The Art of Strengths Coaching

D is for Being Duty Driven

Different people are driven by different senses of duty. They may feel a duty to care for their family, follow a moral code, pursue a philosophy, follow their vocation or whatever. This commitment often drives their daily actions.

People who take this approach often follow certain disciplines. They love to make lists and cross off completed items on the way towards achieving their aims. They get a kick from delivering the goods.

Such people may experience both pluses and minuses in their approach. The pluses can include pursuing a clear goal, having a sense of meaning and doing satisfying work. The minuses can include appearing robotic, failing to see the big picture and serving a false ideal.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the past when you felt a sense of duty towards something.

Describe the specific things you did to translate this sense of duty into action. 

Describe the specific pluses and minuses – both for you and for other people – that were involved in pursuing this sense of duty.

Duty

Looking at your life at the moment, are there any thing to which you feel a sense of duty? Different people express this in different ways.

Some people feel a duty to their talent. They show great discipline as a musician, chef, athlete, mathematician or whatever. They do the right things in the right way to make full use of their gifts.

Some people feel a duty to a mission. They dedicate themselves to raising money for a charity, climbing a mountain, inventing a pioneering product or whatever. They feel fully alive when pursuing this sense of purpose.

Some people feel a duty to a moral code. They may follow their inner compass, pursue a spiritual path or live their values. They translate their beliefs into behaviour in their daily lives.

Miep Gies described how she took this approach in Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family. She said:

Helping people who are in danger is not a matter of courage but from making a decision that every human being has to make when he or she distinguishes between good and bad.

Miep was one of a group that helped the Frank family, who hid in an annexe next to the office where she worked as Otto Frank’s secretary. After the family were betrayed she retrieved and safeguarded Anne’s diary. You can discover more via the following link.

http://www.miepgies.nl/en/

Looking at your own life, are there any things to which you feel a sense of duty? You may feel this towards your loved ones, your vocation, a compelling mission or something greater than yourself. What are the reasons why you feel this sense of duty?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things. 

Describe the specific thing to which you feel a sense of duty. 

Describe the specific reasons why you feel a sense of duty to this thing.

Discipline

People who are duty driven love to follow daily disciplines. Such people need to believe, however, that pursuing this pattern will enable them to fulfil their duty.

Sometimes the discipline may come from the outside. A person may pursue their sense of duty by choosing to join a group such as a spiritual community, profession, police, military or other organisation.

Such an institution often lays out a code of behaviour that people need to follow. People then follow this creed because they see how it will help to fulfil the mission.

Sometimes the discipline comes from within. Creative artists, for example, often follow certain individual rituals that enable them to work each day.

Such people often demonstrate Obsessive Compulsive Discipline rather than Disorder. They follow their regular pattern without thinking. This enables them to continue to be creative.

Imagine that you have a strong sense of duty. You may wish to encourage other people, follow a spiritual faith, make good use of your talent, deliver a mission or whatever. Try answering the following questions.

What are the disciplines I can follow to deliver the goods? What can I actually do – in behaviour terms – to translate these disciplines into action? What will be the pluses and minuses involved when following the disciplines? What can I do to build on the pluses and manage the minuses? 

How can I get a good start to the day by following some of these disciplines? How can I keep doing the right things in the right way? How can I develop a daily rhythm to keep doing these things? How can I encourage myself on the journey? How can I do my best to deliver the goods? 

As mentioned earlier, one approach is to develop a rhythm that you follow each day. Sometimes this calls for getting enough rest, rehearsing what you are going to do and then clicking into action.

After a while you may follow the rhythm without thinking. It is something you simply do each day as you work towards achieving the goals.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific thing to which you feel a sense of duty. 

Describe the specific things you can do to translate this sense of duty into following certain disciplines.

Delivery

People who are duty driven aim to deliver the goods. They may also be dedicated to becoming experts in their craft. There are many models for taking this route.

One of the best-known models was outlined by two brothers, Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus, in the 1980s. They describe five stages that a person goes through to progress from being a novice to an expert. Here is their description of the stages.

Novice

They have little or no previous experience. They have little situational perception or discretionary judgement. They have a rigid adherence to rules. 

Advanced Beginner

They start trying tasks on their own. They have difficulty troubleshooting. They want information fast. They can place some advice in the context required. They use guidelines but without holistic understanding.

Competent 

They develop conceptual models. They are able to deal with crowdedness – many things happening at once in their chosen field. They develop conscious planning and routines. They troubleshoot on their own and seek out expert advice. They see actions in terms of long-term plans and goals. 

Proficient

They are guided by maxims but apply these to current situations. They see situations holistically and see what is important. They self correct and learn from the experience of others. They make quicker and better decisions that achieve success.

Expert 

They transcend rules, guidelines and maxims. They work primarily on intuition based on deep understanding. They sometimes return to analytic approaches used in novel or problematic situations. They have a vision of what is possible and deliver it.

Great workers are committed to the commitment. They actually do what they say they are going to do. You will take this step in your own way.

Let’s return to the thing to which you feel a sense of duty. You may be aiming to encourage people, pursue a spiritual path, pass on knowledge, complete a project or whatever. How can you do your best to deliver the goods? How can you continue to develop?

If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific thing to which you feel a sense of duty. 

Describe the specific things you want to deliver when following this sense of duty. 

Describe the specific things you can do to build on the pluses and manage any potential minuses when delivering these things.

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