How to Find the Opportunity to Do What You Do Best Every Day – StrengthFinder 2.0

by Eric Tsai

I’m always on the lookout to seek new knowledge and self-improvement strategies.  If you’re reading this post you should know what I’m talking about.

Your success in your personal brand relies heavily on how you interact with others as well as knowing yourself.

For your business, it’s a reflection of your leadership and how you engage within a structured group environment.

In my article “10 Tips on How to Transform Your Ideas into a Startup,” I focused on personal assessment and provided reference to the StrengthFinder 2.0, which I recently finished reading.


I truly agree with Tom Rath that you would have a greater potential for success if you focus on building who you already are.

The book is designed to provide you with the latest personal strength discoveries and strategies for application.

The best part is that it comes with a one-time use online assessment that you can take to identify your top 5 strength themes.

Then you get 10 “Ideas for Action” for each of those themes giving you 50 specific actions based on thousands of best-practice suggestions that they’ve received.

Practicality is what I like about this book because if you want to improve your life and the lives of those around you, you MUST take action.

Key Points And References From The Book

The book was the result of surveying more than 10 million people worldwide and here are some highlights:

Most people think they know what they are good at.  They are usually wrong… And yet, a person can perform only from strength.” – Business guru Peter Druckers

You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.

Approximately 7 million people out of 10 million surveyed, don’t have the opportunity to focus on what they do best.

People who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are 6 times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than 3 times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.

Far too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction.  They go not only from the cradle to the cubicle, but then to the casket, without uncovering their greatest talents and potential.

Talent X Investment = Strength
– Talent (a natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving)
– Investment (time spent practicing, developing your skills, and building your knowledge base)
– Strength (the ability to consistently provide near-pefect performance)

You get the point.  Sure, there is already a ton of books, websites, blogs, and videos on personal assessment but the StrengthFinder 2.0’s online test is what makes it different.

It’s a simple and fast way to find out how to improve on your strength and be aware of your potential and limitations.

If you’re interested, here is the report from my test result.

If you’ve taken the StrengthFinder 2.0 test, share them here or discuss what you’ve used that helped your personal development.

5 Easy Steps to Build a Solid Social Media Profile

by Eric Tsai

Whether it’s your business or your personal brand, people always connect with people on a personal level.  It’s all about engaging in a dynamic relationship.

Brands are not logos or commercials, they are the perception and emotion of people built on trust and credibility.

A successful brand cultivates extensive user experience and encourages interaction that creates meaningful dialogues.

In order to foster strong relationships you must be trusted.  And to earn trust, you need to allow others to become aware of you.

This concept also applies to the art of social networking, particularly with the shift from face-to-face communication to more online communication.

There are literally thousands of social media websites on the internet with hundreds more popping up every week.

The strategy is to focus on the ones that suit your niche.

Setup a blog

I recommend setting up a blog if you don’t already have a website.

Even if you have a website such as your company or product website, incorporating a blog will enhance your online presence because blogs are typically search engine friendly, and they allow for rapid content indexing on the internet.

You can easily sign up for a free account on Blogger, WordPress, or TypePad and start blogging away on whatever topic you want. It’s not required that you have a blog but it provides another source to learn about you or your company on a personal level.

The latest phenomenon is the development of ‘micro-blogging” – a form of blogging that allows users to send brief updates either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user.

This feature is available in Facebook and LinkedIn as status updates and by far the most popular one now is Twitter.

Sign up social networking accounts

For professional and business related social profile, the ideal website to use is LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is a professional community that shares your credentials in a resume format.

It has an unique format for users to browse and connect with a person’s and all of his/her contacts.

You can aggregate your blog content right on your personal profile page too so whenever you post new entries, it will update automatically.

And for connecting with family and friends, Facebook would be the choice because it focuses on displaying photos and allows for more personal dialogues and interactions.

Both LinkedIn and Facebook has a “groups” function that lets you create, join and interaction in sub-communities of your choice.

You can create a group for your company so all your employees can join, or if your hobby is photography you can join a photography group.

This feature encourages networking and brings liked-minded people with simliar interest together.

Follow the 5 steps below to learn how to build your social media profile:

1. Register your account

This requires a username, email, and password.  It’s important to use the same username and email across all social media websites so people can search for you if they’re already connected with you in another websites.

For business profile, use your company name, for personal profile go with your real name.

You can use an alias if you like but keep in mind you need consistency and recognition.

Registration process should take no more than a few minutes.

2. Input the right information

Privacy is a priority in social media so typically there will be settings to manage your privacy such as opt in to receive updates, newsletters, or allow/disallow certain information about you to be exposed in the community.  If you’re not sure, test it out and play around with the settings until your satisfaction.

3. Add your immediate friends and colleagues

Once you’ve setup an account, take a few moments to search for your family, friends and colleagues and add them to your network.

People gravitate towards popular names and like to know that you’re not the only friend they have, it’s a simple perception of social proof.

4. Search for people you like and study their profile

– After adding everyone you know that exists in the social network, it’s time to search for new connections.

This is a tricky task because just like email spam, there are lots of spammers on social network sending unsolicited messages.

If you are a fan of someone or want to get to know them, the best way is to build up your profile so they can review then decide if they want to connect with you; or you can get introduced through one of their existing connection.

Either way, you need to study their profile and have valid reasons to be part of their network.

This applies to groups as well, and most social network groups require the group administrator to approve your request to join.

