Do Something You Like to Do

“The important thing, kid, is that you’re doing something you like to do.” (American Dreamer, 1984)

One of my good friends turned a hobby into her job, and she loves it. 

One of my sisters changed jobs to do something that was more in line with her natural strengths and passions, and she’s thriving.

My oldest son grabs a few books and his flashlight (whether he needs it or not) to settle in for some reading every day.

In each of these examples, they all have one thing in common: they’re doing something they like to do.

Much of what I see and hear in my reading of what’s happening within the world of coaching revolves around helping people identify passions, talents and strengths. But this is often as far as it goes. Sure, gaining this clarity and wisdom about who you truly are and what makes you happy can be eye-opening and empowering. But then what? Very few people start putting this knowledge into action to create the life they want to live.

It makes me think of the movie American Dreamer (I’m dating myself… or at least my parents… with this reference). A bored housewife decides to enter a writing contest because she enjoys both reading and writing; it is, from the viewer’s perspective, her escape. After winning the contest, she’s whisked away to Paris for a luncheon in her honor, but she instead winds up with amnesia and embarks on an epic adventure thinking she’s the character in the book. It’s a hilarious movie with incredibly realistic scenes (the kitchen scene at the beginning is always my favorite), but it also goes to show that when you don’t let the world dictate who you are supposed to be, when you let your talents, strengths and passions lead you and define you, you can do incredible things. You can be exactly who you want to be. You get to define your identify and determine your legacy.

“So the important thing, kid, is that you’re doing something that you like to do.” 

Take Action
At the end of your life, will you say, “What a ride!” Or will you be more aware of the regret and a lot of “what ifs”?

Understand what makes you happy and make time for it. The reason why you like these things is they bring you joy. If you don’t add joy to your work and life, no one else will. You’ll notice a big difference in how you show up to your world and how others respond to you.

So ask yourself: if you could do anything right now, what would it be? Why?

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Is “Follow Your Passion” Bad Advice?

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This Can’t Be It, Right?

Not sure about where your life is right now? It’s ok, we’ve all been there. We start to question if we made the right choice in jobs or careers. If we made the right choice in our partner. If we made the right choice to become a parent. To buy a house, get the dog, move to a new place entirely.

Life is full of choices, and sometimes, we can find ourselves getting so caught up in the pace of our everyday life that we forget to check in with ourselves to ask: Is this what I want? Or is this what others are telling me I want?

Sometimes, that check-in happens before making big decisions. Sometimes, it comes after a big decision has been made.

If you find yourself asking, “how did I get here? or “this can’t be it, right?” then this program is for you.

Join us for a 4-week program to learn how to ask yourself the tough questions – and be honest enough to get real answers. Take the time to get to know the real you and how to connect that you to the opportunities in work and life that fit, whomever you may be.

Sign up here.

Disclaimer: This program is designed as a coaching program. Participants will be given access to proprietary tools and a thought process created by The Forte Factor, but these tools do not provide the solution to your question. You are responsible for identifying your goal and working on achieving it. You define success. As a coach, I am here to be your accountability partner. I’ll help you stick to your action plan to work toward your goal, but I will not tell you if your goal is right or wrong, good or bad, productive or unproductive. That is for you to decide.

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Define Your Edges

Think of your life as a road. Your destination: a great life. How you get there is your choice. It’s led by your interests and abilities, which keep you moving along your road, and your values, which serve as your guardrails, the edges that keep you on your road. With a clear vision of your destination, along with clear values, you can keep yourself moving forward on your road in life.

Your guardrails also play an important role in helping you understand when you get triggered. When you have greater awareness of your values, you can better recognize when someone or something bumps the guardrails, challenging your values.

As an example, let’s say excellence is one of your values and a colleague turns in average or poor work. When you are aware of why this irritates or aggravates you (it triggers your value of excellence), you are in a position to intentionally and thoughtfully respond instead of react. You can share your expectations and why the performance challenges a value. You have the ability to solve, stay calm and keep moving.

If you don’t have a clear understanding of your values, you will find yourself all over the place. You won’t be able to stay focused on your goal(s) because you can become easily distracted by all that life can present to you, show you and challenge you with. These distractions require you to need more energy, focus and determination to get back on the road to continue your journey.

