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Play to Your Strengths

I have a mentor, someone I really look up to and who has been very successful in business. When we talked recently, however, she discussed many areas she sees with great growth potential – and I’m very grateful for her advice. 

What I struggle with, however, is that those things currently identified with six-figure part time work aren’t things I’m really crazy about. When I saw this article on Inc.com I was again reminded – play to your strengths and you’ll never work a day in your life.

I’m currently finding I am gravitating back to what I thought was a hobby – graphic design – in taking complex statistics and making them a lot more relatable in info graphics. When I’m doing it during work time, I feel guilty, like I’m playing and not working. For those of you under the age of 25 – you may not relate. I really value this in the younger generations – their ability to do what is rewarding today instead of putting their nose to the grindstone in hopes of doing what they want at age 65.

So for those of us over 35 – if you feel guilty doing something worthwhile (not sure how many rewarding jobs there are playing video games or stalking people on FB) while at work – that is probably because it comes easily to you as a talent. And that is exactly what we should be pursuing because we can bring a lot more value with less effort and all parties involved win!

Happy Thursday. 

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Be The Hero You Want Others To Be

We are the hero of our own story. ~ Mary McCarthy

by Pete Ferguson

Often we look to others for heroic acts. We want to be delivered from our current misery or predicament through someone else’s actions.

I recently watched “Won’t Back Down” – a story about two single moms who take over an impoverished school in Philadelphia against all odds.

The story is inspiring, but probably a little out of reach to most. Their main focus was on literacy – but seeing it as the teacher’s union and school’s fault.

This week marks the end of the school year and we have been to multiple awards ceremonies and I’ve recognized half the parents in the audience who have come to see their children receive awards – because they are the parents of my wife’s preschool where literacy is the primary focus.

Steph’s preschool is based on literacy – using the same program the elementary schools use and many of her 4-5 year olds are reading at a third grade level as they go into (or skip) kindergarden.

It is a great hero partnership – the parents and Steph.

Steph didn’t do it by taking over a school board single handedly. She did it as an entreprenuer.

About five or six years ago she was inspired to go to Ikea and buy a small table and four chairs, printed a sign and set up a booth at a local fair. She laid out the books the school uses for reading and invited kids to come and read with her. In one day and on an investment of about $100, she signed up eight families and had filled up 30 slots within a few weeks.

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way. ~ Booker T. Washington

Her classes have been filled with a waiting list for five years. One family has driven an hour each way for five years so their two children could attend. When parents find out they are expecting, they call and get their names on the list.

Being a hero doesn’t have to occur overnight. Rather it can be the culmination – the small additions – of many small acts that build up over time. When I’ve congratulated my wife for what she has accomplished, she will look at me kind of funny and say “gee, thanks, I don’t feel like a hero.”

We are surrounded by heros. We may be a hero to others without knowing it.