My father led a class for Dave Ramsey‘s “Financial Peace University” this past fall at his church in Manhattan, Kansas. Since I’m exploring some new job as well as consulting possibilities following the completion of my PhD this fall, he shared the Lesson 11 CD with me over the holidays titled “Working In Your Strengths.” These are a few of my notes from Dave’s lecture. A detailed summary of this lesson is available on borrowfromnone.com. See Dave’s blog post from October 2009, “How to Find Your Strengths: Just because you’re good at something doesn’t make it a strength” for more background. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

'Financial Peace Junior' photo (c) 2008, Matt McGee - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Dave highly recommends several books and audio/video resources in this presentation. One is “Trombone Player Wanted” by Marcus Buckingham. The first two of the six included films are available FREE on iTunes. Dave wrote on his blog about Buckingham:

“A better definition of a strength,” said Buckingham, “is an activity that makes you feel strong. And a weakness is an activity that makes you feel weak. Even if you’re good at it, if it drains you, that’s a weakness.”

I’ve added the Kindle version of Marcus Buckingham’s book, “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” to my Amazon wish list.

Dave also recommended “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. In the book Collins focuses on the importance in EVERY organization for leaders to “get the right people on the bus, get the wrong people off the bus, and get the people on the bus ‘in the right seats.”‘ I’VE JUST PURCHASED THE AUDIO VERSION OF THIS BOOK WITH MY MONTHLY AUDIBLE SUBSCRIPTION AND AM GOING TO LISTEN TO IT IN 2012.

'Bus Mirror Reflection' photo (c) 2008, Mr. T in DC - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Dave says “Most of the best jobs don’t get listed: They are ‘friend of a friend’ connections.”
– only 15% of jobs are listed in the newspaper

I’VE CERTAINLY FOUND THIS TO BE TRUE THE PAST 3 YEARS AS AN INDEPENDENT, DIGITAL LEARNING CONSULTANT. FINDING WORK IS ALMOST ALL ABOUT NETWORKING AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS.

Unsolicited resumes have a 10% success rate, newspaper classified ads have a 15% success rate

Dave spends a lot of time in the lecture describing and extolling the DISC Personality Profile. The four elements of DISC are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. This is the basis for Gary Smalley’s Personality Types Inventory which uses animals for each “temperament:’ Lion, Otter, Golden Retriever, and Beaver. I SHOULD TAKE THIS AT SOME POINT, IT’S BEEN AWHILE SINCE I’VE DONE A MYERS-BRIGGS OR SIMILAR INVENTORY. I’M PRETTY SURE I’M MOSTLY LION, AND MY WIFE IS MOSTLY GOLDEN RETRIEVER.

'Lions, Krugersdorp game reserve' photo (c) 2011, Derek Keats - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Willow Enjoys Christmas Morning

Make a follow-up appointment after your job interview

Write a hand-written thank you note following every interview

Your career track is vital
– it’s not straight up, but it’s the key to your long term income plan

Dave recommends the book “48 Days to the Work You Love” by Dan Miller. The Kindle version of the book is available for just $3. Dave Ramsey wrote the forward. A revised version, “48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal” is $9.23 in paperback from Amazon but interestingly is not available yet for Kindle. THIS DEFINITELY IS WORTH CHECKING OUT, I ADDED IT TO MY AMAZON WISH LIST.

Dave closed with the following quotation about persistence from Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President in the United States.

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

This was Dave’s final share, a poem by Dean Alfange, “I Do Not Choose to be a Common Man.”

I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon— if I can. I seek opportunity not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, “This I have done.”

Great ideas in this lesson from Dave Ramsey. Find an opportunity to enroll in “Financial Peace University” in your community in 2012, or offer to lead a class. You won’t regret it.

Thanks Dad.

Wes and Tom Fryer in Columbus, Mississippi - circa 1980

Tom and Wes Fryer

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