The Art of Strengths Coaching

R is for Focusing on The Results rather than The Running Commentary

1396544_88249624

Peak performers focus on the specific results to achieve and cut out irrelevant noise. This sounds easy in theory, but it can be harder in practice.

Observers, critics, bosses, the press, bloggers and many others want to provide a running commentary.

Sometimes this can be helpful. Sometimes you can get diverted by people who have other agendas, however, especially if they are provocative.

How can you stay concentrated and avoid being side tracked? Let’s begin by exploring your own experience.

Looking back, can you recall a time when you focused on achieving a specific goal and cut out all the running commentaries?

You may have aimed to pass an exam, launch a web site, complete a project or whatever.

What did you do right then? How did you maintain your concentration? How did you keep focusing on the picture of success? How did you filter the running commentaries?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.001

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.002

Let’s explore how it is possible to follow these principles in various situations.

Clarifying the
results to achieve

J.K. Rowling focused on her specific vision, even when experiencing severe difficulties during her twenties. Recalling her early years of writing, she said:

“I had a daughter I adored, a typewriter and a big idea.”

She aimed to produce an epic for young readers that chronicled the adventures of Harry Potter. She was clear on the road map, the milestones and the feelings each book should evoke.

“I just wrote the sort of thing I liked reading when I was younger (and still enjoy now!),” she explained.

Certainly there were lots of ups and downs along the way, but she pursued her daily disciplines to reach the goal.

J.K. Rowling chose to focus on the things that were vital in her life. As she later wrote in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets:

“It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Looking ahead, can you think of a specific project you want to do in the future? You may want to build a prototype, show a better way of working or whatever. What are the real results you want to achieve? What is your picture of success?

Looking at the aim, how motivated are you – on a scale 0-10 – to achieve the goal? What can you do to maintain or improve the rating?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific project you want to do in the future where you want to focus on the results to achieve, rather than get distracted by any running commentaries.

Describe the picture of success – the real results you want to achieve.

Describe how motivated you are – on a scale 0-10 – to do the work involved to achieve the results.

Describe the specific things you can do to maintain or improve the rating.

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.003

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.004

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.005

Clarifying the potential
running commentaries

Peak performers are dreamers who do and deliver. They are, by definition, extremists.

They focus on a few things and do these extremely well. Such people choose to be creators rather than complainers, doers rather than talkers. Doing great work, however, sometimes creates waves.

Some people will appreciate their efforts, but others will criticise them. This is especially so if their work is in the public eye, such as in sports, the arts or other fields.

Peak performers learn to focus on the results, however, rather than get distracted by other people’s running commentaries. One serial entrepreneur said:

“Professional feedback is vital for me, because I want a reality check. But I want it from people I respect.

“The people I listen to are those who share the same values and vision. They give me honest suggestions about how to get results.

“I have little time for observer critics or those with other agendas. In the old days I saw good workers being criticised by moaners in organisations.

“Certainly it is vital to listen to constructive suggestions. But it is important not to get dragged down by complainers.”

Let’s return to your chosen project in the future. Are there any potential running commentaries that may occur?

If so, who might give these running commentaries? What might they be saying? Will they be constructive, critical or a combination of both?

What might be the agendas of such people? What might be the other kinds of commentaries, noises or diversions?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific project you want to do in the future.

Describe the potential running commentaries that may occur as you work towards achieving the results.

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.008

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.007

Clarifying how to focus on the results
rather than the running commentary

Peak performers sometimes seem to exist in their own space – their own zone, tunnel or bubble. Some athletes, for example, often have physical rituals they use to brush off criticisms, heckling, mistakes and other disruptions.

They keep following their chosen principles towards achieving the picture of success. Concentrating on the concrete results to achieve, they cut off other distractions.

Wise people also stay calm. They seem to have an inner compass they follow, rather than get caught in other people’s agendas.

The Dalai Lama, for example, stays true to his values, even when provoked. Explaining his philosophy, he says things like:

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible … I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness … Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

You will, of course, do this in your own way. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific project you want to do in the future.

