Transcript | PPP103: 

How To Thrive: Engagement and Getting into a State of "Flow


[00:00:00] Intro: Today on the Potential Psychology Podcast.

[00:00:03] Marie: Engagement is really having a focus, having periods of time, where we focus very deeply on something and we sort of lose track of time because we are in what we call a state of flow.

That feeling of time both passing quickly and standing still at the

same time.

And so what we know about their state is it's A, it's good for us and we should try and, you know, say yes to things that put us in that state more often, but also that it comes to us through the right match of our strengths and challenge. It gives us that kind of rush of dopamine because we're in grading and something that we are good at, that we love doing with just the right amount of challenge to hold our attention, but not so much as to overwhelm us

[00:00:55] Ellen: Welcome to the Potential Psychology Podcast.

I'm your host psychologist, Ellen Jackson. And this is the show in which we explore what it is to be human and how we as humans can fulfill our potential. Hello, and welcome back to the Potential Psychology Podcast and our special series, How to Thrive with my co-host Marie McLeod.

Hi Marie.

[00:01:16] Marie: Hi Ellen.

[00:01:17] Ellen: So good to be back with you today, for those of us who might be joining us for the first time, haven't tuned into this series yet,

Marie, can you give us just a really quick summary of what we're talking about?

[00:01:31] Marie: Yes, I can. And I'm very excited to be back with you as well. So we are covering in this eight part series, the framework BEACON, which is a framework about how to thrive. We had an introduction, is our first one. And then we are going through in a very high-level way

each of the letters of BEACON. So, better for metaphor is about, you know, shining your brightest. Each of these is a BEACON beam last week. If you didn't catch it, we did beef up on longing and close connections. And you and I were touching on that in a minute, just in terms of debriefing that today we're doing E for engagement and then accountability will come next.

Compassion. Optimism and Nurture. And in each of these we're sharing evidence-based ways for thriving and giving our listeners a quest that they can go away and try for themselves.

[00:02:20] Ellen: Yes. Very important. That quest. So you do need to listen in right to the end of today's conversation to find out what your quest is for this week in order to take it your small steps to thriving and fulfilling your potential.

Marie, Belonging was last week, as you mentioned, and our listeners can find, we'll make sure that there's a link in the show notes from today's episode to last, except so in case you missed that, but you and I had little quest for belonging before we get into that. First really quickly, what is the goal of belonging?

What is it we're trying to achieve with belonging in terms of helping us all to thrive?

[00:03:02] Marie: So belonging

is about cultivating those close connections with others. And a sense of belonging means feeling safe, having a tribe of people. And it might even just be one person it's about quality, not quantity. And what we know is that that's really foundational for thriving.

So last week we were encouraging people to be a little more intentional about who we spend time with and making sure that we are making time for people. And we sit people off on a quest, which was around making sure that we slow down enough to catch each other's eyes. You know, we know that there's a really important neuroscience around eye contact, sharing a positive emotion with each other.

So something that makes people feel proud or grateful or hopeful, or to have a little laugh or a little compliment. And then as a sort of extra level step, we also asked people to begin to be a little more open and vulnerable with each other, knowing that that's the way that we deepen our connections. And so what you and I committed to is to actually do the quests as well, along with our listeners.

So I wonder how that might've gone for you Ellen in the week that's gone?

[00:04:17] Ellen: Yes. And I, to be honest, it's been a really hectic week for me, but what I did do very consciously was in, in parallel with this and it'll come up in one of our later conversations, I have set myself a goal to, I'm actually doing

this fundraising exercise for the Ballarat foundation, which is an organization here that supports our community in particularly those in need to walk 150 kilometers over the course of November. And so this works out at about five kilometers a day. So I was walking home from the office, it was a beautiful evening,

it was really not that much of a personal challenge, except that the walk home is the uphill walk, not downhill walk, but as I did it, I really made a conscious effort to engage the strangers, walking in the opposite direction.

[00:05:05] Marie: Nice.

[00:05:06] Ellen: Who might came, you know, came across a few and just a smile and to say, hello. I mean, I live in a regional area and a lot of people do this anyway.

