Tune In to Turn Up the Volume on Your Best-of-Self Traits

Tonight’s the night.

If you want to learn more about how to make the most of your best-of-self traits, tune in tonight at 8 pm ET to Life Potentials with Diantha Harris on Within Radio. I’m her guest and jazzed about it.

My interview will be available for replay and download tomorrow, Feb. 28, here.

I’ll talk with you later!

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How a Seed Catalog Can Help Your Career

February. Steel-gray skies, frozen lakes, white-cold fingers and toes. And yet it’s a gardener’s favorite time of year: the seed catalogs begin to arrive with their flashy covers and pages and pages of divine possibility.

As you’re leafing through the pages, imagining the fruits, the scents and the colors in your own back yard, I’d like to encourage you to take time to consider your personal and professional “garden.”

Is it time to plant new “seeds” of professional development? Of personal growth?

The seeds in your personal “catalog” are your best-of-self traits, like kindness, Social Intelligence, appreciation of excellence and beauty, honesty (and others). All natural and organic, your best-of-self traits transcend your skills and competencies: they’re the foundational character strengths you were born with (versus skills you learned over time).

Your Seeds Come in a Variety Pack

Your “variety seed pack” is a unique-to-you mix of 24 best-of-self traits. (Research shows that we all share the same 24 character traits, and each of us has our own mix of top, middle and lower traits.)

1. Top-level traits (hardy perennials) are the 3 to 5 traits you use so innately and effortlessly, you often take them for granted as personality traits, not the high-level character strengths they truly are.

2. Middle-level traits (perennials that need specific sun and soil conditions) are the strengths you can easily and reliably call upon when needed.

3. Lower-level traits (delicate perennials that bud only in precise situations) are those that you call on least often and that take the most effort for you to do so.

Using your best-of-self traits with intention and thoughtfulness is essential to cultivating a fulfilling career (and to living your best life). You learn faster. You feel energized, satisfied and most true to yourself when you use your best-of-self traits. You have greater confidence when you take on new projects, and you have more compassion for yourself as you learn new skills.

How to Cultivate Your Best-of-Self Traits

When I work with clients to cultivate their best-of-self traits, we use a two-part approach: (1) identifying your best-of-self traits in concrete terms and (2) bringing them fully into your work and life.

I’d like to share a simple way for you to begin identifying your best-of-self traits.

Sort Your Seeds

Take a few minutes to write down your answers to the questions below.

  • What do people consistently say you do well or compliment you about?
  • What do you most value about yourself and the way you work? (Don’t be humble!)
  • Which of your traits are sometimes too much, even for those who know you well?

Sow Your Seeds

Now read through what you have written and highlight, circle or underline the words and phrases that feel most true to your heart. Cluster the words and phrases that seem alike. Those clusters reflect your best-of-self traits. Perhaps you see a knowledge cluster (perspective, curiosity, creativity) or a relationship cluster (generosity, compassion, kindness). Brainstorm 3 to 5 ways you can use each cluster more purposefully in your work (or personal life).

Tend Your Seeds

This week, commit to taking on one of the ideas from your brainstorm session. Don’t worry about creating a plan or a schedule, just start by taking one step. By the way, feeling awkward or messy is a normal part of the process. It means you’re stretching, growing. And it doesn’t matter if your step is small or big, a quick sure stride or a tiptoe. What matters is that you take the step.

I’d love for you to let me know about the seeds you planted and what’s sprouting for you.

PS: This article is my second guest post for Diantha Harris  of  life potentials.net.  Would you like to know more about how you can make the most of your best-of-self traits? Check out my radio interview with Diantha on Feb 27 at 8 pm ET here.

Deirdre Danahar is a business, leadership and life coach for entrepreneurs and creative professionals (www.inmotioncc.com). She’s a transplanted New Englander living in Jackson, Mississippi, with her husband and alarmingly large cat.

How to Put Your Best Foot Forward (Even with Two Left Feet)

A new day is an opportunity to put your best foot forward. To share who you are and what you have to offer through your work, family and community.  Act your best. Think at your highest level.  Feel your finest.