5.Participate, contribute and share

– After you connect with someone you can receive updates on that person via the status update feature.

This allows you to participate in their conversation, add comments, or share your updates with them.

The key is to build and maintain common ground by bringing value to the conversation.

Interacting with your friends with comments like “good job” or “I like it” is fine but not in the professional communities where preeminence and expertise are realized.

You must demonstrate your value in those professional forums to optimize your social profile.

The Unspoken Rules Of Social Media

42-17678818The following rules are self-explanatory and will take you a long way.


  • Do speak your mind and contribute
  • Do bring value to the network
  • Do share and learn from others
  • Do keep in touch


  • Don’t just focus on yourself
  • Don’t be afraid to ask
  • Don’t abuse social networking relationships
  • Don’t use social media to spam

Many businesses use social media as a part of their marketing strategy while others enjoy the experience for personal reasons.

Focus on your desire outcome and try to have fun too.  There are plenty of opportunities to build your rolodex by embracing this new tool.

Have you started your social media journey?  Connect with me to discuss more.


To Be or Not to Be: The Job Question

by Eric Tsai

Hey everyone, I added some photos to my ongoing public exhibition: Brands, Spaces,  Interactions – my investigation using iphone and social network tools.

While I was away in the past few days, I received an email that I found appealing. It was from a reader asking for advice and he sounded confused.  I can relate to the concerns and the emotions from this person so I am going to discuss it.

Here it is:

Hello Eric

I was following twitter stumbling to your blog. I’m deeply intrigued with the posts of who, what, when to sell the stuff. I understand you’re in multi-disciplinary fields. I’m not sure if architecture is one.

I myself am into fields of architecture. The prime question is it worth going into. The job doesn’t offer much money. I’m looking into a field that is related to architecture with a more promising paycheck and job security.

I’m just wondering in your knowledge if architecture is a job to enjoy with all nighters and high competition


My first thought: to sell what stuff?  Why be so concerned about money?

The Way Fear Works


The question outlined in Quincy’s email is defined by fear.  According to fear, you must not take high risks and play your cards save.  I’m concerned about a stable source of income.  If I get a job, I get security.  If not, either I’m not good enough or it’s too competitive.

Well — I hope nobody thinks that way especially in the creative fields.

As Quincy raises the question at the end, I know architecture is a job with all nighters and high competition.  I know the job doesn’t offer much money; I know how a promising paycheck can ease fear of job security.

See, I prefer to be working for something that I believe in, I want to make an impact everyday.  Unless your passion is making money, do you know your passion?  Getting an education is one way to find out about yourself, but the reality is you won’t know until you test out the water.  Fear can be good if you learn to overcome it and use it as an inspiration.  When successful people get together, they either like to talk about their passion or their mistakes.

Logic And Emotion

The biggest challenge everyone faces today is balancing logic with emotion.  It’s hard to believe, but you’re the one creating the fear by believing it. What bothered me was that Quincy seems to be a creative person and his fear is dictating his logic.  He’s in the field of architecture, he should know if he enjoys the all-nighters and the competition there.

Ironically, I had similar situation from my younger brother who is a landscape architect.  He was laid off last year, frustrated, and depressed.  In fact, many times he thought about changing career by going into real estate or become a Wall Street trader.  I encouraged him to look inside his heart and search for his passion.  He started freelancing and has since picked up some clients now.

Let me be clear – income is important. But try using your logic and do something each and everyday to get closer to your passion.

I am not a C-level executive, and I realize that I didn’t enjoy being one.  I’ll write more about this later, but on my cards it usually prints creative or marketing director instead of CEO.  When someone asked me, “What do you do?” I simply say I do design and marketing – two things I really enjoy working on. If your life (including career) is driven by fear, I think you will have a high probability of a mid-life crisis down the road.  That’s when you realized you don’t like what you do or who you married then you buy a Porsche and dress like you’re in your 20s again.  Instead of trying to conform to your fears, spend your time conquering them will benefit you in making logical decisions.

Focus On Your Passion Will Go A Long Way

When I first started doing web design in 2000, there were very few tools and freebies like what’s available today.  Everything has to be hand coded with some knowledge of HTML, image editing, and web servers.  Now majority of the web publishing are done by none technical people – fast and easy.

Does that mean there is no job for web designers anymore?  No, it simply means only the strong survived.  And those that endured the commoditization storm are required to do more while getting paid less.  One thing is certain, web designers are more incline to stay competitive when they’re fond of doing it.

The key take away is this:  most jobs will become scarce.  I call this the evolution of commoditization. It means a job will loose its value over time with the availability of knowledge and technology.  When knowledge becomes ubiquitous, it’s easier to obtain and retain for people, creating excessive supply of qualified candidates.

hypecycleIn business, commoditization arises from business process automation in an effort to reduce the steps required to do the same tasks.  Less steps means less labor, less labor means less resources or people to do the same job. Technology accelerates this theory as described in “Why Business Models Evolve and How to Stay On Top.

When a new niche or industry is created, the people that benefit the most will be the early adopters.  Still, they have to keep up with the rate of change in order to stay relevant. If you don’t like what you do or lack passion you will most likely treat your job as “just a job.” It’s why sometimes older, more senior level employees are replaced by younger, more passionate ones.

How a paycheck comes is up to how much you are willing to put in.  Perception is reality we all must overcome our fears to stay on top of our game.

When one door shuts, another opens.