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Using the Strengths Journal to Live Intentionally Every Day

Using the Strengths Journal to Live Intentionally Every Day

Webcast Details

  • Find out how Dana's personal mission statement has brought clarity to her life and coaching
  • Learn how having core values benefited her and her organization
  • Discover the insights she's gained about her own personal brand

Dana Williams, Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and author of the newly released Strengths Journal, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. In this episode, Dana discussed how The Strengths Journal is designed to aid you in living more intentionally every day. Her insights included the foundational role her personal mission statement plays in her daily and weekly planning, along with the vital role of her core values. She also shared what she discovered about her personal branding as she launched her coaching business.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 1

On the days that things got really tough for me, .... I had to get that energy to go. And it was my mission statement that kept me going.

Dana Williams, 10:21

Be intentional. You can change your life. You can dominate your day. But you got to do it daily.

Dana Williams, 45:17

That's the mistake that a lot of people make when they're branding themselves or marketing: They want to talk about themselves. And really, our customer is our hero. And we're just the guide along for the ride.

Dana Williams, 45:11

Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

Jim Collison 0:01

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on January 8, 2021.

Jim Collison 0:20

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you are listening live, we'd love to have you join us in our chat room. There's a link right above me there on the live page. Just log in there and let us know where you're listening from. That's kind of the tradition here. If you're listening after the fact, you can still ask us questions. Send us an email (many of you have, by the way): Don't forget, if you're on YouTube, or of any of the podcasting platforms, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify being the big 3, subscribe to us there so you never miss an episode. And if you're on YouTube, hit the Like button. We appreciate that as well.

Jim Collison 1:02

Dana Williams is my guest today. She's the author of the new Strengths Journal, which we're super excited about. She's a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, her expertise range from strategic marketing adviser, leadership development, living with purpose and all things travel. That's the kind of thing I'm excited about, Dana, although we'll have to return to travel, right. We still have some work to do there. Dana's industry experience comes from her 25 years at Southwest Airlines and leadership in areas of operations and brand marketing in this role. Dana led marketing teams through two acquisitions, which we know can be tough, and launched over 30 new destinations and contributed to several iconic branding moments. We know those Southwest branding moments are always good. So thanks for doing that. Her Top 5: Ideation, Strategic, Futuristic, Maximizer and Individualization. Dana, welcome to Called to Coach!

Dana Williams 1:53

Well, thank you and Happy New Year!

Jim Collison 1:55

Happy New Year to you! Congratulations for being on the first Called to Coach of the new year of 2021. Exciting year, we have a whole bunch of these planned for the year, and you get to kick it off. I couldn't think of anybody better to help us kick it off for 2021, so thanks for doing that. Say, I gave, I gave that intro up front. Anything I missed in that? Anything -- what did we miss, as we think about who you are, just give us a little bit. If you were going to introduce, if I met you in the elevator for the first time, what else would you say?

Dana Williams 2:21

Yeah, I'm just, I think I'm passionate about people. And I, I've been married for a long time. I just had my 42nd wedding anniversary this week! And I have a daughter --

Jim Collison 2:34

I thought you were like 30. How can you do that?

Dana Williams 2:36

I am. I got married really young. And so ups and downs of marriage. So I have been doing -- my husband and I have been working with couples as well, and integrating strengths in there with them. So that's kind of a side thing we've done. But I also have a daughter who's an entrepreneur and a husband who's an entrepreneur, and they have been coming in and great resources for me as I've, as I've launched over the last month and a half. So --

Jim Collison 3:02

You've had a busy couple months, retiring from Southwest and really kind of focusing your energy and efforts on this journal that you've put together. You call it, kind of creatively known as The Strengths Journal.

Dana Williams 3:16

Yeah, very creative name, right.

Jim Collison 3:19

That's OK. Gallup has a podcast called The Gallup Podcast. We've done the exact same thing. Hardbound book just released, available online for folks if they want to go and do that. What's your website, if they want it -- ?

Dana Williams 3:32

Yeah. It's Make sure you put "the" in front of "strengthsjournal."

Jim Collison 3:38

I already messed that up. There we go: Hardbound books that folks can, can, can purchase. Let's talk a little bit about, before we get into that, why? Like why, why, why right off the bat retire and then create a journal

Dana Williams 3:53

Right. Well, so this has been -- I think you asked me, Jim, "How long have you been working on this?" Well, my whole life. I didn't know what I was working on. But it came to kind of crystallization about 18 months ago, when I realized that I wasn't living intentionally every day. And I realized that strengths was such an amazing tool. As a leader in marketing at Southwest, we were able to use our strengths every day and keep them active every day and, you know, intentionally integrate them into so many different things we were doing. And then we actually launched a Coaches Group at Southwest Airlines. And from there, I saw the opportunity or the challenge that I had as a coach and a leader was that people would learn about their strengths -- you'd lead a facilitation or you'd share you do a one-on-one coaching session -- but then you kind of wondered in your mind, Are they going to keep this up? Is this something that, you know, how do I know? I can't be with them there every day as a leader or as a coach. So how are they going to keep this up?

Dana Williams 4:55

And so I realized -- I've been a planner junkie my whole life. Live. And I've just tried different planners, different daily journals, online planning, all that. And I just didn't see anything out there that really connected in a quick way and a system that would help people live more intentionally every day. So I started -- I got myself up early every day and started writing and working on it. And because I was working full time, I kind of had to do pockets of time on the weekends or early morning or late at night. And I finally, and then I presented the idea to Gallup licensing. And that took another 6 months, 7 months, just to get through all the, you know, I had to get a licensing attorney, all the things that happen with just creating something. Because I have Ideation, I have the idea, and I have Futuristic, but it's putting it all together. And so learning patience, and also learning to be quick when I need to be quick. So it's balancing both of those as I was developing this.

Jim Collison 6:01

Yeah, some people think they've got an idea, they're gonna get -- write it in a week that's gonna be produced and they're selling on Monday. And even aside from our licensing process, which takes some time. It just does. It's just part of the thing. I think it's kind of good to work your way through this over time anyways. Did you find you learned things during the process that you could reincorporate back in?

