Kofi Darku:                   We're back with Sarah K. Robinson, owner of Fresh Concepts, Gallup-certified Strengths Coach, and author, and she's gonna deliver on an ultimatum all businesses must heed. Beware!

Kofi Darku:                   And we're back with another episode of the Skill Up Build Up podcast, powered by the Morales Group, where we are leading talent to thrive. On this episode, we still have Sarah K. Robinson, owner of Fresh Concepts and Gallup-certified Strengths Coach. And as we ended our last episode, I did let it be known that there is an ultimatum in her book that all businesses must bow down to. They will succumb to this one way or another, and that ultimatum is "Grow or Die." We're fans of the show Game of Thrones, and it's often said, "in the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die." Well, in the game of economic development and workforce development, you either grow or you die. But before we dig into that, there's this concept of competing with yourself. And maybe a company is debating or considering, "do I grow? Why? Why, why do I have to change?" But we need to talk about strengths a little bit more and understand, you know, there is this concept where you can be competing or working against something that may be in your best interest. So since we still have Sarah here, and we can go more in depth about some of these more pressing things, Sarah, let's dig into that.

Sarah Robinson:          Well, this is a really kind of pretty heavy topic, right? On the one hand we're talking about strengths. On the other hand, we're talking about always improving ourselves. The idea behind strengths is that actually when you, when you get your, your Clifton Strengths results, those are talents. And you actually have to invest time and energy in those to gain, what is really a strength, is near-perfect performance in that area. And you know, guess what? Most of us aren't Olympic athletes that are getting near-perfect performance at anything. There's always room to grow, and that's both a challenge and an opportunity. And the people that are shirking that responsibility are really leaving a lot on the table in my mind. And what, what we know is that businesses are a great example, really a metaphor for the human, right? And so a business can, you know, try to just tread water and stay the same, but ultimately their competition in, in today's world is going to pass them up if they're not trying to grow, if they're not trying to keep current with what their customers need and, and how the world is changing. We live in the Information Age, we all have more information than we ever have before. The world is a smaller place than it's ever been, right? I could text somebody in Hong Kong right now and immediately get a message back. How insane and amazing is that, right? It's the, it's so exhilarating. Yet, at the same time kind of daunting. How do I keep up with all of this? And so we don't want to get overwhelmed, but we really do want to think about, okay, what makes me, me, and how do I continue to make myself better? So much of us. And I think, again, kind of we talked about in our last, I don't know, last visit together, we talked about the idea of strengths and, and the power behind them. But I think what we're also seeing is that our educational system has also made us worry about our weaknesses. And, and so, I mean, we all either remember the time where we had one class that was like our nemesis. We hated it. It was, ah, for me it was the sciences. I loved math, but I -- chemistry, why did we have to learn that element chart? I was still confused about that. Can't we just look it up? I don't get it. And then, physics, I promise you I took that course in high school. I don't know that I learned one thing because I cannot, I, it's just not the way my brain works. So, at any rate, I really thought I had to throw myself into those things and I didn't -- I actually got not very good grades in those two classes because I couldn't stand it. I knew that naturally I wasn't really adept at it. And, but I think the world would have said, "Oh, you know, you know, Sarah, spend less time on your literature class and that kind of thing, and you're already getting an A in that. You've got to worry about the C." Right? And I think that most of us retain that feeling in our adult lives when we enter the workforce, is that there's certain things we're trying to hide from ourselves in the world that we're not good at. And we actually spend, and waste, in my thought, a lot of time in those areas where we don't really have a lot of natural ability. I, you know, have my own business, Fresh Concepts, and I very early in the game decided, "you know what? I really despise doing my own books and I am just going to hire somebody to do this. This is like my least favorite part of my business," and it is the best money I spend every month.

Kofi Darku:                   I hear that.

