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I am adding the final finishing touches on my new book, "Draw On Your Strengths"! I can't believe this is finally happening! I had another Strengths coach tell me that I must have a lot of Discipline to have this completed. I had to laugh. Discipline pretty close to the bottom of my pile. I told him that what he is most likely seeing is a fierce combination of Achiever and Focus.
The idea of this book actually started off with my Learner. Learner and Focus are themes that are not typically seen that often together. The reason is that Learner pulls you in 100 different directions, wanting to learn about all kinds of subjects. It's the reason I drew a "squirrel" on the wall of my Learner picture. If you've ever seen the Disney movie, "Up!" you may remember Doug the dog. As he is in the middle of conversations, he notices a squirrel out of the corner of his eye and says, "Squirrel!" (Click here to see a scene.) That's a little what my Learner looks like. As I am learning one thing, I may come upon something else that is exciting to learn...and will end up on a rabbit trail of all kinds of wonderful things to learn.
But Focus tempers my Learner in this way. Every year I find a new thing that I really want to learn, and I spend a year learning it. I read everything I can about it, practice it, watch videos, talk to people... just about anything I can think of to learn more.
A few years ago I wanted to learn about sketching. I was doing some conferences in New Zealand and had the opportunity to visit one of the schools that I work with in Rock Our World. The students there knew I was coming and had a presentation planned when I arrived. They wanted to put in a proposal for the next season of what we would learn with our global team. They wanted to do an art project. That got me thinking that I had not really done much art in the past 10 years. Art used to be a part of my every day life, and it somehow got shuffled to the side. I agreed - who can say "No" to a group of adorable kids from Governor's Bay, New Zealand?!
So began my journey in Sketchnoting. I chose that medium because, frankly, I knew nothing about it- and I would get the opportunity to learn something new! I had gotten in trouble in school plenty of times for doodling on my pages, and wanted to explore the idea of doodling in education. I can still look back at my college papers (the ones I saved) and remember facts about the classes- simply based on the doodles I was drawing. So, it was time to give it a try and see if it could still work for me now.
That's when Achiever and Focus took over. I decided I would learn Sketchnoting during the year. And to practice, I would use our sermons each week as a testing ground. I knew that I would hear a different message each week to practice my craft. By the end of the year, I changed some things. Traditional Sketchnoting has containers and arrows. My style started there and eventually morphed into one image that would be my focus piece...with arrows and text supporting that main image. At the end of the year, I published my first devotional book with my father on iTunes called: "Sketching the Sermon". It included the audio tracks from the messages as well as my sketches.
After becoming a coach, I started sketching little pieces of each theme to use in my class at Fresno Pacific University called, "Teach With Your Strengths". It became a hit...and well, you know the rest! Once my Learner was satisfied, my Achiever wanted to see a weekly check off list, and my Focus drove me to make it happen.
For the past year, I have been trying to upload a sketch a week on "Theme Thursday". These sketches eventually became part of my new book, "Draw With Your Strengths."
Here's where you come in:
What themes do you have, that when put together, look like another theme. My Focus and Achiever were mistaken for Discipline. And that's OK! It's kind of cool to know that I can use the talents that I've been given to make up for a lesser talent.
We all have the ability to mask some of our lesser talents with our Strengths. Look at your own life. How do you compensate for your lesser talents?
Rock Your Strengths
(Here's a sample of one of my #Sermonnotes from this year.)
People exceptionally talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated with ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
I had a blast sketching this theme! I contacted a bunch of friends who are high in Ideation, and (OH BOY!) the ideas were rolling! I had to draw this one with combustible colors...because it reminded me of our brainstorming sessions! Ideas exploded like popcorn and fireworks! It was a water hose on full blast!
I got to watch this theme in its full strength and loved every minute of it!
This theme is in my Top 10 and I resonated with the ideas of being able to link ideas, spontaneous creativity and a pioneering spirit. I left the word "Idea" in Ideation blank because I just LOVE blank canvases! There are whole new worlds in a blank canvas... it's just begging for lively colors and visualization.
A person with high Ideation is fascinated by ideas. They can dig under a complex issue and discover a simple way to explain why things are the way they are. Looking at the world in unique ways is a joy. They love ideas because they can be profound, novel, clarifying, contrary, and bizarre. Most of all, they love to find new and creative ways to accomplish a goal.
Tips for People with High Ideation:
- Capture it: Find a way to capture your ideas so you can come back to them. Even this act can be creative: writing, recording...even sketching!
- Clarify it: Practice articulating your ideas. Get feedback from colleagues, family and friends, to make sure they are able to follow your train of thought.
- Cultivate it: Grow this strength. Learn how to focus and feed your Ideation.
Next week is my last theme in the StrengthsFinder sketches! The sketches are available in Top 5 prints as a limited edition. Packets are $99 for your Top 5, plus S&H. And very soon, they will be published as a book for Strengths Enthusiasts!
There are themes that are misunderstood. Many times Command is seen from the negative side- bossy, dictator, etc. Harmony and Adaptability can often be seen as "soft." But those themes are called "Strengths" for a reason!
Significance falls in the misunderstood category. Often times, people associate this theme with being an attention hound or "all about me." After all, the definition is: "People who are especially talented in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized."
But that is not the power of Significance. It is the basement. That's what Significance looks like as an undeveloped Strength.
Significance is not about the limelight, it's about legacy. The desire to do important things in the eyes of others is what drives people to donate hospital wings, a charitable foundation and start a non-profit. It is the desire to be blessed to bless others.
I often sketch a "playlist" that each theme would listen to. "I Did It My way" or "I Wanna Talk About Me" describe barriers to Significance. The power is in: "Leaving a Legacy" and "We Can Make A Difference"! Significance allows you to sing a song like, "Imagine" and influence many people to see the world as a better place. It's not about building ego, it's about inspiring many people to do great things!
Significance is wanting to be appreciated for the work you do- that's not a bad thing. It's what drives you to do better next time, to push yourself, to influence more and more people.
What is amazing about this theme can best be described as a comparison to Competition. Competition watches others and gets better because of it. It strives to do better, push harder and achieve more than it's "competitors". Significance gets better when people are watching THEM. There is not a competition with others, it's a competition with themselves. They compare past presentations, performances, and strive to do better. The audience is their gauge.
My desire is that by these sketches, you will fall in love with the power and beauty of each Strength.
Rock Your Strengths!
People who are especially talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.
Focus is my #3. It allows me to have long periods of time with high concentration. The down side (as my family can attest) is that once I'm in "the zone", I may not know anything that is going on around me. My daughters have gotten into the habit of saying, "Mom, look at my eyes!" That's my cue that whatever I'm working on is not nearly as important as what my precious children are going to tell me. It's also an effort to pull away. When I hear the words, "Mom, did you hear me?" or "Look in my eyes." then I know I've been focusing for a very long time!
That intense ability to focus and prioritize works very nicely with my Achiever. These two themes sharpen each other. Once my Achiever creates a list, my Focus immediately starts prioritizing what I have to do, and how long I need to do it.
In a child, you will also see similar traits. I often got completely centered on homework or playing games. I also asked "Where are we going?" many times... and not just in the car. I wanted to know what the family's plans were for the day, where we were headed in projects, etc. Just tell me the path and I'll go for it!
When I think of Focus, I think of "The Eye of The Tiger"- those intense eyes that can zero in on what it needs. Once that tiger gets his eyes on his pray, they don't leave until he gets what he wants.
I hope you are enjoying these sketches. I know that I am learning more and more about each theme as I draw them. Rock Your Strengths! ~Carol Anne