It's part of the lovely community culture that we have here that people say good day but I just made a conscious effort. And what I did not just in making that effort and catching people's eye and saying hello, or making a small comment about the weather or whatever it might've been, but to actually try and savor that experience when I did it to reflect on how it

made me feel. So we talked about those little kind of dopamine hits that we get those little moments of positivity, resonance that we receive when we connect with someone and look, it really works. It really does just something as simple as that. So I was able to do that.

[00:05:49] Marie: The little, it's oxytocin there, we get this sort of lovely sort of calm and connect point, oh, well that's well done.

Then in the midst of all that busyness, as you were moving around, you found time. And we did talk about the fact that it could be worth with strangers just as much as it could be with loved ones. And so I love the fact that you did that with strangers, so that if some of our listeners are not very connected with others, that they know that you still get that same micro-moment of lifting connections

neurologically through our body. And that it's so good for us to do that with, you know, the person we buy our groceries from, our coffee, from where we walk past each day. So mine was a little different. For me, I was catching up with people that I hadn't seen for quite some time during the lockdowns and things.

And so I was trying to really attend very closely to, to where people were at and going past just, you know, how are you? Fine. How are you fine? And then moving on to other things and, you know, it's interesting because a lot of people have been struggling. And so I did notice that in giving people that space, that there was a lot of opening up about their struggles, their loneliness, their boredom, their depression

sometimes. One of my dear friends has been diagnosed with ADHD and she's a very high forming professional, and she's feeling a lot of shame and grief and guilt and confusion about that. And so one of the things I notice about this is the reciprocal nature of it. You know, I tell you a little bit of mine and you tell me a little bit of yours and then we kind of open up, open up.

And that's the thing that, you know, and I just noticed, you know, particularly with one of those people that, that deep sharing, what a bonding experience that was. I feel closer to her because I, you know, I, I, I'm not sure if we've talked about this before here, but I am also going through the ADHD diagnosis.

And so we had that shared vulnerability. And at the end of that conversation, I did the eye contact thing and I, I held her hands and I looked into her eyes and I said, thank you so much for sharing with me. And thank you for your bravery of going into this and how good that will be for her when she gets her head around it and for her children.

And it just, it made me feel better and it made her feel better and it is an investment in our relationship moving forward. So, you know, that was for me, I guess, I, I don't think I did so well on the home front I think there is some sort of habits that are happening that are not so good in terms of how fast I move around my children and my husband.

So they will have to carry on being a quest that I continue to work on. But, you know, that's, I'm always just trying to sort of slow down with the kids since go down with Gary and just sort of saying, how are you to them and stop things, so transactional. So that's still a work in progress for


[00:08:34] Ellen: Yeah, no, me too, as well.

In fact, when I was reflecting on where I had had conversations and you know. Strange is it kind of easy in a way? I have lots of conversations with people when I'm walking my dog because they walk their dogs and you stop. And you do have these, these interesting conversations. I've went out on Saturday night for the first time in forever and was able to catch up with girlfriends, which was lovely, but we're also in a, it was a lot of fun.

It was a piano bar. It was sing alongs and it was really entertaining, fun night. And everybody, it was actually quite interesting because you're talking about that experience of lockdown. And to be honest, I don't get to go out all that often anymore, but this was a room full of groups of strangers and everyone was in a

very, I'm going to call it a jolly mood, a festive mood. I think the music helps the sing along helps. Yeah, but I think there was a bit of that as well. And I think, you know, we really, I really noticed, and this was on my reflection around belonging and connection because I knew we were going to talk about this was how

open and amenable people were to talking to complete strangers. There were lots of conversations that were happening across tables and groups of people, sort of, not that anyone could move around terribly much because we went to post day. But you know, there was certainly, there was eye contact. There was a laugh, there was kind of some jokes.

There was, it was very much the mood and tone of the evening and that the environment we're in. But I do wonder whether yes just that having been locked down. And so many people having been isolated from each other has contributed to perhaps a sense of us connecting more with each other as strangers. I don't know.

But yes, the homefront is an ongoing challenge for me too. So for anybody else who might be listening in and saying, I'm not very good at doing the homefront thing? Well, you're not alone

[00:10:29] Marie: But I think that right Ellen. I think one of the potential gifts of COVID has been a you know, we've all been in this together. So there is this common place of, you know, how has it been for you?

