Describe Yourself

It takes some forethought and practice to know how to describe yourself.

I once had a meeting set up by a friend who knew I was starting a new venture.  He knew someone who was generous and who had some experience similar to mine and arranged for us to meet.  I prepared what I had and was very excited to impress this stranger.  I had great ideas, plenty of experience to validate my approach, and some written explanations and examples.  I shared them all.

Finally, I  stopped my “presentation” and looked expectantly at him.  He said, <direct quote>, “You have been talking for 20 minutes and I still don’t know what the hell you do.”

Ouch.  But a really, really good ouch.

I went home and Dave took one look at me and said, “Something just happened to you…and it is good.”  He was right.  I had asked some questions of my “benefactor” and he had headed me in a good direction.  I gathered up a flip chart, post it notes, an easel and a myriad of colored markers and pens and my journal while Dave reserved a suite room for me at a hotel in a town an hour away.  I stayed two nights and three days.  I created and defined and practiced and read and came back with an elevator speech and a list of services I provided.

It was the first time I had heard of an elevator speech and it was the spark I needed to launch a successful coaching and training business that has taken me to some very interesting places, learning some very interesting lessons, and meeting some very interesting people.  It was the start of significant growth for me, professionally.

All from a failed attempt at describing myself and what I do.

I sent a note of appreciation to the man (whose name I honestly don’t remember) and a bookmark with a quote on it with:

 

 

It’s never too late. Are you in your third third? Make it your BEST third.

 

 

 

Know Yourself

There is more to DiSC or any personality or behavior style assessment than just knowing your dominant style.  The mixture of styles is an important layer and there are tools to know yourself deeply and to have greater understanding.

For instance, my “D” is high so, I know that I can be opinionated, energetic, decisive….maybe even, at times, domineering, forceful, and direct.  (Though years of being married and having kids and training others on relationships has helped me learn to manage those strengths so that they don’t often get out of hand any more.)

But, my mid-line “i” and “S” has significant influence on my behavior.  The “i” factors in to help me genuinely enjoy people, find conversation easy, and care how I appear to people.  The “S” factors in to make me like things in order, appreciate a system, and to avoid too much conflict in relationships.

And, my very low “C” means that I know when details are important, I need to get help.  Or have a program for it.  Or just simply make myself concentrate…..then plan for re-energizing.

One practical application for me has been to know that there are times when I just have to express my opinion or join in the argument.  I just can’t keep from saying what I know to be true…..BUT, afterwards, I have some angst about how my opinions or expression was received.  Or, I may be concerned about how they made someone else feel.

I used to waste a lot of time fretting and worrying about past conversations.  Now, I have learned the conflict within myself and I try to weigh the outcomes before I say what I am thinking.  I try to hold those more forceful strengths for times when the topic or the project or the situation warrants it.  Then, if I have said what I believe to be true and helpful to others around me, I don’t take all of the responsibility for their reactions on myself.

Not only have I learned to use my strengths in positive ways, I sleep better at night!

Each part of the DiSC graph is significant and offers
deeper self-awareness that can lead to much greater
success in work and play.  In very practical ways.

How well do you know yourself? What is a first step you can take to begin your journey of self-awareness and understanding?

We don’t accidentally become the people we want to be, intentional actions in our second-third lay the foundation so that who we really are flows out of us in our third-third.

 

 

New Tools

The DiSC method of understanding is potentially powerful tool.  While there are all sorts of online assessments that will give a basic reading of a person’s behavior style, and plenty of fat personnel files in HR offices, I still prefer to have at least an hour-and-a-half and a paper version to take people through a bit of practical personal discovery.

The paper version I use is self-scoring and has several built-in ways to validate the information.  It is not threatening and can actually be a lot of fun, with people who are open to understanding themselves and are willing to be understood.

 

Understanding Your Wiring – invest in knowing yourself better so that
you can be intentional with your life choices.

