Sunday, February 24, 2019

Discussing Springboard: Part II

In today’s post, I address the second of the two questions at the heart of Wharton Professor Richard Shell’s Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for SUCCESS: How will I achieve my idea of success (see last week's post for question 1)?  

Shell offers 5 Steps covered in Chapters 5-9 (if you’ve yet to formulate your idea of success, jumpstart with his Six Lives Exercise)

Step #5: Look Inside to Find Your Unique Combination of Capabilities

I love the quoted Danish folk saying that opens this chapter: “You must bake with the flour you have.”  Given my affinity for cooking, I was intrigued by its opening story about the circuitous life path of the famous French chef Julia Child (want details? read the book!).  Using the story of Child and others, Shell steers the reader through a reflection upon one's achievement skills, backyard diamonds, and personality strengths through his SAME assessment exercise. 

I think the genius of this chapter is that it seems to suggest that just as we all have a unique combination of DNA, we all have a unique mix of gifts, talents, personality strengths etc. and that it’s in understanding, nurturing, and harnessing this unrepeatable mix that we’re most likely to flourish.    

Step #6: Energize Yourself by Combining Satisfaction-Based and Reward-Based Motivations

Do you know the significance of the number 32,850? Shell asks the reader. Do you?  It’s the number of days you’ll live if you someday celebrate your 90th birthday.  Time is short, so get energized and get moving!  But how?  Shell suggests a balanced combination of inner (satisfaction-based) and outer (reward-based) motivations adapted to one’s personality strengths (do the SAME assessment!).  Being a runner, I love his rationale: “Satisfaction-based motivation is best for endurance.  Reward-based energy is best for sprints.”   

Step #7: Cultivate Self-Confidence

In essence: learn to fail.  It’s not fun (at least at first), but it’s so important to one’s growth.  Shell discusses two types of confidence in this Chapter: Level 1 (your sense of your “true-self”) and Level 2 (skills-based).  He notes that “Your confidence is what gives you the courage to try, fail, learn, grow, and, ultimately, succeed.”    

Step #8: Focus the Powers of Your Mind to Achieve Long-Term Goals

Charles Lindbergh’s audacious goal of being the first to make a nonstop transatlantic flight is among the many stories in Springboard.  Achieving important goals requires effectively harnessing and focusing four powers of the mind: passion, imagination, intuition, and reason.

True confession: the runner in me has been waiting for the opportune moment to share a recent, utterly inspiring WSJ article about Gene Dykes, the spouse of Shell’s Wharton colleague Olivia Mitchell, who had the audacious goal (at least for most of us!) of running a marathon in less than 3 hours.  The ability to effectively harness one’s mental powers is absolutely essential in endurance running.   Without doubt, Dykes succeeded at this: in December 2018, he “ran a world record sub-three hour marathon…at age 70.” WOW!!    

Step #9: Engage Others-Exercise Influence

Here, credibility is key.  It establishes trust.  And trust is the basis of true cooperation.  To illustrate, Shell quotes Mark Twain: “Always do right.  This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

In Springboard’s closing paragraph, Shell states that “My goal has been to make this experience a living workbook about you, your goals, and your life.”  Based upon comments I’ve heard from various sources (students, friends, siblings, business contacts etc.), Shell has succeeded.  It’s a truly worthwhile read!

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