Sunday, March 20, 2016

Find Your Strongest Life - Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks - Week 12

This week I read Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham. There were parts of the book that were interesting and relevant to what I was searching for when checking it out from the library. However, for much of the book I skimmed it because I wasn't getting as much as what I wanted from it.

I did the online test recommended in the book at to determine my lead and supporting roles in life. According to the test, my lead role is advisor and supporting role is creator.

As a side note, I took the test about a month or so ago and my supporting role was caretaker. It's interesting that this shifted because I was still seeing myself as someone who was providing support and/or encouragement to a senior at a nursing home who my daughters and I had developed a strong friendship with over the past three years. He had a heart attack on March 4th, went on hospice care the following week, and passed away on March 15th.

At any rate, this has truly thrown me for a loop because it is one of many deaths that Sophia, Olivia, and I have experienced since 2012 - first my dad in January 2012; then many people at the nursing home who we thoroughly enjoyed visiting and spending time with; then my mom in August 2015 followed by one of our cats (Maggie) in September 2015; and now John.

It's too much loss. Too much grief.

And, perhaps, with John's death I'm seeing in myself a shift away from caregiver/someone who others depended on for either care and/or friendship. Since 2009, when my dad was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, I've been in a caregiver role. I feel like that ended on March 15th. That's how deeply I'm feeling these collective losses.

I'm still a parent. Yet, that is a very different role - to me - than being a caregiver.

So, back to Find Your Strongest Life.  The two roles reflective of who I am at this point in my life are an advisor and creator. A description from the book of each role follows.


You begin by asking: 'What is the best thing to do?'

Your thrill comes from knowing that you are the person others turn to for the answer. You don’t necessarily want to be the person who actually makes the changes happen. Rather, what excites you is being valued by others for your insight and your judgment.

You know that the best advice is never general, but rather is tailored to the unique characteristics of the person or the situation.

You can be demanding and opinionated, but above all you are discriminating: "good enough" is never good enough for you. There is always a better arrangement, a better solution, and you come alive when you are called upon to find it. And when you do, you don't question your decision.

The reason people seek you out for guidance is precisely because you are so assured, so confident in your intuition. Instinctively you know this, and you're proud of it.

Your best quality: Your ability to find a solution.

Always: Search for data to support your advice.

Be careful you: Don’t get frustrated by other people’s failings.

Your smartest career move:  Any job where you’re paid to be opinionated.

You know you are an Advisor if: 
- You ask lots of questions.
- You are impatient for things to get done.
- You take pleasure in fine distinctions.
- You are always explaining things.
- You trust your gut.

Your strongest moments are when:
- You discover the few critical improvements that make the difference.
- Someone calls you up out of the blue and relies on your opinion.
- You clarify a complex issue for someone, she acts on what you told her, and you see her succeed.

To make the most of your role:
- Do your homework.
- Learn to tailor your advice to the person.
- Learn to hide your impatience.
- When you find yourself in a management role, be sure to surround yourself with action-oriented people.


You begin by asking: 'What do I understand?' You aren’t immune to the feelings and perspectives of others, but your starting point is your own insight, your own understanding. You are a thoughtful person, someone who needs time alone to mull and muse and percolate. Without this alone time, events pile up on you haphazardly, and your confusion starts to overwhelm you. So you look forwar to time by yourself - early in the morning, late at night, long flights - and you use this time to get clear.

You are a creative person. What form this creativity takes will depend on your other traits and talents, but whether you write, paint, sing, complete projects, or make presentations, you are drawn toward making things.

Each thing you make is a tangible sign that you have made some sense of the world, that you have organized the chaos in some useful way. You look at what you've made, you take pleasure in what you now understand, and then you move on to the next creation.

Your best quality: Your ability to find patterns invisible to others.

Always: Find time to be by yourself.

Be careful you: Don’t think so long, you never do anything.

Your smartest career move: Any job where you’re paid to produce new content.

You know you're a Creator if: 
- You feel uncomfortable if a day goes by without producing some tangible sign of insight or understanding.
- You push yourself hard, rarely stopping to celebrate your accomplishments. There's still so much left to make sense of.
- You read a lot of nonfiction.
- You are inspired by the achievements of others - not their growth and development, necessarily, but what they have achieved. You are more interested in destinations than journeys.

Your strongest moments are when:
- You figure something out.
- You spend time by yourself reading, writing, preparing your mind.
- A fresh insight dawns on you.
- You have an in-depth conversation with someone.
- You get a chance to show your expertise.

To make the most of your role:
- Take time to celebrate what you've achieved.
- Explain to others that you are at your best when you have time to think things through, that you're not good at making snap decisions.
- Deliberately involve other people in helping you think things through.
- Carry a notebook with you. Insights pop up at inopportune moments, and you will want to have a place to capture them.

What do I do with this information? I don't know. There's a lot to reflect upon given what has happened over the past four years and where I envision my life going in the future.

1 comment:

Rita said...

I'm glad your life has changed from caregiver. Maybe things will really shift in the future here. :)