 

My goal, when I take a person or a group through a DiSC workshop, is to fill each person’s personal, relational toolbox with new tools.

Here are a few:

  • Understand that you are wired a certain way and you will function best within that style.

    For example, a young woman came up to me at the end of a presentation and began by saying, “I don’t usually seek speakers out…”. Then, she went on to tell me that all her life, she has been told that she always has to be right, as if that were a weakness.  “Now,” she said, “I realize that I am simply wired to be thinking ahead of others and that it is a strength, not a weakness.”

  • Understanding your style can help you identify energy sources and drains.

    When my husband was a pastor, we finally realized that extended people-intense times drained him.  When we moved to the country and he had space and quiet in nature to re-energize, he overcame a long struggle with depression. In an opposite way, there are types who recover with socializing…..hence happy hours, I suspect.

  • Knowing that other people have unique styles, possibly different than my own, gives understanding and a lot of freedom.

    No wonder some people love a meeting and others dread it. No wonder some people actually like to research facts and others prefer to fly by the seat of their pants. No wonder shopping is fun for some and like pulling fingernails off to others. We are wired with different strengths and preferences.

  • Embracing my own preferential pace and focus helps me find my sweet spot for success.

    An “S” needs peace and a predictable environment. An “I” wants interaction and celebration. A “C” has to have quiet and wants to have their work validated. A “D” thrives with independence and a challenge. Just knowing that I shouldn’t expect to enjoy, much less be productive in random environments, allows me to create my own space for better results.

 

Quality tools make your relationships, your work, and running in your strengths easier.

 

Assuming or Understanding

Assuming is one of the biggest mistakes we all make in relationships.

We often assume that the person we are around is the same as we are. We assume we know what they are thinking. We assume they will enjoy the same things we enjoy… will appreciate the same gifts, the same food, the same approach.

Assuming is rarely helpful. Unless it is assuming the BEST, until proven otherwise.

In contrast to assuming, understanding is key to any relationship. And DiSC is one of the best tools for understanding that I have ever come across.

A concern some people have about taking the DiSC assessment is that they don’t want to be labeled. There can be temptation to “label” some obvious people-traits. However, the reason to learn about your pre-wired behavioral preferences is to understand yourself and others and that should trump the fear of a few people misusing information. And, it can help you avoid making assumptions.

I write about DiSC and behavior preferences so we can all grow in understanding… we can all getting along… we can all succeed.

» Understanding that a “D” will come up with quick solutions helps you to be ready to tap into that potential problem solver.

» Understanding that an “I” will process information verbally helps with patience in hearing them out.

» Understanding that an “S” fears conflict and will usually look for the compromise helps make use of their strengths.

» Understanding that a “C” is thinking while others are talking helps as a reminder to access that brain trust by opening the door to hear their ideas.

As a manager, as an employee, as a leader, as a team member, as a coach, as a friend….in any relationship, awareness and understanding from DiSC can give you an edge. It is much more effective than making assumptions.

Grow in your understanding by discovering your unique wiring.

 

 

Energy Drain

Understanding where your energy comes from and
where it goes is key to living life well.

Do you know what drains you? It is a first step in managing your own energy.

The DiSC is a personal assessment tool we can use to understand the way we are wired. We are each a combination of D and I and S and C. Understanding these basic 4 types of behavior styles is the first, really great step in understanding your own personal wiring.

ENERGY DRAINS

For D’s and C’s, too much time with people contact is a drain. D’s are fast paced and can manage people and time well, as long as it is attached to getting something done.  Just to “hang out” or be entirely social can be a drain. C’s generally are drained by any type of prolonged people contact. Meetings, parties, shopping, chatting…..all deplete a C.

I’s and S’s are drained by having to focus too much on the task. Sitting and staring at a computer, in an office while everyone else is at lunch, working on a project alone can be a sap on energy for those that are people-oriented.

