What are you good at? Do you use it to help other people?

What are you good at? Better yet, what are you great at? Can you answer either of those questions? Ok, if you can answer either or both, move on. If not?  You have some work to do. If so?  Read on. If you know what you are good at, and hopefully great at, how are you helping other people with your talent? IMG_1494 That is a picture of my friend Trevor.  Trevor and I went skiing last July at the top of the Beartooth Pass in Montana, at Beartooth Basin summer ski area.  It was a great day where we were able to ski in the middle of summer.  Trevor is a great skier.  He is a ski instructor and is a great person to ski with. Trevor is gifted at being great at many things.  That is not the best part about Trevor though, what I really appreciate about him is the fact that he is generous.  He is always looking for ways to help other people out.  Ailing neighbor who has to go to the hospital in the middle of the night?  Trevor helps her out.  We need help installing a new microwave?  Trevor right there to help us out.  Our son needs someone to help him find a great hiding spot to fight the invasion of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?  Trevor is there.  Trevor gives away what he is good at to help other people out. Do you know what I notice about Trevor besides that he is always giving away what he is good at?  He is a happy person. Is there a correlation between being generous and being happy?  Yes.  The most generous people I know are some of the happiest people I know. I would take it one step further and say people are even more happy when they give away what they are talented in. So, what are you good at? What are you great at? I am a connector. I am a connector of people, and people to things. My whole life whatever I have been excited about I have tried to get other people interested in.  I did not know my strengthsfinder results growing up, but this was my Woo and Activator working together.  I am wired to do this connecting.  When I do it, it makes me feel good.  When I do it and it helps other people it makes me feel fantastic. This is...
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Tempus Fugit: Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

time-flies I think I first heard the saying 'time flies when you are having fun' early on in life.  I do not think I gave it much thought at the time. It was something we all said, but did we really even think much about it? The origin of this phrase comes from the Latin, Tempus Fugit. Wikipedia says this about it:  Tempus fugit is a Latin phrase, usually translated into English as "time flies". The expression comes from line 284 of book 3 of Virgil'sGeorgics,[1] where it appears as fvgit inreparabile tempvs: "it escapes, irretrievable time". The phrase is used in both its Latin and English forms as a proverb that "time's a-wasting". Tempus fugit, however, is typically employed as an admonition against sloth and procrastination (cf. carpe diem) rather than a motto in favor of licentiousness (cf. "gather ye rosebuds while ye may"); the English form is often merely descriptive: "time flies like the wind", "time flies when you're having fun". So, for a long time people have thought about this concept. Which means a few things to me. 1) Find something you love doing and do it. It is more fun than the opposite. 2) When you are doing an activity that is not in your passion area it will not be much fun at all and time will not fly by. Often I meet with people who are considering a career or job change one of the things I often ask them to do is to think about when time flies by vs. when time goes slow. If a majority of their day time is going slow, it is a sign they are probably not in their sweet spot. Recently I read a widely circulated blog by Mike Rowe who was chastising people not to pursue their passion but just to get a job and work hard. While I did not disagree with the fact there are times when you just need to work and get a job, I think people should aim for using their passions and talents in their role, If they do this, time will usually fly by. Tempus fugit! Time has flown by for me the past three months. During the past few months I serve as an assistant volleyball coach at Bethel University and during the season I work my normal job at Leadership Vision Consulting during the day and then at...
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What really matters and who you can count on

