If at all possible: REMAIN CALM!

Parking Gararge   A few weeks ago I was running right on time for a client engagement at the University of Minnesota and drove up to this parking garage.  Parking garages more and more are moving away from cash and are only taking credit cards.  So as I rolled up to this parking garage I realized I had neither - cash or credit.  My margin for being on time was low and I immediately felt my anxiety start to raise as I did not want to be late.  What was I going to do?  How would I park?  Would I be on time?  How could I remain calm and solve the problem? This could have gone a lot of ways.  In my youth for sure I would have blown my top and just gotten really mad and been blinded by pure emotion in a way that would not have helped me solve the problem at hand.  At any time in my life my anxiety over stress could have pushed me in a direction that might not have been helpful to solve this real problem.  Thankfully the last couple of years I have really pressed into the concept of emotional intelligence, or 'EQ.' All of us are familiar with the concept of 'IQ,' intelligence quotient.  What is your 'IQ?'  IQ is interesting to talk about, but many studies have shown that your IQ has little to do with how successful you might be in life.  What does have much more to do with how successful you will be in life?  EQ What is EQ, or emotional intelligence? "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically." Do your emotions control you?  Or, do you control your emotions?  When I realized I had no way of paying for parking that story could have gone a lot of ways.  Getting mad or anxious would not have solved my problem, it only would have left me with the problem and no solution.  On top of that I would have ended up late to my client engagement - something we just do not do. If you are not controlling your emotions it will have an effect on your interpersonal relationships.  This has happened to me more times than I would like to admit in my own life.  These are lessons I can only learn...
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I always used my strengthsfinder themes; not always for good

I read somewhere recently you should write, "The parts of your story you least want to tell, are the parts people most need to hear."  - Jeff Goins. So, here goes. I do realize that someday my son may read these blogs and then ask me, "Dad, what was the deal with......." I realize some of you may say, "Wow, really?" I doubt I will add as many intros and caveats in the future, but here goes. The whole story needs to be told, the good and the bad and how I used my strengthsfinder themes and personality from a young age to have influence in good and bad ways. Social Media Perfection The trend in social media is for all of us to focus only how we want to be seen.  So, sometimes viewing someone's facebook profile or twitter feed, you might think they never have an off day.  Look, I confess to not like putting out pictures of myself that are less than glamorous.  We all do it.  We self edit to try and put out the best possible version of ourselves. I want to step outside of that box more than I usually do and tell you a few stories from my high school days.  The stories my wife rolls her eyes at and wonders how I am still alive in some cases. My StrengthsFinder Themes My strengths have always allowed me to organize, execute, lead, delegate, market, sell and produce gatherings and events.  In high school these talents were used to have parties when my parents were at our summer home in Wisconsin for the weekend.  (Mom, I know you know this story already, so....)  I went to high school in LaGrange, Illinois at Lyons Township High School.  "LT," was a school of about 4,000 students divided into two campuses, north and south, south being for freshman and sophomores and north for juniors and seniors. It started at south campus, but my ability to pull off events, 'parties,' was refined during my time as a junior, (for the first and second time), and as a senior.  The marketplace tells you all the feedback you need in order to be successful and having parties at my house gave me a lot of feedback from people who attended the parties, to how I had to clean up, and how I might make a profit. High School Dropout My first junior year of high...
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Stop being who you are not and start being who you are!

