I have always been suspicious of any sort of ‘programme’

Seeing my strengths recognised has been a real boost, although I’m stunned at what they are.

Kate Holmquist: “I’m on the Potentialife yellow brick road along with everyone else.”

Kate Holmquist: “I’m on the Potentialife yellow brick road along with everyone else.”

 

Kate Holmquist,

Irish Times journalist

I’m being built up to be torn down. I’m on a leadership programme while in a job that in no way ranks me as a leader in the traditional sense. That’s my impression of Module 2 of Potentialife.

The programme has three phases: discovering your strengths (10 weeks), discovering the weaknesses behind them (10 weeks) and then reinforcing your strengths with your weaknesses in mind (10 weeks).

In Module 1, I had to record everything I was doing and how I felt about it in half-hour slots, 24 hours a day for seven days.

Then came the online psychological personality questionnaire.

My assessment was incredible. According to the Potentialife algorithm, I am working at 99 per cent of my awareness of my strengths and am 92 per cent practising my strengths. I’am the perfect student. It’s been my downfall before. Behind my strengths, lie weaknesses. It’s yin and yang. If you are doing some things very, very well, there has got to be a downside.

This is how I know that this ego-boosting first week is a trick question. The greater your strengths, the greater your weaknesses.

That’is not to be pessimistic. I have always been suspicious of any sort of “programme” whether it’s a spiritual or business guru, a new religion, “The Secret” or some other psychology fad, a 12-step programme or a weight loss regime.

However, seeing my strengths recognised has been a real boost, although I’m stunned at what they are. My four strengths are family, exercise, emails/calls and writing on a short deadline.

So far, so good

The last two strengths are my job and if I didn’t have good communication skills and couldn’t write to schedule I’d be out of a job.

These strengths are well practised. Emails and calls? It’sounds like I’m some sort of robot for this two be in the top four of two dozen strengths, but on the other hand, it’s how we communicate these days and my job is about communicating. So far , so good.

Family and exercise? My family are the heart of my existence. Exercise, for me, is the ultimate anti-depressant anti-anxiety pill. Sitting at a desk, your body freezes up. Sitting at a desk and worrying is even worse. So the time I spend on exercise is my life saver.

My personality profile, which we all had to undertake in the first week, ranks my 24 qualities.

These are BIG qualities because we’re in the building-you-up phase. These are qualities that you want your boss to know, that you want to publish worldwide and make people appreciate you for. It’s kind of embarrassing.

Love of learning came tops at number 1, which is hardly surprising for a journalist. Next came fairness (also essential in a journalist), then forgiveness (being nonjudgmental is key in getting to the truth of anything) and creativity (we think on our feet in the rapidly evolving newly digital media world). After that, curiosity, gratitude, honesty and humour. I won’t brag about the other 16 qualities, because, well, humility is down there on the list at number 23.

It makes me seem like quite a nice person, but how am I being manipulated by this programme? And if these really are my strengths, what are the weaknesses behind them? My four main strengths OUTSIDE work are writing, friends, exercise and family, which are basically the same as INSIDE work.

For this week, I am advised to observe three character strengths, which are: sticking to a task until it’s done, humility and humour.

The dark side of these? Perhaps too task-oriented, perhaps not as humble as I think I am, perhaps looking a little too much at the bright side?

We’shall see. I’m on the Potentialife yellow brick road along with everyone else.