Sarah Robinson:           Right? Because that is not an area of strength for me. In fact, it makes me want to cry because it's just not fun. Righ? It feels really tedious. So the check I cut to my business manager is like the easiest check I cut every month. I'm like, "hello, I'm so glad I didn't have to do that." And that's really the idea behind Strengths is that, okay, we all have the things that we do well. Spend time and develop those things. Do whatever you can to grow yourself in those areas, and you will reap the rewards. And we will improve, if we focus on our weaknesses, for sure we will, but not exponentially, in the same way we will if we focus on our strengths. And I referred to in our last podcast, the idea that I'm high Competition, was really actually a big surprise to me. I didn't see myself as somebody who was cutthroat or needed a lot of, of head to head, kind of competitions with, with anybody or even myself. And part of that was that I wasn't a big high school or college athlete. And that's was, was really what I associated with high competition, people that were always looking for that. Now academically, I have to say, I knew that I was kinda competitive, and then I started really plunging in. And we, you know, we, I, you know, just I think we should mention it again because it is so special. I did win the blue ribbon in the banana bread contest--

Kofi Darku:                   Banana bread winner!

Sarah Robinson:           --at the, yes, Indiana State Fair. And realizing how significant that was for me, like how good that made me feel, was like an awakening to, "oh, guess what? I am. I am really that person that needs to get in the ring more and to, you know, compete," because I was so worried about the pain of losing, right. I was so worried about, "I'll be so embarrassed, I look like a fool." And, and that actually, again, kind of part of my, my Clifton Strengths, I'm also, my number five is significance. And for those of you that are familiar with that kind of stuff, that means, you know, I actually want to make an impact. And being embarrassed is the antithesis of making an impact. Right? And so that was, that was really kind of my struggle was "how do I, how do I balance these things?" And, but, but I think kind of my own journey of "how do I flex my own strengths in a way that's safe but also growing myself?" And I think my books have been a part of that, is actually being able to write books that hopefully are helping people. But it's also, you know, it's, it's actually pretty safe. Like you know, all you really need to do is find some good people to help you publish them and get them out there. And, and you know, there's not a lot of backlash, not a lot of people, you know, writing mean things about my books. Thank goodness. Please don't. But yeah, that, that has been a big part of my own kind of journey and trying to tap into my own strengths and, and find my sweet spot, which I have to say is a lifelong journey.

Kofi Darku:                   I really like that we're at the crossroads, or I'm emphasizing a crossroads here, where we know we're having a conversation about the Clifton Strengths and how they're identified, and how all of us have five strengths identified from that assessment. But then there's also this notion of things that you've grown strong in, or your parents or your community identified as strengths in you, and they become part of your identity.I think this is relevant for three levels here. You know, there's a company and a company may have its strengths, it may have its market and areas where it does well in, a leader of, within the company also may have their strengths and then the employee. The worker also may have strengths, and I know it's getting complex, but there are things that you're already known to do, whether you're a company, a leader at the company, or the worker for the company that can keep you on this known path. And you can keep leveraging those strengths, but there's oftentimes strengths that you discover about yourself that can take you on a new path, and that can take you to much brighter horizons and much higher peaks. If you are brave enough to go down that road. I don't know if it's bravery, it could be desperation, you know, in some some instances. But I instantly think, as you were sharing about strengths, this little twist on strengths in terms of what are you good at and what you should be leveraging. And the, I am not a fan of the mid-90s Cowboys. I like another football team, but I don't want them to be the target of teasing, and I don't think anyone here would tease me. But, the Hall of Fame running back for the 90s Cowboys, Emmett Smith, he said, "we always have to go with our strengths," and the strengths for the Cowboys at the time, was their very big offensive line and him as a running back. Now, they had a Hall of Fame quarterback, and they also had a Hall of Fame wide receiver. But truthfully, it was that running game that made way for something that was weaker within their offensive game plan, which was the passing game. Through the passing game, they got a lot of space and opportunity because of that strength that was leveraged, that Emmett Smith spoke of. And I mentioned that in my education past, I was good at math and science, and therefore I was supposed to go down an engineering path. And as much as I probably could enjoy a life of an engineer, I'm so grateful that there were other strengths that were identified, not necessarily through Strengths Finder, but through life opportunity that lent itself to education. My want to be a part of education that, "Oh, those strengths are taking me to brighter horizons and I don't think an engineering career would." I don't have the counterfactual to prove that, but I just have that gut feeling. Maybe it's just more fulfilling. But I really want to touch on the fact that there could be internal competition. There could be this stubbornness to say, "I need to go a certain way and that's the way that's going to deliver for me." But I'm telling you, businesses, if you're not challenging yourself, if you're not learning something new, and that's for leaders too, you are putting yourself in the conundrum of "grow or die,"and we really need to talk about that. But do you have any thoughts or comments on what I just shared?

