It makes sense that we would see more effective outcomes and greater satisfaction from the same amount of effort by doing more of what we're good at, rather than always trying to shore up areas where we are weak. Sure we all have areas we can and should improve, but if we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths, we may end up with a job, or a life, in which our natural talents go untapped. Do you get the opportunity to do what you do best every day? If not, the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup), intends to help you change that, first by getting crystal clear on what your own strengths are, and then developing your goals around what you do best.
How clear are you on what your own strengths are? If you're anything like I was, you may feel like you generally could list off a few, but may wonder if you under- or over-estimate some of your own strengths, and feedback from other people doesn't always include a complete picture of you. That's why I keep recommending this resource to anyone who wants to design and develop their future based on what they do best.
The Strengths Finder 2.0 book - both the kindle version and the physical book - come with a code to take the Strengths Finder test (which is $25 by itself to take on their website, so the book is a good deal). The test is similar to the Meyers-Briggs personality test, but rather than focusing on personality traits it helps people uncover their talents, which is highly actionable for developing life-changing goals. I'm often skeptical of these tests (would I answer this question differently on a different day?) but I felt that my results were spot-on, and I found the advice in the book to be really insightful and more tailored to my experience than most books.
This is a great time of year to reflect on what we've accomplished and think about our goals, as we approach a new year. If you've ever wanted to get more clarity on your own strengths, I recommend this book as a first step to living a life designed around what you do best.
People who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.
Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves
I’m so excited about this new series of episodes on the Hidden Brain Podcast, called ‘You 2.0.’ Not because it’s a new subject — self improvement, personal growth… it seems every other article headline I see is about being a 'better you’ (or maybe it’s just my newsfeed). But if anyone can shed new perspective on a well-covered theme, it’s Hidden Brain’s Shankar Vidantam. Because understanding ourselves — our brains — is key to developing a fuller and happier life.
So much of what moves us forward -- or holds us back -- in any job is about relationships. And core to building healthy relationships -- or repairing damage -- is about how we communicate. Inevitably in mentoring sessions, this book comes up as a suggestion for common problems that arise at work. Whether the issue at hand is with a managers or co-worker, a spouse or family member, the techniques in this book are relevant to every situation. I've had multiple people thank me for referring this book to them, and I am grateful to the wise person who referred it to me. This is one of those book I still return to, in fact I bought it in both kindle and paperback formats because I like to quickly thumb through paperback when I'm looking for something in particular, but I like having the convenience of Kindle with me everywhere.
If you are a creative who's curious and loves expanding your design horizons, you will probably really dig this podcast. Unless podcasts aren't your thing, but then you should give it a try, anyway.
Debbie Millman has been creating her Design Matters podcast for 12 years, and her experience as an interviewer helps make this one of the best podcasts there is on the subject of creativity and design. There are 281 episodes available on the website (216 in iTunes). Debbie interviews top-shelf names in the large design world, plenty of recognizable names like Clement Mok or Jonathan Adler, but chances are that most of them are people you probably never heard of before, who are doing really interesting and creative things. It's also refreshing to hear a podcast with just as many talented women interviewed as men.
What an inspirational book. If you consider yourself an 'idea person' but are waiting until you think up the 'next big thing' to take action on your ideas, you need to read this book! This book could help anyone though, because it turns out that what you need to come up with the 'next big thing' is curiosity, empathy, and imagination, and we all have the ability to cultivate those. Some of my fave insights: - Curiosity - Distraction reduces exploring our curiosity, and keeps us in our 'filter bubble' - Empathy - whoever gets closest to their customer wins - Imagination - are we so reliant on data that we become risk averse? Curious? Read this book!
Hunch: Turn Your Everyday Insights Into The Next Big Thing
Since I just found yet another great resource to tweet about thanks to Todd Henry and The Accidental Creative podcast, I figured I need to give a shoutout and spread the word about this show that I recently just discovered even though it's been around since 2011. Todd talks to incredibly interesting people about creative-related things in most of the shows, and he's got great insights himself. I've found it to be a pretty inspirational podcast to listen to, and have gotten insights from every episode I've listened to. I never have enough time to listen to all the podcasts in my feed, but this one is worth making time for. Todd Henry writes books and speaks on creativity and creative-type stuff, and leads workshops with creative teams. If podcasts aren't your thing, he also has a few books to help you be more - you guessed it - creative.
If you have ideas, you like doing things with ideas, or you want to generate more ideas... You should read this book. Scott Berkun is a 'Maker' thinker... which makes this book feel tangibly helpful. Thinking is great, but making, that's where we find our magic. Yet it sometimes feels harder than it should be, this maker-thinker tight-rope that we balance on.
It's a fun read, 'guaranteed' cliché-free, and will give you ideas to improvise, be a genius, and stay motivated. BOOM!
Do you have a goal or a project that you aren’t making as much headway on as you'd like? Or do you feel like you’re swimming in circles and not moving forward? Regardless of how experienced you are in your career, there will be times that you feel stuck. 5 Ways To Get Out Of Your Own Way (And Do Your Work) I heard this fantastic podcast from the Accidental Creative recently, and thought I'd share it (and my own recap for those who don't listen to podcasts) because this is a topic that comes up frequently when I speak with other creatives (although you don't need to be a designer to find these ideas useful).