Q&A with Marcus Buckingham
MB: I think what stops many women initially is that they are so close to themselves that they are not aware of their uniqueness, and they don't really know what strengthens them, so they don't know where to begin to make change. It's hard to take action when you're not sure of what you're trying to move toward. The Strong Life Test is designed to provide that bit of distance to show you that you aren't the same as somebody else; you don't have to be the same sort of employee, wife or mother as everyone else.
Q: You write about finding our strong moments and deliberately re-creating them for a stronger life. Can you give us a few examples of strong moments that women may experience at work or home?
MB: Women tend to think of each role and responsibility in their lives as one entire responsibility that they have to do well, but in reality there are a whole variety of separate actions, activities and responsibilities in a career or in mothering. As a mother, a woman should consider which aspects or moments of motherhood really strengthen her, and deliberately go for those. If your lead role is Caretaker, that means the very essence of you is defined by being there for people; you always want to make sure that no one feels left out, you derive energy from moments when you see someone outside the circle and you draw them in closer to the "flames" and make them feel the warmth of being included. If that's the kind of person that you are—and not every woman is—that means that as a mother, you must be there for your kids to greet them every day. You have to honor yourself and figure out a way to make it happen, and be as serious about it as you are in picking a career. You don't want your children to feel outside the circle, and you have to accept it and make decisions accordingly. It might mean working at a place that has on-site daycare. Conversely, if you're not a Caretaker and you don't feel the need to pick your son up from school, that's fine; you must not beat yourself up that you're a "bad mom," which many do. There's another role that you play.