Sarah Robinson:           I have so many. Where do I begin? My goodness. So first of all, love the metaphor of sports, because we know there are so many great coaches out there that really try to talk about strengths and really get it. Like "what are we here to do? I'm here to figure out what everybody does well." And that is what they really see their job, right? Their job is to get everybody into the position where they can use their best skill on whatever forum. You know, whether it's a football field or a basketball court or a lacrosse field, you know, all those things because they get, "okay, everybody has their own kind of special thing," right? And, in strengths, when I'm coaching people, I call it "what, what's your superpower?" And so you get to be able to harness and use your superpower as much as possible. And that's when, again, you really shine. That's when you are showing up, being your best self. And that helps you as a person grow, as well as our organization grow. If we're, you know, talking organizationally. And who doesn't want that, right? Those are the days we all know that... You know, we have good days and bad days at work. I really challenge everyone to think about those days and, what made the good days so good? And what I have found in my own life is that when I have really good days, you know, personally or professionally, it stays where I've been able to tap into my strengths. And so, those are the days where I really feel good about myself. So pretty, pretty obviously in my mind, I'm gonna probably leave our conversation today and feel good because one, I've been able to talk about the things I'm really passionate about, but also maybe influence some people out there who are listening, cause I'm a crazy influencer. Of my strengths, four of the top five are influencing strengths, my six and seven -- because I know my all 34 -- are also influencing strengths. You guys, that's like kinda kooky, right? And, but, at least I know where I'm going. I wake up every morning thinking, "hmm, who do I want to have an impact on?" I love sharing, not books that I've written, but other books that I want people to read because I think they would be helpful to them. I want people to see certain movies that have been impactful to me. I like directing people in certain ways, not for me, but because I think they will find reward in it. Right? So part of my, you know, job as a influencer, day and night, is that I do want to hopefully be somebody that gives, kind of that spark of, "Oh, maybe there is a different or better way and, and how do we get to that?" So that's the, so that's one of the things you kind of touched on, that the sports metaphor, the, you know, trying to coordinate "how do I get my strengths into my everyday life?" And then this question about going down, you know, different paths, right? And so, as we discussed in our last podcast, I really saw myself as a human resource person at the beginning of my career, and not necessarily a business owner. I was working internally for a while. And then I really associated a good HR person with someone who had a lot of empathy, who really understood other people, was inclusive, wanted, you know people's opinions and everything. But, you know, it was interesting for me to find out, I do want those things. I do it in my own way through influencing, I'm not necessarily a big relationship builder, but being able to still morph my, my strengths that I didn't necessarily know I had, into my working world was really important. Right? I think that you're right, that people either are brought up with parents or teachers or friends that are like, "oh, you'll be great at this." And then all of a sudden halfway down that path, you realize, "oh, maybe there's something else out there for me." And that can be a little bit of a shocker for people. And, honestly, I kind of wrote my first book around that whole issue, "Unstuck at Last: using your strengths to get what you want." And it really was the idea of, I do think pretty much all of us at some point get stuck, right? We get to this point where we're like, "do I really like where I am? Where am I, where am I going?" And we keep pushing on one door, when we really need to be looking for the other doors that might be open. And that's, I think, when real growth is possible. And one of the things I always say about growth is that, you know, growth can be kind of painful. We, we, if we're actually growing in the right way, there's, the growing pains that come with growth. Right? And so does everyone remember, you're 12, 13, 15, whatever it was, and you feel like your legs and arms are all burning, right? Well, I had that one summer, and my parents really kind of dismissed my concerns. Told me it's normal. No problem. You're probably just growing. And by the end of that summer, I had grown out, outgrown all my clothes. I couldn't fit into anything. But that is really what we should be doing our whole life, right? Pushing ourselves a little bit, not maybe every single day. Right? We don't want to, make ourselves crazy with growth, but it's safe, but a little bit uncomfortable. Right? That's when we know we're really growing. Is that, "wow. I'm kind of uncertain, but I think I'm learning something here." Right? And, I think as adults, we don't want to embarrass ourselves. We don't want to put our neck out there and look like a fool. And "I'm an adult. I know what I'm doing." So we kinda, you know, get ourselves into these patterns and habits that may actually shield us from growth. And I think we need to be challenging ourselves instead of shielding ourselves. I need to, I think we, most of us need to be thinking about, well, how, "what, what would be new for me and how could I, how could I learn that will actually improve some of the ways I already think and, and things I do or how I interact with people or how I know about myself?" All those things are, are, are areas where we can always be learning and growing, I think.

