I have a Strengths-based approach to career coaching, so I thought today I would set out how, I believe, we can extend the principles to living a Strong Life.
One definition of Strengths is ‘consistent, near perfect performance in any activity’ – being the best you can be, and the acid test of a Strength is when you can see yourself doing an activity repeatedly, happily and successfully.
Why is this important? Because you will be more energised and motivated to achieve results every day.
So these are my tips for living a Strong Life
1. Having a healthy lifestyle
We don’t have to be fitness fanatics but I know I feel more energetic and motivated when I am eating healthily and having some exercise compared to when I have had too much sugar and carbohydrates. We are all different but I believe “we are what we eat” and being aware of the effect food and drink could be having on our minds and bodies makes sense.
2. Having a positive attitude
We can’t control what comes into our lives but we can control how we deal with challenges and the effect we have on people we meet. This doesn’t mean we should have a permanent smile on our face because that isn’t natural and we would be kidding ourselves as well as others, but when we are feeling down it is important to recover as quickly as possible.
3. Applying natural talents every day
The starting point is to identify key natural strengths and decide if they are being used every day, especially at work. When the focus is on developing Strengths, time isn’t wasted on trying to change weaknesses. You can, at best, manage them. But, natural talents alone are not sufficient and need to be combined with knowledge and skill for us to achieve peak performance. Knowing your Strengths is covered in more detail on my membership site or 121 coaching.
4. Living a lifestyle of choice
This doesn’t mean that we have to win the lottery- just that we have the freedom to choose what we do in a day. Many people, when they really think about it, are living their lives through others and not feeling that they can be true to their own needs and wants. We all have responsibilities but having flexibility around when we act on them, is very refreshing.
5. Helping others
We are not islands and there is much that we can contribute and learn when we aren’t thinking of just our own needs. Helping others is a core human instinct and we feel good when an opportunity arises, or particularly if we seek one out.
6. Having clear goals
Defining our goals give our lives purpose and focus. It helps us to declutter our minds so that we are more likely to keep on track to achieve them, or seeing where we need to make adjustments along the way.
7. Being a ‘Completer’
Another mind “declutterer” which gives us a sense of achievement, whether it is a significant step towards reaching our goals or checking off a general task. It also means that we are living with integrity towards ourselves and others as we are doing what we say we are going to do.
8. Believing in yourself
Ignoring the “You can’t do it” Gremlin whispering in our ear. This is tough and a huge subject to explore but if we stop believing in ourselves how can we add value to our own lives or others? I believe sometimes that we confuse self-doubt with lack of self-belief. It is natural to experience some self-doubt when we are about to move from our comfort zone but it passes once we have become familiar with the new experience. Lack of self-belief is far more deeply entrenched and can affect our psychological wellbeing. Remember, the “You can do it!” Guardian is whispering in our other ear, so choose to listen to him – or her – instead!
9. Making the best of time
We are doing ourselves a great favour if we decide how we should be spending time to give us more out of the day. Whether the focus is business, social or a mix of the two, making the best of time means we won’t be feeling guilty about procrastination.
“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much… the life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill-provided but use what we have wastefully” (Seneca – On the Shortness of Life)
10. Continuous Learning
If we are committed to continuous learning, we remain open-minded to fresh ideas and experiences, whatever our age. In a business environment it is regarded as a key competency as it shows a willingness for personal development and to make a greater contribution. The more knowledge and ideas we have, the more this can be shared to help others in a team. It can be particularly powerful when we expand our skills, knowledge and abilities towards reaching our goals.
Some of these tips are big steps and will take time to achieve – but just striving to achieve them should make a huge difference…