We've had a very, very shared experience that has landed differently on people, but we have something in common, like we've never had before that gives us ownership and safety and opportunity to open up in ways that may not have been there previously. And so I think that's very right and that is a doorway that we can, we can use.

And I, and I hope we keep


[00:11:09] Ellen: Yeah, it's an opportunity to build on it, isn't it? Now I think. I love looking for the silver linings, being an optimist by nature. I love looking for the silver linings of some of these more challenging experiences. And I think if we can look at it in terms of what are the silver linings, what can we actually celebrate in terms of the positive things that have emerged from this experience?

And then how do we build on that from here on, in rather than just returning to whatever life was like before, if that's possible. So that's our little reflection on belonging. We're up to letter E

[00:11:44] Marie: We are.

[00:11:44] Ellen: What do the letter


stand for Marie?

[00:11:47] Marie: So E is

for engagement and I'm sure she's going to ask now, what is engagement?

What do you mean by that? So I'm a free

up that question.

[00:11:56] Ellen: Absolutely.

[00:11:59] Marie: So engagement is really, so, you know, what we're talking about obviously is how to thrive. What are the things that are important from research and the evidence-based things that matter when we're thinking about living a good life, living a life where we feel satisfied rather than happiness, of course, this is about a kind of more continuous or constant sense of riding with themes and, and feeling good and functioning well.

So engagement then really means having a focus, having periods of time, where we focus very deeply on something. And we, we focus and we, we sort of lose track of time because we are in what we call a state of flow. So flow comes from Mihály Csíkszentmihályi

His name is so


[00:12:45] Ellen: I said, he should think about how to pronounce it, or you're always going to stumble

[00:12:48] Marie: Stumble

on it. Yeah. And so this state, that beautiful state that you will all be sort of familiar with where you're so engaged in something that you're so shocked by how much time has passed. And so what we know about their state is it's good for us and we should try and, you know, say yes to things that put us in that state more often, but also

that it comes to us through the right match of our strengths and challenge. So when we get to do something that it gives us that kind of rush of dopamine, because we're engaging in something that we are good at, that we love doing with just the right amount of challenge to hold our attention, but not so much as to overwhelm us.

Does that make sense?

[00:13:31] Ellen: Absolutely.

Absolutely. And it's my understanding that it's really that striving experience. It's the striving to achieve that thing. To undertake that task, whatever it might be that really contributes to our wellbeing. In this regard, I often talk about, because this is a strength is something that I took up a lot in workplace settings, very applicable, and that feeling of time

both passing quickly and standing still at the same time. Cause I think that's the thing that for me, really strikes me that you you're so engrossed in something that it's like, time stood still and then you do you look up and go, oh my goodness, that was three hours just gone. And it's not something that happens a lot.

Is it?

[00:14:12] Marie: Well, no, I guess it depends on what we get to do every day, isn't it? So I guess that one of the things we know is that people thrive more if they get more flow. And so how can we begin to know ourselves well enough to know what gives us that and craft our lives in a way that we get that more often.

And so when we begin to think about that in a more nuanced way, we know that flow requires us to use our strengths. Sadly, many of us don't really know what those are. We don't have a really sort of w we're much, much better at naming our weaknesses and our strengths. And so, you know, one of the first things that you, you must do in workplaces, and that I do with my, my clients as well as to help them identify their strengths. You know, what are those things that your brain is wired to do those things that you love doing and you're good at?

It has to be both of those things because I might be quite good at cooking the dinner but I don't really love doing it. So therefore it's not a strength, right? So it has to be both of those. And when we get to do those things, things just flow with the greatest of ease. And I say there are a lot of ease in this because you know, when we use our strengths, things become easier.

We feel engaged, we feel excited and we feel energized. So there's a lot of ease popping around there. We want to feel that, and you must notice this as well. And in your work that the days that we get to do the things that are aligned with our strengths, it just as a better day, we'd get more done. We perform better.

In terms of speed and in terms of quality and we feel more satisfied, we feel happier. We feel like we're aligned with the real me. And so that is shown to be both in the research and also a felt experience. I'm sure you'll agree. That's where we want to be as often as we can. And so, you know, for those of us who can think about how we spend our days work wise, how aligned is what we're doing.

with those strengths, how much can we job craft? So how much can we sort of outsource to other people to allow them to use their strengths, to do the things that are not ours and you know, how can we sort of move into following our, our strengths more in the career choices that we make. And we need to combine that then with a sort of nother layer, which is what's meaningful for us.

