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We spend a lot of time at the beginning of each New Year trying to “fix” what is wrong with us… lose weight, spend less-save more, exercise, quit smoking, get a new job…
Typically, the first two weeks of these new goals are fantastic! But by February, most people are back where they started. Why? Are we just lazy?
No! We are just trying to motivate ourselves in the wrong way!
Think about something that sets your heart on fire! What is that thing? What expands your mind and makes you want to dive deeper into that topic? What connects you on a deeper level to people around you? What is a topic that you cannot help yourself from speaking about? Is there something that you can’t wait to make happen?
We need to change our mindsets from “fixing” a problem to CREATING a world where you can shine your light in a way that is uniquely you!Read more
Learner: People exceptionally talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. The process of learning, rather than the outcome, excited them.
Learners have a constant desire to learn and improve. They are energized by the journey of learning new facts, the beginning of learning a new subject and mastering skills. (Although- they may become bored once they master something.)
Learning builds their confidence! Learners learn quickly and love to be on the cutting edge of that learning.
This is my #2 theme and I love having this one! I can relate to wanting to be a perpetual and lifelong learner. When someone talks about something new, I almost immediately want to learn more about it. This week I went to visit my great aunt, who has alzheimer's. Although most of her memory is gone, she was able to sing songs with perfect recall. It was fascinating to me. I came home and spent time online learning about memory and brain functions- especially as it relates to alzheimer's.
Those kinds of tangents are something Learners LOVE! Life goes in one direction, and leads you to a place of a new learning adventure!
As a teacher, I am constantly learning new things with my students. Their interests in various things have allowed me to dive into many various learning opportunities. It has also given me the opportunity to teach the things that I have learned. One of the natural outcomes for a learner is to teach.
Are you a Learner? How do you use this Strength in your teaching? What tangents have you been on lately that have led you to interesting places of new learning?
Rock Your Strengths!
Learner: People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
Learner is my #2. The things I want to learn often drive my intentions. Being in situations where I have to learn many things at once is where I want to be!
In Jesus' day, girls did not have formal education, like Jewish boys did. Boys had rigorous studies and many opportunities to learn new things. So, I can imagine how excited Mary of Bethany was when Jesus came into town and He allowed her to sit at His feet and learn from Him! I can just picture her taking in every moment and being completely engrossed in the lessons.
Mary lived with her sister, Martha, and brother, Lazarus (whom Jesus raised from the dead). We see Mary three times in scripture. All three times she is sitting at Jesus' feet.
1) Jesus (and His disciples) had come to Martha and Mary's home. Martha was busy with much serving and was frustrated that her sister, Mary, wasn't helping...she was sitting at Jesus' feet, learning from the Master Teacher. Jesus said that she was "choosing the better"- not that preparing the meal wasn't important, but that Mary's desire to be near to her Lord and hang onto His every word was far more beneficial than running herself ragged with preparations for a meal.
2) In John 11 Lazarus, Mary and Martha's brother had died. Jesus felt their great sorrow and wept with the sisters. In vs. 34 Mary sees Jesus and fell at His feet. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
3) Just before Christ's crucifixion a meal had been prepared for Jesus and His followers. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were there, listening to Jesus speak. At some point, Mary broke open an alabaster jar and poured a pint of very expensive perfume on Jesus' head and feet, and wiped them with her hair. She was chastised for this showing of love, but she said nothing. How could you help but see your brother, who was once dead and now at a dinner party, and not show great love to the One who showed great love to your family?
As a parent, I want my children to learn many things: how to read, write, do math, care for themselves, how to be good citizens...but the most important thing I can teach them is to learn at the feet of Jesus. These are the lessons that will get them through rough times, build them up when they feel week, and give them hope, joy and courage.
But if we are going to look at a Learner, we also need to look at the Ultimate Learner: Jesus!
Luke gives us the only story of Jesus' childhood. There must be something important for him to select this story out of all the stories there could have been.
As you may know, after Jesus was born, King Herod was paranoid with jealousy that a baby boy could have been born as the Messiah. He had all the boys 2-years old and younger slaughtered. However, an angel warned Joseph and Mary and they fled to Egypt. When Herod died, the angel again appeared and let them know it was safe to return home. They settled in Mary's hometown of Nazareth.
Mary and Joseph raised Jesus according to the law of the Lord. "And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." (41)
Every year they went to the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem. When he was 12 years old he went with them.
Jesus had voluntarily laid aside his godhood when He took human form. Philippians 2:6-8 says, "who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
Luke 2:46 "Now so it was that after 3 days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to hem and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers."