Kofi Darku:                   Yeah, we've referenced some interesting companies in the couple of recordings that we've done for the Skill Up Build Up podcast. And I was instantly thinking of when you were mentioning growth being uncomfortable sometimes, but that discomfort being part of the path to growing, I think of, what Amazon, the company, was known for 15 years ago. And if they limited themselves to some of the thinking that was popular, like, "oh, it won't work so well." Because obviously Amazon said, "well, we don't need to be a brick and mortar bookstore to be dominant." Like a Barnes and Noble or Borders. I feel like what's even more of a jump, which I want to touch on,the concept of limiting beliefs.If they didn't think that they had any path in the grocery or grocery store markets, you know, they would not have grown so exponentially and would have never have considered, "hey, how do we get, well there's a really good market out there called Whole Foods. Maybe, maybe we should do something with that." I mean, obviously I'm trying to use them to say Amazon did not have limiting beliefs operating because they continue to grow in, in ways. However, it's not normal for a company with, that's focused or specialized in books, to think, "we can be growing in other areas, even in grocery, you know, food items."

Sarah Robinson:           Such a good point. And I, I think, let's take it back to the personal, cause I think most of us have our own limiting beliefs, and we may not even be aware of them. But I can share with you an example of somebody that I coached that had a limiting belief that, that maybe some of our listeners even have. But he, and I, I was actually, you know, starting to talk with this individual, because he was a high level salesperson and really successful, and I want her to do some coaching with his organization, which had a great reputation of high engagement in the workplace. And those are usually the kind of organizations I like to be connected to. And so, I did a little coaching with him. And what I always love to do in our first session of coaching as kind of the grand finale of our time together is to set a short-term, low-level goal. And I do that because once people are more aware of their strengths, I really want them to buy in and start using them more intentionally. And so that's what I was trying to get him to do. But I, you know, I told him, "Hey, the goal doesn't have to do, in your mind, have anything to do with, you know, your strengths." And so he very authentically said, "you know, I went to college. I really loved it because socially, it, it was, you know, I kind of loved, you know, just the, the community and meeting people and all that kind of stuff. But, you know, I really, I didn't really like reading, so, you know, I didn't end up graduating and, you know, hey, no big deal. I've been really successful in the sales world. I, you know, did not really limited me that way. But I, I do feel kind of excluded when other people are talking about books that are really interesting, and I don't know what they're talking about, because I'm not really a reader, and I still haven't been, even as adult, even though now it's not like, you know, required reading or anything, but I'll kind of want to read a book, but then I see myself not finishing it." And so I said, "you know have you ever tried books on tape?" Right? And he's like, "Oh, I am pretty sure that'd be cheating."

