Today on my run, I had so many great ideas to write, teach and develop that I can’t get them out of my head and onto this screen fast enough. Ridiculous in a really exciting way. Sort of like Popeye eating spinach, then being able to lift 500 pounds... except my version's cognitive. This happens frequently when I run, which is why I now know that I have to do it all the time- more for my head than anything else.
This morning I had a realization about why I need that running think time so much. It has to do with how I, like most people, get in my own way a lot of the time. You see, I have this combination of Activator/Command/Woo mixed with Ideation/Strategic. It’s actually a great combo for coaching, leading, presenting and consulting. I come up with great strategic ideas and can motivate people to act on them and make a difference in their lives, thinking and organizations right away- really cool. There’s an adrenaline rush for me that comes with action and shift- and it’s also how I define my own success- by what gets opened, or shifted. Yet a lot of the time, those action strengths will trump the thinking strengths if I let them.
Consider your strengths, and which ones dominate if you let them.
For me, the compulsion to create shift, find the way to the other side of a challenge or answer the call to action is almost addictive. I can’t resist it. When given the choice to think on something for awhile or take action, I’ll take the action every time. Luckily my instincts are good (and even my on-my-feet reactions are strategic)- so that works out most of the time.
Responding and building off the energy and call of others for solution or a better way is what I do well, quickly, visibly and professionally. It happens, gets reinforced by the world, and creates its own momentum. Oh- and it's super-fun (that adrenaline thing). There’s a cost, though; I can easily miss or neglect the deep-dive thinktime to feed my thinking strengths, because left to its own devices the activator in me does its dominant thing... steps up to do something asap. Over time, that drains energy and overall effectiveness- like working out really hard all the time yet not getting enough sleep to fuel it. For me, immersive thinking and ideation time fuels my activator-strategy mode.
What’s your parallel here? What do you do well and reflexively, which gets reinforced and multiplied in your world? What other strengths do you have, which need more space?
Often contrast shows us our patterns clearly... like which strengths we default to, and which might need more playtime. Lately I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time collaborating on a powerful, creative non-profit project- which has had much more thinking and thinking time in its process than the action-orientation of my other work. It’s not something I ever make this much thinking time for, and it’s yielding great ideas which will have big impact in the world. Because of that, my action craving is hooked, but the creative noodling process to get there is also feeding me in ways I truly underestimated. This recently hit me on a day when other work/life expectations and deadlines were pressing- but I was able to tune it all out, zoom into my project ideation session, be fully engaged and energized by it without feeling distracted by the rest. The energy from that deep ideation carried over into my other work, and turboboosted it, too, because more of my strengths were awakened, stimulated and present, showing up to the work!
What can you immerse yourself in, which both taps and feeds some different strengths?
I will continue to run– where I can just think, reflect and ideate without the drive of action. This kind of thinking, and creating the deliberate space for it (like my runs) yields ideas I just can’t get to by reacting to the world, no matter how strategically I do it. While it's not so instantly measurable in impact, it's critical for shift of a deeper sort which I can only get to when I'm feeding all of my strengths. I will deliberately keep creating forums for myself outside my normal pattern, which feeds those less-loud strengths, because today's run reminded me that creating this space isn't just personally satisfying, but actually necessary for me to get to the biggest breakthroughs I’ve got to bring the world.
So… What are the strengths you have which keep overshadowing the others, because they’re louder in your head or easier to access in your reactions to the world? Which strengths do you need to manually make more space for, so you can be fed from their energy too, adding to what you bring the world everyday? How can you create that space for yourself?