Five Languages in Five Weeks – How ‘Bout a Little QT

Ok, so we are into Week 2 of Learning Five Languages in Five Weeks.  Let’s review:

These are the Five Languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Gifts
  • Touch

We all have a primary “language” we speak and need to have communicated to us in order to feel loved in our personal relationships and appreciated in our workplace.  The key is finding out your own language, as well as those you have relationships with in your personal and professional life.  These discoveries will help you communicate and dramatically improve the relationships in your life.  Last week’s post talked about the Words of Affirmation lovers.  These language speakers want you to tell them they rock and why.  This week we will discuss Quality Time.  If you would like a brief overview of each language, revisit last week’s post.  Remember, your primary and secondary languages may differ between your personal life and business life so view all the languages from two sets of perspectives.  If you’re pumped and ready to move on, let’s spend some QT together dissecting this language.

The quality aspect of Quality Time is founded on focused attention.  That means without distractions or other tasks being completed simultaneously.  (Are you listening smart phone owners?)

Let’s start from a personal perspective.  The whole point to these language speakers is quality.  Just spending time together may not be enough.  A spouse may wonder, “we just spent six hours at the picnic with our friends and family and you say we haven’t spent quality time together”.  Ah Marone!  The definition of quality time lies in the hands of the one desiring it.  Your first clue is to listen to their complaints:  “you never watch TV with me”, “we never go out to dinner alone anymore”, “why don’t we take day trips together anymore”, “why are you always on that damn phone?”  You get the picture.  Take these not-so-subtle hints as a sign that this person needs a little QT with you.

From a professional perspective, it can be more difficult to determine when a co-worker speaks this language.  Supervisors should regularly set aside scheduled QT time with each direct report.  If you can trickle it down to other levels, great.  Some may be able to pull this off monthly, others only quarterly.  If possible, allow about 30 minutes with each individual.  You’ll start to see which ones need the full amount, and which ones don’t.  Adjust accordingly.  You should be actively listening while the other person is talking.  Remember, this is about Focused Attention.  Paying attention like this will also help you determine each person’s “language”. Even if you’re not a supervisor, a complaining co-worker saying “nobody cares around here”, or “if I could catch Beth’s ear for 2 seconds I could fix this whole problem”, or “nobody communicates anymore”, is likely to speak this language and can be helped following the same steps in casual conversation.  Ask how they’re doing, if they have any ideas or concerns on their mind.  If nothing comes up, just shoot the breeze with them.  Ask about their life outside of work, upcoming vacations, whatever, just make sure they feel they were listened to and valued for their contributions.

Quality Time can be a tough language to speak as we are all so pressed for time, but for those who really need it, providing it can prevent bigger issues down the line that you also wouldn’t have time for.  So get it in your calendar and stop putting it off.  There’s an awesome likelihood that you too will benefit from that quality time! Is QT a language you’re fluent in?  Share some stories about how to successfully communicate in this language.  Stay tuned for next week’s post on Acts of Service.

(The Five Languages are based on “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White))

Five Languages in Five Weeks – Starting with Words

Think you can’t learn five languages in five weeks?  C’mon, give yourself (and me) more credit! Of course you can.  After reading “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White)… I felt that this was an awesome topic to share with my readers. These were both easy reads, but more importantly for me, they were need-to-read’s.  They were practical, with quick, applicable stories.  I suggest reading the books, however, if your time is limited or you’d prefer a more condensed version, I aim to please:

These are the Five Languages:

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Acts of Service

Gifts

Touch

Each of us has a primary and secondary preference and these may differ between your personal and business lives. (For the free personal assessment, go to www.5lovelanguages.com/profile . For the professional version, there is a $15 charge, but can be found at www.mbainventory.com . Here is a brief description of each language:

Words of Affirmation:  Those that count this as their primary language require words to feel loved and appreciated.  These can be spoken or written.  We’ll learn more about this in a bit.

Quality Time:  For these types, one-on-one time together is important.  Acitve listening is key here! We’ll dive into details of this one next week.

Acts of Service:  These acts typically involve anything that could be counted as “thoughtful”.  While the specific act will vary, the gesture is what counts the most to these peeps.

Gifts:  As if this isn’t obvious.  This person prefers physical, tangible evidence of being loved and appreciated.  While expensive and materialistic items may qualify, these gift lovers often enjoy handmade gifts, flowers or other thoughtful expressions of love and appreciation.

Touch:  You know that “touchy-feely” person that always seems to hug, touch and show PDA virtually anywhere?  Yeah, this is probably their preferred form of loving communication.  While less likely (and some would caution, less appropriate) at work, these people can be identified as the high-fiving, fist bumping ones.