Dana Williams 6:25

Absolutely. It's kind of like planning -- somebody said -- like planning a wedding: The longer you have to plan it, the more you keep changing things and adding things. I think it was like that. I actually got a team of people to test what I had written. And so I made more changes. I spent some time with different -- I wanted to self-publish, and I wanted to publish in United States. And that took time to research. And so every time I got a roadblock, I just said, OK, and I'm a woman of faith. So I was like, there's a reason that this isn't moving right now. And I didn't know when I was going to launch it. I just let the process work itself out based on my schedule, because I wasn't full-time working on this. It was a part-time gig of me just trying to figure it out in my free moments every day.

Jim Collison 7:10

Yeah. Why paper versus -- you know, why paper versus going digital?

Dana Williams 7:14

Yeah, I think that's a good question. I think there's something that happens when we get on our computer every morning, and start typing and there'll be social media pop up, other things pop up. There's also something very powerful with our brain when we write. And I think it's the lost art of writing down and using a pen to write down every day, you know, what we do. It was funny, in all of my meetings and marketing at Southwest, I would study what everybody had at the, at the conference table. And most of them had hardbound books that they were keeping track. And they were mostly the same size, 6x9. They were keeping track and just writing down notes.

Dana Williams 7:56

There was quite a few that had their computers in the room with them, you know, and I like to do that too, keeping notes. But there was something about writing it down and being able to pull it back out and look at it and think back. Even since I wrote my mission, gosh, 3 years ago, I wrote it in a book. I put it on my computer. I put it on my phone. But I still go back and look at that moment of when I came up with what my mission was, and what that would look like. And it was all written down. So --

Jim Collison 8:26

When you think about the journey that you want to take someone through, especially from, from an area of strengths, and you were to kind of give the overarching idea like, what are you really hoping the journey is for someone, and how are you helping them to grow through that journey? And how does this help them?

Dana Williams 8:43

So it starts, I was on this journey. I had reached, you know, my late 40s and early 50s. And I was like, Who am I? And what am I supposed to be doing on this earth? And it wasn't until I discovered StrengthsFinder and discovered my talents and realized if I worked on my talents every day, I could improve them. And so if you had to say one overarching thing is that I -- you can't change your life until you change your daily actions. And I realized I was letting other people guide my day. I was letting other things come in my day because I didn't have a mission I was working towards. I was all about -- and this is great, so thank you, Jim, for putting that up. But before you even start working in your journal, the first thing besides putting in your, your strengths daily, you actually have to fill in the front with what are your, your 5 to 10 most important, your, all of your strengths and what you bring and need. And those are all in the resource book in the back.

Dana Williams 9:49

But then the mission statement: What is your mission statement? Have you identified your mission statement? And this is your personal mission statement. And this is so powerful, because during the process of daily planning your, your week, and then you'll have a week summary, where you'll go back and look at what you did, you have to kind of refer to that mission. Is every, is, am I doing something today towards that mission? On the days that things got really tough for me, when it was seeming like I was having delay after delay, or printing costs were higher than I anticipated, or somebody couldn't help me with what I needed, I had to get that energy to go. And it was my mission statement that kept me going.

Dana Williams 10:32

And then after you get your mission statement, it's really about your core values. So core values, as we heard Dean Jones talk about a couple of months ago, or I don't know when that was, in December, I loved that because I think it really crystallized how they are -- strengths is a dimension of your, your core strength, of your core values.

Dana Williams 10:54

After we came through, as we were going through the pandemic, and looking back, I can say that our core values was our stability at Southwest Airlines, when Gary decided not to do any furloughs and let people know, I don't know when or if we're going to have furloughs. But right now, you can guarantee that you will not be furloughed till the end of December. So that was a core value of transparency. That was a core value of trust. That was a core value of compassion. And so, those core values just get you through.

Dana Williams 11:30

Then, after you've done your mission and your core values, I'm a futurist. So I like to plan way, way out. But what I learned is that, as somebody that has Futuristic, I have to bring my goals in closer, or else I won't be able to achieve them. So I actually have you focus on What do you want to do in 3 years from now? And then what do you want to do a year from now that leads to that 3-year goal? And then 6 months from now, and then 90 days from now. The book is actually 4 months. And the reason I did 4 months is because when you get going, and you're starting your habit, you're right at that 90-day mark. And it's kind of like you need one more 30 days just to kind of get you to that next habit, right.

Dana Williams 12:17

And so if I go back to the calling, which is if you want to change your life, you've got to change your daily actions, so you want to dominate your day. And how do you dominate your day? Well, my goodness, thank the Lord, we have strengths, right? What a great -- when I look at other planners, and I look at other ways to manage my day, I'm like, I need to apply my strengths, because that's where I'm going to get the energy. So then it becomes it's not about managing your time, it's about managing your energy.

Dana Williams 12:47

And if you look at how the day is set up, if you want to go close in on that, like, let's look at Monday. It's really -- and I used this as I was launching my business, because I had to be very productive from Oct. 1 until we launched Dec. 6 in the launch program, and I used it every day. So here's how it works. Basically, you set an attention every day. You can do it the night before, or you can do it the next morning. And you just say my daily outcome for today is ____, and you need to be specific. Why? And then you need to say why is that your daily goal for today? And it's usually because, mine says because I want to grow my business or because I want to help touch X amount of people. And I'll have, I'll have a goal each day, and I'll have an outcome each day.

Dana Williams 13:36

And then we only give you 3 things to focus on to take action. The reason 3 is most people I've talked to, and this is me, this is me, I had this long list every day. And do we typically do in a day? We overcommit. And so if you can just pick 3 big things or 3 things that you want to accomplish by the end of the day, great. And then at the, on the right-hand side, you put which strength you will use. When I was launching my business, I had to go into some of my 6 through 10 because those are my Executing talents. And so my Thinking talents were all on on the left side, which was mostly, mostly all about, you know, thinking -- Futuristic, Ideation. So I would combine maybe one of my Thinking talents with one of my Executing talents. And that really helped me chew in for the day what I needed to focus on, what I needed to turn off and what I needed to turn on.