But, if you know your values, you’ll see them as providing the edges – the guidance in how to stay on your road and to better understand when you feel triggered. With this awareness, you can use your energy to stay on your road, making your moments count because you know where you are headed and what matters to you.

So how do you develop your guardrails? It’s all based on your values, which you have the responsibility to define. Most of us develop our values over time. Sometimes they come from our families and upbringing. Sometimes they come from us seeing what we don’t want to help us clearly define what we do.

Regardless of where you learned them, it is up to you to constantly review them to determine if they are still yours. It’s not uncommon to discover that a value that was part of your family may no longer be a value of yours, or a belief that came from your school may no longer be true for you.

Your life is your road. You define the edges. Create them, review them and live them so you can stay on your road and constantly move forward in your great life.

Take Action
Reflect on what values guide your decisions and your life. Articulate them. Then consider where you got these from and if they are still for you. Now you have your guardrails. Your road through life just became clearer and easier.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading That’s Life

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I Don’t Believe in an Identity Crisis

I read an interesting article on Scary Mommy about a woman describing her identity crisis in her mid-30s. She talks about some of the behaviors she misses from her 20s and some of the things she looks forward to doing now that she’s in her 30s and she feels stuck between the two because they are truly very different.

But is this an identity crisis?

As a coach, I work with my clients to help them get to know who they really are. What they are good at, passionate about and what matters to them – what we call the True You. Transitioning through phases of life shouldn’t seem like an identity crisis, but an opportunity to welcome new events you may not have previously considered to be exciting before. It just requires us to see that we are always changing, growing into a greater version of ourselves. This awareness comes from being present in our lives and using our lives to give us more information about who we are and how we want to be.

I think saying we are having an “identity crisis” is an easy label to use that people use too freely. I think people who say they’re facing an identity crisis are really saying one of two things:

  1. I’m growing up and I don’t want to let go of the benefits/opportunities being my younger self gave me.
  2. I never really knew who I was and now I’m being presented with a new direction in life that I’m realizing I may never have really wanted for myself.

For the first, it happens. Growing up means using your time in life to experience and learn new things, but it also means that some of the “good old days” will become fond memories, guiding you to be a greater version of yourself. Learning how to shift your mentality to “look how great things were” to “look how great things are and can be” can do wonders for your mental state.

For the second, this is where a coach comes in. To know who you are and to know where you fit in today’s world so you are happy and successful starts by being honest with yourself. At The Forte Factor, we work with our clients to help them become clear about what they are good at, passionate about and what matters to them. The intersection of these areas is what we call your Greatness Zone – that place where you are connected to what is best in you and are able to bring it to your world.

To get there, we encourage our clients to answer a few questions to help them gather information about themselves. Some of the questions we ask include:

  1. When you were young, what were you good at?
  2. When you were young, what did you dream about?
  3. For the you who is here today, what do people applaud you for?
  4. For the you who is here today, how do you spend your free time?
  5. If you had no limits, define one dream, adventure or goal you have in life.

I don’t believe in identity crises. An identity crisis means you are starting to discover, develop and live who you are. As you do this, you will see that you are a work in process, constantly expanding your awareness of who you are, what you came equipped with and where in today’s world you feel most alive. The more tuned in you are, the more you can find, work and live in your Greatness Zone.

Take Action
Ask yourself the hard question: is your life where you want it to be? If not, what can you do to change it? You are at the wheel. You get to decide where you go in life. Tune in to yourself to determine the right direction and what tools and guidance you need to get there. Be true to yourself. Be the True You.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Don’t Panic (Unless You Absolutely, Positively Need to Panic)

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How Your Memories of Childhood Can Improve Your Future

I recently saw Mary Poppins Returns and though I loved the movie, I was surprised by how emotional I felt while watching it. I cried at the obvious things – the song to the wife, the song about where lost things go – but also at other little things, like watching the original Banks children say goodbye to their childhood home and the final scene when Mary Poppins leaves (again).

It took some personal reflection to understand why I was so moved by the movie. I mean, it was wonderful; the actors did a phenomenal job and the story was fantastic (no surprise). It shared the same type of entertainment (singing and dancing), powerful messages (anything is possible) and magic the original movie did. But what made the movie so touching?

