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Book 343 - A Year of Magical Learning

Reflection Title: I Miss My Forehand!

Book – Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall (Part 1 of 2)

Book Description:

Forget what you know about the world of work - You crave feedback. Your organization's culture is the key to its success. Strategic planning is essential. Your competencies should be measured and your weaknesses shored up. Leadership is a thing.

These may sound like basic truths of our work lives today. But actually, they're lies. As strengths guru and bestselling author Marcus Buckingham and Cisco Leadership and Team Intelligence head Ashley Goodall show in this provocative, inspiring book, there are some big lies--distortions, faulty assumptions, wrong thinking--that we encounter every time we show up for work. Nine lies, to be exact. They cause dysfunction and frustration, ultimately resulting in workplaces that are a pale shadow of what they could be.

But there are those who can get past the lies and discover what's real. These freethinking leaders recognize the power and beauty of our individual uniqueness. They know that emergent patterns are more valuable than received wisdom and that evidence is more powerful than dogma.


WOW…What a Book!

I loved every minute of this one from start to finish as it nourished my soul with a mixture of deeper thoughts around ideas I’ve been exploring for for years while simultaneously providing me with a new source of knowledge, thoughts, and ideas in areas I hadn’t considered in the past. This is the kind of book that I often think isn’t out there anymore as they get harder and harder to find these days, but then you stumble upon it, and it reminds you of how much you still don’t know and to keep searching as others like this are out there. This is why Emilia and I strive to learn something new every single day together because you just never know when you will hit the jackpot like with Nine Lies About Work.

This book reminded me about something that I had long forgotten, which is that I FREAKING LOVE MY FOREHAND!

I don’t have a lot of skills that I would say are markedly better than any of my opponents on a tennis court, but my forehand is definitely one of them. Everyone, at least almost everyone, loves their forehand in tennis to some extent, but I LOVE my forehand. It is my defining shot, my ultimate weapon, and a shot I find just pure joy in hitting almost every single time I get a chance to take a swing.

I don’t know what it is, but when I hit my forehand…everything about it just feels effortless. The power is effortless, the muscle movement is effortless, the coordination is effortless, and the result is explosive. I’m only 5’5 and weigh 132 lbs., but when I hit my forehand…watch out! It is like the ball is shot out of a cannon and explodes off my racket head. I don’t think I’ve found too many people that I’ve ever played against that can hit a forehand harder than I can. I not only can hit it hard, I can also hit it with a lot of spin, deep or short, lob incredibly well, etc. It is a very versatile and adaptable shot for me and never lets me down, usually.

I’ve been able to do this stuff with my forehand for as long as I can remember playing tennis. I think it is safe to say that I probably wouldn’t still be playing tennis for the past 30+ years of my life if I never had discovered my love for this shot. My forehand has won me a lot of matches, but more importantly has provided me with an endless sense of joy every time I get an opportunity to hit it. I could walk onto a practice court and just hit my forehand by myself with a ball machine for hours and it will never get old. I love that feeling after I hit it every single time.

As with all weapons, my competition took notice and over the years decided that they cannot hit the ball to my forehand if they want any chance to beat me. Smartly, they started to expose one of my major weaknesses that was my woefully inconsistent backhand. My backhand was my biggest source of frustration for many years as my competition level increased. As the level of my opponents increased, their skills would be able to neutralize my forehand attacks more often and redirect the point back to my backhand, and it worked. My backhand was not to the level where it needed to be to compete at higher levels and I knew it. So, I decided to work on it…a lot.

For the past few years, I’ve spent so much time working on my backhand and have gotten it to the level where it is now average. My backhand went from a painfully obvious weakness to something that I could at least compete with and get back into points. I went from running around my backhand all the time to cover my weakness and exposing the whole court, to being able to at least defend attacks, extend rally’s, and even sometimes hit a few winners on my backhand side. I got a boost in my win-loss record, and I thought I was on the right path. I had improved a weakness and that felt like the right approach.

These days, I’ve plateaued again and I think I’ve figured out why…I forgot about my forehand.

In any given match these days, I now hit way more backhands than I do my forehand. My poor forehand is like a Sherman the Donkey from Running with Sherman when he was locked in a shed and literally dying from not being able to do what he does best. My poor forehand felt the same as it rarely comes out to play anymore these days, and I’ve missed it.

My forehand and I used to have so much fun swinging away, going for winners, and making our opponents suffer. It is what made me fall in love with tennis in the first place. These days, I find myself in extended backhand rally’s where I can’t get out of them. I’m not good enough with my backhand, nor will I ever be, to do any serious damage to my opponent. I don’t care how much work I put in on my backhand, it will never be my forehand. Not only that, playing tennis this way is boring to me and I hate it.

I’ve forgotten the point of focusing on my backhand, and that is always to get back to what you love. This book was a great reminder that while we need to work on our weaknesses, the goal isn’t to make them a strength. The goal of working on a weakness is only if it is preventing you from doing what you love to do. If it is, find a way to neutralize it and get back to your strengths as THAT is the point!

It is time to get Sherman out of the shed and let him run like he is supposed to do. I look forward to reuniting with my forehand and getting back to what I love doing.

Your strengths are the reason you play and what will carry you forward, always!

Question: Are you playing to your strengths?



What is The Year of Magical Learning? - An Introduction

YOML Podcast Discussion - Coming Soon

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