You know, we need to be using our strengths in contributing to things that feel meaningful. And that doesn't mean that you need to be Mother Teresa, but people care about different things. It might be the care of animals. It might be the environment might be, people might be raising children. It might be, you know, literature or arts or some of the simpler things in life.

But we do need to have a sense of contribution to something larger than ourselves. And when we get to combine those together, that's when we get that really sense that I'm really living life.

[00:17:25] Ellen: Hmm,

that's where the magic happens. And you mentioned earlier Marie this idea that this has to do with, you know, how we're wired up.

So you know what our, what our brain and, and one of the, my background was in individual differences, a psychologist, so lots and lots of years of doing personality profiling and what have you so. And I think this has been my experience because I do do this work, as you mentioned, and do encourage people to complete a strengths questionnaire that we'll talk about in a moment so that they can tap into and understand their strengths.

But part of that is explaining that we're not all the same. No, and I think we kind of know this at some level, but at a different level. We don't really unpack it in a nuanced way. We just kind of zoom that, oh, well, this person seems to really love their job and I, you know, I do the same job, but I don't love it.

And why is that? And a lot of this is to do with the fact that we are individually wired quite differently that no two of us are same. And when we talking about strengths, there are combinations of strengths. Even that might make somebody who might have some similar strengths but that combination might make person one and person two, still look and feel and experience the world.

Quite differently, don't


[00:18:39] Marie: I think that that's such an important thing that you raised there, Ellen, because I think that what knowing our strengths does is give us enormous insight to ourselves, but also to others. But I think one of the things that's been very powerful for me. And I'm so glad that you raised this because we are so critical of ourselves and we fall so deeply into

comparison with others. And so for many years, for me, in a part of the, sort of not good enough story, was that person's so much better at that and why can't I be. You know, so let's say you're very perseverant and I'm looking at you going, how does she stick in it things? You know, or, or how does she pay attention to detail in such an amazing way?

[00:19:26] Ellen: Usually me


[00:19:28] Marie: I was trying to think of a contrasting example into what I'm not,

is probably my husband, truth be told. He's all of his kind of, you know, prudence and caring, attention to detail and all of my sort of zestiness and creativity. And, you know, so when you look across at someone else and you think, oh, you know, why can't I be that way? It makes us feel bad.

But if we go, do you know what? Everyone has a unique profile of strengths, right? And what they have is different from what I have, and they might be looking across at me and going, well, I wish I was more, you know, zesty or more creative or more kind or honest or, you know, whatever it is but I think that this is part of what enables us to become more compassionate to ourselves and to go well, I've got what I've got and I will feel better and function better if I focus on what's mine. And please don't let us think that we can't grow and change these things because another part of this is that, you know, we are wired a certain way and

you know, if it takes eight to 10,000 hours to reach competency, it's something we'll get there faster using our strengths but it doesn't mean that we can't get there. If we want to be intentional about moving towards a different strength we can.

[00:20:48] Ellen: Yeah, and that is, it's so powerful that owning our individual strengths, understanding that this is me.

It's why I see the world the way I do. It's why I do what I do well. It's why I differ from other people, and that's okay. That self-compassion piece, I think when I deliver this in groups in particular, I see a lot of people having that kind of oh wow type moment when they realize that it's okay to be you as a distinct individual and to have this set of strengths.

And for that, to explain a lot of your behavior, some of your responses and how they may differ to somebody else. And it does take a while I think if you've not really given this much consideration in the past to get to that point of ownership of have that. I can certainly say that me now approaching 50.

I feel far more confident and comfortable with having a certain set of strengths and how that plays out and not just having those strengths, but not having strengths in other areas.

[00:21:57] Marie: Yes.

[00:21:57] Ellen: That's, you know, being able to appreciate, yeah. Being able to appreciate that other people have strengths in certain areas and to celebrate that with them for them, but also acknowledge that I just don't have strengths in that area

and that's okay.

[00:22:10] Marie: That's okay.

[00:22:10] Ellen: That's part of what makes us different and part of what keeps it interesting.


