The QuitCast: Maximizer® – Strengths for Writers (1.15)

dear writer you need to quit this is the show that helps you know what to quit what to keep and what to question my name is Becca Syme and I'm a Gallup certified strength coach with thousands of hours of coaching six and seven-figure offers Nicola stirs major award winners and new authors alike because everyone needs to quit something anyone can tell you what working for them and of course they say that I got work for you but they can't tell you why well I can tell you why welcome to the quick cast hi and welcome to episode 15 of the quick cast and today we're going to be talking about one of the strengths for writers themes which is Maximizer and if you haven't heard me talk about strengths before it is the Clifton strengths finder assessment it's a personality metric it's specifically meant to measure how you are successful and so through my coaching of writers we've taken this metric and we've adapted it out of the corporate environment which is where there's already an amazing amount of information about how to use strengths and I've adapted it to specifically writers and so this is meant to be a way for people who are in the creative profession to figure out how to utilize these natural areas of talent in the work that they're creating and so today we're going to be talking about Maximizer which is one of the themes of talent in the strengths assessment and so we're gonna start off with a little bit of a description about what Maximizer sounds like and then we're going to hit these strengths talk show and today we have some really special guests with us we have Adam Wright who many of you may know is a great writer hi Maximizer writer and Jen basement who is a certified strengths coach and also is a fiction writer and so I'm so excited to have her here she's a great range of vocabulary for how to talk about Maxim because she's a number-one Maximizer herself and then we have one of my favorite authors Angie Fox you may know her as a USA Today in New York Times bestseller she has an incredible series out which you can check out in the show notes and I love love love her writing she absolutely is a Maximizer author hi Maximizer and so we're gonna have the strengths for writers talk show after we hear from Terry shot and Becca signs so take it away Terry and Becca a Maximizer might say things like I am committed to excellence or I will focus on what is strong and manage around what is weak or like maximizers tend to dislike weakness fixing like they don't like to talk about weaknesses because they want to focus on where they're strong so there's a couple of different development strengths and learner's one of them which you have write and developer is kind of in your middle somewhere that's another one maximizers the third one developers want to take something that is raw and make it mature so they want to develop raw talent maximizers want to take something that is already good and make it excellent so they want to take something that is it's the good two great concept right and so that's a very high Maximizer trait is that good – great concept the upside of Maximizer especially if you're very very high is that you'll tend to already be like they want they want to be around the best people they want to do the best work they want to associate with the best stuff so then a Maximizer they try to be the greatest they can be and do they ever are they always forever striving as well – always yeah better each time yeah in fact I would say that's one of the key note places that that feeling of never measuring up can come from achiever is often like that Maximizer competition and significance can often produce that of feeling like there's always a learner there's always a higher level I could get to and so even when I know that I'm the best even when I'm even if I were to say I am the best dialogue writer in film currently today if I had any shades of Lerner Maximizer developer our significance I would still want to get better than I am so that no one would ever be able to beat me right like right right right you're done aware that there are other areas where I'm not as good where I could get better I have had to learn as a Maximizer what I can let go and what I can't so for instance talking about typos me years and years ago I had a different attitude about editing than I thought sure that because I really thought there was a way to get it perfect I really don't when I first started and what I learned there wasn't that I started being okay releasing stuff and letting people find mistakes and then coming back to me with it side of Maximizer is that if you think something is perfect and then someone tells you it isn't but that can feel very personal and so understanding is a Maximizer that like actually other people helping you get better as a good thing that's a worker and so one of the downsides that we were just talking about with high Maximizer is that it's often difficult to know when you've made something good enough like as a Maximizer you always will feel like on some level but I could make it better but I could make it better especially if you can see where it could potentially be better and so like all strengths there's always the upsides and downsides the upside as a writer is if you are a Maximizer and you really feel committed to writing there's a good chance you're going to be good at it because maximizers want to do things where they're excellent and they don't have the obsession with sort of fame and notoriety then I think some of the other strengths can have and so they tend to be attracted to things where they know they can just produce something really excellent and they can be at the top of their game and so obviously the word maximize means you want to get the most out over the best out of something and that's kind of Maximizer and so Jen just because you are a number one Maximizer and also a strength coach what would you add to that definition or clarify if you could say this is what Maximizer is to me it is not a cocky I want to be the best it's just an internal drive to be the best we don't I guess I should say as a Maximizer I don't walk around thinking that when I've done something well or done something great that oh my gosh I'm the best person ever it's just more pride that you know I did something to the accent yeah yeah and excellence is specifically a real big buzzword like what I want isn't just good I don't want to I don't want to book this good I want a book that is excellent or superb or you know the best that I could do and so knowing when and we kind of have all talked about this in varying degrees but knowing when something is good enough or when I hit an excellent point is a big deal so yeah