When I went away to college, I was terrified of flunking out. I had to take college algebra my first semester, and math was my weakest subject. I failed the class, but before final grades were submitted, I met with the professor. I don’t know what I said, but I cried. Hard. He had mercy and gave me a D. I’ve never been so happy to get a D. The next semester, I took the class again, but I had a tutor. With the experience of taking the class my first semester, the fear of failing, and the extra help, I got an A the second time.
For many years, I was afraid of math. I spent too much time worrying and thinking about that weakness, but over the last several years, I’ve heard of a movement that is focusing on strengths as opposed to weaknesses.
At the suggestion of my mentor, I purchased Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. I took a 20 minute assessment and learned that my top two strengths are Learner and Achiever. I received a personalized Strengths Insight that explained the hallmarks of my strengths as well as my unique needs. For example, Learners need quiet time to examine new information. I also received an action planning guide that showed me how to maximize each of my five strengths. The guide tells me to allow myself to “follow the trail.” When I get interested in a topic, I like full immersion. I want to read a few books, watch a documentary, and maybe even visit a landmark. I used to think this was strange. It’s not. It’s an integral part of my desire to learn. Strengths Finder 2.0 is a great book for figuring out what you’re really good at regardless of what you do for a living. It’s a great first step for anyone who is thinking about changing careers or starting a business.
For several months, I had been thinking about and working on a mission statement, with no success. My mentor suggested that I read The Path by Laurie Beth Jones. This book showed me how to quickly create a mission statement that encompasses how I want to serve personally and professionally for the rest of my life. For years, I’ve had materials for creating a life plan, but it seemed overwhelming, so I never did it. The Path showed me how to create a vision statement, which will serve as my life plan. Creating my vision statement was enlightening and fun. It encompasses relationships, vocation and legacy. Having a mission statement and a vision statement serves as a filter. It makes it easier for me to decide how to spend my time and energy. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has plans to do more than work 40 hours a week and draw a paycheck. If you want to sow good seed into this world, this book will help you to figure out what’s important to you and whom you can help.
Although I write and speak about setting and achieving goals, I need a refresher course myself at least once a year. Several years ago, I read Eat That Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy. I listened to the book in the car over the past several days. The 21 actionable tips helped me to improve my time management and focus. I started the year with seven big goals. By the end of January, I knew that one of the goals would interfere with my completion of the other six, so I decided to push that goal to next year. After listening to Eat That Frog!, I leveled with myself and decided to only focus on three goals during the third quarter of the year. The methods in this book can help you achieve any goal faster. The book is especially good for those who have many goals and need to prioritize the components of multiple projects.
How is your year going? Do you need to make adjustments so that you can finish strong?