No limits

Today at Seth Godin’s blog, under the title “Accepting Limits”:

It’s absurd to look at a three year old toddler and say, “this kid can’t read or do math or even string together a coherent paragraph. He’s a dolt and he’s never going to amount to anything.” No, we don’t say that because we know we can teach and motivate and cajole the typical kid to be able to do all of these things.

Why is it okay, then, to look at a teenager and say, “this kid will never be a leader, never run a significant organization, never save a life, never inspire or create…”

Just because it’s difficult to grade doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taught.

Never mind a teenager. I think it’s wrong to say that about someone who’s fifty.

Isn’t it absurd to focus so much energy on ‘practical’ skills that prep someone for a life of following instructions but relentlessly avoid the difficult work necessary to push someone to reinvent themselves into becoming someone who makes a difference?

And isn’t it even worse to write off a person or an organization merely because of what they are instead of what they might become?

My local friends and I  have been having this conversation over and over again, while training our combination of Tom Rath’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 and Marcus Buckingham’s Trombone Player Wanted.

The question: Can you really make yourself into something special, something more than you ever expected?

Our answer: Yes!

Of the more than 100 people we’ve trained we’ve have 20-year-old and 60-year-olds and everyone in between.  The 60-year-olds wish they’d had the training when they were 20 and the 20-year-olds wish they’d had it when they were 17. Why do they wish they’d had it before?  Because our message is Godin’s message: Know your strengths. Know other’s strengths.  Stop putting people into “only as good as X” boxes and let everyone achieve their best.

Why not try at least?

There are many people, organizations, you-name-it in the world that will happily continue to tell you that you, your organization, your you-name-it won’t ever be anything more than what you are today.  Stop listening to them!

If you like that comfortable, keep-at-it, self-limiting talk, you’re in the wrong place.  You’ll get none of that talk here.

My favorite Buckingham lines from Trombone Player Wanted are (and I’ll admit to paraphrasing):

You have real and powerful strengths.  No one has the exact strengths as you.  And you’ll make your biggest impact on the world when you find those strengths and train them and offer them repeatedly to the world.

According to StrengthsFinder 2.0 I’m a maximizer.  The Gallup Management Journal says, for maximizers:

Excellence, not average, is your measure. Taking something from below average to slightly above average takes a great deal of effort and in your opinion is not very rewarding. Transforming something strong into something superb takes just as much effort but is much more thrilling.

Yep.  That’s me.  I love it!  All of you are strong in something and deserve the time and attention to develop into something superb.  I’m overjoyed to be on the journey with you.

If you’re up for no limits, welcome to Engine for Change.

Feel free to invite your friends along for the ride.  The more the merrier.

Who doesn’t like a trip to someplace special, someplace superb?

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