I admit, it took a very uncomfortable few hours for me to put my finger on it, but I think I figured it out. Every theme in Mary Poppins was about enjoying life as it is – making the most of every moment – and learning from each moment to make the next one better. The themes in Mary Poppins Returns were also about making the most of life, but with a sad underlying tone about the realities of growing up. The magic isn’t the same.

It made me think about one of the questions we share with our coaching clients: what is something you loved to do as a kid that you don’t do now?

Why is it that as we grow up, we seem to believe that we are required to let go of our big dreams, our magic? Why does it need to be traded in for adulting?

As your coach, I’m encouraging each of you to revisit your dreams and your magic this year. Think about how you defined pure joy as a kid. What were you doing when you felt that pure joy? Why did you stop doing it? How could you bring it back into your life in a meaningful way?

Most of us trade joy for achievement in our ‘get it done’ world. We are taught that doing things for the love of them is less productive than working the to-do list. How will you reflect on your view of work and joy, and intentionally find ways to bring in more of what makes life great?

Take Action
Anything is possible. Such a powerful phrase. Couple that with I love doing this or this is my favorite thing to do and just imagine the opportunities you create for yourself. Take the time to reflect on some of the things you used to do that made you happy. Find a way to make time for them in a meaningful way, and then consider how you can bring others into that joy with you.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Looking Back, What Did 2018 Tell You?

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How Not to be an Eeyore

By Jay Forte

I was recently chatting with a friend about why everyone seems to be so unhappy and why they turn to drinking, diversions and drugs (the 3 Ds) as a means to find happiness (or at least feel happy for a short time).

As a coach, I regularly discuss happiness with my clients and why it has seemingly become so elusive. For example, think of the last time you were really happy. More than likely, you can more easily remember the last time you were mad, sad or scared. Why? Because we default into mad, sad and scared but have to use intention to find happiness.

Our brains are hardwired with four primary emotions: fear, anger, sadness and joy – you know, mad, sad, glad and scared. But of those four, fear, anger and sadness are our defaults. This is because they are part of our defense and survival mechanism (i.e. our fight, flight or freeze brain) – they are our protectors. This part of the brain doesn’t care if you are happy or successful; it just wants you to be here tomorrow. So if you want to lead a joyful life, you have to shift from habit to intention.

We have to work hard to search through all the aggravations, frustrations and difficulties life sends us to find the joy. Think about it. In the same moment you notice the tough, challenging and aggravating things about life, you could also notice the amazing, wonderful and terrific things. They are there; you just have to learn and choose to look for them on purpose. Be mindful. Be aware. Be intentional.

The world will never stop sending challenging events – that is just life. How you respond to them, instead of react to them, is the key to achieving happiness. It isn’t elusive. It just requires greater effort than defaulting into being afraid, angry or sad, and the benefits are exponential.

Here are some tips to help you move toward happy.

1. Focus on what works before you focus on what doesn’t work. In this moment, notice 5 things that are going right. Notice when your mind wants to bring in what doesn’t work. Don’t judge or get stuck on what’s not working. Instead, try to stay focused on what good things are happening. Do this once every day, and work your way up to doing it several times a day. This doesn’t mean you don’t and won’t notice what’s not working. It’s about making a point of noticing and celebrating what is working, as well.

2. Notice and change your negative self-talk. If you had friends that speak to you the way you speak to yourself, you would end the friendship in a minute. Most of what we say to ourselves is critical and negative. Notice your self-talk. Start to shut down the negative talk and add some compliments, care and applause. Start to say things like, “nice job with that report,” or, “I love how confident I feel today.” If all you ever hear is negative, how could you show up happy, glad and in a place of joy?

3. Ask why. When you find yourself feeling mad, sad or scared, ask yourself why. Sometimes, it’s an unfounded reality, one you’ve created for yourself that doesn’t truly exist. Keep asking yourself why until you have an answer. This mindfulness practice forces you to intentionally choose to respond vs. react to any event in life because you’re getting to the root of why you feel the way you do.

The events of and people in life can’t make you happy. Happiness lies with your response to them. Remember, you choose your response. So why not choose happy over afraid, sad and angry?

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. How many times during your day are you glad vs. mad? Why?
  2. What is one thing you can do today to look for what’s right in your world instead of what’s wrong?
  3. How can you start each day with a moment of gratitude about something great in your life?


Consider reading What Does A Good Day Look Like For You?

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