As humans, we need each other.
For companionship, for love, and definitely for goals.
Because we all have strengths and things we’re good at, but we also have the things we’re not so good at.
This could look like a person who has a million great ideas but never finishes one before she’s off and running with the next thing.
Or it’s the person that’s who takes so long weighing all the pros and cons that they never make a decision.
I’m highly aware of what my talents are and also very aware of alllll the things I don’t do well.
Enter strength-based partnerships.
This is a twist on an accountability partnership because it takes it one step further.
Your partner isn’t someone you check in with every week to make sure you did that thing you were supposed to do. A strengths-based partner is someone who works with you to achieve a goal because they have the qualities you may lack. And ideally, you have qualities they lack.
It’s a symbiotic relationship. It’s like an I scratch your back, you scratch mine...I cook, you clean...I’ll watch Westworld tonight if we can watch This is Us tomorrow...kind of thing.
Yes, it takes more work and commitment. But more work = bigger reward, right?
This might look like a partnership between someone who has such big visions of the future they don’t know where to start, and a person who is great at getting things done.
Or a partnership between a person who starts a lot of projects and a person who completes them.
That last one is pretty much me and my strengths-based partnership with Dallas Travers.
Many of you know Dallas as the brains behind the Book a Job Challenge or Actor’s Business Blueprint. But she’s also a coach for coaches.
I'll pull back the curtain a bit.
I’m a creative brainstormer (a.k.a. lots of ideas with little follow through). Over the course of my life, I've had tons of great ideas that I never *really* got off the ground like an online baking business, personalized notecards, and a cookbook for college kids.
My friend and I did start The Tempted Tastebud which was an online bakery, but let’s just say we spent far too much time dreaming up cookie-of-the-month ideas instead of figuring out how to make a profit. Accounting? Nah, we’ll wing it. Systemizing? System-what? Buying everything, including our shipping boxes, at retail? Of course!
It’s no wonder the Tempted Tastebud was a fast-sinking ship filled with (damn good if I do say so myself) Snickerdoodles, Lemon Bread, and English Toffee.
Let's get back to the strength-based partnerships.
When I first heard about CliftonStrengths and got coached for the first time, I knew instantly that I wanted to bring it to actors.
I had a vision for how to change the way actors feel about themselves, but I didn’t know how or where to start.
And I could feel myself getting caught up in picking brand colors (yay!) And paying for someone to design a label (fancy!)! And so forth….
Cart before the horse as they say. Or in my case, chocolate before breakfast.
Luckily, before I got too far down that path, I made a fortuitous connection with Dallas Travers and grabbed an open spot in one of her coveted Power Groups – a group coaching program that helps coaches do everything from getting ideas off the ground to crushing financial goals.
Ding ding ding. This was it!
It didn’t occur to me at the time, but this was a strengths-based partnership made it heaven.
I was exuberant about my idea. But for me, exuberance meant overwhelm. I had no idea where to start, and I desperately needed help with execution.
Lucky for me, Dallas has the “just get started” talent and she's also strategic and organized.
Together we laid out the end goal and all of the steps in between; She kept me focused and moving forward.
But, back to us actors.
We have so many have-tos, must-dos and want to-dos for our career, that for some of us, making a plan to start chipping away at all of it is daunting.
I believe finding a strengths-based partnership is how you can move forward with grace and ease.
Have a vision for a short film you want to make but don’t know where to start? Find someone who has the ‘get it done’ talent.
Trying to write a script but you can’t get past re-writing the same scene? Partner with someone who helps you see the bigger picture and can help you get there.
Let's look at another example.
Meet Rob. Rob wanted to move to New York but didn’t feel ready. He had tons of checklists and action items that had to get done before he could move, but there was always a reason why 'now’ wasn’t the right time.
But when it came right down to it, it was fear; Rob was using all of that busywork as a crutch.
One of Rob’s strongest talents is his ability to develop deep connections and thus he has a small circle of close friends. So we used those relationships to our advantage in tackling the Big Apple monster.
Rob shared his plan with his friends, put a move date on the calendar and tasked his friends to keep him accountable. They were not only his biggest cheerleaders, but they helped him pack, and turned his move into an epic cross-country adventure.
It was magical. And it worked.
Rob now lives in New York and is tackling his newest goal of finding an agent.
Some of you probably already use strengths-based partnerships, but you just don’t know it.
Have you ever gotten an invitation to a great networking event? Thrill! Then, oh crap. You are terrified of mingling with strangers. So, you call your most extroverted friend and beg them to go with you.
Sound familiar? Yup, that's a powerful strengths-based partnership in action.
It all starts with knowing what your talents are and then being honest with yourself about the stuff that doesn't come naturally or where you risk wasting a lot of time doing things that don't matter.
Maybe it's hard for you to accept that you can’t do it all or that someone else is better at certain things than you are.
That's a good thing!
Because isn’t that what we all want in our careers? A real community of actor friends who applaud each other’s strengths and help each other reach our goals?
Let's do that. Here’s what you can do to get started.
- Go through the Action Guide if you haven’t already and identify your Core Qualities.
- Make a list of all of your career-related to-do items.
- Organize them by urgency and make them time-bound.
- List out all the steps (I like to call these Micro-Wins) needed to achieve that goal.
- Identify which of your talents will be the most useful to achieve each step.
- Identify the core qualities you need from a strengths-based partner.
- Join the Magnetic Actor Method Facebook group and engage + interact and see if you can make some magic happen.