SHIFT Into A New Way of Being Using Your Strengths

by Anita Polite-Wilson, Ph.D.

Most people make a new year’s resolution, which is admirable.  However, studies show that most resolutions are broken within the first 30 days of the new year.  Instead of worrying about making your new year’s resolutions stick, let’s try a different approach and get better results all year long.

I suggest spending time focusing on how to shift your way of being, by getting to know yourself better.  I’ve created a model that works for everybody.  It’s called the SHIFT model and it’s an acronym for Self-assess, Hone-in, Investigate, Fix, and Team.  The premise is simple, yet powerful.

After completing a self-assessment tool or, or intentionally reflecting on an area for improvement, hone-in on what stands out to you.  Next, investigate the implications of what you’ve found.  Then—and this is key—spend some time fixing your self-perception and your self-talk.  Finally, identify someone to team with to help you.

In the previous newsletter, I mentioned that StrengthsFinders 2.0 is my favorite self-assessment tool.  However, just sitting down and contemplating an area of your life for improvement is also an effective form of self-assessment to begin implementing my SHIFT model.    Below is an example of how this works in addressing interpersonal challenges at work.

I happen to be coaching a young woman whose top strength is Empathy, and she has a hard time being firm with co-workers who see her as the “last-minute-go-to-gal”.  This self-assessment revealed that, while she wants to be viewed as a reliable team player, she allows others to take advantage of her.  She honed-in on this feeling and decided it wasn’t healthy for her.  After investigating the deeper implications, she determined that she needed to set some boundaries with her co-workers.  She fixed her self-perception from being an enabler of irresponsible behaviors in others, to being empowered to help others find their own solutions and she decided to fix her self-talk accordingly.  Then, she asked me to team with her to craft a few phrases that would protect her relationships as she balanced her support for others with self-care.

This new approach has proven effective for her.  While she is still relied upon to make things happen in a pinch, she is confident that her co-workers will have done all that is within their power prior to coming to her.  And when she is really needed, they give her more lead time to ensure that everyone is successful.

Whatever you find yourself facing – be it understanding how you may be unconsciously getting in your own way, or how co-workers may be unintentionally contributing to some of your frustration – take the time to reflect and implement a SHIFT!


Dr. Anita Polite-Wilson is a Gallup Certified Strength Coach and a Certified Professional Coach with a background in human and organization systems, organizational leadership, and management.   As the newest member of Parrish Partners, we encourage you to leverage Dr. Anita for any number of Strengths-Based solutions, from the coaching of your early to mid-career professionals, to devising team charters, to facilitating strategic leadership off-sites and focused on leveraging individual strengths that accelerate organizational performance.

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