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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What Pasta Can Teach You About Having a Great Life in 2019

By Jay Forte

My family is Italian. In an Italian house, all good life lessons involve food. Here is one…

Life is like pasta because no matter how you serve it, it is always good. But with a little information about the shape of the pasta (what makes it unique) and the sauce that fits it, it can change the dish from good to great. This requires a quick pasta lesson.

Pasta is a “carrier” – the shape of the pasta is used to deliver, appreciate and celebrate its sauce. There are nine types of pasta – short/long, smooth/lined, flat/round, straight/cupped, or filled. Pasta – good. Pasta with the right sauce – great.

Consider:

  • Chunky sauces (think marinara, Bolognese, vegetable or meat sauces) require pasta with lines, edges and short lengths so they can carry the chunky sauce with each bite.
  • Oil or butter sauces (think pesto, garlic and oil, cheese and butter) require smooth or filled pasta of any length or size because they just need to be evenly coated and light to allow the taste of the filling to shine through.
  • Cheesy sauces (think alfredo, béchamel or any creamy sauce) require shorter pasta with large openings, curves or scoops to bring more of the sauce with each bite.

Think about the American favorite – spaghetti with meat sauce. A meat or tomato sauce does not stick to a slick, long and thin, slippery pasta. The result is when you finish the pasta, the sauce is still in the bowl. Unforgivable for an Italian! Instead, if you love meat or tomato sauce, use a lined ziti, penne, mostaccioli or rigatoni – you’ll enjoy the sauce and the pasta together. With this little bit of information, we can now better match the sauce with the pasta and go from good to great.

It is the same in life. To set the stage for a great and happy life in 2019, remember that we are each like a shape of pasta – we are unique in our personal combination of talents, interests and values. This combination works great in some places and not so well in others. When we know ourselves and connect ourselves to the places in work and life that fit us, we are like pasta connecting to the rights sauce – things move from good to great. When we align ourselves to what we do and like best, we become more capable, competent and confident. We have found our “thing.” We feel more successful and happier. Everything is better.

The more you know and appreciate what makes you unique, the more I am reminded of what my mother told us as she taught my five siblings and me how to cook, “When you know your ingredients, you can always make something great.”

Know your ingredients – your talents, strengths and passions – then select the things in life that need your amazing (and unique) ingredients. This is how to go from good to great in the kitchen, and how to have a great and happy life in 2019 and beyond.

One of my favorite pasta recipes: Ziti with Spinach and Olives

In a large sauté pan, sauté a finally chopped onion, pancetta (or smoky bacon) and crushed red pepper in olive oil. When cooked, add black and green olives (I’m Italian – I don’t measure things; we go by look and feel. Add as many olives as you like). In a separate pot, cook ziti (smooth, no lines; this is an oil-based sauce). Drain ziti and add to it to the pan with onion, pancetta and olives, and return it to the (low) heat. Add a small handful of fresh gently-chopped spinach for each person being served and stir until the spinach is wilted and the ingredients are blended. Pour into a large warmed pasta bowl to be set in the middle of the table. Top with fresh ground black pepper and freshly-grated parmesan cheese.

Total time – about 12 minutes.

Swap out the spinach for swiss chard, beet greens, arugula, kale or whatever is fresh. Serve with a salad.

Tutti a tavola!

 

Consider reading Embrace Your Face

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I Don’t Know is Ok (right now)

By Kristin Allaben

At The Forte Factor, we talk a lot about the importance of knowing who you are to discover, develop and leverage your natural strengths, talents and passions to be able to align what you love to do with your world. This alignment can lead to greater happiness, greater fulfillment and a greater life.

It all starts when you see the importance and make the time to intentionally tune in to you and your world. This is how you find your fit.

But what if your best fit doesn’t make sense for you right now? What if your fit requires a time or financial investment you just don’t have? What if it requires a big change your family can’t support right now?

You can learn everything about yourself from the inside and out, recognizing your talents, passions and natural abilities, but that is only part of tuning in to you. You must also understand and recognize what is an idea vs. what is acceptable, especially if you are part of something larger, like a family, a relationship or previous commitment right now. That is a crucial component. You need to be able to accept what could be, and what is. What has to work now, and what is possible for the future.

