Better It Better with Signature Strengths

One of the most reliable ways I know to boost your ability to be well, do good and enjoy the ride is to amp up a coaching tool called “bag it, barter it, or better it” by mixing it with your VIA signature strengths. When you’re facing a task or situation that drains your energy, you can choose to: bag it by not doing it or entering the situation, barter it by trading tasks or activities with someone who actually gets energized by the stuff that sucks the life out of you, or better it by doing something to make the task or situation feel better. Adding your VIA signature strengths with intention and creativity is like adding renewable super fuel to the “better it” approach. I’ve waxed poetic about the Values in Action Survey of Character Strengths here and here and here. Short version: The VIA is a tool that. . . .

Read more . . .
coaching beats winning the lottery

How I Learned That Coaching Beats Winning the Lottery

I’ll never know whether the driver of the coupe was texting, fleeing the scene of a crime, high, or just more desperate to get to Jersey than a shore-bound tourist on a Friday night in July. Or how darting across two lanes of traffic before stopping halfway between a lane on I-95 – my lane – and the off-ramp to the Walt Whitman could seem like a good idea. Before I could decide whether I’d slam into the coupe or another car would rear end me – or both – a tractor trailer honked, swerved and passed me with such force that I felt the whoosh rather than hearing it, which made me think it must have sucked the paint right off the driver’s door of my eight-year-old Forester. Oddly, I didn’t swear or scream. Instead, I heard the words “thank you, Jesus,” tumble from my lips over and over, right before I started to cry. For all of. . . .

Read more . . .

Applying Your Strengths Can Make Work Feel Like a Day at the Beach

It sounded like such a great idea back when spring was still weeks away. Lead a nature class on the beach? Cool. A perfect kickstart to the summer season. For a hundred or so sixth graders? Awesome. Teaching + the beach = two of my favorite things. I even adore middle school kids. Seriously. As the class drew near, I was a hot mess of doubt and anxiety. I told myself it was the about logistics. Getting there on time would take the perfect alignment of about a gazillion details. There was no time for reconnaissance at the beach before class. And I’d be teaching just a snippet of the overall content to three difference groups of kids, not my favorite set-up. Logistics were so not the issue. My anxiety was all about The Anniversary. Three years ago this month, I left a teaching job that started out like a dream and ended up, well,. . . .

Read more . . .

Stick to Your Knitting: Use Your Strengths in New Ways to Boost Ease, Energy & Effectiveness

It’s a sure sign of fall when I break out my yarn and knitting needles. I started a bright red scarf a few weeks ago, on deadline, for donation to a local charity. Ten rows in, I was bored. I thought the super simple pattern would help me finish more quickly. Twenty rows in, I was annoyed. Thirty rows, I was sick of that stupid scarf. Deadline looming, I ripped out every stitch. Scarf 2.0, same pattern. Still frustrating. Rippppppp. Scarf 3.0, a more complicated – more beautiful – pattern. I thought it would take more time and effort, but as the little hearts emerged in the red yarn, my fingers flew. With ease. Just one more row. After two evenings, Scarf 3.0 was longer than Scarf 1.0 was after several weeks. I enjoyed the process and am loving the result. Sticking to My Knitting – and Loving It I. . . .

Read more . . .

The Wisdom of Feedback

Now that you’re a coach . . . I heard it the first time within hours of signing up for coach training. You’re a coach, so . . . Since you’re a coach you should . . . . . It took me a while to stop being annoyed and thinking the implication was always, you’re a coach, so you shouldn’t mess up. Ever. And even longer to stop wanting to shout, I’m a coach, not a saint. News flash: even coaches mess up. Sometimes I still say the wrong thing – or fail to say the right thing. I take too long to respond to emails. I miss the occasional deadline. When someone cuts me off in traffic, I still might wave at them in a special way. So What’s Different? The difference is in how I respond. Usually. Still not being a saint and all. More often than. . . .

Read more . . .