Hindsight is 20/20

In just a few short months, it will be 2020. It’s pretty amazing considering so many of us can vividly remember the “Y2K scare” as we anxiously awaited what we thought would be the world shutting down. How is that already 20 years ago?

Time flies by. I remember my parents saying time only goes by faster as you get older and I completely get it now, especially as I watch my two little boys figuring our their world and we count down the weeks for baby boy #3 to join us. I swear I just blink and a year goes by.

But almost simultaneously, I wonder how it’s possible that so much has changed in such little time. My passions and talents still remain the same, but the things that matter most to me have varied and, as a result, the way I do things and the reason I do things have changed.

We talk a lot about how life likes to present us with both opportunities and challenges, and both are great teachers when you learn where to see the lesson. Next year, I think we’ll start to see and hear the phrase “hindsight is 20/20” a lot as people look to explain away a mistake or a poor decision they’ve made.

So, before the phrase becomes overused to a fault, I’m taking a stand: “hindsight is 20/20” should never be an excuse. It should never be the reason why you believe something could have been done better or differently.

As a coach, I guide my clients to learn from their past but to spend more time in their present. With greater awareness in this moment, more options become available and possibilities increase. Spending time dwelling on the past distracts you from today, the place and time where life is happening.

So, instead of “hindsight is 20/20,” I’m encouraging everyone to replace it with a more productive phrase: 20/20 vision. This is about seeing clearly, not looking back. Though there are lessons when we review our past, what is more valuable is to be fully tuned in and present in the moment – to have 20/20 vision today. That takes effort, intention and commitment. It requires getting past habits and routines and seeing things new and fresh.

So, as we approach 2020, don’t think to yourself, “well, hindsight is 20/20 and I should have done XYZ.” Instead, use it as a reminder to bring your best and clearest vision to your day. Have 20/20 vision as you look at where you are and what is possible. Use this to see things clearly and to get energized for all that life can offer.

Let’s get started.

Take Action
Challenge yourself to take 10 minutes out of your day to create three lists. On one list, write down everything you love to do. On the second list, write down everything you’re really good at. And on the last list, write down everything that really matters to you.

You’ll discover that the real challenge is not to find the time to do it, but instead to avoid using each list to create the next one. There may be some overlap, but the point of this exercise is to illustrate that, for example, you may have existing passions (what you love to do) and talents (what you’re really good at) that are aligned but you may never have considered exploring as a job, career or hobby.

Let the term 20/20 not make you focus on hindsight, but rather be an inspiration to see clearly today. See the real you. Define what makes you happy. Find your fit in today’s world. Then go make it happen.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Managing Your Self-Talk

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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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Find Your Passion – And why that’s good advice

By Jay Forte

I recently learned of a study by researchers from Yale and Stanford in which they state “find your passion” is bad advice.

That’s a sweeping statement. But I don’t agree. It is up to each of us to discover who we are – our talents, abilities, passions and interests. The mere discovery of them starts the process. We can’t develop and live who we really are if we first don’t discover it.

Let me challenge some of the researchers’ thinking.

1. “Find your passion” vs. “develop your passion.” These are two completely different statements. “Finding” is different from “developing.” Finding or discovering your passions are required to identify what must be developed. The statement I use with my clients is that no one was born with an owner’s manual. You learn about who you are by showing up present, aware and mindful to life. You like some things and not others. Do you notice this? Can you learn from this? Life is a menu of amazing things that you don’t know are available until you find and experience them. Until you do the work, they are unknown and when unknown, they cannot be developed and used to guide you to live a happy and successful life.

All of us have particular interests and passions – they activate us. I call them life’s fuel. It is up each of us to sort through our world to identify and develop those things that energize, activate and inspire us. Once known – and we know them by how they get our attention – we can choose to spend the time to develop and use them to create our lives in a way that matters to us.

2. Growth mindset vs. “you’re born with it.” The researchers state it’s more beneficial to encourage a growth mindset vs. saying you’re born with fixed, inherent traits. Right. Growth is important, but only after you become aware of what original equipment you are indeed born with. DNA does in fact influence your abilities. Your predisposition and intrinsic excellence with some abilities and not others tells you that you are not great at everything, but you can be exceptional at the things that need what you do and like best. Bottom line: unless you have both an ability and a passion for something, you are not likely to pursue and grow in it.

Consider a pro athlete with an intrinsic talent and passion for the sport who succeeds by working diligently to develop it. Abilities and passion. Consider also the talented athlete who only plays the sport when time allows. Abilities without passion. I may be talented in my connection with people, but have no passion for selling. I may be talented with music, but have no passion to learn and play an instrument. Both are important and it is awareness of both the ability and the passion that creates the opportunity for both to be developed.