Sometimes You Have Two Left Feet

At least to try to – you’re human and some days you don’t show up like know you really can. You put off picking up the phone to reconnect with a customer. You lose your cool in a meeting.  You don’t speak up when you have an idea. Or you take the easy path because you’re scared, bored or tired.

But other days it all comes together. You’re in the zone- doing your best work on an interesting project or facilitating a department meeting like you’re a well shorn Gene Kelly dancing in the rain.

Finding Your Best Foot to Put Forward

When you’ve tapped into the extraordinary place where your best-of-self traits are matched with the task at hand what you are doing just feel right.  The intensity and quality of your efforts is right on the mark. Who you are at your core and at your best it shows without pretense.

That’s when you put your best foot forward as a professional and as a person.

Your best-of-self traits are the character traits that make you are. They are reflected in your feelings, thoughts and actions and can be refined by skills and knowledge. When using them, your mind is at ease, engaged and excited.  Using your best-of-self traits helps you to remain nimble, grow and achieve throughout the course of your life.

Help For Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Over the last year, I’ve developed a specialty in my coaching practice helping professionals connect their best-of-self traits to purpose (self-expression) and possibility (growth) in their professional and personal lives.

Like, James, using his innate kindness to revamp his management style. Shifting from being the “too nice boss” to becoming a leader who inspires staff by holding them accountable and recognizing their best efforts. Kindness takes the generosity and the willingness to do and say the difficult things, as well as, the easy things.

So how are you going to put your best foot forward today?

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Can Colors Help You Find Work-Life Flow?

Stepping through the door of the house that would become my home, I felt the undeniable sense place that this is right. And I knew my office space was the right space too- even though the bile brown wall paint was a complete turn off.  Once I changed the paint to a mossy green on the lower part of the wall and robin’s egg blue above it’s be a welcoming creative space that clears my mind.

Perhaps the easiest way to create environments physical and otherwise that are right for you is by the colors that show up in them. On or you. It is easier to paint a wall, place a vase, on toss on a pair of socks than it is to literally construct your dream home or ideal workspace.

Colors To Support Your Work-Life Flow

Diantha Harris, ASID, wrote a companion piece to my What’s Even Better Than Work-Life Balance? piece, underscoring how color helps create the right environment for your right work-life flow. Diantha’s work is rooted her deep knowledge about how the spaces in which you dwell and work are a part of a continuum of how you express yourself in the world.

Her quick points might just lead to the very thing that will make your space just right. Think “power tie” for your life.

Gold – Honoring your deeply rooted wants helps you get in sync with your core, your truest self

The color that resonates most with this statement is Gold, that part of ourselves that is our truest self, the core of who we are. Gold is rare, valuable, often hard to find, just like our truest selves.

Yellow – Connecting with the people, places, activities and tenets that bring you joy

Joy is most often associated with Yellow, while true bliss belongs to Orange.  Use both or either of these colors when seeking joy. Or you can combine them – to make Gold!

Pink – Knowing that honoring your wants allows you to give more freely and fully to others 

Honoring yourself and others as well falls under the domain of pink. Pink brings in compassion, love, self-love and spirit of agape.

Green – Identifying your deeply rooted wants

This concept involves delving into your heart to discover your heart’s desires. So Green is the color to support this aspect of the exercise.

Red – Grounding your deeply rooted wants

Our roots must be well developed in order to accomplish anything and for that we use Red, the color of our root chakra, to ground ourselves deep into the earth. Without this step, there will be nothing lasting that comes from the other steps.

How Colors Support My Work-Life Flow (and Could Yours’ too)

I asked Diantha what she thought of my office color scheme. She pointed out that the green supports my own professional path and the blue links to a sense of peace and inspired communication. What I was drawn to instinctively seems custom designed to support me professionally. I work better when I am in it and can close the door at the end of the workday to flow into my personal life knowing I’ve been focused and productive.

What colors are in your workspace? I’d love to know.

May you create the space that inspire you to continue to lead, grow and flow.

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