I was blessed to receive a preview copy of Shawn Achor’s new book. And it is AWESOME!!!!
I posted a review on Amazon and wanted to share it with all of you as well.
Here it is:
Shawn Achor has done it again! As he did in The Happiness Advantage, in Big Potential, Shawn shines light on a commonly held myth that limits us: that our individual skills, attributes and knowledge are at the center of our success. This is what Shawn calls our small potential. Then he shows us a better way – by fully engaging others in our work and in our lives, we can tap into the Big Potential that comes from approaching all challenges as a team.
And as he does in all his books, Shawn masterfully weaves top research, meaningful personal stories and powerful real-world examples into an engaging read. Big Potential offers powerful learnings that will change the way you think and provide you practical tools to make positive change at work and in life.
From the time we take our first steps, through all our schooling and most of our work, we are shown that our individual skills, attributes and knowledge are at the center of our success. The story we tell is that the more we are seen to stand out and excel on our own, the more successful and productive we will be. But the research tells a very different story.
It turns out success is not just about how creative, smart or driven we are but much more about how well we are able to connect, contribute to — and benefit from — the ecosystem of the people around us. Shawn shows that almost every attribute of our potential – from intelligence to creativity to leadership to engagement is interconnected with other people. “We need to stop trying to be faster alone and start working to be stronger together.”
I’ve spent the last decade coaching individuals and organizations on how to apply positive psychology research into actionable steps. Here are the two most powerful and actionable concepts (in my opinion) from Big Potential.
Change the way we praise
- Be generous and consistent with praise. It is a renewable and self-expanding resource. Use it constantly and consistently. Authentic praise, even about the smallest, most rudimentary strengths and actions helps everyone find more things that are going right and creates a virtuous cycle of positive emotions, motivation and engagement.
- Stop comparison praise: for example, forced ranking or telling people they are doing a better job than their coworker, colleague or team member. Comparison saps motivation and sets up artificial expectations of perfection. Use praise and recognition to raise all boats rather than push one down to bring another up. Convert comparison praise into direct positive reinforcement of actions and/or noting progress.
- Pursue the collective win. Praise the whole team, not just the superstar. No one shines alone. For every top performer there are less visible people who provided the resources, knowledge, skills and energy to make that success happen. Acknowledge, celebrate and reward all the people who contributed. And anytime you receive praise, ask yourself who helped you get to that place and pass some of that recognition along to them.
Surround yourself with a diverse set of positive influencers
“The conclusion of a decade of my work is clear. You can be a superstar; you just can’t be one alone. What you need is a star system: a constellation of positive, authentic influencers who support each other, reinforce each other and make each other better.”
- The people around us matter — a lot. And while we don’t get to pick our family or all the people we work with, we CAN strategically choose who we spend a lot of our time with. Make sure you bring into your circle 1) Pillars – those who have your back no matter what 2) Bridges – those people who have connections outside your world and provide new perspectives and 3) Extenders – those people who push you out of your comfort zone, make you take risks and try new experiences.
- Give to get. It’s tempting to only reach out to people in our networks when we need something. But to get the most out of our relationships we should make a habit of reaching out to offer something to them. The more reciprocal a relationship the more impact it has on our happiness, engagement and creativity.
- Give in all directions yet selectively. Takers at work typically only give to more senior people who will provide obvious benefit towards raises or promotions. This is a path to small potential. The most successful people are those who give up and down the line, who not only look to get mentored but also provide mentoring and support. “The more you help others find their light, the more you both will shine.” However trying to be all things for all people is a surefire path to burnout. So be somewhat selective – give to your circle of Pillars, Bridges and Extenders and to those people who make you a better person, those that make you feel good, strengthen you and leave you hoping for more. Find these people in your life and go all in.
Of course, a six-paragraph review is not enough to convey the depth of the research and the arguments that are so beautifully crafted in Big Potential. Go get a copy of the book, read it and start putting some of the practices into your work and into your life.
To more happiness,
The Happiness Coach
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P.P.S Know other people that might be interested in the book, please forward them this review. Thank you!!!!