Category Archives: Passion

We rush ahead so we can save time so…

“Though we rush ahead to save our time, we are only what we feel.” – Neil Young, On the Way Home We do what we do, to feel as good as we can.  Rushing ahead, trying to ‘save time’, it’s in the service of a promise to feel something we want to feel and to avoid something we don’t want to feel. The question for today: Is it working? If we’re only what we feel, what are we actually feeling? If rushing ahead isn’t doing it, time to try something new. Perhaps the opposite of that.

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What percent of Americans plan to work past age 65?

74%. That’s a lot of people! Unfortunately, the data doesn’t show what the percentage is of ‘want to keep working’ vs. ‘have to keep working’.  However, in a recent survey it was found that 21% of working Americans aren’t saving anything at all, and 69% of working Americans are saving between zero and ten percent of what they make. And the percent of people saving nothing jump up when it’s just Millennials and Gen X in the mix. These two age groups are hardly saving at all.  A lot of people are going to be working past age 65 because they have to. Are you more engaged if you have to do something or if you want to do something? Are kids more engaged building snow forts or shoveling the sidewalk? So, this means that we’re growing a work force that is going to be less engaged as they age. You may even be one of them. If so, start saving today. Cut your expenses and save that money. You can keep working as long as you want, but you’ll be happier if you keep working because you want to instead of because you have to. And if you end up having to or are in that situation right now? Find your strengths, and use them every day. Your engagement level will rise and you’ll be happier. And your emotions – happiness included – are contagious.

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Globally, what percent of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work?

Globally, what percent of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work? 85% That’s most of us. It’s a sobering number. The U.S. numbers are a little better. As of 2018, 34% – a third – employees are actively engaged. That still means 2/3 of us aren’t.  So there’s work to be done, by all of us.  To be kinder to each other because so many of us are unhappy. And all of us humans want to be happy. And to help each other find a way through to engagement with our work. An engaged person is a happier, more fulfilled person.  And it starts with finding, then using, our #1 engagement tool we were born with – our strengths.  Learn more: StrengthsFinder – Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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What are the right strengths to have on a team?

What are the right strengths to have on a team? Teams ask me this question all the time during StrengthsFinder trainings. “Do we have the right strengths? What are we missing?”  Gallup found something interesting when they tried to figure out the right strengths to have on a team. They found it doesn’t matter as much what the composition of team strengths is. What matters most is the awareness of the strengths that are on the team already.  You can’t use the tools you don’t know you have. Take the StrengthsFinder assessment with your team, link it to what it looks like in real life and expand from there. Learn more: StrengthsFinder – Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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Three things a manager needs to coach

Three things a manager needs to coach: Establish expectationsContinually coachCreate accountability Establish expectations According to Gallup, employees whose manager involves them in setting goals is four times more likely to be engaged. But only 30% of employees ever get this opportunity. Continually coach Employees are three times more likely to be engaged if they get daily feedback than annual feedback. Create accountability Metrics are needed. Learn more: Strong Management – Strengths based training for managers to help their people be at their best. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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Five steps to building a strengths-based culture

According to Gallup, there are five steps to building a strengths-based culture.  Start with the CEO or it doesn’t work.Require every employee to discover their strengths.Build an internal network of strengths coaches.Integrate strengths into performance management.Transform your learning programs. Here are some notes on each of these. Start with the CEO or it doesn’t work. People watch what their leaders do and say. And there’s a finely honed BS detector. In team building sessions if I see the leader isn’t engaged and involved, I know the team is going to struggle – during the activity and beyond. Require every employee to discover their strengths. Using StrengthsFinder or MBTI gives everyone on a team a common language to talk about unique abilities. Build an internal network of strengths coaches. Who are your strengths champions in the organization? How can they coach your high potentials? Integrate strengths into performance management. Mangers need to know their own strengths and use them. Then they need to know their people’s strengths and unlock them. Transform your learning programs. Get rid of any learning programs that don’t focus on strengths. Strengths are your rocket fuel. Learn more: Strong Management –  Strengths based training for managers to help their people be at their best. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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What happens if you ask for happiness?

“If you ask the grail for happiness, that demand precludes happiness. But if you serve the grail properly, you will find that what happens and happiness are the same thing.” – Robert Johnson The grail mythology says we are on a life quest for something precious, something unique, something just out of sight…yet in plain sight. We just don’t have the eyes for it yet. Many of us choose pleasure, some form of happiness as an unspoken grail.  If you demand happiness? That’s a sure way of being unhappy. As William Blake wrote, “it is right it should be so, man was made for joy and woe.” What if you don’t struggle against what happens in life, that mixture of joy and woe? Johnson says we will find happiness in what happens. The war is over. Blake agreed, “joy and woe are woven fine, a clothing for the soul divine.”

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How much time does the average person spend on social media?

Q: How much time does the average person spend on social media? A: Two hours “If I only had all the time back that I wasted on Facebook!” It’s a common lament. If you had all your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter time back…what would you do instead?  The best time to ‘do what you would do instead’ was when you first joined.  The second best time is today.

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Forky from Toy Story 4 and Albert Camus on your life’s purpose

“A person’s life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his heart first opened.”–       Albert Camus ArtLovePassionate work These are Camus’ three – the ways to rediscover those precious things that you saw and felt when your heart first opened. Of the three, I’m guessing that love is what first opened your young heart. It could have been love for another person, love for the natural world, anything.  A child often doesn’t discriminate what it first loves – witness Bonnie’s love for Forky in Toy Story 4. Her art also became her love – a plastic spork. What matters to us? How to thread that narrow path once again and taste what we first glimpsed? Camus offers solid advice here. The three ‘detours’ lead to what can’t be found on any map. Today and all life long, the three detours are ready to lead us back home.

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Ursula K. Le Guin on power, knowledge and choice

“As a man’s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do.” –   Ursula Le Guin When we’re young, the way is wide open. We don’t have power or knowledge. By the time we hit middle age, many doors previously open are now closed. We can mourn that loss. It’s human to do so and need to. Also true, but not noticed as much is the power and knowledge we’ve gathered by being alive and awake closed many of those doors. Cul-de-sacs and dead ends drop away as we get wiser. Eventually? There’s no choice at all. We just do what we must – the narrow path of our passion.

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