Do you want to thrive as you head towards the silly season? Of course you do! But as life and work seem to speed up as the calendar ticks over, it’s not always easy to know how to look after yourself.
The most common complaint I hear around this time of year is that life and work become even busier and more stressful than usual. We feel like we’re running a marathon for the first 10 months of the year, and the final two months become a sprint. And way too many people run headlong into Christmas, then hit the wall, spending their holidays feeling stressed, sick, and overwhelmed. That’s about as far from thriving as it’s possible to get!
What if you knew how to structure your life and work so that, instead of feeling depleted, you get energised by what you are doing, and at the same time, you get great results?
Does that sound like a pipe-dream? It’s not!
Your strengths will help you thrive
Using your strengths wisely and well is the key to unlocking greater wellbeing, performance and energy. This approach works at any time of year, but it works especially well when its crunch time.
Too often, I hear people talking about the things they’re good at, but ignoring how they feel when they’re using those capabilities. It’s possible to be great at something and find it draining, demotivating, and de-energising. If you keep doing those things for too long, you’re virtually guaranteeing yourself a trip to Burnout City.
So, instead of only thinking about how well you perform, think about how you feel when you’re using your capabilities and skills. Do you feel like the “real you” when you’re using them? Do you come away from the task feeling inspired, energised, excited, engaged, and like you’ve been at your best? Are there things you do that seem to flow naturally, giving you a sense of ease and enjoyment?
These are great indicators of your Genius strengths – things that you are great at and love doing. And your Genius strengths are going to be your power move for getting to, and through, the silly season with energy, engagement, and achievement.
Five ways to thrive with your strengths
The Strengths Deck approach is based on a five-zone matrix, with Performance (how well you do when you use the strength) and Preference (how much you enjoy using it) as the two dimensions.
There are five basic strategies – one for each of the zones:
- Genius (high performance, high preference): use these strengths strategically to boost your wellbeing, get great results with ease, and enter into the flow state
- Potential (low performance, high preference): sprinkle these strengths into your tasks to boost your enjoyment (and perhaps even discover a hidden Genius strength)
- Indifference (low performance, low preference): stop using these weaknesses if at all possible, and if not, develop strategies to neutralise them by using your strengths wisely and well
- Reputation (high performance, low preference): use these strengths only when necessary, and pair them up with Genius, Potential, and Proficiency strengths to boost your enjoyment
- Proficiency (moderate performance, moderate preference): use these strengths to create a stable foundation in your life and work to launch into flow with your Genius strengths, and to recover if you’ve had to use your Indifference weaknesses or Reputation strengths
It’s all about baby steps, baby!
You don’t have to totally revolutionise everything you do, because your strengths are already with you, delivering their goodness. By raising your awareness of what they are, and how they affect you, your wellbeing and your results, you can find ways to take strategic action to make the most of them.
And those actions can be as small as re-framing a situation in your head. Instead of grumbling that the house gets decorated only because you make it happen, you could choose to see house-decorating as an expression of your Connoisseur (1) strength. Or you could switch from viewing the company Christmas party as a chore to an opportunity to exercise your Rapport Builder (2) strength.
Try incorporating just one additional Genius strength element into the way you’ve always done things. A little can go a very long way!
Strengths aren’t the only thing you need to thrive
While I’m a huge believer in the power of strengths to help you achieve your goals, fulfil your dreams, and nurture your wellbeing along the way, they aren’t the only thing you need to thrive.
Here are some other elements to pay attention to:
- Rest – I’m not just talking sleep. There are at least seven kinds of rest that everyone needs. Check out this article on my main business website to find out what they are and how to apply them for yourself.
- Boundaries – knowing what you will and won’t allow, and sharing that with others, is a vital piece in protecting your dignity, autonomy, energy, and mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
- Connection – we are social animals. Get great people around you who will build you up, encourage you, and lovingly challenge you when you’re playing small.
- Nutrition – the quality of your fueling affects your mental clarity, physical markers of health, and sense of vitality. Your mum was right – eat your greens (and yellows, and reds, and all the other colours of the fruit-and-vegetable rainbow).
- Play – as George Bernard Shaw apparently said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” I’ve written an article about that, too!
- Meaning – we have an in-built need for feeling like we matter. Do something today that your future self, or future generations, will thank you for. It can be as small as calling a friend to say hi, to as big as launching a new venture that brings your special magic to the world in a new way.
One of the reasons I’m so passionate about spreading the word about the strengths-based approach is that I’ve seen the power of it in my life. I now know that I’m smack-bang in the middle of my Zone of Genius when I’m helping other people to discover theirs. My thriving is directly linked to helping other people thrive.
So, if you’d like a little help to boost your strengths use, and find new ways to thrive, let’s talk. You can book a free, 30-minute discovery call with me to talk about what you need, and how working with me will help you succeed. Or, if you’re not quite ready for that, sign up to my newsletter, follow me on LinkedIn, or follow The Strengths Deck on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also get your hands on your very own set of The Strengths Deck cards in the shop.
(1) Connoisseur: “You notice and appreciate beauty and excellence in the world, whether in nature, art, work or people.”
(2) Rapport Builder: “You enjoy meeting new people, finding it easy to make connections and win them over.”