Friday, July 20, 2007

Disaster Junkie

My colleague is a disaster junkie. The sweet, baby-faced cherub of a social worker loves getting down and dirty helping people recover from life's worst nightmares: hurricanes, tornadoes, plane crashes. Why does the family-first mother of 2 who cooks Thanksgiving dinner for 40, makes fruitcake for all her colleagues and loves red hat luncheons with the girls, don her hiking boots, slicker and ball cap to spend 2 weeks a year without electricity and clean running water?

Having observed Eva (name changed to protect the innocent) for 10 years, I'd have to say it's her personal strengths that bring her to disaster sites, family trips and her career as a social worker.

She's first and foremost a people-person. Eva loves her alone time for reading and other solitary endeavors, but her main passion is people. She loves one and all. You don't hear Eva say a bad word about anyone but she isn't a Pollyanna. She loves adventure and novelty, but isn't a thrill seeker. Her passion for the new is modulated by a powerful sense of what's important in life. She loves learning--her reading and travel to new places feed the passion to find out more about people and places.

How can you pour your passion into your career, leisure time activities and life? Take the VIA strengths survey at It's cool and fun.

I took a class in positive psychology and read, read, read. I worked up a presentation to give to local school counselors. Have I mentioned I'm a bit of a ham? Voila, I'm enjoying it all because it capitalizes on things I love to do: learn, share, perform. OK, maybe I don't love to perform, but I can get a real buzz off it.

Think about this: How can I use my top strengths in new ways? Run with it. Try something new.

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