so let's start then with Adam since you've learned about your Maximizer how do you see that strength acting in your books or maybe even in your method of prep for your writing well I think in my books I tend to focus on the things that I'm best at writing which is like action and humor and I kind of gloss over the things I'm not so good at like romance I've written quite a few genres during my career and because I'm a Maximizer as I've gone on I've seen where my strengths lie and I focus more on those areas you know and women and input prep so I'm high intellection so because I maximize as well I am I take the time to maximize the intellection and make sure I you know go for a walk and think about what I'm doing before I start writing even yeah like you want the idea of the book or the concept to be as good as it possibly could be before you really commit like words the page yeah it makes me more fun I might get an idea but I think well let's go a bit deeper and see if it might be a bit better yeah Angie what about you how have you seen this drink sort of show itself in either your books or your method of book prep well it explained to me a lot about my process because I came from an ad writing background and so I always knew if I was writing a television ad or a campaign or something I knew I would plot it out I need beginning middle end I knew what I wanted to say and I couldn't figure out why I was not achieving that in my books you know I wasn't really a good platter I was more of a dancer but yet not a Pancer in a way that a lot of other Panthers are were they just enjoyed falling into a book with no idea I always knew my title I always knew what excited me about the book of what would be unique and and and like Adam I really gave gave a lot of thoughts I thought if I'm thinking about this why am I not a plotter and I realized after I learned that I was a Maximizer that I will blow holes in any single plot I tried to develop I will see the roadblocks I will see what might be wrong with it I will kill the little little clot buddy additions in it but I was basically you know I will murder a plot before it started so I realized that what what really gets me motivated and excited it are the ideals behind it so I've accepted that part of myself and I just forward and it's all about ideas and I just know that I had to come up with a different way to actually stay on target with my thoughts so I developed a checkpoint system where I kind of as I'm going through where I am where I need to be you know what you know am I on track as far as as what really needs to happen to get the structure but I know that if I know too much going it'll just be bad for a Maximizer standpoint second yeah yeah one yeah and I was going to say too like how do you see this because you're in such a cool place where a lot of our watchers will be of like I'm learning about my strengths as I'm writing my early book like how do you see this shaping how you will write book from here on out well it really helped me understand what stalls me in the process so that like Angie said I'm developing a checklist of just hey you need to move forward and I give my kind of put deadlines on some things like her I you know I think through things initially and I'll start blowing holes through the plot without I can totally relate to everything she said but actually one of the biggest understandings that came out of learning about this Maximizer talent was I understood far better why the editing process is so hard for me is when you're going through you're constantly pointing out weaknesses and mistakes and that's not what I want to look at that's not what I want to focus on I just you know I want to focus on the good stuff and so you know began to understand why I was taking some of that personally or just kind of avoiding that altogether yeah especially because depending on what your supporting talents are as a Maximizer it can be more and more difficult to receive criticism yeah not because you don't want it to be better but because I'm from this is from my standpoint I've I connected to Maximizer like I wouldn't show someone something that I didn't think was the best that I could do and so on some level then it becomes much harder it's been a real learning curve for me as a Maximizer because I also have this talent hi to learn how to take criticism and see it as a learning process and not as a you did this wrong and you suck Isis kind of a same so that's been a learning process for me since since learning about your Maximizer and I'm going to ask all of you this question how much do you worry about how good your books are yeah and let's start with with Adam again how much do you worry about how good your books are and has knowing about Maximizer helps to alleviate that or or just do you still push for that quality I worry a lot well in writing I always think this is the worst book I've ever written you know yeah not about your book but about mine yeah knowing about maximize does help because we have this discussion before and like it now I realized that it's something inside of me that's you know it can never be perfect there's no such thing as perfect so at some point I have to say well that's the book that's good until it's going to go out yeah I think the way I get around thinking it's not good enough not good enough it's I just depend on what the readers think of it really so if they all like it then I'm satisfied I'm just like yeah and the readers yep exactly what about you yeah I worry a lot you know it's it's and I in actually I've tried not to I tried to understand that that's just by my default and to realize what's real and what's not but but it is tough it has helped me and it has hurt me I'll give an example I've got this this series and people were waiting I I released a book in the spring and in the fall and I was it's an indie series and I was writing my fall book over the summer and I realized that there are these two characters that always have this great conflict and it evolves as they evolve and the conflict that I planned wasn't conflict enough you know it just wasn't it didn't enough it was perfectly passable my energy was like why are you having a problem with this like no no no it's not internal enough it's more of an external complicated more internal conflict I can't figure out what that is so I had my critique partner giving me suggestions my editor you know I was asking like friends who don't write he didn't care which I thought maybe that would be a better you know and it was driving me nuts and I would show up to III have writing hours that show up to work every day for three or four hours and I didn't write for a month and a half all I did was was focus on this plot issue you know it's