Dana Williams 14:35

And I can tell you, I got everything done that I needed to get done and we launched on time, because I didn't try to do everything and be all things to all people, which we teach in strengths, right, as Certified Coaches. But I knew that if there was something I could take action on and I couldn't do it, who else could help me get it done? And I zoned in on those people.

Dana Williams 14:57

And then I also have an area there for lower-priority tasks. This could be going to the cleaners, going into the doc -- you know, calling the dentist, dropping off kids, whatever it is that you have. And then at the end of the day, what are you grateful for? As we know, wellbeing is going to be huge as we get into 2021 and beyond. Mental health is so important. How can we be grateful for all the things that happen, even when we had a really day that didn't turn out the way we set our outcome for? What can we be grateful for?

Dana Williams 15:27

In marriage ministry, we talk a lot about expectations. And I talk about this at work with people I'm coaching. And sometimes when we have expectations, it causes frustrations. But what if your gratefulness is bigger than your expectations? Right? And that's what this is about. What, what is one thing I'm grateful -- find that silver lining. If there's a silver lining, that means we went through a tough time. So there's always a silver lining, right? What was that that you're grateful for that day?

Dana Williams 16:00

And then my favorite thing I've grown to come and love about this is at the end of the day, what I learned today, or what fear I conquered. And this was a big thing we had at work as, you know, conquer one fear a day. And it wasn't until I realized that there are things that I was afraid to do but I didn't know how to get myself motivated to do them. So writing them down helped me. And then what I realized looking back is I created a new file. All of a sudden, I had a new file. I had a fear, I was able to get, get through that fear. And then I was able to grow. And that's what we want, right? We want to be in that growth zone. We got in the pandemic, we were all about the fear zone. And then we got into the learning zone. We want to be in the growth zone.

Dana Williams 16:49

So if we're growing, that means that we're tackling and conquering fears every day, and, or learning. So what's been fun for me as I've gone through this is writing down what I've learned each day. And they've almost became little statements of things that could turn into social media or turn into another book, or I don't know what. But I'd love to hear from people what they're conquering, what fear they're conquering, or what they're learning. My Learner is No. 12. And I had to learn a ton to get through these last 45 days. But I knew I couldn't learn anything, and I knew I couldn't listen to every, you know, professional out there that's in the social world or the digital world. I had to just, I had to mute a lot of things so I could hear what I needed to hear.

Dana Williams 17:33

The other thing, Jim, if you'll skip to the end of the week, we have, which is called the weekly -- and go past the weekend, we have a Weekend Update. And then, there we go, Weekly Review. And this was designed to kind of look back and say, OK, How, how did my week go? Did I, did I do what I needed to do? Because, right, what gets measured gets done. And so really looking back and thinking, I was energized in my strengths last week when ____. Well, what strengths were you using? The blind spots with my strengths that I need to navigate -- what are some blind spots? So I have Ideation, so I had to, I had to tell myself, Stop the ideating and, and realize that's becoming a blind spot for you.

Dana Williams 18:20

My next week's goal, so set an intention for the next week. And then I plan to conquer the following fear towards achieving my goal. So, and then, right underneath that, I reviewed my long-term and short-term goals. I was listening to a podcast last week from somebody that said, OK, take a day and review your whole last year and think about all the things. And I'm thinking about all the leaders and coaches and businesspeople I know. And I'm thinking, Does anybody have a time to do that? Why don't we do it weekly? Why don't we just take a moment and look at what's going on weekly, and then adjust and pivot and reset where we need to reset.

Dana Williams 19:01

And so this has been a helpful measurement tool as, as I've moved forward. And then the last thing on the weekly review is -- basically these could fit into wellbeing -- it's examining yourself and rate yourself on your friend -- How are you doing with your relationships, your friends and family, your finances, your faith and your fitness? So it's just a quick -- the way this was designed was to be for that busy person that's navigating working from home, working, you know, managing children, managing parents, managing a lot, but how do we keep it simple? But how do we integrate strengths so that there's a simple way to look at ourselves and design it for ourselves instead of design it for the masses?

Jim Collison 19:46

Yeah, I love, I love that index, just being able to, to self-evaluate yourself and then come, be able to come back and say, How am I doing? Because that's the power of it, right? How am I doing in these kinds of areas? How is this -- we, when we were prepping for this, one of the things that we've kind of learned through this pandemic is that what changes wellbeing oftentimes is giving. And so what, how am I giving in these areas? How is this, how am I, how am I giving it back? I'm gonna say the one thing I learned is flipping board and how to navigate it during this interview.

Dana Williams 20:16

Oh, good!

Jim Collison 20:17

No, it's a super great tool. I struggled a little bit. So I'm sorry if I sent anybody, you know, into, into a seizure as they were trying

Dana Williams 20:24

No, you did good!

Jim Collison 20:24

to navigate through, but available on your site, again, if you go to and head over to the Strengths Journal page, you can see these for yourself. Sometimes it's kind of hard to see on the video, and so you can get there. By the way, great job on getting that -- it's very, very helpful. A couple of questions coming in from the chat room. Let me, let me get to those here really quick, because I think they apply. So Richard says, I really struggle with daily habits. My chocolate advent calendar only has half -- now, come on, Richard, it's chocolate; that should have motivated you enough as it is, but it says this chocolate advent calendar has only half the doors open. What motivation do you have to help us use the book every day? What kind of motivations help in doing this every day?

Dana Williams 21:06

So I think, I think, first of all, I'd recommend you get a buddy to do it with. I think that would be fun. I think the other thing is we're going to be sending out weekly boosts of things you can be doing. If you go to my site right now, you can sign up for a PDF how to, how to manage your day and get energy out of your day. And there's little tidbits of things to do in there. So I think it's, it's, it's really, if -- I always say this, and I wrote an article about this, it's in Gallup, it's "Put the circle around yourself, and everything in the circle, you can change; you can control. But outside of the circle, you can't." And I think we spend a lot of our mental energy in creating a narrative that says, "I'm so frustrated at so and so or my husband or my daughter or whatever." And we don't put the energy on ourselves. And I think it's a self-discipline. And it's that, it's that, it's that daily, the secret is in the daily agenda. Because you have to look back and be responsible for yourself: "This is what I said I was going to do. Why didn't I do it? What kept me from doing it? And then measuring it weekly."

