.

. . . . . . . .

FIND MARCUS BUCKINGHAM
His site
The Truth About You
Now, Discover Your Strengths
Twitter: @mwbuckingham

related posts
Featured @2x 456x456

Do you think being called “Too emotional” is an act of oppression? Maybe you should think about it.

Stop thinking and start feeling — a lot more. And start talking about how you feel — a lot more. And you know what will happen? You will start to be more aware of how you feel, more of the time — the tenderness, the rage, the genius, the sorrow, the Love. You will feel your power, and you will direct it into the world.

Featured @2x 456x456

How to not give a shit (even though you really do) and be kind about it all.

Love from the inside outward. Some people will take offense to your healthy priorities. Others will take your loving example and love themselves even more.

Featured @2x 456x456

Perpetually cleansing? That’s about right. The 80/20 rule of living your life and cleaning it up.

Deep living is dirty, sweaty, gorgeous work. We will accumulate things. But your Soul wants to be mobile, unencumbered — in touch with all the parts of your life.

Featured @2x 456x456

All the things that softly kill me.

The hate. All the hate. It makes me fume and spin. The light. Oh the light! The light that is powerful enough to transmute hate into Love. “T’was blind, but now I see.” That kind of light.

Featured-@2x

A slight twist on reviewing your year (or life) that could be very, very…illuminating

We’re cozied in the corner booth of the pub with tacos and no one else around. It’s been a doozer of a business week and I have some Very Big Decisions to make. Wait. In case you’re not the story-type, I’ll give you the quick take-away: A short how-to on doing a yearly retrospective.

Poem-Grapic-FB-featured@2x1

a sentiment for blazing

close your calendars
of regret
smash clocks and barriers
with your better knowing
throw soft light on

Featured-@2x3

Self Love and why we’re all effed up about it.

Celebrate yourself no matter what — even if they think you’re tacky, terrible, too much of this, too little of that. Make how you move through the world an homage to your beautiful, luminous, powerful, magnificent, righteous, sacred…self.

That same self who may fuck up tomorrow, but will still be made of LOVE. THAT Self. Love.

Featured-@2x1

Thoroughness (a poem for devotion)

I have expressed from my longing and obstacles
the balm of thoroughness,
rare as rose oil,
nothing cures like devotion.
I stroke it on wounds and desires

Featured-@2x

Easing someone’s suffering…without suffering. Is it possible?

Do I have to feel your pain in order to help ease your pain?

And, if I guard myself against your suffering, am I less useful? If I want to detach from your pain, am I less loving? If I think, “I’m glad I’m not going through that”, am I cold hearted? If I’m grateful for my strength or good fortune in comparison to your so-called weakness or misfortune, does that make me…just secretly horrible?

Monthly-Round-Up-@2x

D Digest: How to be generous, loving your tribe, Online etiquette and calling bullshit when you need to. My November Roundup is in.

Why we relive the painful times over again. (For a good reason.)  You’re not a loser for feeling it again, you’re…soulfully thorough. Find your tribe. Love them hard. (And, is your tribe a healthy one?)  Our people do typically look like us, and quack like us, but magic happens when we stay open to the […]

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This