Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When Are You at Your Best?

“Being extraordinary . . . means pursuing our full potential.”*

You have had moments of performing at an extraordinary level; maybe many moments.  It feels really great, doesn’t it!?!

What would it be like to have a job and set of work responsibilities that gave you the opportunity to feel that way on a regular basis?  Right!  Awesome!!!

So how can you make that happen?

First, you need to understand more about what you are truly great at – naturally.  Last year, I blogged about using the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ as one means to learn about your natural strengths.  Here’s another method, called the Reflected Best Self Exercise™ or RBSE.

I am going to give you an overview of the RBSE.  If you want to learn more, then check out the Harvard Business Review** article I provide details about below and/or go to this link at the University of Michigan – this is where the RBSE was invented (and it must be good if an Ohio State alum is recommending something from UM).

In this exercise, you make a list of people (ideally 10 – 20) who know you well and you ask them to provide you with feedback on the unique ways they have noticed you making an important contribution – with specific examples. You will find it inspiring to read all of the examples of how extraordinary you really are!

Next you look for patterns between the different examples and compose a “portrait” of yourself when you are at your best.  Write up your “best self” as a “reflection” of those talents that others have identified.

Now design your ideal job – a job which would allow you to bring your “best self” to it every day.  And then begin to move toward it.  I understand reality – and maybe you cannot completely change jobs soon.  But try to make changes at the margins – to take on responsibilities that allow you to express your “best self” while trading some others out. 

It will take time, but use your Reflected Best Self as your North Star.  Keep moving toward it during your career with the vision of the opportunity to be extraordinary on a regular basis!

*R. E. & G. T. Quinn, Letters to Garrett, Jossey-Bass, 2002.

**“How to Play to Your Strengths,” Harvard Business Review, Roberts, Spreitzer, Dutton, et al, January 2005.

For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

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