[00:22:15] Marie: Yeah. And, and that's the piece of acceptance that we need to come to and just having crossed the 50 line. I think it is much easier, you know, at this age for me as well. And so I think that that sort of acceptance for what I do have an what for what I don't have and the beauty of complimentarity, you know, so that I know I need to bring in the people

that have different strengths to me and that that can sometimes lead to clashes and it can mean that we might have different things that we value but I think that as you do in workplaces and you know, sometimes we do it with families is understanding the profile of strengths in those groups and beginning to see where are the overlaps, where are other people that I feel naturally drawn towards because their strengths are

similar, but where are the, there are people who are different. And I think, you know, we, we can have strengths blindness, and as sort of a bias towards, you know, praising people who are in our own likeness because they are valuing the same things that we value in terms of strengths. And so, one of the things that I talk about in workplaces and with parents, as well as how do we overcome that?

We need to become familiar with the value of strengths that we don't have. And, you know, I sort of a classic with my husband who has those sort of more temperant strengths of, you know, prudence and judgments and regulation and detail. And he also has lots of love and humor on those beautiful things

but, you know, I often joke about building a house with him and, you know, if it was up to me and I would have running round after the builders making cups of tea and, you know, just being old frivolous in the the house, wouldn't have been built with four walls and a roof if he had the main checking. And so, you know, I remind myself that what I don't have, he does and that works well and that when we overplay that's when we get in into difficulty and that's a whole other area. It

seems simple, but there is so much more that we could talk about and teach, I guess, that you and I sort of often get into in terms of knowing your strengths is like having a blunt tool, but we also need to know how to turn it up and turn it down in different situations. So that's something that we can talk about more perhaps another time, but very important as well.

[00:24:31] Ellen: Yeah, absolutely.

So I suppose we better let, I mean, I suspect there'd be quite a few of our listeners who might already know about the tool or the questionnaire that you can complete. The one that we're going to talk about a little today that gives you a bit of insight into your individual strengths, because I know that we have a lot of very literate listeners in the positive, psychology and aligned areas.

But for those who don't perhaps know exactly what we're talking about, and there are actually lots of different ways of measuring strengths and this slightly different definitions of strengths as well. And there's lots of different tools, but Marie what's the one that we both use and that we are going to recommend our listeners have a go at.

[00:25:12] Marie: Yeah and one of the great things about this is that it's free as well as being good. So that's, you know, just to qualify that because there are other ways, and, and we're not saying that those are not good. So the one that we are going to recommend is called the VIA strengths survey via as in V I A and that stands for Values In

Action and that is a survey that you'll find online. If you Google VIA survey, it will come up with, with these and you just enter your details and away you go. But that survey was created at the sort of very beginning of positive psychology when there was the intent to counter, I guess, traditional psychology that have the DSM three and other big manuals and volumes of things that go wrong with us.

[00:25:57] Ellen: Yeah.

[00:25:57] Marie: And Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman, who were the founders really said, well, you know, how do we classify? What's right with us. And so, you know, 53 social scientists were involved over three years, scouring the world to look for, you know, what are those things that we can classify as strengths that

cross culture and creed and age and, and all of those good things. And so it has been very robustly created and they've come up with 24 character strengths. So those are things such as love and kindness and honesty and creativity and humor and perseverance and prudence. So, you know, they, they are character strengths, whereas some of the other ones might be a little bit more work-related or a bit different, but certainly I have found this to be enormously useful for my clients.

And I know Ellen, from speaking to you as well, that you have to, so we definitely would recommend taking this sort of you know, maximum sort of 10 to 15 minutes that it would take to complete that. And then what you'll get is the 24 character strengths ranked in order of the way you answered the questions and we're directing people to the top five, which is really their signature strengths.

[00:27:10] Ellen: And I do, I use this a lot. In fact, I debrief someone who'd completed it just this week, you know? Yeah. What are your top strengths and these signature strengths and how does that play out in the workplace and how does it sometimes, you know, you mentioned the idea of overplaying your strengths, which is something that we can and do do occasionally.

And how does that perhaps play out? Not just in terms of, you know, the things that you might do at work that really energize you and inspire you. The things that, and one of the characteristics, particularly in the workplace is that when we're using our strengths, they are the tasks, the tasks that really give us that opportunity.

