Sun, 9 August 2020
To Live Your Best Life, Know Your Intention And Be Clear With What You Want
Lisa: What about the conflicts you have in your head as well, so they're not just with others? You know, you fight your own things that you wish you would do, maybe when you're not aligned with the personal leadership you want to demonstrate, or the life you say you want to live, but then you think —
I have big bills, or I have practical things, or I need to get this deliverable done.
So I'm just going to work 14 hours a day, just as an interval, I'm just gonna do it for a couple of weeks.
But then it becomes your life.
So when you battle, that sort of thing, you're facing burnout, and really, you're battling you and the baggage that you bring with you roll after roll after roll, it's the same stuff.
What do you do to get inside of your head and let your strengths out in those situations?
Strother: It's back to that planning piece.
Again, knowing the intention and being super clear. I think a lot of the times we have these visions of what we want our job to be like or our life to be like, but we're not crystal clear. It's a hazy, blurry... something like that. And we hesitate to be very specific because life is dynamic and things change all the time.
What if you suddenly have a kid? OR,
What if there's a giant divorce? OR,
What if there's something that changes?
So we don't want to put something down. We don't want to plant a flag in the ground and say, that's where I'm going. Because it could change.
It's actually really valuable to plant flags, even if you're going to uproot them later and move the goalposts because it gives you something to go towards. It gives you a filter.
I love the metaphor of filters in our lives. And again, from a non-emotional place putting these filters in so anytime you have a choice to make, anytime you run into a problem where you keep doing the same thing, you pour it into the top and you let it run through all the filters.
It has to meet this requirement. It'd be really nice if it met this requirement. This is the very specific thing that I definitely want to go towards.
And once you let everything sort of filter through you go —
“Does this serve it or not?”
And hopefully those filters will be able to knock out any behaviors that aren't serving that longer goal or that larger goal. But if you're unclear in where you want to go, then every time you make a new decision has to be a completely new process.
So being really clear what you want and where you're going helps you when those types of conflicts come up.
Got Goals That Are At Odds With Each Other? Renegotiate Rules And Discover New Options
Lisa: So now if I get really tough with it, here's a situation that this is the kind of thing that people come up to me after the event. And I'm sure they do this to you too.
Strother: Yeah, I love it. But...
Lisa: Like, “Yeah, okay, I have a clear vision of the ideal life. Here's that flag you told me about it. And I think I know what that flag is. I want to have this role. And in five years, I think I could have that role. I could get the promotion. I could go start that company. I could do that thing.
Let's say it's a specific promotion, specific role they want. And they believe that in order to get it, it also requires a certain level of workaholism or some other things that would then go against maybe a family value that they say they have as well. And these two things seem at odds with each other and they're like,
“I want this but I don't want to leave behind my family or these other things?”
How do I figure out how to prioritize or what to do with that when my goals almost seem at odds with each other?
Strother: No, I feel like it's the real question because that's the hard piece. It's so wonderful in the sort of concept where we're like —
“Oh, we'll just leverage your strengths and everything's just gonna shake out great.”
But then you bought up against that. And I think that the first piece in unpacking that is, one of the phrases that I use all the time is —
“Have you set up an unwinnable game for yourself?”
And I think that helps people see, like, if you're saying,
“Well, this is the outcome that I desire, and also this, this and this are in place…”
Well, you've set up an unwinnable game, there's no-win scenario for you in this because you're already setting up.
I will be unhappy in some areas, whether it's usually the workaholic side of things. I'll just spend tons and tons of time here and fall on that sword.
And I think that when you've set up an unwinnable game, it's time to just renegotiate the rules of it. And I think when you have it, the challenge here is that —. this is the thing I hate about personal development, I bet you've found this too — personal development always kind of defaults back to that feeling of like,
“Be big, but not too big, small, but not too small. Do this…”
But it's never a clear “this is how this works every time.”
And we all want that. We want that clarity. But when it comes to this type of piece, when you're in that unwinnable game, oftentimes you have that clear picture, you also have preordained the path, and you have a hard time letting go of what you see as the way to get there.
And there may be all sorts of different offshoots. And if you do have these tension points, there's both the ability to triage like,
“Is one slightly more important?”
“Is there a lean here that I can lean into so I won’t default to this most of the time”
“And if not, how can I restructure the entirety of the concept of what I'm doing to make it work? What would I need to do to do that?”
“Does that mean I have to change an hourly rate? Do I need to get a new skill? Do I need to pick up something, bring in some type of support structure, someone who takes care of the house while I'm doing this thing?”
