Find Your Strongest Life. Yes, You.

This is an “Almost Book Review” of Find your Strongest Life, What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham.

I’ve read it cover to cover, but I’m not finished with it enough to completely review it, and that’s the point of this post. Explanation coming up.

Product Details: (*Affiliate Link)
Amazon Sales Rank: #13013 in Books
Published on: 2009-09-29
Original language: English
Binding: Hardcover,  288 pages

Whether you are male or female, let’s talk story about the core premise of this book for a moment, okay? You can find your strongest life, and 2010 may be your golden opportunity.

Why should you bother? Let’s go straight for the Managing with Aloha connection (I like thinking that’s why you’re here, reading anything of what I have to say):

Key 7. Strengths Management:
Keys 1 through 6 have put a great foundation in place for your business to thrive within: Together they have created the best possible launching pad for your organizational culture. Now we turn to bigger investments made in each employee, business partner, and stakeholder involved, so you can truly say, “Our people are our biggest asset” —and mean it. Cooperation, connectivity and collaboration evolve to optimization and co-creation.
— From The 9 Key Concepts of Managing with Aloha

As trumpeted on his book jacket, “Marcus Buckingham is the go-to consultant for people and organizations wanting to leverage their strengths” and in the process, make their weaknesses irrelevant. He continues to write books that are very useful to his readers IF, —and this is a big ‘if’ —you’ll go the distance with taking his advice and make his book a study, not just a passing read. You must be willing, and disciplined enough, to become your own work in progress (something you can do privately, don’t worry) while diligently following his coaching-in-a-book.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t do that. We finish a book, and the moment we reach the last word on the final page we feel just that – it’s finished. And so are we; we’re finished with it.

Sorry, not good enough.

Do savor your reading accomplishment and keep reaching for another book, and then another: Alaka‘i managers are readers for several reasons. However if you can’t break from that finished-without-study habit, it’s a bit hard to get from liking to loving this book (or any other non-fiction book for that matter, MWA is no different). You know what habits will do to you.

Buckingham seems fully aware of this challenge he has with us readers. Before you make it past page xiii (i.e. even before the Introduction) you can’t help but burn with a desire to prove his research wrong (valid data is part of his thing), and defy the sad statistics he shares about us women. I got good and mad. For example,

Ten Myths About the Lives of Women

Myth 1. As a result of having better education, better jobs, and better pay, women today are happier and more fulfilled than they were forty years ago.
Actually, the opposite is true. Surveys of more than 1.3 million men and women reveal that women today are less happy relative to where they were forty years ago, and relative to men.

Myth 2. Women become more engaged and fulfilled as they get older.
No, men do. According to a forty-year study of forty-six thousand men and women, women begin their lives more satisfied than men and then gradually become less satisfied with every aspect of their lives— marriage, finances, things they own, even family.

Ouch.
Hopefully, you male managers don’t want these truths to be self-evident in the women within your workplace either.

I suspect I liked Find your Strongest Life to the degree I did, recommending it to a few people before I was halfway through it, because it was so much in alignment with Buckingham’s previous work, and it was sequential. It reinforced my prior strengths management studies with him. I’ve been a big Marcus Buckingham fan, have seen him speak and have met him, and I have read everything he has written. I study his books near obsessively, comforted by his research methods and trusting them, and I have enjoyed being witness to how his own studies and body of work has evolved. Therefore, it is highly likely that I expect more from him because I crave more, wanting to see what he will talk about next.

I felt Find Your Strongest Life was filled with good stuff, and I relished what it contained, but I was left wanting more without being quite sure of what I still wanted —thus I continue to study it, and be my own work in progress. I’ve now read it through it completely once, and listened to it on audio, and my annotation/ journaling process comes next with a slower, second reading, syncing my progress with my Strong Week Plan and my Weekly Review. When that’s done, I will follow-up with a more in-depth review (as I do feel the book deserves).

Meanwhile, I want you to start reading it too. Then we can talk more about it together.

Still here guys? Hope so!

I decided to talk about this now, because I know many of you are doing your strategic planning for the coming year, and MWA Key 7, strengths management, is a GREAT goal for Alaka‘i managers to work on. Do it for you, and then do it for your team, being their empathetic coach. Enroll in Buckingham’s mission, for this is what all managers need to do!

“My mission is to help each person identify her strengths,
take them seriously, and offer them to the world.”
— Marcus Buckingham

If each Alaka‘i manager were to think of his or her view of “the world” as their workplace, we’d make a significant difference for so many people. DO commit to working on your strengths in 2010.

First time through, Find Your Strongest Life is a quick read: My recommendation to others, would be to plan on reading Go Put Your Strengths to Work, 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance as a companion to Find Your Strongest Life if you are interested in it (women) or instead of it (men).

Product Details: (*Affiliate Link)
Amazon Sales Rank: #3001 in Books
Published on: 2007-03-06
Original language: English
Binding: Hardcover, 270 pages

If you want to develop a new study habit with non-fiction books, and you want to simultaneously work on your strengths as you do so, I have yet to find a self-coaching book better than Go Put Your Strengths to Work, 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance. My copy of it is tabbed for on-going management training just as completely as my own Managing with Aloha:

Marcus and Me

School was never this much fun. (Sad, really.) Or this important:

So why not do your 2010 redesign in alignment with your own strengths? It’s a golden opportunity!

Strengths work, wherein you get better attuned to your own talents (and activities which energize you) is the easiest and best way to attain (or discover) your Ho‘ohana, especially if you are one who feels that “working on your passion” is too woo-woo and not pragmatic enough for you. In the process, you also get better attunded to your non-talents, and those activities which drain you: Strip them out of your business models forever, and have January 2010 be when you start.

*Footnote: About my affiliate links
Any income made from our aStore on Amazon.com is used to fund our literacy campaign within Ho‘ohana Publishing, a Teaching with Aloha initiative. We purchase books and donate them to schools and workplace training programs committed to teaching within Aloha value-alignment.