Jim Collison 22:15

How might you approach it from a theme perspective, if we were to think about, you know, OK, here's my Top 5, and I'm thinking about a daily, you know, kind of daily exercise? As you think through some themes, and as a coach, you know, maybe, so, as an example, a Learner might really kind of focus in those areas of What did I learn in that section? Right? Input may focus in areas of how much have I filled in, like, what have I got in there? What else would you think, as you just think, from a coaching perspective, of using some of these themes, how could various people apply their own Top 5 to help them complete this?

Dana Williams 22:54

Yeah, and I have Individualization. So I'm gonna go first and say, What is the biggest problem that you're facing every day? And then I'm going to say, Let's talk through your strengths. One of the other things I'm doing for anybody that buys -- I don't know if you want to flip that up -- but we have a subscription program. So you can buy the journal. And if you already have your strengths, it's $33 a month, and then I'm doing a live coaching session. We'll have a lesson at the beginning. And then we'll have people just ask questions. And I'm going to keep these groups pretty small, maybe 12, 15 people, so that we can have engagement, and that we can share and go through challenges.

Dana Williams 23:34

So it's not like you're just buying a journal and you're trying to figure it out. It's like, you've got this group here with you all the way through. And then for people, this might be good for some of your clients, if they don't have their, their strengths code yet, they can buy the strengths code and buy the journal and get the live monthly coaching. And then for those who just don't have anything, an executive or entrepreneur that doesn't have time to do all that, they can get the one-on-one coaching. But I, most of my coaches are signing up for the basic program, just, and people that want accountability. So I recommend either getting that basic program or finding a friend that gets the journal and both of you talk about it on a weekly basis or get your coach to do it with you.

Jim Collison 24:20

There, there had been some conversation in the chat -- I believe that was Nate; let me see if I can find it. He said -- well, I'll just paraphrase it because I can't find it -- he got an accountability partner to help him on some of this. So you, this would be a good buddy-up or do it in groups of 4 and have accountability, right. Meet about it in one or the other places. By the way, Certified Coaches, one of the questions I get all the time is, How do I charge for things? And Dana, you've done a nice job of kind of laying this out. Right? An easy subscription program. I think oftentimes we think of people get stuck on the 1-hour coaching, what do I try charge for it? And you've kind of taken a different approach to that from a, from a cost perspective and adding the journal. And anything else you'd add to that?

Dana Williams 25:06

Yeah. So that was one of my learnings. I would say, if you're starting your business, or if you're growing your business, I'm sure you guys are listening to all kinds of podcasts and listening to all kinds of people trying to help. And that was hard for me, because there were so many different people out there giving so many different pieces of advice. And my biggest challenge was I wanted to come up with a business model that I thought would be valuable to my clients.

Dana Williams 25:34

And so one of the first things I did was I got into a Mastermind, I got in several different Mastermind groups, and I listened to a lot of the different coaches, speakers, and then I would follow them. And then I set up time, one-on-one time with them, and said, Help me figure this out. And that's, that's one of my lessons learned is ask for help. That wasn't a specialty I have at all. And even when I went to my financial planner, my accountant, they were like, "I don't know." And I was like, Geez, this is hard! And it was really helpful to get myself to learn and to go into that focus of, What do I want? There's three areas you want to focus on when you're building your business. And it's, it's actually customer service, price and value. Well, you can't do all three. And this is what I learned. So my, my, my focus was on value and customer service.

Dana Williams 26:29

So I've tried to communicate, connect with all the people that are buying the journals, at least make sure they're getting an email, make sure that we're focused on them if they have a special need. I'm working with some people right now on how to get this shipped internationally. And I'm saying, Just be patient with me; we're going to get this figured out for you. I don't want people to have to pay more money for shipping because they're overseas. But let's, let's just figure it out. So I think everything is "figure- outable"; we know that. But sometimes it just takes time. And my Maximizer wanted everything to be perfect right away, and I had to let that go. Had to let that one go.

Jim Collison 27:05

You got to do, no matter how you're wired, it's so ... to let that go. Kymm asks a good question in the chat room; I want to come back to this here real quick, as soon as I can find my mouse. There we go. So she, she says, This is great stuff. One concern as a woman of faith, How do I make this focus more on others and not become too self-centered? And this is the, right, this is designed for personal growth and development. But Dana, as you think about, How could I use this and then face it outward, right? The "me" versus "we." How do we, how do we send that out? Yeah.

Dana Williams 27:36

Yeah, I think because what this is about is self development. Right? This is not -- and I love, is it Kymm, that's asking this question. So make it -- we, and I think one of the "dings" I got for myself for my counselor is I was doing too many, too much people pleasing; I needed to work on me and then everything around me would change. And so that was one of my learnings. But also, I think, one of the things that we can learn from Ben Franklin -- I think it was Ben Franklin. He wrote in his journal every morning, "Who can I serve today?" And at the end of the day, "What did I do to serve others today?" So why couldn't that be one of your outcomes that you put in? And he did that every day.

Jim Collison 28:20

In that section, you have, "What did I learn?" What, you know, what -- what was the other one? What did I learn? Oh, "What did I fear?"

Dana Williams 28:27

Yeah, a fear you conquered.

Jim Collison 28:28

Just write in, "Where did I serve?" Right?

Dana Williams 28:31

Yeah, absolutely. And that gratefulness -- you're grateful for people that you got to learn from or grateful for people, grateful for the opportunity to serve. Yeah, so and this is great, great feedback, because this is, these are kind of things we want to know that, that people are the mindset there. So that's a, that's a great question.

Jim Collison 28:51

No, no dates in the book, right? And so I could start this anytime?

Dana Williams 28:54

Anytime. And, you know, if you have one of those days you just didn't get it done, it's OK, you know. Don't beat yourself up. It's like, that just didn't happen that day. And I've done that to myself. And I'm like, OK, we're gonna go the next day. And the reason for that is, No. 1, I just wanted this to be designed by you, for you. And that you, you put in here what you need, based on what you're doing in your day and filling out your days. And some people have found that going ahead and filling out the week ahead and putting some key things in there throughout the week has been helpful. And I've done that myself too, when I have a really, very, a lot going on. So there's nothing wrong with that either, just to get going.