In my book The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself-Find Your Fit, Transform the World, we find our fit – our “greatness zone” – at the intersection of what we are good at, passionate about and what matters to us. Each of these three areas play a role in our ability to show up fully, make our impact and deliver on our sense of purpose. Together, they guide us to the places in work and life that bring us the greatest joy and impact.

3. Be informed about your passion. The researchers state you can encourage someone to pursue a passion, but ensure that it’s “informed and complemented by the world of knowledge that exists…” I agree, and that’s why the coaching approach we take at The Forte Factor is so different from the way the rest of the world works.

We guide our clients through a self-discovery and self-awareness process – to identify their unique abilities, passions and values, and to develop the clarity of who they are so they can assess how to show up successfully in today’s world, workplace, relationships and life. They define what they want, assess who they really are and build plans to close that gap through the development of their abilities, passions and values.

My belief is that we each must discover, develop and live who we are. We have unique abilities, passions, and values – they become our ingredients for a most amazing life. It first starts with knowing the ingredients. They can then be developed and used to make something great. Strengths create the abilities. Passions create the fuel. Values create the inner guidance.

It isn’t bad advice to “say find your passion.” Rather, finish the thought and say, once you find your passion, develop it so it fuels your performance and energy so you can work and live in a way that brings your greatest happiness and success.

What do you think? Is it bad advice to say “find your passion”?

What Fills You Up: Finding Your Fit

By Kristin Allaben

Ok, I admit I was a cliché this holiday season. At the encouragement (read: nagging) from both sisters and my mother, I agreed to watch a few Hallmark movies. And in the last month of my pregnancy, followed by having a newborn, turning on one of those feel-good movies when you find yourself up at odd hours in the night was a true God-send (though don’t tell them I enjoyed it).

I recently watched the last Hallmark movie I had left on my DVR, “Coming Home for Christmas,” and was happily surprised to find that in the first 5 minutes, the lead character talks about finding her fit, her passion, the thing in life that “fills her up.”

True to Hallmark’s fashion, the story focused a bit more on the romance than I naively expected based on the set-up, but the message was there: how can you be truly happy when you don’t know what makes you happy?

There is a saying, “the road is paved with good intentions.” I think this applies to many people’s New Year’s resolutions. We set out with the intent to eat better, to be happier, to be more mindful and present to ensure we’re enjoying and appreciating every moment. But, as the first 5 minutes of the Hallmark movie points out, “complacency is an easy trap to fall into when you don’t yet know your thing.”

So commit to “knowing your thing” this year.

How do you start?

Reflect on these questions:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • When you wish time would stand still, what are you doing?
  • What are your three greatest strengths?
  • What really matters to you today?

The answers to these questions can give you increased clarity about yourself, and with that self-awareness, you can more effectively assess where in work and life you can employ these.

See, the more you align yourself in work and life to the places that need what you do and like best, the more engaged, powerful and capable you feel. It fills you up.

So what’s next? Take the free 3AboutMe Talent Assessment to discover your strengths and core abilities. Reflect on your passions and interests. Then, with this information, create your personal branding statement (here’s how). Use this to become clear about who you are, what fits you and how how this can help you stay passionate, fulfilled and happy in life.

 

Consider reading The Power of Passions

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When you’re too old for a career change

By Kristin Allaben, Strategic Communications Specialist and Executive Assistant

I recently started watching “Great News,” a show about a 30-something TV producer and her 60-something year old mother who joins the staff as their newest intern. Though there are plenty of laughs and cringe-worthy moments when you think about having one of your own parents “hovering” (as the lead character calls it) at work, it brings to light a growing theme in today’s workforce: you’re never too old to make a career change.

This topic is being increasingly addressed across many avenues, particularly in entertainment as there have been a number of TV shows and even movies, like The Intern with Robert DeNiro, that address the idea of a Baby Boomer returning to work in a new environment after retirement.

But it’s not just Boomers making these big career changes. At the age of 28, I found myself questioning my career in PR. I had been working tirelessly to build my career as a PR executive, but after investing nearly 10 years in the industry through both internships and full time positions, I found myself burned out and questioning if I really loved the job. I kept thinking 28 is too young to be burned out, to question your career path. Something must be wrong with you. You chose wrong and now you’re stuck.

But as it turns out,

  • I wasn’t stuck following a career path I wasn’t sure was for me, and
  • I wasn’t alone.

According to a study from LinkedIn completed in 2016, millennials will jump jobs an average of four times within the first 10 years they’re out of college before they settle on a career, double what was seen from the generation before during that same timeframe.