Kofi Darku:                   "That's not real reading."

Sarah Robinson:           It is, though. Right? And so he had this limiting belief. That's a great example of a limiting belief. His limiting belief was, "if I really want to learn something from the book, I have to actually read it like that. The audio book is a cheat." And that was totally clouding his vision. And so his relief at learning that he could actually listen to books on tape. And we created a list of certain books that he might really find interesting. I don't know how many people know, Malcolm Gladwell, has some great books out there that have really fantastic information in it. "Freakonomics," was another one that he was kind of interested in. So, at any rate, we, we started meeting more regularly and talking about these books that he was listening to. And and actually this happened you know, at what some people might consider more of a mid-point in his life. He was 50 years old when we had our first session, and we recently reconnected. He's now 53. He has said that he has grown more personally in the last three years than in the prior 30, which, it's all because this kind of, you know, veil was lifted from him. He's in a world now where he feels like he has access, and he's unstoppable because of that. He doesn't feel like he's excluded from the reader group and that, that all that information, knowledge and obviously personal growth are, are within reach for him. And I think the real question here is, what do we feel excluded from? What, what are the things that we kind of secretly want? Right? He was sharing a secret desire that he wasn't really able to share with other people, and, and he was authentic enough to trust me to help him solve that problem for himself. I think when we ask hard questions of ourselves, about what we really want and how we really want to grow, even if we think it's impossible, right? I mean, he was telling me he did not think it was possible, but that's really what he wanted. That's when we challenge ourselves in ways to grow exponentially, quite frankly. It allows certain things to happen when we ask ourselves and really look deep down, what is it that we want?

Kofi Darku:                   So, with your educational history, and then you get into the work world, we, we tend to often have some type of identity set in terms of, "Oh, I've learned all of this for a long time. This is who I am." And often once we're into our thirties or so, we feel like the dog really won't learn any new tricks. The best learning is behind us. But, but I think as, we hear your story, and as we think about the concept of "grow or die," there is a lot of promise in that, here we have a person who into his fifties, has already had a successful work career. His saying that his most recent years, and a small amount of them, the last three, have been the most impactful for his learning. And he's, he values that way more than the previous 30 years. I feel like if you are willing to go out on a limb and, and, and take the Grow Challenge, you may have a story that surprises you in terms of what it is you discover that you didn't even realize would make such an impact on your life.

Sarah Robinson:           I love that point. And it really, I mean, I hadn't really thought about this before this minute, but my, my grandfather was, I think, maybe not unlike many men of his era, where he really thought that his job was his identity. And he was, he was the money guy. He invested money and he was very proud of some of the impact that he had had, you know, helping people get enough retirement savings and, you know, be safe and all that. But he really changed quite late in his life in terms of being more connected to his emotions. And, and I think really having great relationships or, more emotive relationships, where he's really thinking and talking about emotions with everyone around him. And he mellowed in a way, that I think we hear about that happening with some people. But I think again, it's a challenge, like what is it that you really want? Right? What, what's missing? And for this individual, it was this idea of, information was missing. Intellect and knowledge was missing. What are the pieces? Maybe it's emotions, maybe it's connections, maybe it's purpose, right? So what are the things that might be missing in your life, that you really actually have access to, but you may have limiting beliefs saying, "oh, I'm never going to be able to do that." When we tell ourselves certain stories, and, and what I mean by that is, let's say I say, "well, I'll, I'll never have any money." Right? Well, guess what? That's going to happen. You know, you've just told yourself that story. Or you know, "rich people are bad," right? Well now you're creating a kind of a moral against it too. So instead, really challenge that belief because you will end up kind of self-fulfilling that prophecy, if you give yourself a limiting belief that is even maybe unconsciously something you're repeating in your head. So that can kinda extinguish your own growth and, but you need to somehow come upon it, right? Come upon like, well, it's hard to really know what your limiting belief is, I would press back and say, you might be able to find it if you really ask yourself, "what's your secret wish of something that you want in this world that you feel like you can't get?"