Jim Collison 29:36

Spend some time, figure it out, figure the system that works out for you. Right? I always -- in these kinds of systems, I was a Franklin Covey guy. I have done that for a lot of years. To, back to your point about physically writing, we talked about this when we were getting ready for this interview. For us, that physical act of writing is super important. I have tried to go digital because I'm a technology nerd. I love every -- planners are the only thing, you know, and I'm actually super simple. It's just a piece of paper, right?

Dana Williams 30:06

Absolutely, yeah.

Jim Collison 30:07

That, that I plan my days on scratch paper and some of those kinds of things. But I have tried to make that change to digital, it just goes back to the very first question I asked you, Why not digital? I've actually tried to make everything I do digital, and it's just a disaster. I kind of need to write it down. It's just the way who I am. Not, not that way for everybody. I think some of our millennial friends and those millennials that are coming out where it's only digital first, I think they're able to make that, make that bridge, and any thoughts to doing an electronic version of this?

Dana Williams 30:41

Yeah, I mean, I'd love to, I'd love to. I, you know, that was the other thing too. There was so much I had in my head of what I wanted to do, because I do live so far out in the future. So I wanted to get this out and learn, learn from it. The first week that we were out, the first 3 weeks was all about listening and learning. And we'll continue listening and learning and adapting. But yeah, that's definitely in, in the vision.

Jim Collison 31:08

Dana, as you think about lessons learned on -- through this process, you kind of mentioned, you know, asking for help.

Dana Williams 31:15


Jim Collison 31:15

How important, I mean, this is risky. Like, you're spending a whole lot of time to create something that you put some money into. And we won't necessarily get too deep into that. But it's a, it's a big risk. How did you approach this from a risk-mitigation standpoint? How did you push past that fear of like, "Oh, I don't know if I can do this!" Yeah. And not just the content, but getting it published, getting it bound, shipping, all those things you have to do. How'd you get past that?

Dana Williams 31:45

Yeah, I think I had to, right, we train our mind every day what to think by how we are listening to things and how we're -- and I had to really start muting some things and put some boundaries around things I was listening to, so, including myself, when I found myself saying, "Oh, this isn't going to work, because you can't find a printer that's going to print this in the United States at the same price they could print it somewhere else. And I had to really work through those risks.

Dana Williams 32:14

But I think one of the other things that helped me was knowing that I was determined, and that I also had that responsibility to myself. And that I also had a mission. And so whenever I got a little fearful, of course, I would talk it out, talk it out with my husband or a friend or whatever, or coach. But I would also just push myself to make that next step. And it was hard. And that was the hardest thing. So y'all, y'all know Bob Goff? Love Bob Goff. He wrote Love Does, and he speaks a lot. And he always says, "Just call me; I'll talk to you." And he has his phone number at the back of his book. So one of my goals was to call Bob Goff. And he's all about dreaming big and thinking big. And I kept saying to myself, "Oh, he's not going to answer my calls. He You know, he won't -- " and he was, I love this man. He is so energizing. And every time I hear him speak, I just get energized.

Dana Williams 32:27

I was like, OK. So I mean, literally, it went from page to page to page in my journal, because I kept getting scared. So finally, one Sunday, I think it was one, I'd go on Sunday, I'd go, "No, I can't call him today, because it's, you know, it's family day, and he's probably with his family. So then I'd wait till the next day. Finally, I just said, "Today is the day." I called, and he answered! And I was like, Oh, my goodness! And I thought, I'd better be really prepared, because he said, he said that. He says, "If you're gonna call me, be prepared for what you want to ask." He's one of these guys that would rather talk on the phone than get a, you know, a text or whatever, because I did send him an email, and I didn't hear back.

Dana Williams 33:16

So anyway, I called him and I said, "I'm starting my business. I'm going to be focused on strengths and helping people daily manage their time." And he said, "What do you think?" -- you know, he was just so encouraging and so uplifting. And I thought, Now look at all that time I didn't do that. And, you know, so it's just jumping into the fear and just saying you're gonna do it. And even if you have to roll it over a couple of days in your, your calendar, you can, and you'll get it done. And if you need somebody, call me and I'll help you, cheer you on.

Jim Collison 34:28

You got to get sick of writing it, right, you got to get tired --

Dana Williams 34:32

Right, and get mad at yourself because you didn't do it.

Jim Collison 34:34

Like, "I should have done that earlier." I have a little trick that I've had to learn, and this works for me, is I have to remove the emotion from the action. And I just, it's a choice. So I'm like, OK, I just got to do this. I, I need to just make the call to the doctor or I just --because I hate doing those things. Yeah. And so I just kind of remove the emotion for a second and kind of trick myself into actually doing it.

Jim Collison 34:59

So it's like, OK, I'm going to do this without emotion. I'm just going to do it, even though I'm, I'm hating it right now as I'm dialing -- and it's actually more like this -- as I'm dialing the number now. And you just, you kind of just push through it. I, the same thing happens when I have emails that I need to send. Sometimes in the community, I have to send difficult communications to people that say, "Stop doing this," or "You can't do that," or some of those kinds of things. And I'll read it a couple times. And then I just have to click Send. Like, hurry up and just click Send. Otherwise, sometimes, right.

Jim Collison 35:32

Some of this comes, some of this work that you did comes on the eve of being prepared, though, right? How long do you think you've been preparing for something like this? If you just, if you were to think back? How long, you know, I think some people think, Well, yeah, let me just ask that question. How long do you think you've been preparing for this?

Dana Williams 35:49

My whole life! I mean, really, yeah, I got the idea what, you know, a year and a half ago, almost 18 months ago, but, but it was probably all my life experiences and going through some really tough times -- went through some tough times in our marriage, went through some tough times just in, at work, went through tough times with family. And so you start realizing, Wow, if I change me, everything else can change. But I can't change anybody else. And so that was a big, I think that was a big catalyst that helped me say what I've learned, I need to help get out to the world. And as a leader, I saw so many people, great leaders, great with people, but just beat themselves up on silly stuff. And as a seasoned leader, as a seasoned person, I'm able to say, you know, it's -- what do you, why are you feeling that now? Because this is what you do, and what can you do to change that? And again, if you want to change your life, you got to change something daily. You're not gonna see changes daily; you're gonna see it at the end of the year, right?

