Can You Develop a Strengths-Fueled Future?
If you were given the opportunity to create your dream job, do you know what it would look like? What would you be doing each day that build on your strengths? Who would you be working with? Why would you feel proud when you went home each night?
When people come Michelle McQuaid for coaching they're able to easily list off all the things they're not really enjoying about their work, but when we ask them what the job they're longing for looks like we mostly see blank faces. And when they start to actually think about where they're headed, it's usually focused on bigger, faster and stronger. But as John F. Kennedy once said, “Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
When it comes to creating a job you love, studies suggest it pays to create a vivid image of what your strengths-fuelled future might look like. But why is this approach more science than secret?
A growing body of evidence suggests that positive images pull us forward into positive actions. As Professor David Cooperrider—one of the world’s leading researchers in creating positive change—teaches positive images pull us forward into new possibilities that fuel us with hope and put us on the road to finding solutions, helping us to realize we have the power to make things happen.
How does this work? Just the very idea of having the rewards that come from getting something that we’re hoping for is enough to kick-start a cascade of dopamine—our brain’s reward drug—through key neural pathways in the brain that have the power to move us from intention to action.
For example, for decades, the four-minute mile was considered a natural limit for runners. It was unthinkable to go faster. Then English athlete Roger Bannister set himself the impossible goal, started training accordingly, and in May 1954, he shattered this barrier on an Oxford track. Within three years, sixteen other runners had also surpassed this “human” limit. There was no fundamental leap in human evolution. What had changed was their ability to imagine what was possible.