We can’t always avoid the energy drains,
so we have to know how to replenish our energy.

 

For I’s and S’s, energy comes from interaction with others. I’s like a party. They like groups and action and noise and fun. They get energy from being in a crowd and interacting. S’s like connecting, one-on-one and with some depth. They value serious conversation and true friendship.

For D’s and C’s, energy comes from a task. D’s like to start things and to solve problems. They like competitive games that move fast and then end. C’s like research and detailed plans. They like computer games that require concentration and knowledge and that can be played alone.

With some simple tracking and awareness, you can identify your draining times and activities. Once you’ve identified what is zapping your energy, you can limit your exposure to those sources and, more importantly, be intentional and schedule time for replenishing activities that give you life.

 

 

 

 

 

The Platinum Rule

It has been said that understanding DiSC is learning to practice the Platinum Rule.  If the Golden Rule is to “treat others as you would be treated,” the Platinum Rule is “treat others as THEY would like to be treated.”  Ahhh.  Slight (yet, big) difference.

Early in our marriage, I threw my husband (High C and High D–not so much energized by people) a surprise party with a lot of people attending.  He thought we were going to our friends’ for a 4 person dinner.  When we walked in and there were 20 or so people there, his first thought was, “How will we get rid of all these people so we can eat?”  We had to tell him that everyone was there to celebrate his birthday and he still had a hard time loosening up and believing the fact that some people actually might enjoy this sort of thing.

I have never done that again.

The-Platinum-Rule-fortune-cookie

We do tend to think that others will enjoy what we enjoy.  So, when we are thinking of doing something nice for someone else, our initial thoughts will be to do for them what we would enjoy.  If I would enjoy a party, won’t everyone else?  If I only enjoy one or two people at a time, doesn’t everyone?  If my way of dealing with stress is to clam up and put my nose to the grindstone, isn’t that what others want me to encourage them to do? If I am most effective when processing while I talk, won’t others be happy to listen to my musings?

Assuming that the high “S” project manager wants to be interviewed on camera because her high “I/D” boss would love it, does not make it accurate.  Assuming that a high “I” will love researching the best route because their high “C” partner wishes they had the time, may not tap into strengths.  Giving an I, who is in charge of the annual picnic, a strict budget to follow on their own may not have the best outcome.  Expecting a “D/C”, task-oriented birthday man to think 3 hours of conversation and games is a good way to spend an evening just might not result in the most appreciative attitude.

Learning my own DiSC pattern and how that affects my choices of behavior is crucial to my success.

Learning the preferred behavior and motivation of the people I live and work with is the key to successful relationships.

Without conscious attention to differences, it is easy to assume others are just like me.  But, sameness would be boring, if we are honest.  The variety in our relationships is what gives success and breadth and growth and enjoyment… IF we recognize and value the differences. When we recognize and value the differences we can treat others as they would like to be treated.

 

Learn more about the DiSC Personal Profile System and Understanding Your Wiring HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Alick Boych Friiends Of Mine via photopin (license)

Have you been wanting to try yoga?

In my long-time  pursuit of fitness, I have done a lot of different activities.  I loved sports when I was younger and that was enough, along with being active with my 5 kids, for a long time. But when I was recovering from a neuro-muscular disease and needed to rehab shrunken muscle fibers, I found that I really loved weight lifting.  I liked the evident progress that came from increased strength.  I loved it so much that I would make myself do some cardio before allowing myself weight time!

A few years ago, I discovered classes that I enjoyed.  “Women and Weights” was at one gym.  BodyPump with 800 reps in an hour was at another.  There came a time, though that my more strenuous weight lifting and bouncy cardio was giving me some new aches and pains. My lower back was often achy. I found myself limping some when my right hip complained. It was time for something with less impact.

So… I tried a yoga/tai-chi/pilates class. Two things happened:

  1. My aching back and sore hip got back into behaving as they should.
  2. I was sore!  I thought that I was in great shape and that yoga would set me back, but not so! I was using muscles in new, and evidently, better ways for my over-60 body.