Jim Collison 37:03

Although you can make micro changes during a day that have impact. This is why I think it's important we write some of these things down. It's why I keep lists of things, because I often go back. I actually have the 2020 journal right there, if you have to be watching the video to see this. But it's, I put it there on purpose, because I still go back and grab it and look back through. Now again, my journal is really just lists of things. But it's super helpful. I took some notes back in November on some things I was doing that I needed access to. And I just grabbed that, pulled it back and went, you know, thumbed back through to find it, right. Super important to have that somewhere where I could get access to it again.

Dana Williams 37:43

And that was so important when we were developing this product. I worked with a graphic designer and a guy that works with entrepreneurs that gives his time, and he, he, he really helped push me to think through that the feeling of it, the experience of opening the box, having on your nightstand. And then for me, it was like, if I want to pull this out 2 years from now, it'll look nice on my bookshelf. And it'll be there and I can pull it out and remember, OK, this is what I said to myself then. This is what -- and so it's keeping, it's keeping your bookshelf of, of you, you growing, changing and, and in a nice way. That's not just a paperback or something that's going to be hard to keep in your, in your satchel or wherever.

Jim Collison 38:37

You can see from my background, I don't worry about pretty bookshelves, but some do. Some do. During my Franklin Covey days, you know, they made really nice binders. And so I appreciate the fact that this can sit. You know, down the line, maybe changing some colors for folks to, right, maybe some options for that coming up. You alluded to this earlier in the conversation, but I want you to dig in a little bit more. How important were the folks that were around you in the development of this? I mean, talk a little bit about who who helped you and how. How was that beneficial to you?

Dana Williams 39:12

Yeah. So I think, first of all, my daughter was incredibly helpful. She's had her own business for, I think, 3 years now. And she's just a typical millennial working from home with kids. And she's the woman that put me in touch with the graphic designer and this guy that does digital marketing, it came about kind of more of a digital marketing adviser.

Dana Williams 39:35

So when you work in a company and you work in marketing, you've got all these different resources and people with you all the time. And so I knew what I needed. It was just getting in the proximity of people that would help, that had the expertise that would help me move quicker than I was moving on my own. And people that were like-minded -- this particular guy had a love of strengths. And everybody that he hired, he had their strengths. And so we spent the first week that we all worked together -- the graphic designer and the adviser -- we, I did their strengths chart. And it was interesting, because I was the only one with high Execution, my 6 through 10. Everybody else was Ideas and, you know, I was like, Whoa, we're gonna have to -- . So I knew that coming in.

Dana Williams 40:25

And then everybody, I have an intern that's helping. And so she was big at her university on strengths. So first of all, that was a criteria, that they knew and understood strengths and love strengths, but also that they had something that they knew that I didn't know so they could help me. Because it's a different world in the entrepreneurial world than it is in the corporate world and all the marketing channels, and there was so much to learn. And still, I'm learning every day how to manage all that.

Jim Collison 40:54

For folks who didn't see it when I was going through it on site, there are instruction pages up front. So if you want to see, if you're going to be giving this to someone, and there's some instructions that come with it, one of the things I'd encourage you to do -- and I did this with my 2.0 book, 15 years ago, when I took StrengthsFinder 2.0 the first time -- is to put your Top 5 -- the front page is blank. And so put your Top 5 in there, maybe your partner, spouse, family members, whatever. List, they just write it in there.

Dana Williams 41:24

And there's actually a place to put it in, Jim, on page 4 is where you can put your Top 5 or 10 and what you bring and what you need. So that's good.

Jim Collison 41:34

I just found, yeah, and that's, that looks something in the lighting, that looks something like this. I just found, and I appreciate it -- and a lot of books are this way. But I've always appreciated, I don't have to go find it. Mine is, on my 2.0, book mine is here; Sarah's is here.

Dana Williams 41:50

Oh, I love that!

Jim Collison 41:50

They know exactly where they are. And before the days of a family spreadsheet, now my daughter organized a family spreadsheet that's -- a Google spreadsheet that everybody's, but it was mandated. She mandated. I didn't have to do it; she mandated the family's Top 5, and she, she wanted to know. But I think a great opportunity to put those, you know, put those people. Any -- from an advocate standpoint, any other? You you mentioned your daughter. Anybody else in there that you'd mentioned, that was helpful?

Dana Williams 42:18

So, Oh, my leader at Southwest Airlines was incredibly, just so supportive. We had several different conversations, several lunches, just being there for me. And I think this is in one of the Gallup Strengths, maybe books. But really, first thing I did 2 or 3 years ago, when I was visioning all this, was figure out my board of directors, and who's going to be at that table that's going to be serving. So my mentor was there, my financial planner, my, my coach, my daughter, you know, the people that had already gone through experiences that were different from mine, that could be advising. One of my friends that runs an -- our ad, the ad agency, she was incredibly helpful. You know, just another gal that runs a business, you know, I called her several times. So that goes in that, that bucket of lessons learned, you know. Reach out to those people. Get yourself in the proximity of those people. And don't be afraid to call them.

Jim Collison 43:22

Creating a book is one thing; creating a website to sell a book is another. Without crying, can you, can you spend a little time, lessons learned? Let's just, because I think a lot folks would struggle in this area. And, and maybe as we think about even the way you're uniquely designed, and you brought that to this. Because it's, it's websites can be easy, but most of the time, they're just difficult. Talk a little bit about --

Dana Williams 43:46

Yeah, I think it's funny, because I think, you know, we have that mindset of, Oh, I'm going to start a business; I gotta get, I gotta get a website. But there's so much more before that, right? It's figuring out, What is my business model? What is my brand? What do I stand for? What are my brand colors? What is my messaging? And then what, then putting that messaging into a wire frame, which is a simple way to give that to a web designer. You've already, you know, I had learned all that, you know. How do I, how do I message? And what's my message that -- Who am I focused on? Who are my core clients, and, and how do I make sure all my messaging is focused on them?