I am the first to admit that I have tried hard at being things that I was not meant to be. I grew up in Chicago and in Chicago, basketball is king.  Minnesota may have hockey, but Chicago has basketball.  More professional basketball players come from Chicago than any other city.  So what did I do growing up?  I played basketball all the time.  I went to summer camps, played in junior high, and shot baskets, regardless of weather, in my front yard.  You know what?  I was an average player.  I worked so hard - to be average.  As soon as I got to high school it was clear I would never see the court, and maybe even make the team.  So, you know what I did?  I focused on swimming which I was actually pretty good at.  You have the greatest potential for success in areas where you already have talent.  Stop trying to be something that you are not and start being who you are. "You can't be anything you want to be, but you can be more of who you already are."  -Curt Liesveld / Tom Rath This quote above was very hard for me to accept when I first heard it 14 years ago.  What?  What do you mean I can't be anything I want to be?  My whole life I have heard people tell me that if I just work hard enough at something I can be excellent at it.  My take on this?  That is a total lie, but with good intentions.  No matter how hard I tried to be an NBA basketball player, 10,000 more hours of training would not have helped.  I am 5'8" inches tall, the odds are forever not in my favor!  You know what else?  I had friends who were way better at basketball then me, and who were 6'3" and they played at a small local college.  10,000 more hours would not have made them NBA players.  You know what else?  My cousin Tim is 6'10" tall, was an honorable mention all-state basketball player in Illinois, played for Holy Cross, was the Patriot league player of the year (conference player of the year), I am sure he did 10,000 hours - and he even played professional basketball in Europe - but he did not make it to the NBA.  Now, Tim did receive a full...
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First ever Twitter “StrengthsFinder” live chat March 11, 2:00 PM CST

I am co-hosting I think the first ever Tweet Chat about StrengthsFinder tomorrow here are the details, love to 'see' you online: Talking about your strengths is one of the best ways to grow in your understanding of them. That's why we incorporate multiple "30 second" conversations into each hour of our StrengthsFinder teaching. Sometimes when you're forced to articulate what your strengths mean to someone else, in your own words, they become more alive and obvious. This then helps you grown in self-awareness, team-awareness and engagement. We'd like to attempt to do something similar via Twitter. On Tuesday, March 11 from 2 - 3 pm CST, we're going to host a live Strengths Chat.

How to Join the StrengthsFinder Conversation

If you'd like to be part of the conversation, follow these 3 easy steps:
  1. Log in to your Twitter account.
  2. Open a new browser tab and go to tweetchat.com. Click "log in" and authorize with your twitter account.
  3. Enter the hashtag, “#strengthschat” and you're in!
A Twitter chat is a free exchange of ideas between participants on a specific topic via Twitter.

About the Hosts

Nathan Freeburg and Joseph Dworak will be your hosts for this first chat. Together, we have been helping people, teams and cultures understand how to leverage their Strengths since the early 2000's. We've had the opportunity to work with large teams, small teams, non-profits, for profits and everything in between. The conversation will be very casual and free flowing - Twitter style. We'll answer questions from participants, as well as throw out some of our own. We also welcome other StrengthsFinder coaches to give input and feedback as we go.

We hope to see you at 2 pm CST on March 11!  Please share this with your networks, we would love to have a big turnout.

StrengthsFinder Consulting...
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How to find the best job for you: 4 additional thoughts

The response to my post on Saturday was tremendous - thank you for your feedback and stopping by my site.  As the topic of how to find the best job for you is not a simple thing, I wanted to write more on this topic and expand my thoughts. The picture above is a road that I have driven on the island of Kauai.  It twists and turns and drops and I remember going through it thinking, will we drive off the edge?  This is not unlike the process of trying to find the best job for you in your career.  The other thing about this picture is that when you are in the job search it is sometimes hard to see the big picture of everything that is having an effect on your search.  I think this is why it is vital to have a coach, or people in your life who help you navigate the process.  It is challenging, but worth it! Thinking I saw things, but I really did not Soon after I graduated from college I took an internship in Washington, DC working for a Senator from Minnesota.  In Washington, DC many people start as interns and work their way up the chain of command.  I ended up being an intern for one month before I was hired on as a staff assistant.  While I was out there I met a girl, started a relationship and was determined to make that relationship work.  My parents got divorced when I was in college and I did not want to end up someday with someone who I would get divorced from.  The relationship progressed very quickly and lasted during my time out in Washington, DC - about two and half years.  The relationship was full of ups and downs, some good times, but also lots of drama.  It always takes two to tango and I added to the drama of the relationship.  This relationship was not meant to last.  I kept trying to make it work.  Sometime during my time out there my good friend John came to visit.  John observed the relationship as someone who was seeing it for the first time, with fresh eyes. 'Fresh eyes' is a concept I have picked up along the way of someone who comes into a situation and is not living in the situation and can see...
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