What’s interesting is that about 20 months ago, I began to perceive that law might be a part of the “Shine” calling, in ways that I had never anticipated. At first, this nudging was simply other people making suggestions, which I resisted. I didn’t see the connection.
Then inquiries from “outsiders” (people I didn't know personally) who had no familiarity with what I'd been trying to do. Multiple inquiries, from different (unrelated) sources.
It was, quite frankly, a difficult time for me. By March 2016, I was completely broken—self-will was demolished. My response to God during those months was that I would do whatever He wanted, just please make the first step clear and plain. That's what I thought I was doing, and had intended to be doing, when I resigned my faculty position to pursue the Shinecast venture. Nothing had worked out as expected. I was confused.
Empowerment Through Law
The light on the path started blinking: “I equipped you as a lawyer you use that knowledge to equip and empower others.”
I said, “OK, show me the way forward.”
Doors opened, opportunities arose, resources appeared. It’s been a walk of faith.
It's been a long year+ since my last update on this website. It's not that I haven't been busy (or even blogging), but my focus as been elsewhere.
I returned to the practice of law, while continuing to work on the Shine Vision as much as time would permit. From April – July of 2016, I was super-busy getting all my “ducks in a row” for my return to the legal world.
During July and August of 2016, I was also hustling lots of farm produce grown at Shine Springs Farm. We had a great mid-summer harvest of watermelons and okra.
Our Shine Springs Farm watermelons took 1st and 2nd place at the Franklin County Watermelon Festival “best tasting” competition.
My recipe for watermelon-flavored sweet iced tea won the “best flavored tea” competition sponsored by the Franklin County Extension Service (ACE / Auburn University). I'll find the recipe and share it.
Thanks to Chef Chris Newsome, Chef-Owner of Ollie Irene for buying and serving lots of Shine Springs Farm produce in 2016 (and 2014-15). It's been great to get to know Chef Chris and wife, Anna, through my farming activities.
I handled several trademark registrations and then the legal work started to take off.
My niece Allison lived with me for 8 weeks in the late Fall while she did a round of clinical training with a Birmingham PT healthcare provider for her degree in physical therapy. It was fun having a room-mate again. 🙂
It turned out to be a great year, although it was definitely not without its challenges!
God is good and He will meet our needs when we come to him in faith.
The whole return to law practice was an exercise in faith, because it wasn't something I intentionally chose to do or that I entered into lightly.
As I opened myself up to fully embrace His will and purpose in my life, the doors began to open to law in ways I had never anticipated. As I took the tentative steps in faith, the opportunities and somewhat bigger picture began to unfold.
Each week has been a continued exercise in faith as I've sought to take action in ways that serve the clients I've been blessed with, while continuing to pursue non-legal activities and work that are consistent with the Shine vision and values.
As the “bigger picture” has unfolded, I've also come to see how my background in law is entirely connected with necessary for my Shine vision to come to fruition, in part through Shinecast® media and in part through other similar-but-separate ventures.
In late February, I attended the Lawyerist's TBD Law 2 event in St. Louis.
In a few days, I'll be making the official announcements, but I'm about to launch a series of courses to help creative professionals, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs with legal and business topics. The initial offerings will be through the Sheree Martin Law website, but I'll be moving them into a standalone portal later in June.
This isn't the final logo for Write: Legal but it's one of my early DIY designs:
In early February, while looking for another document, I found this file saved on my computer….It's an unfinished letter to my younger self.
The file metadata says this was written December 21, 2013. After copying and pasting here on February 11, 2014, and then scanning through it for typos, I'm posting it verbatim.
It's clear that I didn't finish it….Maybe I'll write the ending one of these days.
Everything works out.
Your first grade teacher said you “have great potential.” Your third grade teacher pronounced you “gifted.” Junior high achievement testing scored your IQ at x [intentionally omitted]. All that potential. The bulk of your adult life has been directed toward somehow proving to someone that you were worthy of those labels.
You’ve only recently realized this and started to return to a life that applauds your unique gifts, rather than climbing ladders toward some measure of success that’s defined by someone else.
Your instincts have always served you well, Sheree. When you’ve followed your instincts you’ve made forward progress. When you’ve ignored your instincts or been a bit too timid to act on them you’ve had to learn the intended lesson the hard way.
Your adult life has turned out quite different than you would have predicted at age 15. And that’s good.
For a while, in your 20s, you were self-absorbed, motivated by the prospects of financial gain. Not to the level of Ebeneezer Scrooge, but you were a bit too focused on your own self-interest and less on helping others.
