We had another awesome talent showcase session for the StrengthsFinder Singapore Network.  There was lots of fun and laughter as we all created and shared our own dream boards.  There were dreams to travel, become fitter, and to live our passions, and we had our boards to help steer our subconscious towards achieving them. I find the content in our talent showcases so useful and valuable that I have to find a way to share it with all of you, so I’ve started video-recording the sessions to give you a chance to access the content even if you cannot spare the time to attend.

When I reached home, I promptly pulled out my laptop, took the SD card from my video camera, and inserted it into my laptop.  I spent the next few hours reformatting the video, cutting excess parts, scaling, and performing all other necessary edits.  All that was left was the final step – to click on “Export” for creating the video.


Suddenly, the laptop’s processing speed slowed to a crawl and everything froze! Even the cursor on my screen could only move jerkily. I tried to close some other applications running in the background and my powerpoint slides. But nothing worked and all I could do was to hold down the power button for a hard reboot of my laptop.

After the reboot, I re-opened the video editing software. Fortunately, I saved the video prior to the freeze and the edits were still intact. I made sure to close all other applications before clicking on that “Export” button again – this time, everything ran like a well-oiled machine!  Soon the video was ready to be uploaded and shared with the masses.

How you may be sabotaging your own goals

Having a computer hang or crash is a common experience, and we can learn a valuable lesson from it.

Having too many applications open at the same time drained most of the laptop’s resources such that exporting a video froze the entire system. Likewise, we can often end up sabotaging our goals with the highest priority by trying to accomplish too many goals at the same time. When we try to do too many things at the same time, we end up exhausting ourselves and achieving much less than we originally wanted to.

Avoiding Self-Sabotage

As we approach the end of January, how are you feeling? Do you feel as slow/burdened/weighed down as a computer that has too many applications running, or have you freed up your resources to focus on what you need to do now?

Here are some steps that you can take to achieve what you need to do:

  1. Do a Hard Reboot
    If you find that you have ground to a halt, it is time to hold down that power button for a hard reboot.  This means taking time out in your life to reset – Take a weekend off, go for a walk on the beach, watch the play you had been putting off for so long. I hear some of you saying, you have no time to do so! Well, you can either do a hard reboot, or stay where you are and hope that the screen eventually unfreezes. That can take a much longer time than proactively giving yourself a reset.If you have the Responsibility or Achiever talent theme, you may find it harder to let go. In that case, consider that you will be more effective after that reset. Remember the 7th Habit of Effective People – Sharpening the Saw.
  2. Close all background applications
    There might be some tasks lurking at the back of your mind that’s zapping your energy unnecessarily. Put those aside as quickly as you can. This can mean making the effort to complete them, if they are short and easy to do albeit unpleasant, or writing them down somewhere and letting go of them, knowing you will come back to them at a later time.
  3. Avoid opening other applications 
    This may sound silly, but unexpected interruptions often occur.  Perhaps you receive a call from a friend with a request, or an email from a colleague that screams for your immediate attention. To help manage these “pop-ups”, create your own not-to-do list.  Most of us are familiar with our to-do lists, but few people ever create a not-to-do list.  Write down the things that you commit to not doing UNTIL you have completed the immediate tasks at hand.  Oftentimes, these will be important things that also need to be done, but perhaps not as urgent. Creating your not-to-do list can help you eliminate distractions and create laser-like focus.If you have the Arranger talent theme, you may actually enjoy being engaged in several tasks at the same time. Focusing on one task at a time may bore you. If that is so, feel free to engage in more tasks.  Just remember to find your sweet spot, and ensure that your other tasks do not distract you from tasks with higher priority.
  4. Push that “Export” Button 
    Many people do lots of preparation, yet procrastinate when it is time to act.  It’s important to START on your tasks as soon as possible.  It’s good to practise Nike’s slogan: JUST DO IT!If you find that challenging, perhaps partnering with someone who has the Activator talent theme would help.


Which step do you need to take today?  How do your talent themes support or distract you in your tasks?  Share your thoughts and challenges in the comments below.



About Alex Wong

Alex is a Strengths Enthusiast who is both a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, and a Certified Strategic Strengths Coach. His passion is in helping people grow into the best versions of themselves by appreciating and growing their innate talents. In his spare time, Alex is a hobbyist magician and a volunteer at his church Sunday school. Top 5 StrengthsFinder 2.0 Themes: Empathy, Individualisation, Developer, Strategic, Learner