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career, hope, job, Marcus Buckingham, Oprah, work

My Year of Hopefulness – Marcus Buckingham Workshop Session 2: Where Are You Now?

A few weeks after we went through the introductory session of Marcus Buckingham’s on-line workshop, I finally sat down to go through session 2. Why such a gap right? Schedules, yes, but there was a larger reason to. Fear – fear of finding and discovering something new and different. Fear of change. 

Sometimes it’s easier, at least in the near-term, to bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything’s fine. That no improvements can or should be made. Change is painful, though it’s so necessary in the long-run. Progress requires giving up the familiar and that brings with it a certain amount of anxiety. No time for dallying now – we had to jump in and get on with it. Change is coming so we might as well greet it politely at the front door rather than waiting for it to huff and puff and blow our house down. 

Session 2: Most people believe that when we consider our performance in life that we will become better people if we focus on improving our weaknesses. Marcus has a fundamentally different view. His advice is to build on our strengths and manage around our weaknesses. A meager 12% of people spend the majority of their day playing to their strengths. He’s willing to give you from 8am – 11am, 25% of your day to play to things we aren’t good at. And then the rest of the day must be spent on strengths.

In our society, we believe that if we study and learn about negatives, we will glean some miraculous insight into the positives. We study disease to learn about health, depression to learn about happiness and joy. There have 40,000 studies done on the topic of depression and only 400 on joy. The equation and our focus on weakness and negativity is sadly and badly tipped in the wrong direction. “You study “bad” and invert it, you don’t get “good”. You get “not bad.” And “not bad” is not good enough. It won’t give us energy. It won’t make all our hard work worthwhile. And it certainly won’t make us happy. 

There are a lot of people out there right now who hate their jobs. Even though they’re grateful for the income with all the layoffs going on, they hate what they do. And that’s the key. The three questions to ask ourselves when examining our jobs are:

1.) Why is this job important to me?
2.) Who am I going to be working with?
3.) What am I actually going to be doing?

When the “what” goes wrong, it effects the “who” and the “why”. So in these times when we may be looking for a new job, the question to ask is the “what” question.  To help answer that, it’s best to take a look at what invigorates us and what drains us, and then go for what invigorates us.

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post,,, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


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