About the Author:
Sherry Lowry is a Austin-based business coach who works nationally and
internationally with executives, manages, business owners other coaches,
psychologists and therapists. She brings experience to her clients as a
founder and developer of 7 businesses, including one non-profit organization,
as a consultant and trainer, and professional mentor. Co-leading group
telecalls (via regular telephone connection) and telegroup series is a
speciality....with other field experts on corporate marketing, using public
speaking as a marketing took, marketing with heart, and offers with Diane
Menendez special teleclasses for mental health professionals transitioning as
coaches. In 1996, Sherry founded and continues to host The Coaches’ Showcase,
a free theme-based telegroup exchange with some of the industry’s most
experienced coaches. Also useful is her online collection of The Lowry Notes -
free to the public at her WWW site. She holds two traditional graduate degrees
and has completed the Coach University curriculum. She is on the Board of
International Coach Federation and is a member of Professional Coaches’ and
Mentor’s Association and Texas Executive Women.
Sherry Lowry, MCC
Austin, Texas, USA
Web site: www.sherrylowry.com.
Discover Your Gifts
and Grow Them
"Have the daring to accept yourself as a bundle of possibilities
and undertake the game of making the most of your best." Henry Emerson Fosdick
At some point in the path to The Seamless Life™ approach, you may find
yourself sounding like one of our clients, who had this to say:
"I'm tired of reading books that keep telling me to focus on my weaknesses
and make them better."
Another client reported, "I'm tired of going to trainings to find the perfect ways to sell
and manage. I'm tired of doing things in just the way someone else created them. What's wrong
with who I am?"
He's asking exactly the right question. The answer is, "there's nothing
wrong with you" - except that you believe that in order to be successful, you
need to suffer, to get rid of your weaknesses. Henry Fosdick was right.
But most of us haven't learned to see ourselves as "a bundle of
possibilities." So, we don't build our work lives around making the most
of our best.
Most of us grow up being taught that success is about suffering. About
becoming something other than who we are now. We were taught that
success requires sacrifice. We look around and see our friends, mentors and
parents working long hours and driving themselves to achieve. We learn that
success is about motivating and pushing ourselves to do the things we don't
want to do in order to get the results we think we want.
The truth is that success has nothing to do with suffering. Especially
the suffering that comes when you focus on your weaknesses. Instead, it
has everything to do with focusing on what's brilliant about you, on what you
shine at doing. Success is about tuning into your true gifts and becoming
masterful in them. We never had a client who created The Seamless LIfe™
through focusing on their weaknesses. Never.
Stars like Michael Jordan are a good example: Michael is a star because
he's mastered the game he was innately gifted at playing. He honed in on
his strengths and became even better at what he already did well. As he
focused on his strengths, his weaknesses disappeared of their own accord.
So, what do you do?
Discover your TRUE GIFTS, those things at which you are brilliant:
What in your life are you brilliant at? What do you really "shine" at
doing? It may be how you connect with other people. Your intuitive gifts.
Your innate analytical powers. Your leadership in difficult situations.
Your influence skills. Your creativity.
About the Author:
Diane Menendez, Ph.D., is a business and personal success coach. She has been
coaching since 1983 when she began the High Performance Coaching process as an
internal staff coach at AT&T. Since 1988 she has coached more than 250
business executives in Fortune 100 companies and has provided leadership for
company-wide efforts in executive and leadership development. Menendez’s
special niche in executive coaching is providing support to leaders of rapidly
changing industries who are committed to transforming their personal
leadership styles. She has successfully also transferred her skills to work
with entrepreneurs, other business owners, family owned business leadership,
and non-profit executives and their organizations. She created Results-Focused
Leadership Development, an intensive, creative and empowering process that
influences and inspires client to fully develop their leadership potential
while supporting their company’s mission and goals. Her passions are inspiring
the success of family business members, entrepreneurs and therapists and other
professionals in transition. Her www domain name, HeartDance.com, is an
expression of her belief that, "Our work can bring us joy as well as financial
rewards." Yes, that’s what she means -- real joy, enough to make your heart
Contact info: HeartDance, Cincinnati, Ohio USA, 513-474-1137
You probably already have a good idea about what your true gifts are. It's
critical that you are absolutely clear about what these gifts are. So, if
you're not sure, here are 3 ways to go about finding out:
- Mine your history for your gifts.