Though the study wasn’t entirely clear about whether those jobs were within the same industry or if they involved industry changes, it still illustrates that making a change can be healthy.

I took the 3AboutMe Talent Assessment and really studied my results, thinking long and hard about the opportunities that knowing my Big Three presented for me. I ultimately decided to try something different that aligned to my core strengths and passions.

After about a year, I realized the move wasn’t the best fit; though I enjoyed elements of the work, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. This wasn’t a waste by any stretch of the imagination, though. It actually gave me the opportunity to try something new, and to reaffirm my love for PR and marketing. As a result, I pitched the creation of a new role, one the company did not have, and was tasked with creating the job description, interviewing for the position and, when I accepted the job offer, continuing to help the role evolve as I went along.

What will be interesting to see is how millennials in the workforce continue to evolve over the next 20, 30 or 40 years. Will we keep job hopping? Or will learning how to be more self-aware help us zero in on roles that are a better fit earlier on so we don’t continue to make job changes? Or will we continue to follow in the footsteps of the Boomers and choose to make big career changes long after we’ve decided we’re “too old” to make a change?

Regardless, I think we can all agree: you’re never too old to make a career change. Sometimes it just takes us a while to find our spot.

Considering a career change in the New Year? Take the 3AboutMe Talent Assessment to get to know your Big Three to help you find your fit in today’s world.

 

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Choose Your Future

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

As part of a large family, I remember getting into skirmishes with my siblings. With all of the bodies and attitudes in a large family, conflicts seemed inevitable. I remember the guidance from my parents as a conflict started to brew – “Choose wisely about what you do next, or it could earn you a trip to your room for a month…”

Though that statement generally got my attention at the moment, I have also appreciated its great wisdom about how to approach life. Choose wisely about what you do next. Choose your future.

Frequently, we get pulled and pushed into places that don’t need or align to our greatest passions and abilities. So, we show up disengaged, bored or disinterested. We show up average in a life that is designed to be amazing. We show up small when things could be great, and the effect of these poor choices can be felt at both work and in personal relationships.

So how do you choose more wisely about your future?

Here are my three tips.

  1. Commit the time and effort to know yourself. Discover and develop your strengths, passions, values and abilities. Know what you do best. Know what you like best. Know what activates your greatest energy. Know what you truly believe. Know who you are.
  2. Expand what you know of your world and its opportunities. To find the ones that fit you the best, you have to continue to discover what the world, workplace and life have to offer. There is a place where all of these intersect; that is your thing, your place, your fit.
  3. Focus on Fit. By expanding what you know of yourself and what you see in your world, you have enough of the right information to better assess where you fit. What aligns with your abilities and interests? What opportunities will allow you to showcase what is best in you? What roles will help you create your greatest impact? Choose what moves you, excites you and activates you – fit matters.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. What are your three greatest strengths?
  2. When you wish time would stand still, what are you doing?
  3. What are three things that are important to you and your life right now?

To choose wisely, know yourself and know your world. See the options. Consider the options. Choose those that fit you best.

 

Need help making wiser choices? Consider the Life Possibilities and Career Possibilities coaching programs. Or, talk to a coach about what coaching can do to help you wisely choose your future.

 

Consider reading The Power of Passions.

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The Power of Passions

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

One of my greatest passions is food. Shopping for the right ingredients, growing it directly, cooking it, serving it – it’s all in my passion area. I can’t sit through a movie, but I can binge watch cooking shows all day. I’m passionate about learning what other cultures eat, trying new foods, tasting new spices, reading cookbooks and testing cutlery. There’s a reason why the blog is named “Know Your Ingredients.”

Key to living a life you love is connecting to the things that activate your passions. Passions are your guideposts in life. They help you sort through all that is available for the things that get your attention. It’s your passion that fuels you to get out of bed early to train for a marathon, to write music, to work with special needs kids, to become a foster parent or to actively support an important personal cause, like World Food Day.

Passions encourage you to imagine, dream and invent. When you are passionate about something, you allow yourself to push the edges, to reach for more. Passions encourage people to start their own businesses, study abroad, challenge wrongs, develop new skills, invent new technology, go to college or even work on solving global problems. The list of possibilities that your passions can inspire is limitless.

Since passions are key to a great and happy life, how do you discover them? Consider these questions to become more aware and focused on developing your passions:

  • When I wish time would stand still, what am I doing?
  • When I have or make time, or have extra money, where do I spend it?
  • When I am my happiest, what am I doing?
  • When I feel energized and excited, what am I doing?