Even as a young boy, Jesus' ability to learn and grasp concepts amazed his teachers! As a young boy of 12 years old, he was drawn to the temple, a place of learning and instruction!
What are you learning now that can make an eternal difference in the life of someone close to you?
Two years ago I lost my job and found myself, for the first time since I was 20 years old, looking for a job. I suppose I had never really had a "job" in the 25 years of me being employed because it rarely felt like work. I was a teacher! I began my career teaching blind students. We learned all kinds of things from each other. I taught them how to become filmmakers and they taught me to stop and listen for my Mom's footsteps when she came into the house, they taught me to not rush eating my lunch because each item had a different texture and flavor...basically ... I taught them math, reading and writing, and they taught me about LIFE!
Then I went on to teach for actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. I taught their children as well as all of the most amazing children in our village. Again, I taught movie making, music composition ... and they taught me about the ins and outs of being a celebrity. I learned about keeping kids safe while expanding their worlds. I learned about joy and sorrow.
And when that school closed, I figured I would just go right back to my public school and start teaching there again. Wrong! There were a few problems...1) I had 25 years of experience in a classroom...they were only accepting 3. 2) I had too much education and masters...they wanted teachers with none, so they didn't have to pay them as much.
So the very thing that I knew, breathed and identified my entire career with, was suddenly gone. My Focus had nothing to Focus on. I had nothing to Achieve or Learn. And there's nothing more sad than Positivity on a depressed day.
I'm sure my husband was a little worried, so he tried to help by finding me jobs to apply for. He found on, in particular, that he thought I'd be great for. It wasn't really my "thing" (whatever that was anymore), but I went. I got dressed up, drove to LA and had a pretty good interview...until they asked me this question: "What sets you apart from the other candidates?"
(Hmmm... I have no idea. Who are they? What are they like?) All of my attention was immediately drawn to a group of people that I had never met or didn't know anything about. I was tongue tied.
After I left that interview, here's what my thoughts were: "That will NEVER happen to me again. Because I KNOW who I am! I just want to run right back up those steps and give them my REAL answer!" ....And you know what that real answer would have been??? Here's what it would have sounded like had I marched back in the building:
"You know, I don't know who the other candidates are, but even without knowing them, I can definitely tell you what sets me apart from them.
#1 I am an Achiever. That means I work hard and have a great deal of stamina. I take great satisfaction in being productive. My inner drive to accomplish things is intense, full of energy and has an incredible work ethic to get it done, and get it done right.
But that's not all! I am also a Learner and have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. If there are new things to learn, you will have just lit my mind on fire of possibilities of the things I can enjoy learning. And I love to learn with teams of people!
#3 I have Focus. I can take direction, follow through and make the necessary corrections to stay on task. I prioritize then act. This can look intense at times, especially when paired with my Achiever. If there is a goal that needs to be met, I will do my best to get it done. I am persistent, dependable and follow-through.
#4 My Positivity colors my world. It touches all that I do. I use this talent to cheer myself up when I'm in the midst of a long, and difficult task, and also to cheer up others around me. I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. The glass is always half full.
And last, I have Woo. Woo is Winning Others Over. There is no greater joy than meeting new people and winning them over. I love to break the ice and make connections with other people. In this position, if you need to bring social energy to a room, I'm your girl!
If I had said those words, like I wanted to, after I left, It wouldn't have mattered if they hired me or not. Because I would have told them exactly who I was. And if that's not what they were looking for, it wouldn't bother me. But, seriously, who wouldn't want someone who can work hard, focus on learning everything there is to learn about new things, then bringing people in to celebrate all the work that the company had accomplished....and ALL with a good attitude!!?
My point is this. Know. Your. Strengths. Know them well enough that when you are in an interview, and your prospective employer asks what makes you different from all the others...you will HAVE an answer!
Have a ready answer when someone asks you about your Strengths. Be able to articulate them. Practice! (Yep, sounds weird, but when you are in the moment, you'll be so happy you have a ready answer! You never know when those opportunities will pop up in your life. Be prepared for them!)
Rock Your Strengths!
(And let me know when you get that job so we can all celebrate with you!) Oh, what job did I end up getting? I worked for Discovery, Google and Apple as an education consultant, I started my own Strengths business and now am working on marketing a brand new skincare line! I'm also the worship leader at my church, mother of 2 almost grown daughters and wife to a pastor. Basically, I'm retired now! Retired...because I only do things now that I am completely passionate about! It's just how I like it!