Episode 45 | How to Become Your Best You

with Author and CEO Marcus Buckingham

David Hassell interview David Hassell interview
AWE Episode graphic Marcus Buckingham

There’s no doubt that today, Marcus Buckingham is a master communicator.

The entrepreneur and best selling author of First, Break All the Rules and Discover Your Strengths is one of the foremost experts on the topics of employee engagement and performance, and is a sought after speaker on these topics.

You’d probably never guess that he grew up with a debilitating stammer.

It’s true: for the first eleven years of his life, this master wordsmith and public speaker couldn’t speak.

So what changed?

That’s precisely what we dive into in this week’s episode – overcoming the challenges that hold us back from becoming exactly who we want to be. Marcus tells us the incredible story of how we was able to overcome his speech impediment, and the lessons that he carried with him throughout his life and work.

Marcus also shares a simple trick for finding your strengths, and why we should look more at our past successes than our failures.

Key Takeaways

  • Marcus explains how he came to be a public speaker, despite a childhood stammer. 6:10
  • Marcus shares how he overcame his stammer, and relays the lesson that he’s carried with him ever since. 13:44
  • Marcus points out that while failure can be instructive, you can only repeat and scale success by focusing on past successes. 17:01
  • Marcus explains why the more you realize how unique – and, ultimately, alone – you are, the more you can actually contribute to and connect with others. 17:44
  • Marcus describes the discipline he discovered that enables him to collect the feedback that life gives us, and where most people go wrong when it comes to this. 21:11
  • Marcus clarifies the distinction between “non-strengths” and “weaknesses,” and describes how our non-strengths actually become weaknesses. 24:05
  • Marcus shares a simple trick to help you find your strengths (see Love it/Loathe It bonus exercise). 28:01
  • Marcus describes the one thing he loathes more than anything else, and how to turn your strengths into weaknesses. 31:18
  • Marcus shares the one thing he got wrong in his previous work. 42:00

BONUS EXERCISE: Love It / Loathe It

In today’s episode, strength-finding expert Marcus Buckingham shares a quick and easy strategy for discovering your strengths. It works like this:

  • Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side write “Loved It,” and the other write “Loathed It.”
  • As you go through your week, reflect daily on the things that you looked forward to, that made time speed up, that energize, or that may have made you a little tired, but that you want to do again. Those all go in the “Loved It” category.
  • Now think about everything you do that you put off, that makes time drag on, or that leave you completely drained and exhausted. Those go in the “Loathed It” category.
  • Before long, you’ll have a clear picture of your strengths. The beauty of this method is that it’s not abstract – these are actual tasks, functions, or activities that you actually perform during your week.
  • Now summarize your findings using specific action verbs (again, nothing abstract).
  • For Marcus, these words were “interview” and “mingle” – he found that he loved interviewing people, but absolutely loathed mingling.

Recommended Reading


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