Now, I am a regular yoga practicer (practitioner?).  Sometimes in a class, sometimes at home with a video. I recently tried a “power yoga” class that stretched me (pun slightly intended) and went to a new level.  I love the instructor who gently corrected some of my poses and encouraged me with my progress.

If you have been wanting to try yoga but don’t know where or how to start, here is an idea.

I am a featured writer for sixtyandme.com, a huge on-line community of women over 60. I am happy to pass along this information about the gentle yoga video series they offer.  This is definitely beginning yoga, so have no fear of being sore or needing to be super limber or strong to begin.

Check it out at HERE.

This might just get you moving more with fewer aches and pains!

*****Of course, if you are a beginner and under 60, you might like them, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Raimond Klavins | Artmif.lv Yoga Intensiv 2017 Turkey Yantra.lv via photopin (license)

It’s Easier to Keep it Off than to Take it Off

I had just turned 40.  Dave and I were at a gathering and he was conversing with someone and I was not included in the conversation.  My mind wandered.

True confession…..it wandered to the obvious weight gain of the female person my husband was having a chat with.  I thought, specifically, “Wow.  She needs to lose about 30 pounds.”

Then, I did a bit of calculating myself:
I had just turned 40.  And, I had just gained 3 pounds over the past year.  Yikes!  This person was 10 years older than me.  10 times 3 definitely equals 30.  Thirty pounds!!! In ten years, I would be the one needing to lose 30 pounds, if I didn’t stop gaining 3 pounds a year.

With a moment of sympathy, I did recognize that this person (the one talking to my husband and not talking to me), would have a hard time losing weight at age 50.  I was finding for myself that the older I got, the harder it is to keep weight off.  Nutrition and health are topics for me, so I knew that the older I got, the more difficult it would become to lose any excess pounds.

That day, I determined to keep it off.  And my mantra “it’s easier to keep it off than to take it off” was born.

Now, twenty-five years later, I am not quite the same weight I was that day, but I have managed to stay pretty close.  It is not easy.  People will often assume that I am just lucky.  Ha!  No way!  There is no luck involved in showing up to work out five days a week (most weeks).  There is no luck in choosing to eat less. Or to eat lower calorie foods that have higher nutrition than the pastries and desserts and carbohydrates I once enjoyed. Nope.  Not lucky.  Just determined.

It’s easier to keep it off than to take it off.

Determined to stave off old-age as long as possible.

Determined to be able to enjoy grandkids and their activities as they come along.

Determined to be able to keep up with my fit and active husband.

Determined to not purchase clothing in a size larger every year or so.

Determined to keep making a difference in the world as long as I am able, even in my third third.

 

 

 

 

photo credit: franchiseopportunitiesphotos person about to stand on weighing digital scale via photopin (license)

Your Story

your story

 

What is the story you are telling?

I am at an age where I have told my story a number of times, in a number of places, to a  number of people.  My story has become more and more consistent as I have worked hard to define what is important to me and what I believe deeply. “Worked hard at” means faced fears, listened to criticism, changed behaviors, stood my ground, moved, cried, laughed, stayed, left.  I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.  And that has taken work.

I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.

The most important people in my story are my husband and my kids… though none are “kids” any longer.  And I don’t think of any of them as “kids” at all now, but as adults to be admired and valued and respected, each in their own right.  Their lives, intertwined with mine, are the fabric I wear now.  It surprises me, because “family cohesiveness” has never been a stated goal for me. The theme of my story is responsibility and choices–and personal discovery so that my choices are intentional and so that I am responsibly being the very best human being possible.  My modus operandi?  Grace and truth, always finding the balance.

What story are you telling?

We are all telling a story. To tell it with purpose and with as little regret as possible is a worthy goal.  That isn’t easy… but it is worth the effort… continually.