The Art of Strengths Coaching

S is for Balancing Stability And Stimulation

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People can develop by getting the right balance between stability and stimulation. The same rule holds true for systems such as teams, organisations or societies.

People enjoy having a sense of security and following a relatively predictable pattern. They also want stimulation, however, because this helps them to feel alive. They love to explore and grow.

Sometimes we get the right blend, but on other occasions we can feel knocked off-centre. Here is what two people said about trying to maintain this balance.

“I am at a crossroads in my life,” said one person. “I am good at my job and it provides security, but I find it boring.

“So I have a dilemma. One option is to continue in this role for the next few years. I can do it on cruise control but will probably feel numb. Another option is to try something more exciting, but this might mean more uncertainty.

“I want to find a way to keep the stability, but also feel alive. I am too young to walk around feeling that I have stopped growing.”

“I would like more stability in my life,” said another person, “because everything is up in the air at the moment.

“My home life is a bit of a mess. My partner and I want to make things work, but we keep getting into arguments. Sometimes it is like walking on eggshells, we have to be careful what we say.

“There is also uncertainty at work. The company I work for is in the midst of a takeover and people are worried about their jobs. The department I work in may be closed down and its function centralised.

“I have already started putting out feelers, but am not sure if this is the right approach. I don’t want to disqualify myself from any redundancy package.”

Let’s explore the possibilities for getting the right blend between stability and stimulation.

Stability

Looking at your own life, what are the stable things that you want to keep? What are the stable things that you would like to add to your life?

Different people prefer different kinds of stability. Here are some examples of what people mention when exploring this topic.

The stable things in my life
that I would like to keep are:

My relationship with my partner … The home we live in at the moment, because this is something we love … The pattern of taking our children to activities such as swimming, football and dancing … Wearing the same colour clothes each day … Being in charge of organising my work diary for each week … The salary that I get from my work … The regular contact I have with some of my favourite clients … The annual visits to Ireland where my parents live.

The stable things that I would
like to add to my life are:  

Start doing regular exercise – even if this is just walking – to keep my weight in check … Build a better relationship with my partner … Get into the habit of encouraging my son by asking him about the best thing that happened today, rather than focusing only on school where he struggles … Keep focusing on my core values – the things I believe are important in life – and keep trying to follow these each day.

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

Describe the stable things in your life that you would like to keep.

Describe the stable things that you would like to add to your life.

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Stimulation

Looking at your own life, what are the stimulating things that you want to keep? What are those that you want to add to your life?

Different people prefer different kinds of stimulation. Here are some examples of what people mention when exploring this topic.

The stimulating things in my life
that I would like to keep are: 

Spending time in the garden, because this gives me the chance to relax and also get new ideas … Enjoying the long weekends that my partner and I spend beside the sea … Getting a kick from solving challenging problems at work … Training for and running in marathons across Europe.

The stimulating things that I
would like to add to my life are:

Returning to playing guitar and doing some Open Mic sessions … Mentoring young people who want to start their own businesses … Taking further mountain rescue qualifications … Travelling to Florence to study fine art … Building on my strengths and crafting a new role that benefits both my clients and my company.

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

Describe the stimulating things in your life that you would like to keep.

Describe the stimulating things that you would like to add to your life.

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Stability and Stimulation

Looking ahead, how can you get the right blend between stability and stimulation? What would be the benefits? You can apply this approach across different aspects of your personal and professional life.

Imagine, for example, that you lead a team at work. You can keep reminding them of the team’s purpose, principles and practice. They can deliver consistency and, when appropriate, add that touch of creativity. People can keep doing superb work to achieve the picture of success.

Great teams sometimes get knocked off course by events, but then they return to doing the basics. They keep doing the right things in the right way. They then add the brilliance that will help them to achieve their goals.

Societies also need to balance stability and stimulation. Stability is crucial, because otherwise the centre cannot hold and things fall apart. They also need to encourage creativity. Societies that fail to develop may find that, like many systems, they fall into entropy.

Let’s return to your own life and work. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you can to do get the right balance between stability and stimulation in your life.

Describe the specific benefits of getting the right balance.

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