Q: What is your favorite positive practice and why?
I am a huge fan of showing gratitude especially through sugar cubes! Telling people how grateful I am for them helps me to have a greater appreciation for the wonderful people I have in my life and creates a positive spiral for the recipient and me. I also have a gratitude coin that I keep in my pocket. Any time I touch it I think about someone or something I am grateful for and why.
Q: What area of positive organizational scholarship research resonates most deeply with you?
I am fascinated by strengths-based work and leadership research. For such a long time, the academic and professional worlds have emphasized improving weaknesses. Strengths research has shown that we actually have more impact in an organization when we focus more on matching what we do with what we are good at. It does not mean that we should not try and improve areas of weakness, but that we should spend less time there and instead emphasize our strengths. I think organizations that engage their teams this way will have happier, healthier, and more loyal team members.
Q: If you could tell anything to the "you" of five years ago, what would it be?
Give the world the best you have and the best will come back to you. I think 5 years ago my focus was on building a career and being successful, but since then I have come to realize that for me success means giving to others and helping my friends and family to see the best in themselves. This change in mindset has blessed me with wonderful opportunities, the most recent being the Center’s Magnify program.
Q: What was the last book you read?
David and Goliath
by Malcolm Gladwell. It is a great book that talks about how perceived individual weaknesses can contribute to strengths. One story that resonated with me was that of former Cisco CEO and now Chairman, John Chambers. Chambers has dyslexia, but learned to use this to his advantage. Gladwell explains in a 2008 New Yorker
article on Chambers and other leaders who have used learning disabilities to create strengths, “Because of their difficulties with reading and writing, they were forced to develop superior oral-communication and problem-solving skills. Because they had to rely on others to help them navigate the written word, they became adept at delegating authority.”
Q: What is one thing you cannot live without?
Music – I cannot think of a world without music!