Figuring out another’s language can be tough, but once you do, there are an endless number of options to satisfy their need.  Each week for the next five I will highlight a particular “language” and some suggestions on ways to meet that need for yourself and others.  This information is very beneficial in every relationship you have and it would behoove you to understand your own language and those you spend a lot of time with.  This week, let’s focus on Words of Affirmation.

For those who need Words of Affirmation, it’s obvious they need words, but it is equally important that they get sincerity!  They don’t want empty or generic compliments.  “Nice job today” will feed the need for about 5 seconds.  They want to know specifically what they did to please you.  If she cooked a rockin’ dinner, tell her what was so awesome about it and why it was appreciated by you.  If he spent the entire day tiling the bathroom floor, take the time to point out how awesome it looks.  If Suzie dealt with the “customer from hell” so the rest of you wouldn’t have to, tell her what this meant to you.  Also, those who feel loved and appreciated by this language want to be recognized for the personal characteristic that got it done or made it so worthy of mention.  Tell her how much her dedication to providing quality food to the family is admired.  Tell him how his sense of responsibility, like keeping the home in good condition, is one of his sexiest traits.  Let Suzie know that her patience in dealing with higher-maintenance people makes the rest of you envious and you’d like to know how on earth she does it without going ape-shiz crazy afterwards.

Keys to remember:  Be specific, be detailed, and be sincere.  This is not a “fake it til you make it” opportunity.  If you can’t be sincere, then be silent.

Now what:  If you can identify with this language, and believe it to be your primary or secondary language in either setting (personal or business), there are a few things you can do with that knowledge.  Let others know this is how you prefer to be loved and recognized.  Also, understand that those times when you feel neglected or slighted by someone may not be because they don’t love or appreciate you, but because they are speaking a different language.  If you suspect a loved one or co-worker prefers this language, get creative in ways to recognize them.  This can be spoken face to face or publicly acknowledged, or written in a thoughtful letter, card or email.  This is one of the quickest and easiest needs to meet once you’re aware.  So pay attention and share with words why you think someone is a ROCKSTAR!!  Stay tuned…next week’s post will focus on a little Quality Time.

Finding Your Passion Using Assessments

I have always been a firm believer that people do their best work when they enjoy what they do.  No duh, right? No big revelation there, however it’s all too common, in the United States especially, that we focus on the areas that need improvement.  This starts in the schools and the same is true in business.  Jobs (and often managers) are so rigid in the requirements that employees are expected to perform all duties at an accomplished level.  Almost like robots.

I’m willing to bet that quality and productivity would increase in any industry if employees were utilized for their strengths and we’d all be a lot happier to boot. As neither our educational system nor our traditional business philosophy is likely to change anytime soon, we have to take charge of finding the right career for ourselves.  This doesn’t sound hard, right?

I have counseled many young adults who are so terrified at not yet knowing what they want to be when they grow up that they are frozen in fear making no decisions.  Additionally, I’ve spoken with numerous mid-lifers who ask the same question but instead of exploring it, they just go with the flow in a job that doesn’t satisfy them at all. So what to do? My advice is to take an assessment, actually several assessments.  And no, I’m not referring to the ones in Glamour, Seventeen and Cosmopolitan.

While assessments won’t spell out precisely which job you should pursue, they will identify your strengths and some provide suggestions on types of careers that might interest you.  I’m speaking from experience here people, and I can tell you that Retrospect is a beautiful view.  I took many assessments over a large span of time and reviewing them all assured me that I was completely blind to what has always been right in front of my face!  I often pursued training and education that would serve in my job at the time but didn’t necessarily advance me closer to my true passions.  I, too, went with the flow of each job, letting others lead me to the trail I should blaze.  While this allowed me to advance over the years, one fact remained: I was a coward.  I’m a very confident woman and yet I didn’t trust my own ability to FULLY blaze my own chosen path.  Reviewing my assessment results really gave me the bitch-slap I needed to start pursuing my passions.

So where do you begin? Do the assessments I’ve listed at the end of this article.  All of them.  You’ll likely see a pattern which will reinforce what you already know.  Regardless of the life stage you’re in, it’s important to know your strengths and to take steps towards utilizing them.  If you’re just starting out in your career ask yourself how your position is serving you and your strengths.  You may need to tough it out and prove yourself to get more of what you love in your position, but that’s still progress.  If, like me, you have a family to support or other financial obligations and can’t just “start over” immediately, try to find the areas in your current position that serve your passions WHILE taking baby steps towards your dreams.  Who says you can’t do both? And don’t get tangled in the, “I’m too old to do that now” bullshit.  Don’t limit yourself like that.  You can do whatever you want once you are clear on what you love and what you’re good at.