this gangster ghost and he's running into this gangster police and it's you know it's like how do you hear them now gangster police police police and how does he do something that's unique and you know everybody's like well he has to hide and I'm like no he did that for books ago for a different reason it's not unique enough you know he has to be angry about this no no it's not organic enough and I finally figured it out he basically impersonates a police officer and it worked out wonderfully but it took me a month and I have to figure out what it needed to be the book was late the book ended up being a post-thanksgiving rather than a fall book which is terrible for for a paranormal mystery that's not a really good release window and I knew it and I sacrificed ranking I sacrifice the money I'd make off that book because I wanted it to be the best book that could be hey Andrew you know I don't know if your readers even could tell the difference between like the different subplots but I could and it would have driven me crazy to release a book where I didn't feel like that subplot was completely unique yeah exactly right like the upside I think of Maximizer is that the readers I feel like so myself the readers are gonna be happy with what I give them because I've worked to make it the best that it could be but it absolutely makes it difficult when I get stuck and I'll say I have similar stories from as a Maximizer of it's just not the best that it could be yet and I know it and I can't always explain how I know it and that might partly be the strategic as well like I can just see that ahead there's something that needs to change and the the hard part is I can't talk myself out of caring like as a high Maximizer if I have already decided that it could be better than it is I can't stop myself from caring about it so that is definitely a downside but but also I would say for the readers I do think that it's an upside for the readers so Jen what about you how are you how much do you worry about how good books are especially as you're starting to think about you know these are going to be things that I'm going to release and I and I'm worried about how they're gonna be taken or how excellent they are compared to other books or how does that work for you well first of all y'all are making me feel a lot better a little less crazy I worry about it a lot not because anybody has a book to compare you know I guess I'm lucky in that regard but you know there are some public pieces out you know my blog is you know something that's out there and I can totally relate to what everybody was saying because I sit there and I ruminate over words in fact I've got a blog post that should have gone up a couple weeks ago and it just doesn't feel right it's not quite there which is funny because I come from a newspaper background where you didn't have a whole heck of a lot of time to you know think about things you just kind of published what you had and went for it and hope you know hope for the best so to speak but you know you kind of got to start over every day I guess is one way to look at it but you know with the internet with you know publishing online you can go back and change things nothing's really forever which kind of helps out a little bit but with my book yeah I it's why it's taken me so dang long to get it get it done to get it written and completed is because I keep going back and looking at things when I really probably need to develop some system on my computer where you know whatever's written gets locked down and I can't touch it yeah I will say so B and I'm not sure about Adam or Angie but the longest process for me and writing was my first book like the first book that I actually had published and then once I realized that my standards were way so much higher than what my editor you know said they needed to be then I was like okay I'm gonna give it to her faster like I'm gonna get it to her more quickly and so I'm I'm always hopeful but with maximizers like we'll learn that our process is it's okay for it to be long but it can also be shorter than it is and we'll still get where we want to get but yeah I agree I can't release that before I feel like it the best I could do it's just not wanted my nature and reputation actually puts pressure on to maximize it when I had a bet at the New York Times list I thought I was like in the climax phase of this up in the next book and I thought well how am I ever gonna make this book a New York Times best seller that's it it ruined my writing for a month I finally to give myself permission to write badly in my mind badly because it to get to writing again so in a way it's almost like not a good thing you know you just want to do your work and and like I said maximize doesn't mean you're judging anybody else's work I think all these writers that write faster fantastic like how do you do it and they're like and she's gonna chill out so to them it's chilling out it's to me it's well how do you not obsess about every word No yeah and chilling out to me does not actually look like not caring about what I put on the page I think that's the other piece that's super important about both achiever and Maximizer is can be being not stressed in knowing that what I put out is the best I could do I don't actually feel stressed out by making things really great like that's something that's fun for me right because I'm a Maximizer and so I feel like with Maximizer and achiever it's about where does your stress really come from if I would have put books out that I felt I wasn't proud of that would be a totally different which I have in the past right like I my very first book I look at now and I'm like that don't please don't read that it's awful and it's nice and Isaac toups I feel the same way you know I do it launched my career it was great but I'm like no no and I love that it's you I love people telling me what might be wrong you didn't wash your beta I so resonate with that oh my gosh it's crazy yeah and I think that feel like that's a maxim are you saying Adam what about you are you always looking for ways to improve your process I am yes in the past it's led me down a few wrong roads as well because if you are arriving you're looking to try and improve your process you'll see that there's a lot of books out there about how to plot and write faster by plotting everything out well those just didn't how I work so I went down that road for a while I didn't work out very well same with them Pomodoro Sprint's as well because like Angie said it's not about the number of words whereas a lot of those things to focus on numbers all the time so yeah but the suppose the best thing I did to improve my approaches was take the right better fasting class and realize you