They are the tasks that we can do and push through and give so much more to, in a way that whilst it might physically deplete us kind of psychologically doesn't deplete as actually psychologically fuels us. So if you've got people playing to their strengths, they can work long hours. They can really, you know, go over and above in terms of tasks.

So it's a really, you know, engagement from a workplace engagement perspective, as well as this idea of psychological engagement because they are playing into this. They're almost getting as much as they give from the experience, which is quite different to having to work long and hard on a task that doesn't align with your strength.

That can just be very depleting in lots of different ways. And therefore you lose engagement from a workplace point of view. So being able to craft what we do as much as possible and craft roles in a way that people can play to their strengths to understand what those strengths are and then teams, as you said, you know, set up teams so that people are really getting the best opportunity to play to those strengths, but also understand where some of those strengths might be overplayed.

And why, if you are, for example, honesty is one of your top strengths. And so you like to say it as it is, you like to be very forthright, not in a rude way, but just because you value honesty, you know, it is, we're talking about values and actions. So it really does tap into our core values but where might that be overplayed?

Particularly if you're in an environment where that's not a commonly held strength, you know, I've worked with teams where honesty is a commonly held strength across the majority of the team. And they go gangbusters because they all know that they can speak the truth. They all know that they can be very upfront with their thoughts.

Nobody takes offense because everybody else values that as well but if you are a sole holder of honesty as a strength in an environment where other people don't have that as a top strength, how might that have an impact? What might that lead to, does it lead to conflict? Does it lead to other challenges?

So there's lots of really interesting conversations that we can have around these things. Once people have identified what those strengths are and then try to see how that plays out for them as individuals, but then also as part of that

border system.

[00:30:01] Marie: Yes. And it can lead to, you know, people, if they're an environment where different things are valued, that they turn their strengths down and they end up over time feeling really flat and maybe depressed.

And like, they need to kind of leave there because they feel like it didn't down version of themselves. And so I think that as you said, there are many conversations and we would be very happy to do strengths debriefs with people cause that's what we do because there is just so much more nuance than we can sort of.

And also when people have been experiencing mental health difficulties and other struggle, you know, there has a whole lot of layers. Sometimes people experiencing, you know, grief can be a thief of strengths. You know how I used to be might change if I've been depressed for a period of time. And I was previously someone who was zesty and had humor and know that those are fallen.

And so for me, part of the nuance of the work that I do is figuring out when I look at people's strengths, what is it saying about how they're feeling?

[00:31:01] Ellen: Hmm.

Okay, so Marie, what quest do we have for our listeners today? What is it that we want them to do to find out a little more about their own strengths and perhaps gain some of this insight that we've been talking about?

[00:31:17] Marie: So the quest that we're going to set Ellen is about finding more engagement. You know, it's very easy sometimes to just be coasting along and sort of some how being on the sidelines and not really in the game. And so the quest is about spending more time doing those things that we're good at, and we love doing.

Finding flow actually. And beginning to notice that and savor that and notice what it does for you in terms of, as he was so beautifully explaining how that energizes us and it refuels us and fills us up rather than depletes us. And so people may already know their strengths. And if so, the challenges, you know, to use those more often to say yes to things that allow you to use them.

And obviously to be aware, a little bit of tuning them up and down, which was sort of started to introduce the idea of, but if you haven't done your strengths, then you need a hand to figure out how to find flow, then we're also asking and suggesting that people go and do the VIA strength survey and so we'll obviously put the link to that in our notes

[00:32:31] Ellen: In the show notes,

[00:32:31] Marie: Yeah, but then it's really about going, okay

so having a look at those, maybe talking to people around you. If you are a little bit confronted, most people get them and they look at the top five people, unfortunately also go straight to the bottom and go, why is that? That sound natural negativity bias going. Oh, you know, I thought I was a bit more that way, but you know, we ask you that you do focus mostly on those top five and ask yourself, does that sound like me?

Does that sound like me at my best? And you know, I would encourage people to dig a little deeper into what each of those means because some of them, they're just one word titles. Right? So for example, one of them is called judgment. Now that doesn't mean mean that you're a judgmental person. It means that you use good judgment in the decisions that you make.

Some people might be confronted by having love, you know, in the workplace, but that really means that you've valued, close relationships, creativity doesn't mean kind of arts and crafts and things like that. So you need to kind of dig in and understand them and take some time and maybe print out the little poster off the VIA site.

