Monthly Archives: March 2022

Use Your Strengths to Improve Your Relationships

What are your strengths?

Hundreds of self-directed tests and assessments have been created to help people figure this out. It’s one of the most commonly asked interview questions, and many companies aspire to build a “strengths-based” culture, which encourages employees to discover and develop their strengths.

Studies continuously show that focusing on your strengths leads to higher levels of engagement and better performance. When you focus on using your strengths, rather than improving or “fixing” your weaknesses,  your confidence and self-awareness increases.

Conversely, when you are focused on your weaknesses, you are more likely to have lower levels of confidence and be more stressed, which can negatively impact self-esteem and your ability to have healthy relationships.

Discovering Your Strengths

You may have an idea of your strengths based on past performance reviews, feedback from others, and by looking at your past successes. These can be helpful, but they are contextual and subjective. Here are a few tools for helping you discover your strengths:

  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been used consistently in organizations over the past 40 years to help people become more aware of how they judge and perceive situations and others. For example, are you more externally focused (extroverted) or internally-focused (introverted)? Do you look to logic for decision-making (thinking), or do you consider how you or others feel first when making a decision (feeling)? Through a questionnaire, you are assessed across four main dichotomies and given your personality type. For a fee, you can take the test and receive personalized courses and guides about how to make the most of your strengths. Because this test has been used for so long, it has been refined and validated by many professionals. There are endless resources available based on the test that help you leverage your personality type and strengths in both a personal and professional context.
  • For an assessment about your character strengths, the VIA institute offers a free character test for you to identify whether things like teamwork, gratitude, and curiosity come more naturally to you than other character traits. These not only give you insights into your own strengths, it also helps you recognize strengths in others, which can improve your relationships and the gratitude you feel towards others in your professional and personal life.
  • The DISC Assessment Test is a free psychologically-based assessment test that is commonly used for teams and motivational purposes. Based on your answers, you are placed into one of four different personality types: dominant, influence, steadiness, and compliant. Although you’ll likely exhibit one type more than the others, you may demonstrate the other personality types in varying degrees.  Because this test is widely used, there are many free resources that help explain the implications of your result and help you understand the traits of the other personality types as well.

An important thing to remember is that there are advantages of all of the personality types, character traits, and categories that these tests diagnose, and one type or category is not “bad” or better than another. Also, while these tests are a great start to helping you determine your strengths, they have their limitations. It is impossible to capture the full essence of someone through online tests and questionnaires. To make sure you’re not missing anything important that such assessments did not detect, ask your friends and colleagues about your strengths and competencies as well.

Choosing a Career Based On Your Strengths

Knowing your strengths also allows you to choose opportunities for which you are well-suited. For instance, if creativity is a strength, choosing an R&D position rather than a sales or administrative position might be a better fit for you. Similarly, if you shine in client-facing tasks, choosing a client representative role over a position that is more focused on research and analysis will help you hone your strengths and increase your likelihood of success in that role.

In addition, being aware of your strengths can help you determine the value you can add to a team or a group, as well as identify the types of people with whom you work best. For example, if you are very detail-oriented, then you might add a lot of value to the team by taking note of the action items from each meeting and holding people accountable. If you have this trait, you would work well with someone who is more big-picture focused, since they will complement your detail-oriented approach by keeping the overall project or purpose of the task in mind.

Using Your Strengths To Build Positive Relationships

Authentic relationships are the key to unlocking your true potential. Understanding your strengths and recognizing others’ strengths will help you find and build positive professional relationships that will be mutually beneficial. The Enneagram Test is a tool commonly used in the workplace to help improve team dynamics and business relationships. It measures your personality across 9 personality types, giving you a better understanding of your tendencies, stressors, fears, and strengths. It helps you understand how you interact with others and how others will interact with you based on their personalities. The better you understand your strengths and how to use them, the more you’ll be able to bring to a relationship.

For example, if one of your personality strengths is making people feel connected and comfortable, help your contacts connect with others and start conversations. If you’re task-oriented, use that strength to stay in touch with your contacts on a regular basis or help them accomplish a task they’ve mentioned to you.

Using your strengths in relationships will likely feel natural to you in situations or relationships in which you feel comfortable. It may take a little more effort and practice when you’re feeling vulnerable, but that’s when focusing on using your strengths, rather than worrying about your weaknesses, will help you build and develop relationships that create opportunities.