Take 15 minutes, sit down and brainstorm a list of what you naturally
excel at. Take out a piece of paper and number down the left hand column,
starting with "10" and numbering up to the age you are now. Go back to the
time when you were 10 years old. Write down the 3 gifts you had then on the
line next to "10." Then, for each year between 10 and your current age,
write down the 1, 2, or 3 gifts you used in that year.
Now, go back and circle the words that keep recurring. Find the 3-5
"gifts" that you consistently used throughout these years. Go back again
and put an asterisk (*) next to the top three gifts that you also most love
to use. The ones that energize and inspire you as you use them.
- Ask your friends and colleagues
Set up appointments with 3 close friends or colleagues. Ask each of them,
"What do you think are my best gifts, the things I have that are my real
assets?" Ask about the opportunities they see for you to use your gifts.
Yeah, we know it takes courage to ask. Risk being embarrassed. The results
are worth it.
You'll uncover new insight into yourself. Only then can you design a life
around your gifts. As they tell you, just listen. Don't interrupt. No
questions, except to clarify. Your job here is just to listen and to take notes.
Compare what your friends describe as your brilliance with the list you
created in step-1. Add to your list.
- Work with our card list.
We have a list we can fax or e-mail to you which lists more than 200 gifts
you may have. We'd be glad to send you a copy (free of charge, of course).
Fax your request to Diane at 513-474-0147 and we'll send you a list.
You use the list by sorting through a set of "cards," each of which
contains a cluster of skills which may be the clues to your gifts. You'll
circle the gifts you think may be yours. Then, you'll whittle your list
down to 5 real sources of greatness you have.
Then, compare them with the results from steps 1 and 2, above. You'll
probably have a very clear sense of the abiding gifts you have that are
those to build your work around.
Refocus your work time around your gifts:
Once you determine what it is that your gifts are, then the real adventure
begins. You'll be able refocus your life-and particularly your work--
around what's great about you.
- Look at how you spend your time.
Is 90 percent of your time focused on what you do really, really well? If
it's not, then you're not maximizing your success and satisfaction. You
have a bigger risk of burning out or getting bored with what you are doing
when you are working most of the time outside of what your true gifts are.
Take a good hard look at all the stuff you spend time on and figure out a
way (through technology, other people, saying no) to do what you do best the
majority of the time. You'll find your results - and your income - will
- Delegate everything but your gifts.
If you're an entrepreneur, this is critical. Rather than forcing yourself
to be good at accounting, hire someone to handle your bookkeeping. Not
organized? Find someone to keep your life in order. Increase the time
you have to be creative, to build relationships with customers-to use your
gifts. Pay other people to do what you are not good at, so you can focus
on using your gifts. (Be wise about this, of course: if you don't find
it easy to be a good spouse, this is not something to delegate!)
- Focus on Mastery.
What will help you take your gifts to the next level, to become the best at
your game? Be like Michael Jordan--look for and stretch the edges of your
game. Right now, list at least 10 things you can do that will allow you
to grow your gifts. Then schedule time this week to do at least five of them.
To get a free copy of our Gifts List, email email@example.com.
Join us next week for another installment of
Tips in Leading the Seamless Life™
where we'll discuss a "seemless life" vs the "SeamLess Life™"
Come back August 3 for Issue # 7 in this bi-weekly series!
E-Mail us with questions or suggestions. Diane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Sherry can be reached at email@example.com.
Diane and Sherry's book, Discovering Your Best Self Through the Art of Coaching, can be ordered at http://www.sherrylowry.com/book.htm.
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