Marie Forleo says it best: There’s only one you. Never again will there be someone with your knowledge, experiences and gifts.  The world NEEDS you and your talents!  So go forth and identify your strengths and start finding where and how you can put them to use!  Here are my recommendations:

“Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath.  Purchasing the book gives you a code to take the online assessment for free.  Results will show your Top 5 out of 34 possible personality “themes”.  For example, my top 5 are: Adaptablility, Connectedness, Empathy, Harmony and Positivity.

“Career Match” by Shoya Zichy with Ann Bidou.  Assessment is in the book. Results are color themed with extrovert/introvert considerations.  For example I’m a Green/Red Extrovert. (warm, free spirit)

MBTI (Myers-Briggs) Assessment: There are several options for this one.

http://www.capt.org/take-mbti-assessment/mbti.htm  This one is taken online and has a $150 price tag in the US & Canada ($175 in other countries) and includes a personalized readback from a trained professional.

https://www.mbticomplete.com/contents/learnmore.aspx  This is taken online and results are shown online as well.  There is no one-on-one readback, but it’s more affordable at only $49.95.

There are copy-cat versions on the web that are often free, but they are not endorsed or supported by Myers-Briggs.  Results are a four-letter combination.  I’m an ENFP. (Extroverted Intuition with Feeling).

DISC Assessment:  This is taken online and measures 4 dimensions of your behavioral style. Decisive, Interactive, Stability and Cautious.  Typically a $250 assessment, you can complete it and get the results immediately and for free at Tony Robbins site:  http://www.tonyrobbins.com/ue/disc-profile.php

I’d love to know how YOU scored on each of these and how you do, can or will utilize your strengths, so please share your results in the comments section of this post!

I’m Rubber You’re Glue…For Grown-ups

“I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you”.  Remember saying that or some similar discourse to a child who was saying mean things to you?  I’ve found it to be equally true in what you think as well.  I recall working for a particularly mean-spirited supervisor.  This was a person I had such little respect for and really wanted to say, “Just so you know, I think you suck…hard.”  But being a reasonably sensible person even when instigated, I just thought it, and many more colorful things to boot.  I deplore the word and emotion “hate” and never wish harm on another person (OK, I may have at one time wished a 2am stubbed toe on the metal frame of a bed, but never with a lasting injury).

As I felt all sense of power and control slipping through my fingers with this person, I would reclaim it daily by thinking even more outrageous, insulting and demeaning statements each time I caught sight of them.  I found it especially satisfying when I had the opportunity to think these things “at” them while directly looking in their eyes with a contrite smile on my face.  But as time went on, I found myself even more unhappy. Returning to this place day after day, my fantastical one-sided colloquy getting more and more bitter at every interaction with this demonized supervisor didn’t seem to be serving me at all.  (Inhale here). This introspection led me to realize I wasn’t “winning”, in fact, I had added my own mind to this person’s army.  By living in my head with this person, in battle, on such a regular basis, I was not only tiring myself out, but I was creating a negative, acidic environment in the one place I had sought refuge.  My imagination.  I was engaging in a full-on, Pay-Per-View worthy boxing match where I played both parts in the ring.  So my left hook was firmly planted on my own right cheek.  In writing this, I’d like to say that I immediately turned my negative thoughts into positive recognition about how great this person was at playing the political game or developing their loyal following or even how much they loved their dog.  But let’s not be ridiculous, this is supposed to be about authenticity.

You may or may not have noticed that I don’t go by the name “Dalai Lama”, “Mother Theresa”, “Nelson Mandela” or “Jesus”.  All wonderful souls mind you, but let’s just say I haven’t evolved to that level of lightness just yet.  What I can say is that I started (with great effort) looking at this individual and searching for anything positive to associate with them like, “the teal in that top is my favorite color” or “their laughter is bringing joy to someone right now”.  Some days I could only find “at least their exhale of carbon dioxide is helping a plant grow somewhere”, but progress is progress after all. Following only one week of this, I honestly felt better.  Really.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t start viewing this supervisor with loving adoration, but I did feel more love in my heart.  I don’t know why it worked other than to say that when you fill your mind with more love, everything else seems to follow.  Your mind is a powerful machine, make sure you are using it to your advantage and in a way that brings you joy and love…and screw the crappy supervisors of the world.  They’ll just have to figure that out on their own.

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com