Using Your Strengths To Serve Others

Understanding your strengths and confidently using them will allow you to serve others in meaningful ways. Serving others increases your sense of purpose, which leads to greater happiness. Conversely, knowing your strengths also enables you to set boundaries and say “no” to projects, requests, or relationships that aren’t a fit. Focusing on how you can use your strengths to best serve others, rather than how you can please others, will enable you to thrive in your relationships and career.

Going through the process of discovering your strengths and the best ways to use them will also improve your ability to help others discover and use their strengths successfully. Bringing out strengths in others is a highly desirable leadership skill, one that will serve you well in business, relationships and your career.

Key Takeaways

  • Focusing on your developing strengths rather than “fixing” your weaknesses will help you build a successful career and positive relationships.
  • Use the available personality tests and assessments to get an idea of your strengths, weaknesses, and relational style. However, recognize that automated test results don’t fully define you. Ask trusted friends or colleagues to share their feedback and do some self-reflecting to fully understand your strengths.
  • Knowing your strengths and using them to serve others is the best way to build authentic relationships, feel a sense of purpose, and thrive in your career.

How are you using your strengths to serve others in your career and relationships? Write down a few ways you are or want to and let them guide you!

 

Looking for a new opportunity to tap into your strengths?  Check out all of our available positions and apply today!

 

Daily Habits of Your Lucky Friends

You probably have friends who come to mind when you think of lucky. They happen upon tickets to the most in-demand events, get invited on really great trips, skip lines, succeed in their careers, and stumble into one awesome experience after another.

While these events seem to occur randomly and with very little effort, research shows that lucky people have similar habits and beliefs. London-based author, physician, and mind coach Stephen Simpson says that luck is actually something that can be learned and increased. How are your lucky friends attracting all their good fortune?

  1. They go out of their way to meet people. As Max Gunther writes in his book How to Get Lucky, “Luck flows along linked chains of people until it hits targets.” A lot of what we consider luck is really just opportunities landing at our feet. Those opportunities flow through people. The more people you know, the more opportunities are presented.
  2. They say “yes”. Lucky people say “yes” to offers that come their way, even if it’s not something they originally planned. This flexibility allows them to experience more, meet more people, and parlay those experiences into more opportunities. While it’s important to have a plan, it’s just as important to let yourself deviate from your plan to explore ideas or opportunities that interest you.
  3. They trust their gut. Simpson, who works with professional poker players, says the lucky players listen to their gut feelings. “Intuition, like any other skill, can be improved with practice,” he says. Becoming more in touch with your inner voice, and developing the ability to read people and understand unspoken social cues can improve your intuition. “The next step is trusting your intuition and acting on it,” Simpson says.
  4. They stay positive. Lucky people aren’t lucky all the time. Everyone faces adversity and experiences failure, but you won’t find your lucky friends ruminating over a bad break. People who appear lucky take hardships and turn them into something positive. They learn from their mistakes and use them to make their next experience better.
  5. They give. Lucky people are givers. This has nothing to do with karma and everything to do with making a lasting impression. Lucky people don’t just meet more people, they connect better, and maintain relationships. They know a lot of people, but more importantly, a lot of people know them. When you meet new people, focusing on what you can give to them, rather than what you can get from them is the best way to build genuine relationships and make a lasting impression. Give your time, give your full attention, and look for ways to add value to your new relationship. At first, you may have to make a conscious effort to make giving your focus, but eventually, it becomes second nature — as it is for many lucky people.
  6. They think outside the box. Lucky people are creative thinkers. In 1975, Gary Dahl invented the pet rock. The fad lasted six months, but it was enough to make Dahl a millionaire. It’s one of those ideas that makes you think, “Why didn’t I come up with that?” His success could be attributed to luck, but really he saw an opportunity to solve a problem. Dahl came up with his brilliant idea when he was at a bar in Los Gatos, CA with some friends, and they were complaining about how they had to walk, feed, groom and clean up after their pets. His out-of-the-box thinking about how to solve pet problems changed his life. Your lucky friends, who experience success in business, probably have the same ability to look at a problem from a different vantage point and come up with a creative solution.

This post is not to say that everyone is dealt the same hand in life and all luck is created. Many people have innate privilege or fortunate circumstances that contribute to their luck or success. But what you make of the hand you were dealt is up to you. What do your lucky friends do? They leverage it into opportunities.

There are plenty of opportunities over on our Job Board!  Check out all of our current openings and apply today!

 

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME—HOW TO SPRING FORWARD BEFORE THE CLOCKS DO

Source:  Verilux

The start of daylight saving time and springing forward means our unsuspecting bodies (and our four-legged friends) will be jolted awake an hour earlier. Though one hour doesn’t sound like a lot of lost sleep, science shows that the time change can have a huge effect on our health and well-being.