know realize why I'm like that why I'm a bit different to you know other people and everyone's everyone's different and had their own individual way of doing things that's really helped me yeah and I feel like not only that but maximizers really like strengths finder and Jen and I talked about this when she had her first one-on-one because she just got so psyched about strength cuz where was right that her faster so we were doing all kinds of stuff but really we focused all of all of our time on her strengths finder because as a Maximizer the thought that you could get exponentially better in these areas where you have natural ability is so exciting because what I want is to take as a Maximizer is to take this talent that I have and to be it be the best that it could be and so yeah absolutely the cool thing I think in watching home number one Maximizer – as opposed to like my Maximizer is much lower than that but like a number one Maximizer it was like and Jen you could correct me if I'm wrong but it felt like the strengths were sort of speaking your language right oh yeah yeah I felt I finally felt like I found home somebody that was talking to me in a way that made sense and actually felt good yeah absolutely yeah with Maximizer writers and just high maximizers in general you'll hear us use a lot of buzzwords like success and excellence and perfection and things like that the the interesting conversation that we had as maximizers in when we were doing the talk show was should we talk about this sort of obsession with quality that we have because of course when you talk about especially doing something like a quality versus quantity it seems to set up this expectation that a Maximizer would think they're better than other people and that's definitely not what's happening it's a completely internal standard and an internal drive and the downside of having the conversations is that it can come across as judgemental and so we had a really intense sort of conversation about do we go ahead and say the things that we might want to say because they're going to come across bad to people to some people who don't have high Maximizer and I ended up coming to the conclusion that if we don't have these conversations then we won't really realize how different we all are and there are some people for whom the super high bar of excellence doesn't matter to them they believe that when they put a good book out they put a good book out and how good or how excellent is not a metric that they would use or could it be better could it be better is not a conversation that they would have with themselves because they just don't have a high Maximizer and so there's nothing wrong with not having high Maximizer but we also wanted to be able to say for ourselves that quality does really matter to a Maximizer and so seeing something that isn't quite where it could be or where there could be a higher level of excellence that that would be shot for that could be attained that the Maximizer will want to go for that interestingly it's the same thing that Maximizer capacity that draws me towards strengths finder I love talking about success and where people could be excellent and when what I say tends not to resonate with people it's partly because that excellence language doesn't resonate with them so I've learned to have different conversations about what's great about strengths finder because I realized that not everybody gets as excited about seeing where you could be a standout as I do and I'm the kind of person who gets really psyched when I see that someone could have a significant contribution somewhere because their level of excellence meets the challenge of their genre or their work or their world or their expectations and I love seeing that but again that's a Maximizer trait and so it's just a quick reminder at the end of this cast that not everybody's going to resonate with this language and that's okay we do all of the different strengths so that through the process you'll find the ones that you resonate with the ones that are really true for you and then everything else is just going to be gravy to know about people that you care about in your life but the ones that really do resonate with you it's so important to lean into those because your effort and energy that you put in to the development areas of those strengths is going to be rewarded exponentially as opposed to the sort of Drudge and trudge of trying to bring up a very low ability and not that it's not doable it's just that it's so much less efficient and again for me the question isn't should you do one over the other it's we're gonna do some of both but I'd rather spend more of my time in areas where I know I could have excellence so again that's kind of some backstory about why we did the Maximizer past the way that we did and I hope that that makes sense so the point of this cast was to show my other my Snider's who are really resonating with this language that there is a place absolutely in this industry for quality there is a place for making sure that books are exactly the way you want them to be it may not be in certain circles but it absolutely is appreciated by the people who appreciate it and again this is not a conversation about what you should or shouldn't do or what you should or shouldn't write it's just to say if this maximized our discussion resonates with you there's probably a good reason for that and you probably want to lean into that and adjust your expectations elsewhere and so again so glad to have you thank you so much for being here I hope that you'll check out the books by these great writers and I hope that you enjoyed this and that you'll subscribe please comment if you are a Maximizer or if this resonated with you we'd love to hear from you it's always so nice to commiserate with other people who are wired like us and so please do comment for the patreon people we're gonna start the first of our live Q&A coaching sessions from May next week so if you've been waiting to sign up until you knew you'd be able to get into one of the live coaching sessions please do go and sign up for the Attucks level tier on the patreon today because we're going to send those invites out pretty soon and again that is a 90-minute live coaching Q&A session with me for all the people who are on that particular tier it looks like we're gonna have to start doing more of them because we're growing that tier and that's awesome to hear about so glad so please do go over and check that out on the patreon and for now I want to say thanks so much for watching the quick cast thank you for listening and being here I hope that it was helpful and we will see you next time on the podcast

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