Fascinating and Emotional Companions

In the 1980s, I took an interest in watches. My budget was limited, but over time I built a small collection based on how the watch looked and fit my wrist. I knew very little about the watches themselves.

As cell phones developed, I stopped using them as I relied primarily on my phone to reference the time. Gradually, they ended up in storage. My interest went dormant.

In late 2020, I was reading an article about mechanical watchmaking and it piqued my interest again. This time, I dug deep into the history and craftsmanship behind these miniature marvels for the wrist.

Throughout the first half of 2021 I purchased several watches. As I wore them, I gradually came to an important realization – I liked all of them, but didn’t love any of them.

I was explaining this to a watchmaker from the German company Sinn (“Zinn”), and she observed to me that first, I was not alone; and second, that our mechanical timepieces are “fascinating and emotional companions.”

This struck me as an odd comment. Then it clicked. With proper care, a mechanical watch can be a lifelong companion. When you select one that suits your sense of style, one compatible with your daily activities and one that fascinates you, you never tire of putting it on your wrist.

In my case, I had confused the “good” with the “highest and best” watches – for me. I jumped at the first shiny object instead of making more thoughtful selections. I sold them all and started over.

We can do the same as leaders. We are surrounded by “good” choices. A lot, in fact. But if we jump at all the good things, we risk not ever realizing our full potential – our “highest and best.”

The essential question then becomes – how do we determine what our highest and best is?

Today, I’m asking you to answer three questions that will help you begin to answer the essential question.

First, what are your strengths? Last week we discussed the StrengthsFinder. If you’ve not done something like this, invest a few bucks and make it happen.

Second, what is your ETA? Assessments differ, but three common threads run through most: E – what things do you embrace, or naturally gravitate toward?; T – what things do you tolerate?; and A – what things do you avoid? When we are under stress or happy as a clam working in our “zone” these lists shift slightly.

Third, what is your work style? There are three basic ways that we relate to our tasks. The first is by setting goals. The second is by solving problems. And the third is by creating or seeking opportunities. Each of us possess some combination of the three.

Personally, I hate setting goals. Always have. But, I thrive on creating opportunities and solving problems. Put me in front of a blank wall-sized white board with a challenge and I’m in heaven.

Determining our strengths, ETA and work styles help us begin seeing ourselves through the lens of our unique design. Understanding that gives insight into our highest and best.

Invest some time this week and answer these three questions. Don’t overcomplicate it. For now, keep it top of mind. Next week, we’ll continue this discussion.

Oh, and back to the watches – I’ve now several that I absolutely love.

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