The Rule of Three
On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!
As a child, I recall racing across streets, tracks and swimming pools after this triad of commands. The announcement still gets my adrenaline going. This standard call at the beginning of races (and now blogs) is an example of what has become known as the "Rule of Three".
The human mind likes to think in patterns and we naturally look for them in everything we do. The number three is the lowest figure that can be used to form patterns in our mind. Think about it. The first instance of something happening comes down to chance and the second instance comes down to coincidence. When it happens a third time it is a pattern.
Scientists say that most people can easily recall 3 "chunks" of information at a time. The Rule of Three is everywhere; Life, Liberty and Justice; Stop, Drop and Roll; Ready, Aim, Fire; Father, Son and Holy Spirit and who can forget Snap, Crackle, Pop!
Without even knowing about this rule, I have always found comfort and coincidence in the number 3. I was born on the 3rd in the 3rd state (NJ) in '63 and am the 3rd and youngest child in my family. Stretching it out a bit, my mom was raised on 3rd Street and I currently park in spot #3 at my building (by choice of course!).
As a part of my StrengthsFinder workshops, I introduce a concept called "Name It, Claim It, Aim It" (another triad). To "Name It" is to be able to name your top 5 StrengthsFinder Talent Themes and recall them to memory (perhaps they should narrow this list to Top 3!). To "Claim It" is to relate to the thoughts, feelings and behaviors associated with each of your top Talent Themes and identify how they add value to your life and have driven you to success in the past. To "Aim It" is to intentionally direct your Talent Themes towards specific goals to achieve desired outcomes.
The final action steps of this trilogy - "Aim It" - is the part that many people have difficulty with. To make it simple, I profess that everyone should design their very own Rule of Three to enhance satisfaction, well-being and success at work. Here are 3 simple steps;
1. Identify the value that your unique strengths bring to your individual role, your team and your company. Read the descriptions of each Talent Theme and write down brief statements which reflect the contributions which your talents deliver. It might be helpful to create a brand statement about yourself and the value you bring by stringing 5 sentences together, each representing a value delivered from each Talent Theme. Check out the value statement in my "bio" at the bottom of this post.
2. Identify three actions that you can take to live the unique value you bring to work every day. Doing this will provide you energy, purpose and motivation. For me, every day must include time for strategic thinking and/or brainstorming (Strategic #1, Ideation #2, Futuristic #3), time for developing others (Belief #6, Developer #7, Relator #9) and time for fun and laughter (Positivity #4). Completing these three things satisfies my Achiever #5.
3. Make it intentional. Once you identify the three actions that bring you daily joy, motivation and energy, find a way to intentionally weave (schedule) them into your workday. Announce to your leaders and coworkers that these are the 3 "must-haves" in your day and describe in detail how they can benefit the company, the department and your own well-being.
My daily Rule of Three are Be Strategic, Develop Others and Have Fun. How about you?
I bring a contagious energy and enthusiasm to work every day (Positivity #4). I approach projects with creativity and originality (Ideation #2). I contribute a forward looking focus (Futuristic #3) and a willingness to to consider all possibilities (Strategic #1). You can count on me to work hard with intensity and stamina (Achiever #5).