Kofi Darku:                   I think framing it as a secret wish probably does the best in terms of trying to help them dig through and get in touch with something that they didn't realize was buried. Simply because I feel like, if we're to succeed at this, and I love that we're at this point in this conversation, if we're to succeed at this, when you ask someone, "Hey, what do you want to have access to or be able to do that you feel somehow secluded or prevented from doing?" I feel like we're kind of programmed to think, "well, I've been trying to do the best thing for myself my whole life, so I'm, I'm doing it." But then you're like, "Well, secretly, what is it that you really, really want to do?" I think that helps them start to get deeper with that. But I, I feel the challenge here, though, Sarah, you know, how, how many people have people in their lives that are going to ask that question of them, to have helped them get to that introspective moment? I mean, I feel lucky for the people who are listening to this episode, because you can do this with yourself now, and hopefully start to identify some limiting beliefs within yourself. But I feel like that that could be the thing that's a game-changer for so many people as we talk about the disengaged workforce. If someone was in their life, a coach, obviously you serve in that capacity, but not that, the concept of a coach that's going to help you gain this type of access and knowledge, is still kind of new for most circles. But it's just, I feel like it's a secret sauce for not only individual employees, but leaders and those companies that are trying to think of the next iteration and realizing, "okay, yes I do well in this lane, but is there something more for me" and "Oh my goodness, yes, there is this secret desire I've had. You know, though we're a company that has been focused on plastics, maybe we could be great producers of pizza." You know, just throwing that out there. Not that any companies really have those aspirations, but should they find out if there was a limiting belief that was preventing them from actually exploring that. I really like it. So what I also love about this, this chapter in the ultimatum of "grow or die," is that there is a lot of emphasis on learning here. And your story about the business professional who made the breakthrough about reading, there was some limitations there that once he learned about books on tape, you know, there was a breakthrough. So, but there, there could have been some things that also was part of his, his path to that conclusion that didn't have great outcomes from certain paths that he went on. So talk to us about how learning plays a role in growing or dying.

Sarah Robinson:           So, there's so many ways, but I think that one of, one of the ways we can really press ourselves to learn, is to go back and, and think about our, our failures and our successes in life. And, some of our high points, I think part of our high points in this, in this life, what's interesting and actually, I've read some, some good books about this, but the idea of there, there are some moments in our life that are more special. And when we think about actually you know, kind of those formative years from, in high school and at college a lot, and then your early twenties, a lot of those moments actually happen. You graduate from high school, you get married, you start a job. Those are big moments and they are all packed in at the beginning. Right? So what is it that made those moments special and how can you in some ways recreate that? Even if it's "okay, I'm maybe not getting my high school degree but I'm getting certified in something," right? Or "I'm now not experiencing my own wedding but my wedding of my children." Those types of things to be able to really live life to its fullest. And in those ways you're also really growing. I think, you know, new technology is something we all kind of struggle with, but it also can force us, right? Don't we all have that kind of love-hate with our phone when we need to update it? Like, "ah, I liked it the way it was. I don't really want to have to do an update. What happens if it changes one of my apps that I really like." Right? And usually we find that those changes are actually advantageous to us. But I think that it has been a big wake up call for many of us that wow, if we aren't updating, if we aren't downloading the new stuff, if we aren't, you know, it's like, "Oh wow, I'll be up, I'll be a dinosaur." Right? So nobody really wants to have the old technology, but it does force us to be in that position of having to accommodate ourselves to and learn and understand the new technology, which sometimes makes us feel stupid, which is uncomfortable.

