I've had an interesting few weeks of conversations and investment in some personal development. Usually that term gives me a bit of the shudders - it can sound a bit like navel-gazing - not something I have a lot of time for, but in reality it has been timely and really inspiring. Introspection, reflection & self-examination: not skills that I would say I have mastered, but I know they are important for growth, so I've been trying to get better at them - understanding my make-up a bit better; how I interact, how I learn, how I communicate, what makes me tick & come alive etc. Pretty important stuff to get to grips with, I reckon.
A few weeks ago I logged into the #blogtacular twitter chat (every Wednesday, 9pm BST - not to be missed!) and the topic for the week was:
"Are you doing the work you want to be known for?"
It was a pretty significant chat for me and the gals at Blogtacular know how to pose questions that are really thought-provoking. I love the interaction and encouragement that goes on in those chats - if it were real life we would be walking out the pub door at the end high-fiving each other wildly.
I guess when I thought about responding to that question, I was working out the reality of that not only in a blog context but in a whole-life context. For me, that's the bottom line. This old blog here is a creative outlet for me amidst a pretty serious day job (that I love), but it's not a separate part of me - it's an extension of me. I try to write and engage in things on the blogosphere that align with my whole self. That means tackling issues that are important to me (I'm not a fashion-blogger, but I think ethical style is real important), tapping into my creative side by making things (I'm not a craft-blogger, but I think making stuff and being creative is life-giving) and trying to capture life for us in a way that is real and honest here in this space (I'm not a mummy-blogger, but I think motherhood is the biggest lesson of my life so I talk about it here).
For me, it's about championing the good, the underdog, the creative and the connections we all share.
If I could be known for that, I'd be happy. It feels good to be true to yourself in all extensions, right?
Then this week, I had the chance to get some coaching from my friend Abbey - who runs her own coaching company out of the States. Abbey introduced me to the Gallup Strengthsfinder last year and it has been a bit of a revelation. I know there are a lot of personality assessments out there and lots of them are really good, but I was really drawn to the 'Strengths' concept because it uses positive psychology to "show people that our greatest potential resides in utilising our innate strengths" rather than using that energy to try and fix the parts of our make up that doesn't measure up.
Abbey was over in NI so I nabbed her for an afternoon of coaching with my work team. We had all taken the assessment before hand so Abbey worked through our results individually and then brought us together as a team to look at how our strengths can work together - it was really practical, really inspiring and really freeing.
Both of these encounters have left me feeling energised and encouraged that I'm on the right track. More so, it's given me a renewed vigour and confidence that the things I invest in, personally and professionally are a good fit for me.
I am really glad I've been spending some time on this - and would so encourage you to do the same (start with the Strengthsfinder assessment - trust!). I think when we know our strongest abilities and find a purpose in life that fits those skills well, we all are on our way to being fully truly alive.