I recently signed up to review books for Thomas Nelson Publishers. I'm loving it! They send you free books as long as you promise to write a review. How much easier could it be?
Anyway, I just finished reading "Find Your Strongest Life" by Marcus Buckingham. Marcus is a best-selling author and the founder of TMBC, a management consulting firm that helps leaders and managers capitalize on the strengths of their people. His mission is "to help each person identify her strengths, take them seriously, and offer them to the world."
Isn't that such a cool mission statement? Makes you want to sit down over coffee and let Marcus help you out. Which is exactly what he does in this book.
I've read lots of self-help books about discovering your passion, finding your purpose and analyzing your personality. But Marcus takes a very different approach in that he focuses on our individual strengths and how we use them in our lives. Included in the book is an invitation to take his online Strong Life test, which helps you discover the Lead Role you play in life -- the role in which you feel most authentic, in control and effective. These roles are identified as Advisor, Caretaker, Creator, Equalizer, Influencer, Motivator, Pioneer, Teacher and Weaver.
I took the test and discovered that my Lead Role is Creator. My results surprised me until I read the description of these roles. A Creator begins by asking "What do I understand?" As Marcus states, "For a Creator, there's nothing quite as thrilling as finding a pattern beneath life's craziness, a core concept that can explain why things play out the way they do, or better yet, predict how things are going to play out. You are a thoughtful person, someone who needs time alone to mull and muse and percolate." This is me exactly!
Another intriguing concept I learned from Marcus is that our performance is not the same thing as a strength. As he puts it, "your strengths are not what you are good at, and your weaknesses are not what you are bad at. Think about it for a minute. Don't you have some activities in your life at which you are extremely proficient, but which bore you to tears?" He defines a strength as an activity that makes you feel strong and doing it invigorates you. It's something that you look forward to doing and when you are finished, you feel authentic, connected to the best parts of who you really are.
After helping to identify your strengths, Marcus gives you some very practical guidance on what to do next and how to implement this information to make life changes. He also addresses how to have a stronger career, stronger relationships and stronger kids. I found his suggestions very insightful and helpful, giving me new ideas to consider.
On the whole, this was a very thought-provoking book and one in which I will read again to mull, muse and percolate over. I highly recommend it!