[caption id="attachment_377" align="aligncenter" width="300"] What really matters[/caption] For the past two weeks my wife Danielle has been sick.  It started off as a cold/flu kind of deal and this past Friday progressed into pneumonia.  Danielle was admitted to the hospital late Friday afternoon.  All of this forced me to confront some hard life questions. We all want things to be normal.  There is even a psychiatric diagnosis for people facing emergency situations called, "normalcy bias," where people so badly want things to be normal that they almost do not react at all when an emergency happens. This reminds me of a time where I was at an annual staff/faculty retreat at the school I used to work at that we had every year.  Each time, 50 or so of us would gather, meet and talk about our work for the year at our institution.  During every one of these the President of our school would address all of us and lay out some vision and focus for us.  This was normally an interesting talk and one that everyone attended.  During one of these sessions a colleague of mine collapsed and fell the the floor and was having some convulsions.  Do you know what happened?  Almost no one did anything.  The President kept right on talking and no one moved to help my colleague.  It was surreal. As someone who is trained in first aid, I knew immediately that we needed to get emergency medical attention for this person.  I stood up and went to the nearest phone and had security call for an ambulance.  By this time another one of my coworkers had made their way to the phone and was going to do what I was already doing.  Also people were tending to person who was having the medical issues. But even then, a few minutes later, most people just sat and listened to the talk and made no move.  They just wanted things to be normal.  At some point the President stopped talking and we were all ushered out of the room.  It turned out that our colleague had a bad reaction to some medicine he was on and he ended up being fine. I was kind of stunned by the lack of response from my colleagues, but once I understood what was going on in their heads, it was really not that unexpected.  We want...
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Monday Rundown – 5 Things I Am Learning Lately

Tetons at Dusk During the past few years I have done a lot of self-examination to continue to push into the question of how can I most effectively use my gifts and talents in every area of my life. This is not an easy or fast question to answer and has taken years to get at. Am I there 100% with an answer to this question? No Am I closer? Yes. Everyone is busy. We all need to be picky about where and how we spend our time. During the past year I left one work context and expanded another. Outside of time with family and friends, this is how I spend my time on a regular basis: 1)  Senior Consultant at Leadership Vision Consulting (LVC) In this context I consult around the Clifton StrengthsFinder personality test and help organizations become strengths based. I also help develop business for our company and help with internal processes to help our business sustain the growth we are experiencing. 2)  Assistant Volleyball Coach at Bethel University This is my 11th season of coaching women’s college volleyball. This year is my second year back at Bethel University and it has been an exciting start to the season. In this context I help the head coach in any way that I can, work with our serve receive and team defense. I also took our team through an introductory experience around the Clifton StrengthsFinder during preseason. 3)  Lead Content Curator and Webmaster at www.josephdworak.com and www.mspbiking.com Both my personal website and new project, MSP Biking, push me to understand how the social media world works, and doesn’t work. In this new economy you need to know how to present yourself in a professional and credible way, and navigate social media, blogs, etc. This part of my life is where I am constantly learning new things. All of these contexts combine my talents and passions for a majority of the time I am engaged in those activities. Today is a perfect example, I will spend most of my day here at LVC working on things for the business, and eventually will go home, have dinner and then be off to practice at Bethel University for volleyball. What am I learning lately?   1)  It takes work to make sure you are living and breathing in contexts where your talents and passions align for the majority of your day. This almost...
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Your greatest chance for success is where you already are

A wise person once told me that my greatest chance of success was where I already was. This perplexed me some, because I was so focused on moving up. The statement and challenge is one I have come back to over and over again since I heard it. The question and challenge forced me to ask myself if I was truly maximizing my current platforms to the very best of my abilities. During the few years I lived in Washington, DC I lived in a culture of, 'if you don't move up in six months you are falling behind.' Whether I realized it or not, this had a shaping influence on how I thought about work and career. If I was not moving up in six months I was falling behind. I was fortunate to work for a Senator in DC and had two stints in that office. Between my times in the office I worked for a litigation communication firm, a company that did public relations for lawyers. My role was as an administrative assistant and it was not very challenging. I had to answer the phone and it rarely rang. I had to do research for the Vice Presidents and they rarely gave me projects. I had to write a manual so people could operate the fax machine if I was not there.  (I kid you not)  Diet Coke needed to be ordered, yep, I had that. Most of my time was spent asking for or trying to find things to do.  It was terribly boring. Regardless, looking back, there was more I could have done to maximize that platform. Did I ask all the talented people who I worked with to go out to lunch and try and learn from them? No. Did I continue to seek out extra projects to improve my own skill set and be seen as a more valuable asset to the company? Not enough. Did I find ways that the company could be more effective and efficient and more productive? No. The list could go on. I was not maximizing where I already was. Where have I had the most success in my career? By being faithful where I was at the time. By doing more than people expect. By speaking things that other people knew but would not say. By doing what I said I was going to do. By apologizing when I blew it. By helping...
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