May 2, 2011

Building Resilience - Find Your Islands of Competence

Just as the manner in which we understand and respond to setbacks in an integral part of a resilient mindset so too, is the way we react to successes in our lives. Think about how you understand your achievements. 
Those who are resilient view their accomplishments as based upon their own resources and strengths. This doesn’t mean they fail to acknowledge the support of others. Rather, they don’t dismiss or minimize what they have achieved. 
In contrast, people who are not resilient tend to attribute their success to factors outside their control such as luck or chance or fate. Consequently, they are not as confident or optimistic about being successful in the future. There is another feature of resilient people we wish to highlight. While they do not deny their vulnerabilities, they are able to identify their strengths or what we call their “islands of competence”

What would you list as your islands of competence?

How to find your "real" islands of competence? The power to discover it lies in the potential that was bequeathed you at birth. Latent and undeveloped, the seeds of greatness were planted. You were given magnificent “birth-gifts”-talents, capacities, privileges, intelligences, opportunities-that would remain largely unopened except through your own decision and effort. Open these gifts. Learn with Stephen Covey host to open  your islands of competence,  your voice, your calling, your soul’s code. 

"People are internally motivated by their own four needs: to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. When they overlap, you have voice-your calling, your soul’s code." - Stephen R. Covey. Key Message.

Q: How do you define “voice”?

A: Voice is the overlapping of the four parts of our nature: our body, our mind, our heart, and our spirit. These also represent the four intelligences: our IQ for the mind, our EQ for the heart, our SQ for the spirit, and our PQ for the body.

To help you find this, answer these 4 questions.

1. What are you good at? That’s your mind.

2. What do you love doing? That’s your heart.

3. What need can you serve? That’s the body.

4. And finally, what is life asking of you? What gives your life meaning and purpose? What do you feel like you should be doing? In short, what is your conscience directing you to do? That is your spirit.

Q: Is finding your voice an evolving process, or can it happen all at once like a light bulb going on in your head?

A: I think that it can happen all at once, but more so, I think it is an evolving process. As people grow up, they are exposed to different fields of knowledge and different experiences. They don’t yet know what they’re good at or even what they will like doing. Once they have this exposure and education and they start getting involved, they start to find satisfaction, and that leads to success as it begins to give them a sense of their voice or what they really love doing that they do well. For some people, it does comes like a flash of light, but it is usually preceded by someone who really deeply believes in them-sees their strengths and affirms them when they don’t see their own potential themselves. This creates an opportunity for that voice to be developed and expressed. This happened with me.

Q: Is the process of finding your voice the same for an individual as it is for an organization that is trying to find its voice?

A: That’s a very interesting question and I think in a very real sense, it is the same. But because an organization is made up of many different individuals who have different voices and a different sense of what gives them meaning and their life purpose, it takes communication processes where people are genuine and authentic with each other in expressing what they really care about. However, people gradually get a sense of what the organization stands for, what it loves doing and does well, and what it feels like it should be doing. So, there is kind of a collective form of the four intelligences that overlaps and develops in an evolutionary way.

Q: How can we help someone find his or her voice?
A: I think if you care about people genuinely, you listen to them and observe them; because this is more than just hearing them speak, it is observing them-observing where their excitement is, where their enthusiasm is; observing where you sense they have potential.

Sometimes it is very powerful just to say to them in sincerity, “I believe you have great potential in this area. I see real strengths in you that you may not see in yourself, and I would like to create an opportunity for you to use those strengths and to develop this potential. Would you be interested in that?” 

Most people are so flattered by someone who sincerely cares for them and affirms their work and potential that they are moved and inspired by that kind of input. It’s very powerful and it can make all of the difference, particularly with people who grow up with a confused lifestyle, bad modeling, and basic education. Often they have no clue as to what life is about or what they are about until someone becomes a teacher to them-a mentor, a confirmer, and a coach. This kind of mentoring is becoming increasingly important in education, in relationships, and in work environments. It can make all of the difference as to whether a person takes a higher road to his or her own voice or a lower road to where he or she is swallowed up by the priorities and voices of others.


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