Dana Williams 44:27

And then, you know, that took the most time doing all of that. And then it wasn't until we had to -- and then we had to create a landing page that kind of was just up while we were waiting for the website to be developed. But I learned a lot again from my daughter about, you know, she does Shopify, and she does, and I'm doing WooCommerce, so we were sharing what works with both, and why they're different. And, and I've never heard the word "plugin" until I started working on a website, and boy, that was interesting. And learning about how all the pages have to be clear and simple.

Dana Williams 45:05

But I guess the biggest learning there in the messaging is it's not about me. And I think that's the mistake that a lot of people make when they're branding themselves or marketing: They want to talk about themselves. And really, our customer is our hero. And we're just the guide along for the ride, being there alongside them. So I think if I had to say a fear for me that I had to get over was doing videos and doing things about, because I was like, I don't want it to be about me! But that, and so the messaging and developing the messaging, developing the messaging for the core audiences, that was, that took a lot of time. And working with people, you know, to, to hone that. Again, I had to turn my Maximizer off sometimes because it got in the way.

Dana Williams 45:55

But I think the most overwhelming thing, when you think of just the website, was all the plugins that you need, and how they all work, and what is experience in, what do customers feel, because remember, I'm focused on value and customer service. So wow, you know, knowing that, it's hard.

Jim Collison 46:13

Yeah. I'll open this up for questions from the chat room, if they, this would be a good time to throw those in there. How important was your Southwest experience? Because Southwest focuses so much on the customer experience. Anything, anything you bring from that time that you you incorporate right in as we think about customer experience?

Dana Williams 46:30

Yeah. So, you know, I was raised at Southwest, worked with her, worked with Colleen, worked with a lot of the founders. So when I first came to Southwest, the company was only 10 years old, and Southwest is gonna celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. So I was off and on with the company; I did other things in between. I would leave and go do something else, get some experience and come back. And I think one of the things that just, I was raised in that environment, is that the customer is always right, and, and take care of your employees. And then happy, happy employees meet happy customers.

Dana Williams 47:07

So one of the things I also took away from all of that experience is the core values, and how important those are. So when I hired my intern, when I worked with graphic designer, I wanted people that were "people people," that had caring hearts, and that care about the customers and care about the mission of what we're about, which is creating tools and experiences to help leaders dominate their day. And that was really important to me.

Dana Williams 47:34

And a third, third part is just being fiscally responsible. And Southwest Airlines, we, we always did everything on a shoestring. And we figured out how to do things that were hard when we had to do them. And I learned that, you know, that was our biggest, most exciting times. When we come into a new market, and we didn't have much money, we'd have to figure out, How do we, how do we reach these people? How do we engage when, you know, the budget's really low? And so learning that it's really cash is king and how to manage that cash and how to, how to really focus on the, on the customer. So those were the biggest takeaways I have from that experience.

Jim Collison 48:12

Yeah, well, certainly, I think that's the right way to approach it. We celebrate, we celebrated that with you guys, too, I think at the summit, and as we've, we've spent some time, a lot of time, really, I mean, Gallup and Southwest is a great combo. But I think you, you amplify those traits as we think about what you're doing now through the journal. So that's great as well. A couple of questions coming out of the chat room. Let's, let's get, let's get this kind of one out of the way. If folks want to, you mentioned this, overseas is difficult to get right. So if folks who are purchasing from, you know, let's just say the U.K. or Australia, anywhere around the world, what's the best way for them to kind of contact you? Because that's probably something they don't want to go right off the website on. They probably want to contact you directly.

Dana Williams 48:58

Yeah. And several of them have texted, or DM'd me, through a Facebook-certified group. But the easiest way is just, "Hello!" at the Strengths Journal. And I'll get right back with you. And, and we'll figure out, and I've got several people I'm working with now that have had specific needs, and we're working on solving each of those for them. So --

Jim Collison 49:18

We didn't plan this, and I probably should have, but any, any, for listeners of today, any, are you offering any discounts? Or is there a way for them to jump in and do some discounts today?

Dana Williams 49:27

So, thank you for asking! We actually, so now that this is going to run next, this is going to run 3 or 4 weeks from now, right?

Jim Collison 49:35

In a couple weeks. Yeah, well, it's running live today. And then it'll be, it'll, the official version will be out here in 3 or 4 weeks, yeah.

Dana Williams 49:40

I would say the best thing for everybody to do is get on the site and sign up for the PDF and get into our email system. And then we'll give you alerts if we have a sale going on or a special discount. That is the best way. Yeah.

Jim Collison 49:56

So, and I think that's, hold on. Let me bring that page up again really quick. So we have, of course, we have the packages you were talking about.

Dana Williams 50:03

Right. And then we have the journal, which is --

Jim Collison 50:06

Is this what you're meaning, the sign-up, right, right below the packages?

Dana Williams 50:09

Yep, just sign up right there. And you'll be right in our email group. And then you'll be also signed up to get our weekly boost. So --

Jim Collison 50:17

How do you, Jennifer asks a good question in this. How do you measure engagement within your team? So as we're thinking about the group that you're working with, even as coaches or maybe even those who are coaching, from a, from a team standpoint, talk a little bit about, or maybe even how would, how can you pair a planner with this idea of engagement? How can you measure? How is this working? How's the planner working? How are they engaging?

Dana Williams 50:41

Yeah, I think a lot of that is asking questions, right? So if, if I was working with somebody -- and, and I hope this is what you're asking about engagement -- and they had a mission, and they had a goal for the week, it's really easily just to ask questions of them of How did your week go? What were some of the, some of those questions you get in your weekly review? What, what, what were some things that kept you from reaching your goal this week? What were some things that blocked you? And then doing that 5 Why's -- Well, why do you think that happened? What, and Why do you think it was, you know, and you go through those 5 Why's and you'll get down to the root cause. And then you can start seeing and helping guide them through engagement. Because there's something blocking them, something keeping them.