Fortunately, your regained your heart and set out on a new path.
All of the things you dreamed of as a child but seemed out of reach are possible in 2013 and beyond. One example……Storytelling through mass media–You can do that now. You’re no longer subject to the gatekeepers and technology limitations of the 1970s and 1980s.
By your mid-20s you’d realized that you didn’t have the stomach for politics and political machinations. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), the system was less messed up in those days than today. Nonetheless, your ambition to be the first woman president was put to rest before you turned 30.
And so ends the December 22, 2013 letter to my younger self…..
[Tweet ” I agree with @jaltucher “Ideas are the currency of the 21st century.”]
James & Claudia Altucher on Ideas
A few weeks ago, I learned that Claudia Altucher (James’ wife) had just published a book called Become an Idea Machine (affiliate link) building on James’ practice of generating at least 10 ideas a day.
At first, I was like “I don’t need to read a book about idea generation.”
I’m the person who has a pen and notepaper in the cup holder of my car so I can scribble down ideas as they come to me when I’m in the car. Some of these ideas get transferred to a moleskine that is specifically dedicated as a repository for my random ideas.
A sidebar:I’ve learned through experience that ideas I save digitally are usually lost to me, although I am trying to do a better job of tagging things in Evernote. I want my ideas in a place where I can peruse them offline. I love my tech, but I also love words on paper. Real paper. Anyway, I digress.
Around the same time as I started to remove “ideas” from my social profiles, I discovered James Altucher through Chris Brogan's podcast and read James' book Choose Yourself. [affiliate link]
For a while, I formally implemented James' 10-ideas-a-day practice, but eventually shifted back into a more random approach to recording the ideas that continuously flow through my brain.
At the same time I started reading James Altucher’s blog, I was repeatedly hearing others say that execution is what matters, that without execution ideas are just fluff. So I thought I’d just keep my skill at generating ideas to myself and pursue those that interested me and seemed within my capacity.
Another sidebar: “Seemed within my capacity” implies a limiting belief that probably explains why so many of my ideas never got implemented. That's a limiting belief that I've eliminated over the past year.
Like I said, initially, I didn’t see much reason to buy a book that helps me become an idea machine.
I already generate umpteen ideas every day. My first thought was that I need more focus, not more ideas.
But the reality is, I’m not systematic about my idea generation.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized I might benefit in some way from working my way through Claudia’s 180 day plan.
One thing I’ve come to realize over the past year or so is that anything harmless that triggers a bit of psychological resistance might be something I need to take a look at.
I decided I would spend $2.99 for the Kindle version of Claudia’s book [affiliate link] and follow along. Make it a game. Use it to get my creative juices flowing around topics that I might not think to ideate about.
I've now started to formally do the 10-ideas practice based on Claudia’s topic for each day. I’m sharing these over at The Ben Franklin Follies, if you care to follow along.
Regardless of whether or not you buy the book or care about the Shinecast…. James and Claudia Altucher are onto something…..
Ideas DO matter. Ideas have value, even without execution or “results.” It takes practice to generate ideas and more practice, in a systematic way, is likely to result in better, more useful ideas.
Creativity is like a muscle that gets stronger with use.
[Tweet “Ideas depend on creativity and creativity gets stronger with practice.”]
The practice of coming up with new ideas each day can be a valuable practice, even if you never implement the ideas. The ability to generate ideas quickly will help you solve unexpected problems when they arise—I've seen the value in my own life, especially when I've needed to improvise a situation on the fly.
I suspect that those who pooh-pooh the value of pure ideation as a skill are those who aren't very good at coming up with new ideas.
Hope you'll join me in working through Claudia's book.
Anyway, it's interesting and I wouldn't mind exploring the subtypes, but that's something I'll consider another day. Just thought I'd throw these results into the mix, as I finish up this project in self-exploration.
Note to Dynamo Genius Self: I'm finishing the project, by considering all pieces of data, and not just leaving it hanging. I've actually been very good about finishing projects that I care about. Sometimes, it takes longer than I had planned, but I eventually finish.
In reality, I perceive one of my biggest challenges to be an UNwillingness to quit when I realize that I'm going down the wrong path rather. I tend to spend more time than I should pursuing an endeavor after I realize it's going to be a dead-end.
Over the past 6-8 weeks, I've been blogging publicly on a regular basis about the results of various personality, strengths and interests assessments I've taken over the years.
