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Plant a Winning Seed

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Give Jim Cathcart credit. Rather than pen another fluffy self-help book, he cuts right to the core issues that can help you reach your full potential.

In The Acorn Principle (St. Martin’s Press, 1998), Cathcart identifies specific techniques that you can use to harness your natural skills and attain your goals more readily. A longtime speaker and seminar leader, Cathcart realizes that lectures don’t work; instead, he plants seeds of awareness and lets you grow from there.

Cathcart sees personal development as an organic process. By testing your strengths and observing rather than judging, you gain the knowledge to take effective action. Here are some of the author’s tips:

Know your speed. By working at your ideal “velocity,” you can increase your productivity and boost your enjoyment. That means finding your zone—a work pace within which you can think and perform at your best. If you’re a precise, deliberate worker who likes to reflect and analyze before acting, then align your job with your preferred style. Don’t try to adopt a driven, Type A personality if that’s just not you.

Cut yourself some slack. Cathcart correctly notes that many would-be leaders dwell on what others think of them. If you worry too much about how others judge you, you’ll bob and weave in a desperate bid to appeal to everyone. Admit your weaknesses and take practical steps to improve them; just don’t blow them out of proportion.

Learn from the right experience. Don’t magnify negative events or miscalculations. Make decisions based on a dispassionate evaluation of your “background imprint.” Weigh positive, neutral and negative experiences equally.

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