"The Equation" Explained

By Liz Bapasola, Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and Founder and CEO of Liz Bapasola & Associates

Reaching your full potential may sound like a lofty, and likely unattainable goal. And it can be. But the process of reaching your full potential, when you're in alignment and living your best self, is attainable, and this attainability can be explained by applying The Equation.

The Equation, which is my life philosophy of how to live your best life and align yourself with the process of reaching your full potential, is this:

Holistic Wellness x Emotional Intelligence x Leading with Strengths = Full Potential

There are four key Equations within The Equation that I want to define. The first is “Wellness.” Informed by The College of New Jersey’s “Wellness Wheel.”

Financial Wellness + Spiritual Wellness + Emotional Wellness + Physical Wellness + Environmental Wellness + Social Wellness + Occupational Wellness = Holistic Wellness

The second equation is "Emotional Intelligence." Informed by Daniel Golelman's work in his celebrated Harvard Business Review article "What Makes a Leader," Emotional Intelligence, is defined as "a group of skills that enable the best leaders to maximize their own and their followers' performance." These skills, according to Goleman, make up the following Equation:

Self-Awareness + Self-Regulation + Motivation + Empathy + Social Skills = Emotional Intelligence

According to Goleman, Self-Awareness is "knowing one's strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and impact on others." Self-regulation is "controlling or redirecting disruptive impulses and moods." Motivation is "relishing achievement for its own sake." Empathy is "understanding other people's emotional makeup." Social skill is "building rapport with others to move them in the desired directions."

The third component of The Equation is "Leading with Strengths." The two Equations within this component of The Equation are informed by the work of Denny Roberts in his book Deeper Learning in Leadership and the work of Tom Rath in his book StrengthsFinder 2.0.

Conviction x Action = Leadership

Talent x Investment = Strengths

Roberts defines Leadership as "conviction in action." This is a simple and digestible way to describe leadership, with some assumptions about leadership that include that it's process-oriented (not necessarily positional), it's inclusive of others, and it's values-based.

Rath defines Talent as a "natural pattern of thoughts, behaviors, and feelings." The CliftonStrengths (ie StrengthsFinder) assessment is the best way to identify your Talents, and the assessment can be purchased online at the Gallup Strengths Center website or is included with a purchase of Rath's book or other Gallup books using the CliftonStrengths assessment.

Talent is not necessarily something you are great at doing. A "Raw Talent" is when the natural way of thinking, behaving, and feeling is not refined through the investment to turn the Talent into a Strength. A Strength is when the Talent is productively applied and leads to "near perfect performance." However, a Talent can also be unproductively applied and actually turn out to be a weakness.

In other words, the application of the Talent that turns it into a Strength is the Investment of the Talent. The Investment of the Talent includes the demonstration of Emotional Intelligence every day. The Talent is what you have, the Investment is what you do to leverage that Talent into a Strength, and the demonstration of Emotional Intelligence is how you do all this to be successful. The result is that you obtain the ability to effectively put your convictions into action (ie Leading with Strengths), be your best self, and reach your full potential.

Again, The Equation is summed up the following way:

Holistic Wellness x Emotional Intelligence x Leading with Strengths = Full Potential

You can do this. The Equation, as I have seen with many people throughout my career, is attainable. As your Coach, it is my life's purpose to help you live The Equation every day.