The idea to put these results out in public came to me when I wrote a post on telling the story of my personal brand. Over the past year or so, I've realized that I need to do a better job of explaining who I am and what I offer.
I know who I am, but I haven't been very proactive in telling my story to the rest of the world. That didn't matter so much in the early days of my professional life when ladders and structures pretty much dictated outcomes.
The great thing is that my strengths, personality and interests are aligned perfectly with the variables necessary to thrive in the new economy. I was made for this era. It excites and energizes me, so I don't want to miss the opportunities to play to my strengths.
Writing Helps Me Think
Since I love figuring out how things work and writing helps me understand, blogging seemed like the perfect venue for this project.
A commitment to writing about my story “in public” ensures that I'll stay at the topic until I've thoroughly covered it, figured out an action plan and moved to take action.
When I blog, I can link my thoughts on one topic or idea to something else I've written and begin to see connections that I might otherwise miss. At some point in the late 90s, I began to think of the synapses in my brain as a series of hyperlinks that connected all the various ideas, images, emotions and facts I've stored there.
I also hope that I might inspire others to undertake similar projects to get in touch with who they really are. I try to incorporate the self-awareness mindset in advisees and students who seek out career advice because I don't want to see them pursue a career path that leaves them unfulfilled or stifled.
Authenticity Is Important
Putting all of these results “out there” for the world to see serves, in some ways, as a confirmation that I'm not just spinning who I am and what I offer. These results provide some independent documentation that I'm being authentic and transparent when I talk about my strengths and interests.
In the past, my blogging has focused on benign topics, while I've kept a lot of myself in the shadows. I didn't want to write or talk about myself because that just seemed unseemly. I occasionally talked about something personal, but even then I was non-specific.
For the most part, except for my recipe-and-food posts, I ended up writing on generic topics, or giving lectures, instead of telling interesting stories.
One of the main motivations of the Shinecast project is to help others live healthy, happier lives.
To do that, I have to be comfortable talking about my own experiences in facing up to challenges and growing through obstacles. I think my experiences can provide inspiration.
We All Have Fears
As confident as I am, I've also faced obstacles and self-doubt. Courage is, in some ways, like a muscle. By pushing through fear, you learn resilience. And resilience is something I fully understand. It's probably my greatest strength.
I still feel fear at times, but I move on anyway because I've learned that whatever is causing fear usually evaporates in the face of action.
[Tweet “The cause of your fear usually evaporates in the face of action.”]
Writing publicly about myself is a simple exercise in courage, it gets me out of my comfort zone and gives me another arrow in my bravery quiver. And writing also helps me to think through situations that sometimes cause fear.
I've spent the past 5 years trying to adapt to a bad fit and to overcome someone else's misconception of who I am and what I offer, strictly to “prove I could succeed” in a situation that I chose, despite my instinctive understanding that I was making a mistake from the outset. On the plus side, I've used these five years to develop new skills that build on the internet technology skills I developed in the 90s and early 2000s (like WordPress, digital marketing, etc.) and expand my professional network.
I intend for the next phase of my professional life to emphasize projects that allow me to use my strengths and interests to “be more, achieve more” (to steal a phrase from a podcast I listen to regularly.
This personal growth project is all about giving wings to the vision I have for the second half of my life. It's exciting and energizing and I can't wait to experience the vision unfold.
According to The Storybranding Group's PVSI assessment, I am a Magician AND an Explorer, thanks to a tied score.
I'm nearing the end of this research project in which I've been reviewing the results of various personality, strengths and values assessments I've taken through the years as part of my effort to figure out how to more effectively tell my own story.
In my final sweep through computer files looking for any remaining data to consider, I ran across the results of the PVSI I took online in mid-October 2013.
Based on the 12-archetype model created by Dr. Carol S. Pearson, the instrument provides a holistic way of looking at who you are professionally by measuring how much you identify with the attitudes and behaviors of 12 mythical or archetypal characters (called story types on this website).
My results revealed a tied score, placing me in two archetypes: Magician and Explorer. The Explorer label has come up before, in pretty much all of my assessments. The “Magician” label is new, but the underlying themes are not.
PVSI Story Type: Explorer
Stop me if you've heard this before:
Naturally independent, authentic and curious, they're able to follow unique paths and motivate others to explore unchartered territory. They're usually excited and challenged by the opportunity to blaze a new trail.”
