Mad Men Makes Me Blue

I know. I am extremely late to the “Mad Men” party. You could even say that I missed it. But with Netflix at my fingertips, I’m just getting started.

I’ve watched the first five episodes in Season 1. While it is incredibly crafted and acted, it makes me feel claustrophobic and downright sad. In the early 1960s no one could be themselves. All those girdles, hidden affairs and social comparison. Ugh. I’m not sure I can continue watching.

If repression was the theme of the early 1960s, authenticity reigns today. We have the interwebs -filled with windows into people’s souls. Showing your true self is one of the greatest gifts you can bring your work, your community and your life.

Steve and I have been using the StrengthsFinder assessment more and more with individual leaders and teams. The StrengthsFinder assessment ranks your top 34 strengths. Every one of us is incredibly unique. Only *1 in 33 million people have their strengths in the same order*! Plus, our experiences, age, geography and more shape our perspective and application of strengths.

To go from good to exceptional, StrengthsFinder says to focus on your Top 5 Strengths and leverage those. Bottom line – be yourself, everyone else not only is taken, but no one has YOUR unique strengths.

My Top 5: Strategic/Ideation/Connectedness/Woo/Positivity

Know yours? Please share in the comments. Curious? Let us know .

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Elena F. Deutsch, MPHPartner, Wildfire Strategies

One Thing At A Time

Behavior change doesn't happen five tips at a time. People can't remember all those new behaviors at once, much less put them into action. They can make one change at a time.

So, what's the ONE thing you could change, right now, that would make a difference in your work or life? I don't mean become CEO or invent the next iPhone; something you can do NOW that might create a shift for you. Turn off screens an hour before bed, or Prepare for that next project one day earlier are examples that come to mind.

Other examples include:

• Ask colleagues how you can be better partners

• Begin presentations with the punch-line, then offer the nitty-gritty

• Remind your team of their strengths

You already know what to do to make things better. It's that "If only....." issue on the tip of your tongue or the top of your mind. And, here's the thing: it doesn't matter which issue you choose. Any one will create a positive shift for you. So, don't fret over what to pick to make your life better. The important thing is to start.

And…keep it going. Commit to maintaining that change for the next month. That's how long it takes for change to become habit. And, once you've got that first one down, CELEBRATE!

Then, try another.

So what’s your One Thing? Tell us below!

Why You Should Tell Your Children How Much You Make

  Scott Parker once withdrew his entire month’s salary in $1 bills in an effort to show his family the value of money.   Credit Jim McAuley for The New York Times

Scott Parker once withdrew his entire month’s salary in $1 bills in an effort to show his family the value of money.CreditJim McAuley for The New York Times

When Scott Parker wanted his six offspring to know more about the value of money, he decided to do something that many parents would consider radical: show them exactly what he earned.

One day, he stopped by his local Wells Fargo branch in Encinitas, Calif., and asked to withdraw his entire monthly salary in cash. In singles. It took 24 hours for the tellers to round up that many bills, so he returned the next day and took away the $100 stacks in a canvas bag.

His oldest son, Daniel, who was 15 at the time, remembers the moment his father walked into the house and dumped the $10,000 or so on a table. “It looked like he had robbed a bank,” he said.

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