Kofi Darku:                   There are, there are several that have aversions to tech, but it's, it's inevitable. It's here to help. So embrace and learn about new technology. You're also great in terms of emphasizing, "hey, you know, not everything under the sun is new." You know, there are some things in our past that could be informing our future or our current, you know. You're emphasizing how we need to think about the past and future implications in terms of learning also.

Sarah Robinson:           Absolutely. I think that, trying to become our best selves is actually reading our own handbook. And that's really hard to do because it's actually not written. It's something that only you can really reflect on and think about. "Okay, what were some of you know, where I really wasn't my best self? Times in my history, times in my life where I was maybe a little bit off the rails. Why did that happen? And how is that different? Why was I different then, than you know, during my more successful periods, where I've really felt good about myself and, and the way I want to feel more often" because that type of, really is self analysis, right? It's like you're really sitting back and thinking, okay, you know, usuallymy premise is going to be you're feeling best when you are doing the things you're good at that give you almost immediate rewards, right? Those things are usually in your area of strength. And so if we can keep repeating, and not in the same way, but using those same strengths in new ways, that's when, as you said, we kind of see those bright horizons. Yeah. but I also think, you know, there's also so much to learn about the people around us, right? And always having that inquisitive mind and being open to learning from people that have different perspectives. One of the things I've found in my own life that really helps me kind of challenge that, is travel. And whether it's just, you know, to a different part of our beautiful state of Indiana or outside the country or one of the coasts. Right? I mean, one of the things we obviously don't have is an ocean at our border or anywhere. And, but it does, seeing and thinking about, wow, the similarities and differences of living in different parts of the world and, and what people do whether they're in Nairobi or whether they're in Carmel or you know, wherever they are, what are the things that both tie us together but also make our lives distinct? Is, I think, also an area of growth. And, and certainly thinking about that more in the microcosm of work, as well, and being understanding that we may all be working in the same office, but we may really have very different lives when we leave this place. And how does that perspective enrich us? I love doing workshops where we can talk about things that have been impactful to people from, at a formative age or things that they just say, "in my life, this has been important," because it really opens the communication between the team and allows people to see maybe more the whole person. And I think that that can really be important. And somebody maybe think, "oh, I've worked with, you know, kind of closely with this person for five years, but I had no idea that being raised by a single mom was a big part of their life. And that's why they have this big duty to their work and responsibility, is kind of, you know, modeling that person." And I think that we can, being open and listening for those types of things can really add to our growth as well.

Kofi Darku:                   This is awesome. To continue this, this learning focus and it is essential to growing. Obviously you have, you know, people physically change and grow, but I do love that we're emphasizing this learning element. Sometimes that learning can be turned inward. You know, I've, I've referenced, referenced often how we have certain sort of set identities that eventually change due to, I think the world we're living in. But sometimes you think you know yourself so well and the "book of you" is done, so you're, you're not trying to further explore or be introspective in ways where you're expecting change, but we're still fluid beings. So let's talk about how being curious about yourself and how people can challenge themselves to learn about themselves, also plays a role in this.