Remember, your passions are unique to you. Don’t try to figure out why you love cooking, stamp collecting, marathons, football, printmaking, car restoration or searching for antiques. Simply make time and space to connect to what activates your inner energy.

But be aware that there is a difference between an interest (low energy) and passion (high energy). Both are important in life, but it’s your passions that raise the bar. They are the frosting – the sweet part (see, everything comes back to food for me) – of a great life.

A final thought. You don’t need to explain or justify your passions to others. What activates your passions is personal to you. And you don’t need to take on others’ passions as yours if they do not carry the same energy for you.

Your passions are part of what makes you unique. It’s up to you to discover and develop them to bring great value to your version of life.

 

Are you struggling to define or develop your passions? Take our 3AboutMe Talent Assessment.

 Still stuck? Consider working with a professional coach.

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Embrace Your Face

By Jay Forte

You were born with your amazing face. It matches your unique combination of talents, strengths, passions and interests. It goes along with your values, dreams and aspirations. Don’t try to hide it, trade it for another or find fault with it. Embrace it; it is you and represents the real you.

Embrace your face means you accept yourself; you see yourself as valuable, important and just right as you are. No fixing needed. No validation from others required.

The biggest thing I have learned in my years on the planet is those who have happy, successful and amazing lives fully understand and accept who they are. They have learned not to compare themselves to others because they know we are all different and unique on purpose. They don’t see what they have or don’t have as good or bad – they just see that everyone has unique abilities, talents and gifts. No one person is any more amazing or gifted than another, they are just a different type of amazing and have different gifts. They know life isn’t about being perfect, or being like someone else; it is about being real, honest, authentic and committed to knowing and living who you really are – to be the best version of you.

For many years, I lived my life according to the way those around me thought I should. I tried to “change my face” to act more like others, do what they do, believe what they believe, live how they live. It was too easy to see others and want what they have, be like them or live their way. But it quickly became evident that when I did that, I felt further and further from who I was, like I was living someone else’s life.

Don’t let this happen to you

The more you don’t embrace your face, the more you lose or hide the great things in you. You find yourself in places that don’t fit you, engage you or inspire you. You play small. You miss out.

I believe we are each here to do great things, things only we can do. And we can’t do them if we don’t embrace who we are, accept ourselves and develop the gifts, talents and abilities that are inherently ours. Not only do you miss out by not being really you, we all miss out on the great things you were born to do.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How do you embrace your face – and all of you that comes with it?
  2. What is one thing you could do today to be more authentic, honest and true to yourself?
  3. What will help you develop the courage to live who you really are and not be so worried about what others think and feel about you?

You are you and you were born just right. Stand proud. Discover, develop and live your true self. Embrace your face.

 

Consider reading Tune Out to Tune In

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Tune Out To Tune In

By Jay Forte

It is rare to see someone not connected to a device. We’re constantly gathering information from sources that fill our brains with things others think are important. But there is something this constant chatter can never give you – information about you.

It is obviously necessary to stay connected in today’s world. However, before you can truly understand the impact of the news and information you hear, you need to know you – the you that has to make choices about what’s right for you and what’s not for you in both work and life. This requires tuning out to tune in.

Every one of us has unique and amazing talents and strengths that are distinctively ours. There are no two people on the planet who share identical profiles and, as a result, there isn’t anything the outside world will tell you that will help you identify your talents and strengths to help you find your fit. No one will hand you an owners’ manual or a life guide book; you have to write this yourself.

We can find our particular place and way of living, one that aligns to what we do and love best, because we are all different and unique. It is in this alignment that we can choose how we show up in every moment of our lives, regardless of whether that moment is big or small.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, a mindfulness expert and author, shares that if you are able to be more aware in this moment, then you are able to use the information from this moment to make your next moment better.

Basically, if you can be self-aware in this moment – to you know your talents, strengths, passions and interests – you can use that information to make a better and wiser decision about you in the next moment. True, you need to know what is going on in your world too, but only after you discover who you are to use what you know of you to make wise decisions in your world. Don’t let the world tell you who to be – know who you are and bring the real you to find your fit in all areas of work and life.

To access this critical information, tune out the noisy, opinionated and directing world and tune in to you – the wise, talented and amazingly unique person you are. Doing so will give you access to the information needed to make wiser and better choices.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. What do you notice about yourself when you really pay attention to who you are and what makes you, you?
  2. How can learning about the real you help improve your decisions in work and life?
  3. What can you do today to disconnect from the world to better understand yourself?

You are great and awesome just as you are. Don’t be a stranger to yourself – take the time to discover, develop and live the true you. You are here to do great things.

 

Consider reading Create a Personal Report Card

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