When we are little, it is fun to play with boxes. As an adult, the thought of being placed in a box becomes less appealing. When I first heard about personality profiling I wanted to call BS. This article explores the natural resistance to being "placed in a box" and thought of as "predictable."
“The good thing about a skeptic is that they consider all possibilities.” - Thomas Mann
As I sat before my mentor, she looked at me inquisitively.
“I’m a Type 5.” I reported with frustration in my tone.
She could sense my tension and waited patiently for more. I decided to divulge.
“I just don’t think people can be boxed in to stereotypes. People have free will and everyone on this planet is so unique. I just feel typing people limits them and could even be used to cast premature judgment.” There I said it.
“Ah.” She nodded. “It’s not that your concerns don’t have truth to them. At what point does any asset become a liability?” she asked me.
Ironically, and true to my type the Type 5 “Truth Seeker”, I went home to investigate my skepticism.
That was over a decade ago. What fascinates me, as I look back, is that a bigger truth about personality typing was revealed to me. However, it did not find me through any sort of logical-neatly packaged conception that was my preference.
I sat in meditation one morning a few weeks after I fervently rejected being typed. That morning a bigger, more meaningful answer came to me.
It is not the person that is so predictable, but their ego is.
Ego is predictable, because ego is developed through a series of reactions that create patterned responses. We call these our defense mechanisms or conditioned ways of being. Not to be confused with our hard-wiring that we are born with.
The Enneagram, one personality soft-ware tool, teaches us that part of our human work is to overcome the limitations of the personality and our conditioned responses. Therefore, when we use any personality assessment as feedback and as a short-cut to see our blind spots, we save years of fret, wonderment or banging our head against the wall.
The Course in Miracles teaches us we do not have to learn through pain alone. We have the option of learning from love (think positive lessons versus negative). I now celebrate the opportunity to learn through positive pathways, new awareness’s and my favorite, short-cuts to evolve out of ego and into a completely new possibility of my choice.
When we are no longer bound and constricted by our past conditioning, we are free to reach those new heights we've been drooling over and aching to experience deep down.
Next Article: Read Which Personality Test Is Actually Better? COMING SOON!
Do you know how you give your power away? Many of us don’t know, or we would be masterful in every area of our lives readily, without trying.
Last month I was with a group of friends. We were out for our weekly rock climbing excursion. On the way down we spotted a new climb on our tick-list. It was a pinnacle that shot up about 70 feet. The only way up was to climb and set up an anchor at the top. The only way down was to repel.
I had climbed this towering pinnacle before, but never as the lead climber. We pulled over. As we approached the climb we looked up towards this towering beauty with the question, ‘Can we pull this off?’ We were all relatively new to lead climbing.
Nobody wanted to attempt it just yet. I checked in with my gut. Felt plausible. I checked with my heart… “yes!” it said. I checked with my head and knew, “If I’d climbed it before, I could do it again.”
“Ok.” I told my crew. “I’ll lead it.”
Nervous, but positive and willful, I got my gear primed to go.
There is an ancient teaching of the Toltecs. They teach us that we are born into the world as a victim. We are dependent on our parents to support us, shape us and eventually deliver us into adulthood. Some of us remain a victim, even though we have aged into adulthood. Do you know some of these people?
Warrior, they teach, is the next phase needed to remove ourselves from victim and to step into our power and take a stand for our life, community, family, values and/or what we are passionate about in the world.
As I began my ascent, I began to realize I could master this climb from a place of certainty and grace, or I could back down if needed. Either outcome, I decided, was my warrior taking care of the best possible outcome: the safety of my self and my crew. My victim was placed aside the minute I chose, “yes”.
Warrior therefor, is an ingredient leading us towards mastery.
As I climbed around the corner, leaving the safety and certainty of the ground I felt empowered. As I neared the top and realized one fall would entail a 15 ft drop, I began to shake with nervous avidity. I focused myself and continued to breath through the fear. I reminded myself, ‘This is possible. You’ve got this.’
Reaching the top with one last push, I reached the summit, shakes and all. I quickly tied into an anchor and secured the top belay that would allow everyone else to come up. I felt exhilarated and free!
As Susan Jeffers states in her work, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, “Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.”
My question to you, in what areas of your life do you feel stuck, or pinched off? What could mastery in this area look like if you weren’t pinched off? What does your inner warrior have to say about taking your next steps towards a new enthralling possibility?
Ready to take on a bold new career move than entails empowering others and yourself to step fully into your Best Self yet? Learn More HERE
It all started with rock climbing. My climbing partner and good friend of mine were enjoying a new climbing spot on Mount Lemmon, high above the other climbs we’d accomplished in the months prior.
Upon the vista, all was silent and reverent. We were each perched about 20 feet from each other on this newly attained rock face. Mathew then pointed to a scenic and well-known climbing area off in the distance, far across the valley from our spot. A place I’d never been.
“See it?” he kept pointing. “Those are the Ravens.” He smiled broadly.
“Maybe.” I kept trying to figure out which group of rocks he could be alluding to. There were so many.
“Right there.” He pointed with more vigor this time to the exact same spot. I gazed over the valley and all the possible rock faces. Hmmmm. “Not seeing it.” I reported. He kept pointing.
Then, we both looked at each other and began laughing heartily. We mutually realized that from where I was sitting, there was no amount of pointing that could possibly be effective.
I scrambled down to his vantage point and voilà, the Ravens appeared clearly. What a great perspective shift!
To see a new perspective, we must shift from where we are at to a new vantage point. This is true physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually.
“How Laurel, does this relate to problem solving” you might be wondering? This lesson is perhaps counter-intuitive when it comes to facing problems. Typically, when problems surface we want to get rid of it, react to it and/or run. Fight, flight or freeze.
Yet, this lesson in perspective invites us to move closer to the problem, or challenge, in question. In other words, when things are unclear the only way to gain clarity is by getting closer to the problem, not moving away or pushing against it.
The teaching is in fact inviting you to examine your relationship to addressing the challenges in life that naturally arise from being human. What is your relationship to challenge in relationships? In professional dynamics? In your relationship to health? Or, to your own personal development work? Where are you afraid, where perhaps you need to lean-in instead of backing down?
The closer we get, the better our vision.
The better our vision, the more aligned our choices will be with our values and our vision.
Ready to learn the principles that drive successful outcomes? Coach training is more than just empowering others, it is also about leveraging empowerment principles in our own lives and then turning around to help others do the same.
Laurel is the lead instructor for the Certificate in Integrative Coaching. She is a mother of 3, rock climber and mosaic artist. Learn more about what it takes to take on private clients and be an Integrative Coach HERE.
By Laurel Elders, PCC
IICT Founder / Senior Faculty