Sarah Robinson:           I'm just a big believer in that, we're not fully formed people at any point in our lives. And that that is part of our mission, right? Our mission in life is to open as many opportunities to become our best selves as are possibly out there for us. And as I talked about, a little bit, "Unstuck at Last," my first book, was really about my own personal journey of believing certain things about where I should be.And, you know, sometimes when we're denied certain things? For me, I kind of felt like I was being denied my third baby, and I was like, "okay, I got to get, kinda get off this. Like I'm pretty lucky, right? I got, I got two healthy kids." Really getting hung up on that was, really kind of stunted the rest of my life. I couldn't, I wasn't going any place else, cause I was so hung up on that. But I think a lot of us get to certain things that we keep thinking, "I need to get this, I need to get that," whether it's a live baby, or a certain level of income, or a certain title at work, to be in a certain kind of relationship, any of those things. And that can shut us off from really doing what we're supposed to be doing. And that's really why you know, I, I wrote "Unstuck at Last," is that I, I see it in coaching all the time, is that people who end up not starting to really think about the bigger picture and, "okay, why is that so important? Why is that title so important? Why is that income bracket so important? Why is this third baby so important?" And you know, "what, what do I need to do for me, to really be my full potential if that happens or if it doesn't?" Right? And so I think there's lots of great tools out there to help. I mean, obviously there are groups and you know, therapists and coaches and books and you know, retreats, that help people think about themselves, but it's also something people can just do every day, right on their own. It's about, "am I getting the things that I want, am I having leading the life that I really aspire to?" And that can be both a little scary, you know, if you don't like the answer. But it also can maybe get you back on the right track. And when I think of, of personal growth, that's really what it's about, right? It's about, okay, "how do I get more realigned with, you know, the things that really matter deeply and maybe some of those limiting beliefs that I need to be a vice president by a certain year." I coached somebody not too long ago, that really I think was still upset. He said, "my goal was to be a CEO by 50 and I'm way past that. And obviously I'm not." And I was, my heart was just broken, right? Because it's like, "okay, maybe not, but you actually have a fantastic position" and you're seeing the limiting belief, right? That you, you missed the target instead of "why did I want that? And what was the real idea behind it that maybe I did achieve?" Right? So that's, that's part of, I think, knowledge about ourselves is, is important. And, and it's, it's pretty, you know, I feel like we're, we're biting off a lot here. It's pretty philosophical, right?

Kofi Darku:                   It is. But I think these are very, very helpful exercises that again, the individual can think of in terms of their work career, but a leader can think of within a company in terms of, "Hey, big picture, oh, what's, what, what do I really need to consider and where do I see this going?" And I think a company can also envision as well. So these are very valid, and I think very helpful, especially because if you're not growing, then what are you doing? You know? And, and I think it's, this one is quite binary here. You know, lack of growth is not what you want to hear. We want to be growing and I think these are great tools to help us achieve that.

Sarah Robinson:           Yeah. Well, I think coaching has really let me remind myself every day, if I'm trying to help somebody else, I gotta do it for myself too. And that, that has been one of the, the best things about, you know, what I get to do every day, is help other people, but also challenge myself.

Kofi Darku:                   Excellent. Sarah, we want to make sure everyone knows how to get these awesome resources. So if someone is interested in securing a copy of "FRESH Leadership,", how would they go about doing so?

Sarah Robinson:           So "FRESH Leadership" is on Amazon. So just under that title, "FRESH Leadership: five skills to transform you and your team." I'm the author Sarah K. Robinson, and also you can, you can find both of them on my website, which is FreshConceptsOnline.com.

Kofi Darku:                   Excellent. For all of you that continue to be curious about how we're leading talent to thrive, check out the Skill Up Build Up podcast, wherever you get podcasts or on iTunes. And I want you to keep asking yourself, and try and help your peers also ask, "what do you secretly want that you may be secluded from?" The answer to that question could really be revealing for you. Thanks, and stay in touch with this conversation.

Kofi Darku:                   Another treasure trove of takeaways, but I'm going to limit it to three. All right. First one, bottom line of Strengths Finders -- invest your energy on growing your strengths instead of those other things. Don't focus so much on your weaknesses. Focus your time on growing your strengths. Get better in those strengths. Second thing, I love this one -- there is no prescribed deadline for learning. The example that Sarah shared about the gentleman who is valuing his last three years of learning over his previous 30 years, is a prime example of it's never too to go and learn something, and you, you don't even realize how valuable that new learning could be. Also, everyone, whether or not you're the owner of the company, management of the company, or a worker in that company, what do you secretly want that you feel you've been secluded from? You got to get in touch with this so that you can understand if there is some type of belief that's limiting this foolish way of thinking that you can overcome and get to that better thing that you can grow with. And finally, in the game of business, you either grow or you die. We love when you listen to the Skill Up Build Up podcast, continue to check us out wherever you get podcasts or go to iTunes and stay in touch with this conversation.