Email of results from The Storybranding Group PVSI assessment
Subtypes of the Explorer archetype include:
Trailblazer/pioneer: Sees or scouts for new opportunities/possibilities
Adventurer: Emphasizes adventure and/or new experiences
Seeker/wanderer: Searches for a unique path or solution
Iconoclast: Places great value in being different and/or independent
Individualist: Maintains personal integrity and authenticity in all endeavors
Email of results from The Storybranding Group PVSI assessment
Caveat for the Explorer: “Watch for an unwillingness to settle down or commit to a course of action; forgetting to coordinate their others; and overlooking the needs of others.”
PVSI Story Type: Magician
“Naturally intuitive, insightful and inspiring [Magicians] are able to see and appreciate multiple perspectives and motivate others to believe that anything is possible. They're usually excited and challenged in times of great transformation.”
Email of results from The Storybranding Group PVSI assessment
Subtypes of the Magician Archetype include:
Catalyst/Change agent: Sees opportunities for change or provides impetus for innovative transformation.
Envisioner: Sees possibilities and develops a clear vision of the future
Healer: Effects individual or group healing
Intuitive: Uses synchronicities/hunches/serendipity to set a course
Wizard: Has a talent for unexpected, serendipitous results
Email of results from The Storybranding Group PVSI assessment
A caveat for the Magician type: Don't “lose patience with those who aren't as visionary as they are.”
I'll be pulling together all the common threads in the final post of the series. But clearly the most significant finding, I think, is the consistency of the results across the years and across the various assessment methodologies.
When I re-took the MBTI in late August along with students in a course I'm teaching, we also had the chance to complete the Work Values assessment.
I finally found the PDF of those results and wanted to include them in this series. If you're following along, this is another in a series of posts I've been writing over the past month or so. I'm looking back at the results of various personality, communication styles and strengths assessments I've taken over the course of my adult life.
So what does this mean? Quite honestly, I'm not entirely sure. But when I dive more deeply into the description of Innovation, Prestige and Mystique Advantages I can see how those measures correlate with my MBTI and StrengthsFinder results and even the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory from way back in 1980.
The Innovation Advantage
My primary advantage is Innovation.
According to the Report that came with my Fascination Advantage results, Innovation is all about creativity, vision, adventure, exploration.
The Innovation type in the Fascination Advantage system is someone who:
“Quickly solves problems with fresh solutions”
“Generate[s] ideas that surprise people with a new perspective”
Both of these statements are consistent with the results from my other assessments.
The Prestige Advantage
My secondary advantage is Prestige.
The Prestige Advantage is all about excellence, execution and accomplishment. This certainly correlates with the Maximizer and Achiever StrengthsFinder typology.
Someone with Prestige as the secondary advantage is:
“Conscientious of the smallest details”
“Motivated by a competitive spirit and determined outlook”
“Constantly envision[ing] ways to improve and upgrade'
The Mystique Advantage
I call this my tertiary advantage because I had the same score for Prestige and Mystique in my results from the second time I took The Fascination Advantage assessment. According to the report for those results, a tie-breaking question revealed Prestige as my secondary advantage. That would be consistent with the results from the first time I took the test.
Mystique is the Advantage I know the least about. Mystique is briefly described in in my reports:
Someone with the Mystique Advantage is described as the “solo intellect behind-the-scenes.”
“Mystique is the language of listening.”
“Mystique communicates with substance”
It wasn't until I found this video that I understood how I could score strong strongly on Mystique, the point of being one question away from having Mystique as my secondary Advantage.
In the light of this explanation, Mystique makes a lot of sense.
Dormant Advantage: Trust
The labels used in The Fascination Advantage are not intuitive and Trust, in particular, is the one that is most confusing to me and seemingly the most mis-labeled.
The Trust Advantage refers to a preference for stability, normalcy, routine. The “dormant” aspect of this refers to my desire to avoid “falling into a rut” or “performing the same duties every day.”
When I think of trust, I think of trustworthy, not stability or a preference for routines.
The explanations about my “Dormant Trust Advantage” make perfectly good sense:
“You have an entrepreneurial approach to your career….You appreciate variety and actively seek new ways to solve a problem.”
“You love to explore….People are attracted to your expressive and curious nature. You are unlikely to be seen as boring.”
“You intuitively know how to persuade others through your self-expression and enthusiasm. You typically find it easy to brainstorm ideas.”
Each of these statements is supported in the results from my other assessments. I just wish this was labeled something other than “trust” because a “dormant trust advantage” makes it sound like (to me, anyway) that someone is not trustworthy. Yet the Trust Advantage has nothing to do with trust in the ethical sense.
