Tuesday, February 10, 2015 7:48 PM

16For those keeping score, I’ve just completed revision one out of six revisions I’m planning of the novel I started during NaNoWriMo this past November. That may not sound like a very high score; one out of six. That’s 16%. Or more realistically, it’s probably something like 8%, since I need to go back and do it all again to make sure I got the story right (the way I want it). But…I completed that first revision in about three weeks, working about an hour a night, five nights (or weekend days) a week. So at that rate, I’ll be finished with all six revisions by…oh heck, you do the math; I’m focusing on the writing. 

And how’s it going, you might ask? Or you might not. But my mom asks, so I should probably have a good answer ready. Well, I’ll tell you it’s gone surprisingly well so far. I know, I know, I’ve barely started. I have many, many days, weeks, and months of work ahead, which I’m doing in teeny tiny chunks of time. It’s not all going to be a walk in the park. But for now at least, I’m really enjoying the process. I’m enjoying the work.

Today I went to a monthly chapter meeting for learning and development professionals (that’s what I do in my grown-up, real life job). It’s a wonderful bunch of people, many of whom I consider friends. Today’s topic was leveraging strengths to accelerate meaningful change. Our presenter (co-founder and CEO of Forte) started by asking us to turn to a neighbor and talk about a time when you were at your best, either at work or home. We were to do that in 30 seconds, and then give three adjectives to describe how we felt then. My partner, one of those gems I consider a friend, shared about an awesome experience she’d had recently teaching communication skills to a group. The learners were engaged, talkative, and the session went really well. It made her feel successful, proud, and connected. Isn’t that awesome? How often do we get to feel like that at work? Or in life? Well, we should all get opportunities to feel like that regularly.

When it was my turn, I shared how I felt after writing 50,100 words during the month of November, during NaNoWriMo. I felt powerful. And like my friend, I felt both proud and connected. Connected? Yes. I know it’s odd to feel connected during a seemingly solo activity like writing, but for anyone who’s taken part in this international writing event, you know what a sense of community there is. And not just that, but by sharing with all of you through my blog and Facebook posts, I’ve connected with people I’ve never met in person but would like to (Caroline S. I’m looking at you!), people I haven’t seen in years (Ingrid and Tanya), and friends and family near and far.

The point of the exercise was to be aware of the things that give you energy. Your strengths are what you’re good at. But a strength in and of itself doesn’t necessarily energize you. You could be really, really good at something, but not necessarily like doing it. But the things you’re good at that also make you feel good, that energize you, using those is where you hit peak performance. Two of my strengths (according to the Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment, which I happen to be a big fan of and use in my work) are connectedness and communication. How fortunate am I that I get to use those in my day-to-day work, and in this thing that I now have a passion for, writing for fun?

What about you? What gives you energy? Do you get the opportunity to do that regularly? How different would your work, your life be if you approached it from that direction?

My tea cup is long empty, so until next time…

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