The number of strokes and heart attacks actually increases in the days following DST while students’ SAT scores significantly decrease. Crazy, right? The fact is that the time change has the ability to throw your body and mind into a quick tailspin. But there are things you can do to protect your well-being. Here are a few helpful tips to keep you feeling your best during the start of daylight saving time. 

WAKE UP EARLY THIS WEEKEND 

We hate to start this list with something as “fun” as waking up early, but if you have to get up a whole extra hour earlier on Monday, you can get ahead of the time change by incrementally upping your wake time the weekend before. Even just two days of getting up just 15 minutes earlier than your normal weekday schedule will help cut the time change in half. That can have a seriously positive impact come Monday morning. Though you may not be completely eager to skip your normal weekend sleep-in, keep in mind that the numbers just don’t lie.

GET YOUR DAILY DOSE OF BRIGHT LIGHT—IN THE MORNING

An easy way to prep for the sleep transition is by getting some bright light into your morning routine. Doing so before the time change will help set your body clock so that you get a good night’s sleep in anticipation of the change, and doing so after the time change, will help you feel more energized on those otherwise groggy mornings. Sunshine. Light therapy. Sitting near a large window. Do what you must – just make sure that you get bright light before noon and not afterward. The closer to your wake-up time, the better and the more in line with nature you’ll be.

HEAD OUT INTO THE GREAT OUTDOORS

If you’re already heading out into the sunshine, this will be a simple one. Add some activity to your outdoor adventure to get your heart pumping and your glands sweating. We all know we sleep better after a day full of sunshine and exercise, so this one is a no-brainer. If it’s cold where you live, bundle up appropriately and make sure you dress in layers to regulate your body temperature safely.

GO TO BED EARLY THIS WEEKEND, TOO

For all you night owls, this is not the weekend to galavant around the town. And for all those early-to-bed folks, this is the weekend to delight in your early-bird ways. Simply put, going to bed early means that you’ll wake up early. (Need a quick reminder about why this is good? See the first tip). 

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE WELL BEFORE YOUR BEDTIME

We’ve all heard it a million times, but this weekend it’s especially important to not use your phone in the hours before bed. Think about it—if your body is stimulated by blue light at the 11th hour in the day, it’s actually the 12th hour in the day, which is technically… tomorrow. So yeah, phones down, PJs on.

SET THE SCENE FOR SOME SERIOUS ZZZ’S

No great night’s sleep ever started with a glass of wine, an uncomfortably cold bedroom, and the tiny annoying blinking lights of electronic devices. This weekend is the time to treat yourself like you live at a spa. Hot tea, warm steamy bath, and total darkness with the slight hint of aromatherapy. If you’ve been putting off a luxurious weekend all winter, now’s a great time to indulge in a little R&R, and doing so will pay you back in dividends. 

GET YOUR LANDING PAD READY

Continue your home spa weekend by creating the absolute most comfortable bed to rest your weary head. If you’ve been tolerating an uncomfortable pillow, putting up with sheets that pop off the corner of the bed, or a comforter that really needs a good dry clean, it’s time to fix these. Doing your future self a favor of creating a comfy sleep experience is truly worth it. 

GET YOUR MINDFULNESS ROUTINE ON

Let’s be honest—we can do all these tips as a precursor to daylight saving time, but if the Sunday Scaries hit and we don’t have a game plan to deal with them, it’s going to be a long Sunday night and a way-too-early Monday morning. So be sure to carve out time for some mindfulness even if you haven’t practiced it all February long. THIS is your weekend. Promise yourself 15 minutes of mindful meditation, journaling, or deep breathing before bed. Better yet, don’t just promise yourself, but also tell a friend or a partner your plan. The social pressure of having committed to it out loud will make you more likely to actually do it.

Because if there’s one thing we can leave you with from this list, it’s this—know you’re not alone. DST can be really difficult for a lot of people, so if you’re having a tough time, reach out to a friend and try your best to get your sleep schedule back to normal as quickly as possible. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that friends and a good night’s sleep are what makes the world go round. Oh yeah… and, of course, our furbabies.

References

Strickland, A. (2018, March 8). “Why Daylight Saving Time Can Be Bad for Your Health.” https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/11/health/daylight-saving-time-health-effects/index.html

Spector, D. (2012, March 12). “Daylight Saving Time May Be Making Us Dumber.” https://www.businessinsider.com/daylight-saving-time-affect-on-intelligence-2012-3

 

Source:  Verilux