The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success

It seems that every morning, we wake up to news about layoffs, downsizing, and bankruptcies.

But every day, I also see and hear about entrepreneurial enterprises that are enjoying tremendous successes.

And I wonder – every day – what’s the difference between success and failure? How do small organizations build and maintain a culture of aggressive, innovative decision-making? It seems this is a skill set and a climate that needs to permeate every person in a successful business.

Today I’m realizing that, perhaps, at least part of the answer is hidden in a brown envelope that was in my mail box yesterday.

The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success is the latest offering from Marcus Buckingham. A couple of weeks ago, I learned that Thomas Nelson Publishing has a blogger book review program. Got a blog? Commit to posting a book review – good or bad – and the company sends you a book. I picked Buckingham’s “book.”

It’s not a “book” as much as it is an interactive multimedia kit, featuring a narrative, a DVD and short film, along with a customized notebook for participants – because if you properly use this material, you’re much more than a “reader” – to apply Buckingham’s principles.

I’m in the midst of Section 2, which means I’ve actively completed the following:

  1. Read the introduction
  2. Viewed the 20 minute film
  3. Answered a series of questions & identified my interests
  4. Grasped that a strength is an activity that makes me strong and a weakness is an activity that makes me weak – regardless of whether I’m particularly good or bad at that activity

The next phase of my journey with this material is to spend a week with the “rememo” notepad included in the kit. I’ll be actively logging my activities that finish this statement, “I felt strong when…”

Later, I’ll be concentrating on the flip side of the notebook – “I felt weak (drained, bored) when…”

And Buckingham has already explained in the film and in the early stages of the reading material that “your secret to success” lies in weekly evaluating — and improving on — your strengths. For the rest of your life.

Also important? Not so much “working on” your weaknesses. Certainly not “improving” your weaknesses. The word he uses is “neutralizing” your weaknesses. I like that. A lot. In fact, thinking that way makes me feel strong.

This title is a journey within a journey. Buckingham wants to change the way we think about ourselves and our careers. He wants us to align ourselves with people who are strong where we’re weak. One of the questions I answered today surprised me. I realized how much I love working with people who are strong in areas where I’m weak – and that I thrive on working with people who recognize and respect my strengths.

I admit it – when I opened the brown envelope last night, I thought, “I’ll spend a couple of hours with this and knock out a review.” Well, I’ve done just that – but I also am committed to following through with the program.

Through the questions, I’ve learned something else about myself. I love learning about new ideas – and sharing them with others. I also love making connections between people and ideas.

So, I’m committing to not only continuing Buckingham’s recommendations from The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success, but also posting about my progress.

Guess what? This process affords me the opportunity to do combine some activities that make me feel strong – learning about and sharing new ideas and connecting these empowering concepts with someone who may feel like a victim of poor decision-making by a corporation or big-government bureaucracy.

The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success mentions nothing about external environments or recessions. In fact, Buckingham is explicit when he explains this process is about you and me. It is not about how we feel when “things are done to us by others.” Wow! How powerful is that?

I wonder if, when individuals succeed, organizations are stronger and our nation’s economy improves.

Come back next week. I’ll share what I learned about my strengths.

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