In 2004, I read an article in Newsweek that rang so true and moved me so much that I tore it out and kept that piece of slick paper in a file folder for five years. Written by a young woman my age, I Can Do Anything, So How Do I Choose? hit home. When the author said, “[W]e are now discovering the difficulty of deciding just what makes us happy in a world of innumerable options,” I knew exactly what she meant.
After all, I’m the girl who changed her major four times in four years. And in the less than 10 years since I graduated, I haven’t just had several different jobs, I’ve had several different this-is-it-I’ve-found-my-true-calling-and-I-will-do-this-forever career paths.
So when Thomas Nelson Publishing offered the chance to read Marcus Buckingham’s latest book, called Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently, I jumped on it.
Before I tell you what I learned in this book, go take the quiz. Go on. I’ll wait. Take the Strong Life Test.
So, what are your roles? I’m an Influencer and a Motivator. I’m still waiting for the definitive answer of what exactly that means, what I should be when I grow up, what will finally make me feel strong, successful, fulfilled.
But even though it didn’t give me the exact answer I’m looking for, reading Find Your Strongest Life has given me a few more tools for getting to that answer.
Buckingham worked for Gallup Organization and has years of experience figuring out what makes people tick. And one trend he noticed in that time is that women, as a whole, are not happy and successful. He says that we’re paralyzed by too many choices.
Not that he’s implying women should have fewer options. Instead, he believes women need to learn how to better go about making our choices, how to deal with all the options we have. He suggests thinking back – over the last week, into your childhood, whatever it takes – to find the moments when you feel your strongest. And those are the moments we should, he says, catch and cradle. And then use in our primary and secondary roles (from the Strong Life Test) to create a full an fulfilling life.
No juggling. No talk of balance. Can you believe that?
It sounds a little crazy, not what we’re used to hearing. But you know what? I think he might be on to something. (And, for the record, dozens of women who participated in an Oprah workshop with Buckingham seem to agree.)
I haven’t quite sorted through all the things that I read in this book. But it’s making me think. A lot.
As for the book itself, I loved that Buckingham used lots of real-life examples of women who have made choices and found their strong lives. I could have done without all the background and build-up in the first half of the book, but I’ve written enough research papers to understand why he structured it that way.
If you want to live a strong life and aren’t quite there yet, check out Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently.
Are you living a strong life? Yes or no, I’d love to hear about it!