Or we can have a link to that and put it up on the fridge and really get to know them for yourself but also you can then begin to recognize strengths in other people and they, oh, maybe, you know, they're feeling really down because they're disconnected and love as well on their top strengths, or they haven't had the opportunity to use their humor or people here aren't being very authentic and they value honesty.

So I think, you know, it just is an amazing tool for being able to kind of have insight for ourselves and others. So that is our quest spending more time doing things we're good at and love doing. The way to kind of cue into that is to know what your strengths are and we would very much love to have some dialogue about that with people, if they wanted to, you know, write in.

It's certainly something that I know that I love doing strengths, debriefs with people, and it's a part of the work I do. And we might even include as well, a team strength profile and a family one so that if people want to do that, they can plot that on there as well, and begin to see those constellations of strengths across groups.

[00:34:39] Ellen: Yeah. And I think one of the things that's really key to remember for, if you're new to this whole idea, and some of our listeners will be some won't but some will is that this is just an introduction. You know, you can, you can talk about these things and go deep into them and get into the nuance and how it applies and you know, where it fits at home and at work and in every other element of our lives.

And that just takes time a little, like all of these things. I always say to people when I'm working with them and I'm sure you do as well, Marie, that none of this stuff, there's no silver bullets. There's no quick band-aids when it comes to understanding yourself and knowing yourself and even thriving in many ways, it's a lifetime pursuit, which is not to say that we can't,

have quick insights or learn things, but this is, you know, it's step one in a longer process. So it's starting to just gain this little bit of insight. If you do complete the questionnaire online, there is a lot of background information about the particular strengths and descriptions there that you can kind of delve into a little, but it's just step one in a longer term conversation for all of us.

[00:35:48] Marie: It is, it is. And you know, insight is, is power, you know, understanding ourselves is such an important thing to be able to kind of, as we said earlier, to know that we don't have to be all things to all people and to go with the way we're quiet is just, you know, a beautiful way to help us feel better and function better.

And so that's what we'd like people to practice this week in their quest is to say, you know, and so sometimes people are stuck up. Certainly we're not saying that you don't have to do the boring stuff because we all know that we have done that as well but to the extent to which you have a choice in the now, and also looking forward, if you are making choices about jobs or careers or how you spend your time on the weekends with family,

how you parent. Try to make decisions that align with your strengths and obviously for the next week that you're not going to change those big things, but just wherever you can have control. Staying in that side of your strengths and where you can't have an acceptance for that as well.

[00:36:55] Ellen: And I think even just noticing, I think that's one of the things for me is just moments of noticing, you know, when you're actually

in a little bit of flow, whether it's because you're reading something or doing something or in a conversation or creating something or, you know, just paying attention to where you might in that moment go, oh, this feels really good. You know, this is giving me energy. I'm really enjoying this. And then asking yourself the question,

I wonder what strengths might be underpinning this experience and wonder why this is that this, you know, I gravitate towards this task perhaps to relax or to re-energize or to feel good and then is that in alignment with your strengths? If you do do the questionnaire, you might find that out. So what are you and I going to do Marie?

We we're doing this along with everyone today as well?

[00:37:42] Marie: We

are. So I think we have obviously done it before but what we know is that we should do it kind of every year or when there are significant changes. Yeah. So I'm going to go back and look at mine and just check the date when I did my last, but I know that there have been some sort of career changes and also through lockdown, you know, I think that our strengths are contextual.

And so there is a little bit of shift that happens when we're in situations that allow us to use some of our strengths more often. So, for example, when I'm doing more coaching perspective and, you know, having wisdom comes up, you know, and then sometimes they shuffle around a little. And so I'm going to go back and look at mine and see what's there.

See the date I did it last. Maybe take it again and just become aware and notice as well for me, particularly at that stage of where am I, you know, turning things down and where, you know, turning things up too high, because oftentimes when we get frustrated with something it's because we're clashing with someone else's strengths or we're turning one of our strengths up too high, based on what is famous one that often kind of gets people or they're using humor in the wrong place at the wrong time, or they're being too honest and they're being blunt or they're being too kind of prudent or persevere, and then they're getting themselves stuck in the can't make a decision.

