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pinterest project 1,239,567

I finally finished another pinterest inspired project. I have been saving all my old concert tickets since I was a kid. I saw an idea to frame them in a shadow box frame. It took longer because I just could not decide on a background. I searched through hundreds, maybe thousands of concert posters, tickets and favorite bands on Google Images but I just could not settle on anything. Tonight I saw a commercial for a Johnny Depp movie and a short brain train later I ended up on the Wonka Golden Ticket theme. Not too original but the theme, color and whimsy make for a good background image.

Golden Ticket

less than 2 out of ten of us get to play to our strengths at work…

My friend Tim shared with me a video he caught from an except shared by a keynote speaker he heard at a recent conference. He was inspired enough to seek out the entire video. The short film is a discussion on strengths, discovering true strengths, and cultivating them. It also takes on the conventional thinking what Marcus Buckingham calls the myths of thinking about personal strengths.

There is weekly discussion in one of my graduate courses on management, and supervision. These discussions have been helping me in the process of forming my own ideas around the importance in making sure people are in the right job and the right skills are being cultivated. A recent MSNBC segment about aptitude testing and pigeonholing young students in a specific track lead to a generative conversation with my partner about how we want to ensure the girls do not get tracked but have many opportunities to truly discover their strengths, interests and passions. We are still struggling from time to time to find the best way to parent the differences in the girls. And now, this video was hand delivered to me. This is one of those moments when I have come to realize that there is a message being delivered and that convergence of messages is so prevalent that it has become obvious. Usually this awareness only comes in hindsight.

Buckingham says in the video that “less than 2 out of ten of us get to play to our strengths at work.” He asks the question are you one who gets to work this way and do you want to be? Chapter one explores the myths which I discuss below and chapter two  goes into how to find your personal strengths or what he calls “any activity that makes you feel strong”. It’s just over 30 minutes if you watch both chapters. It’s downloadedable on iTunes too. Watch:

Here is some of the nuggets I took from chapter 1… Myths to explode so that you can spend more time being deliberate and performing to your strengths:

Myth 1 – As you grow you change. (5:35)

This is the belief instilled in us all that you are supposed to grow up, be more well rounded and balanced, you know, become an adult. The truth “as you grow you become more and more and more of who you already are”. SO, DON’T REPLACE THOSE TRAITS, CHANNEL THEM. Dreams, circumstances, achievements may change but your core stays constant. Use it.

Myth 2 – You are going to grow the most where you are weakest.

The structure of educational systems in its current form says that when it was discovered that you “were good at math but not very good at english you didn’t get more math you got more english”. However, while you don’t ignore the weakness, you should understand that you will actual grow the most in the areas of strength. Manage the weakness but INVEST IN THE AREAS OF YOUR NATURAL STRENGTH.

Myth 3 –  What the team needs from you is to put aside your strengths and do whatever it takes to help the team win.

This one actually appeals to me the most in relation to the development of my own ideology. If you are building great teams then you should be seeking the different individual strengths that people bring. Each person doesn’t have all the assets to fit all the roles needed. It’s the team that is a collection of the skills needed to accomplish the goal not any one individual. WHAT THE TEAM NEEDS IS FOR INDIVIDUALS TO KNOW HIS or HER STRENGTHs AND TO USE THEM MOST OF THE TIME. “Figure out what the best is that you’ve got to bring and then bring it often” (13:01)

What I take away from this overall is confirmation in the belief that as people we have to be self aware. We must examine what we have as strengths, be realistic about our weaknesses. Know how to cultivate those strengths to the best of our ability and finally, share them with others. In the process of leading others this takes a different shape but I believe a true leader is the one who knows how to help others achieve this goal. This to me is the best thing a leader has to offer, the ability to see strengths and weaknesses in people, processes, etc. and how best to cultivate and effectively utilize to reach the desired outcome.

If you want to learn more, here is Marcus Buckingham’s website.

Buckingham, Marcus. Chapter One: So What’s Stopping You?. podcast video. Trombone Player Wanted. M4V. 15:34. accessed March 10, 2013.

Reguyal, Nathan,

my gratitude…

I have been watching in social media, especially Facebook, where my friends have been posting daily statements of gratitude all month long. It’s been inspiring. Thanksgiving also provides a good reminder about being thankful. I too have much to be grateful for today. It’s like a year years of gratitude are just poring out of me. It’s been a life-altering year. I shudder to think how hard it could have been if I hadn’t had so much support.

Starting next month, I return to work. I am so excited to not only be gainfully employed full time but also to be doing the work I love. Thanks to my new employer for seeing something valuable in me and inviting me to join the team.

Huge thank you’s to so many of my colleagues and friends who have been sending me job notices and ideas. The fact that you thought of me and wanted to help me in my job search was spectacular and thoughtful. You were a blessing in disguise. To my other friends and colleagues who offered me references, not only did you help me secure a job you also helped me get into graduate school. I don’t have adequate words to tell you how grateful I am for your willingness to speak on my behalf and help me tell my story. (I am just sorry it was such a long-term commitment. Who knew it would take 11 months?)

To my family and friends…you were the best cheerleaders, sounding boards and hand-holders a girl could ask for. I don’t know what I did to deserve you. You  inspired me daily to keep the faith. Without you I would have been a mess. You gave me the strength to face it all with grace, helped maintain my sanity on those hard days and reminded me that I am worthy. I love you all so much.

Mom! Thanks to you (and a great national jobs report in October), I was able to take your advice and counsel and turn that into an awesome financial solution (and all the while still have a proper nest egg). You’re the best investment advisor ever! When we win the lottery, we are taking you with us. 🙂

What a gift my girls are. Those little dynamos brought me daily joy and reminded me that nothing is as important as seeing them smile and be happy. NOTHING IS AS IMPORTANT! And D., my love, there are truly no words to tell you how amazing you are. You are absolutely my rock. Thank you for protecting me. It was one of the worst thing to happen to me but it was never a bad thing because of you. What a miraculous partnership we have. Here we are at the end of this event and I feel completely unscathed. Most of all, thank you for letting me be the things I need to be when I need to be them. I have never been more open and real. I know I will never be able to explain what a gift that is to me. I am forever yours.

I know I missed some things. I feel like I need to say thanks in so many ways and to so many people. This only scratches the surface. Let this stand as a documented reminder to me that I have everything to be grateful for in this life.

loyalty and delayed gratification

A solid insight into what companies are getting wrong when trying to establish brand loyalty through loyalty programs.

Andjelic sites an import part of customer satisfaction regarding question of economics and behavior when talking about how many loyalty programs make gratification too delayed.

“One thing to know about human decision-making is that we want to be happy. And we prefer many small repeated gains over anything else. We’d rather find two $50 bills in two different places than a single $100 dollar in one.”

It goes back to my philosophy that value hinges on the experience. That experience must be simple (convenient), immediate (reward); and visually (emotionally) compelling. It applies in all relationships – business; family; friends; leisure.


ANA ANDJELIC.  What Marketers Are Getting Wrong About Loyalty | Co.Create: Creativity \ Culture \ Commerce  Co.Createby Fast Company. Accessed October 19, 2012.

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