Describe the specific things you can do to focus on the results to achieve, rather than be distracted by any running commentaries.

Describe the specific benefits of doing these things and delivering the results.

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.008

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.009

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.010

Share

    R is for Resilience

    There are many models for developing resilience. This article explores some approaches to developing this quality.

    Resilient people develop the inner strength, strategies and skills to overcome setbacks. Managing such challenges can sometimes provide the platform for achieving future success.

    If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

    Describe a specific situation in the past when you demonstrated resilience.

    Describe the specific things you did to demonstrate resilience in that situation.

    Slides Resilience.001

    Slides Resilience.002

    Al Siebert did pioneering work on resilience. His superb books – such as The Survivor Personality and The Resiliency Advantage – enabled many people to develop their inner strength.

    He provided more than inspiring stories. He offered positive models and practical tools that enabled people to develop their resiliency skills.

    They could then apply these to overcome challenges when using their strengths. He helped many people to make breakthroughs in their personal and professional lives.

    Returning to college after completing his military service, Al resolved to study psychology, but he grew frustrated by its emphasis on mental illness.

    He decided to study life’s survivors – those who grew when overcoming tough challenges. Scoping out the areas of study, he chose to focus on people that met the following criteria:

    They had survived a major crisis and surmounted it through personal effort.

    They had emerged from the experience with previously unknown strengths and abilities.

    They had, in retrospect, found value in the experience.

    The-Survivor-Personality1

    Building on his research, Al outlined some of the strategies survivors adopt to overcome crises successfully. Such people have often developed life competencies that help them in emergencies. These include the following.

    The Survivor Personality

    They feel totally responsible for making things work out well during a crisis.

    They stay calm and quickly read the new reality.

    They maintain a sense of perspective and are open to doing anything.

    They totally commit to pursuing their chosen way forwards.

    Al went on to start Thrivenet. This a web site packed with stories and tools that people can use to overcome adversity. Here is the link:

    http://www.thrivenet.com/index.shtml

    He then produced another compelling book.

    The Resiliency Advantage

    Expanding on the theme of survival, Al focused on how people can thrive in a fast changing world. This calls for individuals, teams and organisations to develop their resiliency skills.

    Why? In the old days many people relied on institutions to tell them what to learn and how to behave. Nowadays people must manage increasing information, complexity and unpredictability.

    The-Resiliency-Advantage

    Such events may include personal setbacks, sickness, redundancy, market changes, reduced budgets, technological changes, economic downturns or whatever.

    People will need to deal with such challenges. This calls for them taking responsibility, seeing to the heart of the matter and making good decisions. Even if they choose the right strategy, events may conspire to throw them off track.

    They will need to recover quickly, practice course correction and do everything possible to reach their goals. People who develop such resiliency skills are more likely to increase their chances of success.

    Al illustrated these ideas with real inspiring stories. Some are in the book, some on The Resiliency Center web site. You can discover more via the following link.

    http://www.resiliencycenter.com/index.shtml

    The Adversity Advantage

    Paul G. Stoltz and Erik Weihenmayer wrote The Adversity Advantage. This shows how overcoming setbacks can fuel a person’s ability to produce greatness.

    Paul originally gained public attention with his work on AQ – Adversity Quotient. This enabled people to measure and improve their ability to overcome adversity.

    adversity-advantage

    Erik became the first blind person to climb Everest. A journey he chronicled in his book Touch The Top of The World.

    After seeing Erik featured on the front of Time Magazine, Paul sought him out. Building on the views they shared in common, they decided to write The Adversity Advantage.

    Their site outlines strategies for overcoming adversity and achieving peak performance. Here is a brief summary taken from the site, which describes these in more detail.

    http://www.adversityadvantage.com/

    Take It On.

    Learn how to overcome frustration, helplessness and anger. Also learn how to benefit from adversity.

    Summon Your Strengths.