I strongly believe this is part of understanding who you are because greater knowledge of your strengths and passions should be paired with the knowledge of context, especially of what limitations may exist. This isn’t to say the perfect fit for you will never be, it just means that it might not be right now.

To clarify, I’m not giving you a pass. This is by no means an excuse to just accept what is and wait for something better to come along. Saying I don’t know right now, or I can’t right now is truly being tuned in to your world. It is being realistic. Sometimes not knowing or not being able to make a change is the best it can be at the moment. How can you see this, accept it and still stay focused on better fit things that could be part of your future?

As you’re learning more about yourself, as you’re tuning in and listening to you and your world, remember to also listen to your inner voice, listen to what is, listen to what is true. Then tune in to the world to be fully present to what is going on. With this awareness, ask yourself what else could happen in the next moment to bring you closer to what fits you.

Sometimes not knowing what to do is just a way that shares with you that more information is needed. Use that message to dig deeper into your understanding of yourself and your world. Perhaps a different focus or different direction would suit you better.

Take Action

If you had the opportunity to take a big step toward better alignment with your passions and strengths in today’s world, would you do it? What would give you pause? What needs to happen to make your perfect fit your reality? What does the “right now” look like for you to say I know?

 

Consider reading Go Center Yourself

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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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Your Big Three and Succeeding in an Interview

By Jay Forte

If you’ve taken the 3AboutMe Talent Assessment, you have successfully identified your Big Three – your three greatest strengths. Congrats! This insight into three of your natural strengths can prepare you to excel in any kind of interview.

And this insight, combined with the creation of your personal branding statement to narrow down your key strengths and passions, can set you apart in your interview.

Here are three tips to help you learn how to efficiently share what’s unique about you in any type of interview situation.

1. Select the 3 or 4 words that will be most meaningful in an interview, and be sure you share them in your interview.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here; these words can be the ones you used in your personal branding statement. Having those words readily available to you in an interview will help the conversation stay focused on why the opportunity is the right fit for you.

For example, let’s say you are interviewing for an internship or a job that will have you working on a team. You could listen for places in your interview to share that you are supportive, team-focused, reliable, loyal and hardworking – so, something like, “Let me share with you two places in my recent past where my reliability, team-focus and loyalty has made a difference.” Or, “I find my success is because I am supportive of my teammates and my personal standard for hard work – let me share what this looks like…”

2. Connect your words to activities that show your words in action.

Let’s say your words are analytical, practical and results-focused. To illustrate an example of your performance in an interview, you could state, “my analytical focus helped me create a shortcut to a process that saved the organization $X.” Or, “my focus on results helped me save 5% from the cost of delivery in just one month.”

3. Show how your talents and strengths will add value and make a difference in the role and organization.

The real purpose of an interview is to gather information, so by sharing how your core abilities will help lead to your success in the role and in the organization, you make it easy for the interviewer. For example, you could share that your supportive and cooperative nature helps you work with diverse teams. Or you could share that your detail-oriented, methodical and analytical strengths can help you to be efficient as well as effective in the role. Helping those who are hiring to quickly and easily understand what is best in you and how you will add value and make a difference will ultimately lead to your interview success.

Familiarizing yourself with your strengths helps you know and share what is strongest and best in you. Use them first to choose the work, school and life environments that need what you do best, then be sure to share your words in any interview or networking opportunity to show how you fit in a specific role or opportunity.

And remember: a select few people do this. It therefore gives you an edge.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. Think back to a recent interview and reflect on how it went. Were you happy with the discussion? Were there things you wish you said?
  2. Regardless of the outcome of that interview, how can you ensure future opportunities – whether other interviews, employee reviews or networking opportunities – produce the outcome(s) you want?
  3. With the insights obtained from the 3AboutMe Talent Assessment, how will you continue to invest in yourself?

 

Be sure to share the 3AboutMe Talent Assessment with others.

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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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