There are always options. And a lot of times they feel like they're inaccessible for one reason or another. But it's usually because we're holding on too tightly to the first vision of how it should go. And anytime you, or I was….. the phrase I love is, “should-ing all over yourself.”
Like if you feel like you should do something that's a red flag for me as a coach to look and be like,
“So why should you do that? What's going on there?”
And there's usually a way that you haven't thought of that you can pivot and try something new.
The ‘This Or That’ Dilemma Vs. Embracing Life’s Gray Areas
Lisa: Yeah, there's another thing that you do as a coach that I think is so good, which is about making things mutually exclusive — where if I've already decided that if I want this path, it has to be like this. And if I have this, I can't have that.
And then you lock yourself into it's “this or that,” right? And there's I don't know why humans do this, but we're so drawn to “this or that” kind of thinking and you are so good at catching people on that. This is not mutually exclusive, of that. They could actually live...
Strother: ….exist together. Yeah,.
We live in that... we crave... let's back to that. Don't tell me “do a little bit of this and a little bit of that.”
We want a clear boundary. We live in a binary mindset. And it's really actually difficult for us to move into that shades of gray, because our brains naturally crave,
“Well, pick one!”
“That one.” And then the tension ramps up and we get emotional about them. We're like -
It's like “you have to turn this off!”
And so I think that, the more you can just acknowledge the duality of the world, and that things are constantly, a friend of mine did say that he was talking to me, he said:
“Life is just so dynamic.”
And I'd never….. It was almost a sad… He was like, “He’s just so dynamic right now.”
And I was like —
Lisa: “That should be good!”
Strother: I was like, “that's a brilliant way to put that though.” Like when life is challenging and things are unclear and there is all of this gray area in your life. It's just your life is being really dynamic right now.
And that's sometimes hard to be with, but it also usually has the highest payoff, is that you can live in that dynamic place for a little while. You usually create some type of result that's so much better than “this or that."
Which would you like?
You're going to get something that encompasses all of your wants and all of your desires and all of your intentions, as opposed to...
“Well, I pick that one. That one is good.”
Your Best Life Starts Where You Align With The Best Version Of Yourself
Lisa: This is one of my favorite things that Strother brings to coaching to StrengthsFinder events. He is always catching people in a moment where they get into “this or that” mode, where, if this then not that, and we get into this mutually exclusive kind of thing in our head, and we do it around lots of scenarios.
“Oh, if I pick this role, well, I'm not living that passion.”
Or, “If I change course this way, that I'm not going to have that thing.”
And we try to narrow it down and simplify it so much that we actually get stuck very often. And Strother is so good at helping people become unstuck and helping people see that you can take small steps in many directions, to really feel like you are aligned with the best version of you and those small actions over time add up and add up and add up. And one day you look up. If you're setting the intention to do this over time, and you notice a year later, “Wow, I feel really good. I'm living a good life.”
Want To Further These Conversations? Consider Strother To Your Strengths Events
So, just to give another shout out to Strother for doing this episode, I really appreciate you Strother if you're listening, that you bring this conversation to me, to our clients, and to the concept of StrengthsFinder, because it really is one where people wrap themselves around the axle about it.
So if you are a listener, who has been in that mode with yourself where you're like, “Oh, I don't really know what my passion is,” or “I made the wrong choice when I started my career,” give yourself some grace. Apply some of the things that Strother mentioned in this episode about stepping into who you are in those smaller ways.
With that, thanks for listening to Lead Through Strengths. If you've been adoring these concepts that Strother has been bringing to you, feel free to request him when you do your training events with us whether that's an in-person event or a virtual event, depending on the time that you're listening to this, Strother does them all.
And with that, we have two more episodes where he is my guest. And the next go-round, we're talking about how to figure out how to talk to your manager and the team around you when you need some things from them or from your environment so that you can show up at your best but you don't want to sound like a brat who is needy and entitled.
So we will see you over there in the next episode. Bye for now.
More On Letting Your Natural Talents Lead You To Your Best Life
The next time you catch yourself in the “this or that” predicament, remember you can always dial up your strengths to get you unstuck. If you lead through Adaptability and Arranger, most likely you can easily adjust to detours and unexpected changes around you because you thrive in a dynamic environment. As simple as tuning in to your top 5 talents can direct you to meaningful life choices.
You’ll definitely pick up some gems from Lisa’s conversation with Scott Barlow, where he guides listeners who find themselves asking that familiar question: should I stay or go now? Learn why your best life is worth the risks, as long as they are aligned with your dreams. As a plus, you can get his eBook on What Career Fits You for free.