    Challenge the conventional wisdom that natural strengths drive success. Exceed expectations of what you and others can, or should, attempt to do.

    Engage Your CORE.

    Learn how to handle adversity better and faster. Engage your CORE and learn how to turn adversities into advantages. (CORE stands for Control, Ownership, Reach and Endurance.)

    Pioneer Possibilities.

    Devise signature systems for turning the impossible into the possible. Learn to create strategies that others fail to see.

    Pack Light, Pack Right.

    Learn how packing poorly cripples you, but how choosing the right things, people, obligations, and pursuits strengthen you. Spring clean, so you can rise up, rather than crumble, under the weight of adversity.

    Suffer Well.

    Character is forged in the flames of adversity. Done right, suffering can fuel greatness.

    Deliver Greatness, Every Day.

    This summit, the culmination, weaves together the most important ideas of the book, providing a coherent, portable package of practices that you can apply anywhere, anytime.

    You can learn more about Paul and Erik at the following websites.

    http://www.peaklearning.com/

    http://www.touchthetop.com/

    The Resilience Research Centre

    There are many other people who focus on resilience and how it can be developed.

    Michael Ungar and his colleagues at The Resilience Research Centre in Canada explore how these qualities can be developed in young people.

    Here is an introductory video from Michael. You can discover more via the following link.

    http://resilienceresearch.org/

    The Centre’s work highlights several things that children need in order to grow. These include, for example:

    To enjoy positive relationships with an advocate, mentor or role models.

    To develop a sense of identity.

    To feel in control of their lives.

    To be treated fairly and experience social justice.

    To be able to fulfil their basic needs by having access to basic services.

    To have a sense of cohesion, purpose or spirituality.

    To develop a sense of their own culture, whilst also respecting the cultures of others.

    The Centre provides information and tools that parents, teachers and institutions can use to nurture resilience in young people.

    You will have your own approach to developing these qualities in yourself and others. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

    Describe a specific situation in the future where you may need to demonstrate resilience.

    Describe the specific things you can do to demonstrate resilience in that situation.

    Describe the specific benefits of demonstrating resilience in that situation.

    Slides Resilience.003

    Slides Resilience.004

    Slides Resilience.005

    Share

      P is for Photographic Memory

      There are many ways to find your strengths. One approach is to focus on the specific activity where you have the equivalent of a photographic memory.

      The golf champion, for example, recalls the exact Read more

      Share

        P is for The Passionate Way

        There are many ways to do fine work. Some people say: “Follow your passion.”

        Other people say: “This is a good starting point, but there is much more involved.”

        Great workers often start by Read more

        Share

          P is for Pot Fillers and Pot Drillers

          Encouragement gives us energy. Discouragement can sap our energy and dilute our ability to do good work. It is vital, of course, to be an Encourager for other people.

          There are many models for Read more

          Share

            P is for Positive Scripting

            Some people develop positive scripts. They say things like:

            “I can make things happen,” rather than, “Things happen to me.”

            “I can tackle this challenge,” rather than, “This is too big a problem.”

            “I Read more

            Share

              P is for Protecting a Culture by Focusing on the Purpose, Principles and Professional Standards

              Good leaders get the right balance between being an encourager, educator and enforcer. This sounds tough, but is sometimes necessary.

              Such leaders encourage and educate the team members. They are also prepared to enforce Read more

              Share

                P is for Perfect Days

                “Near death experiences focus the mind,” we are told.

                One outcome can be that such experiences encourage us to focus on what is important in life.

                This article describes exercises that were inspired by Read more

                Share

                  P is for Pattern Recognition

                  There are many ways to find your strengths. One approach is to clarify the specific activities where you see patterns.

                  Pattern recognition is one of the keys to peak performance. People who see patterns Read more

                  Share

                    P is for Making Learning Personal, Practical and Profitable

                    “The learner learns what the learner wants to learn,” we are told.

                    Good educators often follow this approach when designing educational experiences. They aim to make the learning:

                    Personal – It must relate to Read more

                    Share