And so I'm going to sort of spend some time thinking about that this week. How about for you? What what's gonna

be for you?

[00:39:06] Ellen: Yeah, I'll do the same. I must admit I haven't redone my questionnaire in a while. So

perhaps I ought to do that. That

prompted me to think about that. And I am always interested, particularly in trying to boost some of my lesser strengths.

[00:39:25] Marie: That's a good one too. Yeah.

[00:39:26] Ellen: There are certain strengths that I'm aware of that I really value in others. And so perhaps I will have a think about how I might be able to boost some of those over the next week, but we will be back and we would love to hear from you. We will pop details of the questionnaire and all of the resources that we have mentioned in today's episode, in the show notes.

And if you keep an eye out on our social feeds, we might just prompt with the question, what are your top strengths?

[00:39:59] Marie: Oh that would be good.

[00:39:59] Ellen: So if you go ahead and complete the questionnaire, you can pop that in the comments and you can always email us those contact details, be in the show notes as well. If you'd like to let us know what your strengths are, but we would love to hear from you.

And perhaps we can maybe even answer some questions Marie, on social media about, about strengths and point people in the, in the direction of different resources. So absolutely.

[00:40:26] Marie: I absolutely love and very curious. And I've spent a lot of time researching and thinking and coaching around strengths. So I do probably now have acquired quite a bit of knowledge and understanding how different ones show up and what's happening for people when they've got sort of struggle and things.

So it's a pleasure for me to be able to share that. So if anyone does do it and get confronted or confused in any way, then we're more than happy to either do a strengths debrief, or just ask us, answer some questions on email as well. That'd be no worries at all.

[00:40:56] Ellen: So Marie's

put it out there. She's there to help.

Do your questionnaire. She's looking alarmed at me now

The questionnaire is,

[00:41:04] Marie: How many minutes do we have?

[00:41:06] Ellen: Let us know how you go.

[00:41:07] Marie: And then put me in the zone of my

strengths, how about


[00:41:10] Ellen: It will, it will there you go. It's a win-win and we look forward to seeing you next week, looking back in your ears next week, when we were talking about the third letter in the BEACON

framework we've done B for Belonging, E for Engagement, and we're up to A for Accountability.

[00:41:28] Marie: Yeah.

[00:41:29] Ellen: Great to be with you again, and we'll speak to you soon.

[00:41:32] Marie: Fantastic. Thanks Ellen, see you then.

[00:41:36] Ellen: Hey, thank you for being here. Thank you for listening in. I hope you're enjoying our new series of How to Thrive episodes with Marie McLeod. It's a lot of fun for me trying something new, but I'd really love to know if you're enjoying it too.

So you can rate and review the podcast in Apple podcasts and let us know that way. Or we have a brand new email address just for podcast correspondence, it is [email protected] And you can always have a chat of course, with either Marie or myself or both of us via social media. If you're not already in our thrive tribe on the social platforms, you can search for Potential Psychology on the socials, or needtoseesomeone to find Marie.

And if you're interested in applying a more positive approach to your life or your working life or your leadership or your organization, Marie offers a range of individual and corporate coaching packages and her e- learning BEACON program. And that's all on her website and I do leadership coaching and organizational development consulting.

And I have the very first of a new online masterclass series little lessons for leaders available via the Potential Psychology website. Actually, when I say available, it's not quite ready yet, you can absolutely join the wait list because it won't be long. So that's a and the first master class is Creating Hard Stops on Meeting Creep and Zoom Gloom, 6 strategies for reclaiming your post COVID Workday and supporting your team to thrive.

So best of luck this week for your quest for engagement. If you have questions about the VIA strength survey that we talked about today, or maybe your profile, please drop us a line, both Marie and I love to chat about strengths. So don't be shy, struck up a conversation, ask away. The links you'll need for the survey and to make contact and find out more about us and how to thrive

and of course, the resources we went in today and Marie's tip sheets, they're all on the show notes. It's either here on your podcast platform, you'll find the links, whichever one you use, or at and next week, we'll be back to talk about positive habits and accountability. How do you actually do the doing

of the many ideas we're discussing it to really critical part. So we're looking forward to that and having you back to share that with us, but in the meantime, as always go forth on your quest to thrive and take small steps to fulfill your potential.