Jim Collison 51:07

From, from an enterprise standpoint, from a product standpoint, of course, Gallup has a Q12 product that we make available to organizations that they can engage with us on. And if they want to measure engagement at a company level, they can do that. If you're interested, if you want more information around that, I did a whole series on that with Mike McDonald, called, and not very, not very creatively titled, but it's called "Q12 for Coaches." And so if you go to YouTube and just search "Q12 for Coaches" (put "Gallup" in there), you'll find that pretty easy, 14-part series on all the things that we talk about around engagement.

Jim Collison 52:03

I'd encourage folks, you know, as we think about how that partners with the journal, each one, if you want to kind of work on your own engagement, each one of those questions, there's 12 questions. And magically, there's 12 months in a year. Focus on each one of those questions a month. So start the month with the question: Do I know what's expected of me at work? That's the very first question. And what I'm doing, do I know what's expected of me? And really, throughout the day, throughout the week, let that be an overarching question of, In everything I'm doing this month, do I really know what's expected of me? Right?

Jim Collison 52:37

Month 2: Do I have the correct materials and equipment to do my job in what I'm doing, right? Have I given -- and, and maybe the journal is part of materials and equipment. Like, have I given myself the right materials and equipment to be able to do the role that I'm doing? And reflect, begin to reflect on those questions personally. I think that'd be a great way --

Dana Williams 52:55

That's a great idea.

Jim Collison 52:56

And you can start that at any time. Right? You don't have to wait for that --

Dana Williams 52:59

I love that.

Jim Collison 53:00

To get done. We are coming up on our time here. Maybe time for one more question. But before we do that, anything else I missed, Dana? Anything else you would add?

Dana Williams 53:10

No, I think, I think I had like some lessons learned, I think we talked about, Ask for help; you make sure you ask for help. Take the risks. That's where you're going to learn and grow. Be ready. And Jim, you and I were talking about this earlier. I did not know when the opportunity was going to come for me to step out on my own and do this. But I was ready when the pandemic hit. And then they started offering packages, I was like, Oh my gosh, here's my window, this -- I gotta jump. But if I had not been preparing the year before that, and working on this, I wouldn't have been ready to launch when I did this this fall. So I'm just saying just be, you know, be ready.

Dana Williams 53:50

And then I'd say create advocates. So you're, you know, I look at the people that bought the first weekend -- it was all of my people I've coached or people that I've been around, coworkers, fellow employees and, and, and mentors and mentees and, and family members and just friends and people from all over my life. And I think those are your, gonna be your, your big advocates when you start something like this. And then the last -- and I think I can't say this enough -- is be intentional. You can change your life. You can dominate your day. But you got to, you got to do it daily. So that's my, that's my my word.

Jim Collison 54:27

That's good. And you know what, some days it's good just to give in. You know?

Dana Williams 54:31

Absolutely! Give yourself permission to do that. Yeah. Say, "Today is not the day. We're not gonna dominate the day today."

Jim Collison 54:37

I think sometimes, you know, in this planner productivity cycle that we feel like we've got to crush it every single day. And do you really crush it every day?

Dana Williams 54:49


Jim Collison 54:49

I think there's just some days, right, we kind of go, I can't do this anymore! I just need to take a break. Right. Is that OK if I take a break in life? Is that is all right if I do it that way?

Dana Williams 55:00

Yeah, we just got to measure what we're doing so we can manage it. And if we're not measuring it, we don't have a way to daily look at it, back to your engagement question, it's just hard. So some days we're good; some days it's not. We're just human. You know, we have to give ourselves that break.

Jim Collison 55:15

Yeah, no, right on. Dana, thanks for taking the hour. And thanks for spending, I mean, it's, this is way more than just an hour of work. Like you spent a ton of time getting ready for this moment; you've been preparing your whole life, right, for this thing. And so an exciting moment in time for you. We're excited to partner with you as we launch it, and launch it with you. Excited that it's an, it's another opportunity for some to be able to continue to learn and grow and move forward. And, you know, and really kind of continuing their strengths journey in a way that works for them. Right. Nate had said, He, well, just before we go, Nate had said he'd like a little spot in the future on the binder to put the year or maybe a month in the year.

Dana Williams 56:01

Oh, that's a great idea! Love that, Nate! That's a great idea!

Jim Collison 56:05

Like a sharpie spot.

Dana Williams 56:05

Love that. Yeah, sure.

Jim Collison 56:07

You could, I think with a sharpie, you could probably write that on there right now. This is really smooth, really for some notes. You could probably write that in there. But yeah, good, some good feedback. Well, we hope if you're listening today, we hope that it's been helpful and beneficial to you. Some great information,, if you want to head out, if you want to head out there and look at all the offerings that are there. Dana, hang out with me for one more second.

Jim Collison 56:32

With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available now in Gallup Access. And actually all the webcasts now are in Gallup Access. So if you're kind of wondering, maybe if you're in the system, if you're, if you're thinking, you don't, you no longer have to leave Gallup Access to get the webcasts. They're available in our Resources section. But that's all found by going to And they're available there. Now this will be, this will be a good use of my memory because I -- the, my notes have just locked up and I can't get to the final section here. So we'll see how good I am! OK, if you want to follow us, if you want to know all the webcasts that are going on here, you can, of course, you can follow us on Eventbrite: I update those weekly with new events that are coming up. If you're interested in coaching, master coaching or becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach like Dana is, send us an email: We'll have somebody call you back with info on how to do that. We'd love to get you in that space. And yeah, you can purchase that from us as well. And so you can get that done there. If you want to join us this summer for the 2021 Gallup at Work summit, that's all up and running now. And we'd love to have you join us for that: Registration is open now. We'd love to have you join us, part of a virtual, yeah, we're virtual for one more year. Dana, I'm hoping next year -- don't you think -- think we'll be in person?

Dana Williams 57:50

It's gonna be a hybrid year is what I'm saying. It's gonna be a little bit.

Jim Collison 57:53

I sure hope so. Let's, let's think 2022 to be back in person. But we want to thank you for joining us today. If you found this useful, we'd love to have you share it. And appreciate you guys coming out. If you're listening live, there won't be much of a postshow. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Dana Williams' Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Ideation, Strategic, Futuristic, Maximizer and Individualization.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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