The New Self-Improvement

November 20, 2012

I'm Thankful For... Card Set. Hand printed. By Ranuncs & Co.

By Amy Hackworth.

My quest for self-improvement typically focuses on attributes I don’t have.

If only I were more punctual. If only I were more disciplined. If only I were more aware, more generous, had more perspective, more patience … The list goes on. And on.

I suspect I’m not alone in this approach, but a recent post by Sean Low has me thinking about trying something different. He suggests that focusing on problems in creative businesses can be completely counter-productive, and may even “misdirect strategy”, causing companies to lose sight of what they’re really good at doing. He doesn’t advocate ignoring shortcomings, but rather than agonizing over failures, he advises creative businesses to focus on what they’re doing right. And then, work to make those natural successes even more brilliant.

I like this approach to business, but I’m loving it as a new model for personal development. I love the implications of honoring our inherently good qualities, and honing them so that they become our greatest attributes. It’s a beautiful logic: you’re innately good at something, so you can probably shine even more.

I'm Thankful For... Cards. Hand printed. By Ranuncs & Co.

This week especially, we’re resolved to focus on our blessings and live with more-grateful hearts. Would it change your week to include your own good qualities on the list of things you’re thankful for? And what if you gave a little more of that gift you’re already so good at giving?

P.S. — How sweet are these hand-printed I’m Thankful cards?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lindsey (Cafe Johnsonia) November 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I really needed to read this today, Amy!


2 Amy Hackworth November 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Oh, Lindsey. How nice to hear. If you need any help making your list of what you do right, just let me know. :)


3 Lisa Mackin November 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm

“Creative businesses do not sell things though (and please do not kid yourself to think that you do), they sell information and artistry.”

Love that line. I need to hear that line often. I may just paint that on my wall to remind myself everyday. I am not Target.



4 Amy Hackworth November 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Isn’t that a great thing to remember? I also love how he says that people don’t come to creative businesses for what you do WRONG. They come because they love what you’re doing RIGHT. So smart.


5 Jess November 21, 2012 at 2:56 am

Such a nice idea! It reminds me of taking something up – rather than giving something up – at Lent. Some years doing a bit of an art project or paying your spouse a compliment or emailing your mum every day makes more sense than just giving up chocolate. (I say ‘just’. Giving up chocolate is hard!)


6 Amy Hackworth November 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Beautiful, Jess. I love it.


7 Sharon @ Discovering Blog November 21, 2012 at 7:12 am

What an lovely, obvious idea! So powerful in it’s simplicity, isn’t it? We all do some things well, yet we probably don’t stop to acknowledge them, because we’re busy with our mental lists of all that we still have to do and fix and take care of.

I love this, thank you!


8 Trista November 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Love this theory. I was introduced to it about 6 years ago through Marcus Buckingham. Google him, his strengths finder, and his studies in the schools. I think you’ll really engage with it.


9 Miss Lindsey D November 23, 2012 at 8:23 am

Fantastic. Well-said. Much needed :) studies show to that training yourself to focus on the positive can literally make you happier. Something worthwhile to work on for sure!


10 Sean Low November 28, 2012 at 7:57 am

Hi Amy:

I just saw your post. Thank you so very much. Absolutely made my day.



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