This sentence, perhaps, best sums up this part of my Fascination Advantage results:
“If you do not naturally enjoy repeating the same process over and over, you will never reach your full potential in a job that forces you to follow a rigid path.”
The Trendsetter Archetype
When you combine the Innovation Advantage with the Prestige Advantage you get the Trendsetter Archetype.
“You're good at sensing what the next big thing will be.”
“You're competitive and ambitious.”
“You're a trailblazer who guides others in often uncharted territories.”
“You impress with your intellect and inventiveness.”
“You are able to see opportunities where others see only threats.”
“You implement change with determination.”
“You get the most out of developing and implementing your unique vision.”
I certainly feel like these describe me. The question is whether this is really how OTHERS see me, since I'm the one who answered the questions that yielded these results.
Advantages Correlate with Strenths
It's pretty clear to me that my Fascination Advantages directly correlate with the results of my StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessments and MBTI personality type. I'll be pulling all of this together soon, in a post that brings everything together.
In the meantime, here's Sally Hogshead on MarieTV talking about The Fascination Advantage. It's interesting to see that back in 2013 she was using some different terms for the Advantages. Innovation was once labeled as Rebellion, or something like that, even though it was still focused on creativity.
Have YOU taken The Fascination Advantage assessment? I'd love to hear what you think about the results. Leave me a comment! I'd love to hear from you.
Last summer (2014), I discovered Sally Hogshead's How to Fascinate book and analysis through the many podcasts I listen to. I couldn't NOT look into it. Like I've said, I think it's a lot of fun to take these tests.
In fact, it's the results from The Fascination Advantage that prompted me to go back and start looking at other tests and to even retake the MBTI in September. Why? I was intrigued and wanted to explore the validity and reliability of this new way of assessing personality traits.
The Fascination Advantage Explained
The terms used and the structure of the report can be a bit confusing because the labels are new, but as I've reviewed the results and watched some of her videos explaining the system it started to make sense.
The Fascination Advantage emerged from Sally Hogshead's interest in learning what makes people fascinating.
The basic marketing message to promote The Fascination Advantage system is that MBTI, StrengthsFinder® and DISC explain “how you see the world.” The Fascination Advantage is supposed to reveal “how the world sees you.” I'm not sure that's exactly what it reveals, since “you” are the one answering the questions, not your colleagues, peers or friends. Despite that limitation The Fascination Advantage does provide a new way of looking at personality styles, strengths and communication preferences
Here's my plain English explanation of the The Fascination Advantage: You answer a series of questions about preferences and how you would handle or relate to a situation. These questions identify certain personality characteristics and traits.
Advantages & Archetypes
Based on your responses, your dominant personality traits and communication styles are classified into themes called “Advantages.” Your results reveal a dominant Advantage and a secondary Advantage. When you operate and communicate in ways that are consistent with your Advantages you're more comfortable, more influential, more “fascinating” to the rest of the world.
When you pair your dominant Advantage and secondary Advantage on a matrix you get a an Archetype. The Archetype is supposed to reveal “how the world sees you.”
The system is designed to provide keywords you can use to explain your dominant and secondary personality traits and modes of communication to the rest of the world. Essentially, these keywords are the adjectives you can use in personal branding and showing how you add value and contribute when you're being true to yourself.
In other words, you might say that your Fascination Advantage is tied to your authenticity, to being authentically who you are, not trying to be something else.
My Fascination Advantage Results
I took the Fascination Advantage assessment twice over the course of 6-8 weeks, using two different codes and email addresses and got nearly identical results.
In both versions, my results placed me in the Trendsetter Archetype, which is a combination of Innovation as the primary advantage and Prestige as the secondary advantage.
Innovation was my strongest advantage, with a 20% “score” both times.
Prestige was also my strongest secondary advantage in both assessments, but there was a bit of variation in the Prestige score. July results: Prestige was 18%, while in late August Prestige was reported as 19%. The late August version, also reported the Mystique “Advantage” at 19% with a caveat that a tie-breaker question put me into the Prestige category for the secondary Advantage.
So, I think it's pretty clear that the ranking of my Advantages in this system would fall like this:
Now, what do these labels mean? I'll cover that in my next post.
Have you taken The Fascination Advantage assessment? If yes, what are your thoughts about it? Are your results consistent with your MBTI and StrengthsFinder results?