At Handel, we’re all about walking our talk, and so we are always on the hunt to find and nurture positive personality traits, and take down those negative personality traits that derail what we want in our lives. As a community, we help each other with our traitsso we can have our dreams and be better coaches. You are members of our community too, and so I want to invite you to join in the fun.
Today I am going to talk about how to identify and name a negative trait.
Step 1: Identify and Name the trait.
Look at the areas of your life or situations in your life that aren’t working, and notice patterns. What is a consistent “way” you behave that doesn’t seem to work out well? Are you angry? Moody? Judgmental? Competitive? Anxious? Sometimes we can’t see these for ourselves, and so it’s helpful to interview people who know us, or ask your coach.
Once you have found the pattern, you give it a funny name. This part is CRUCIAL. Because, the thing is, YOU are not your trait. Your trait is just a thing you do. By giving your trait a funny name, you can call it out, laugh at it, and then separate yourself from it. Here are some of the traits that our coaches found:
Mopey Dick: This trait is Moody, with a capital “M.” When you are being Mopey Dick, you are internally grumbly and agitated, and this mood “leaks out” and kills just about any good time that may be going on around you. In fact, you might even be deliberately trying to squash the joy around you. Hence the “Dick” part.
Arrogant blow-off: This trait has you ignore the needs of other people because you have a different agenda, and leave them waiting. “I know you want that response now, but I don’t care, I have more important things to do. I will get to it when I get to it.” This trait, like most of them, is pretty darn self-absorbed. It’s all about ME.
Doe-eyed manipulator: A DEM will play her cards to get exactly what she wants, while claiming that she had nothing to do with it. This type is especially hard to spot, because, well, it covers its tracks so well. For example, a DEM might say “Oh, I just love chocolates. They make me so happy,” and then go on to talk about how she has been sad recently. All in hopes that you, the listener, will go buy her chocolates and think it was YOUR idea. Brilliantly done, DEM.
Can you relate to any of these? If so, let me know and I can hook you up with the coach who has it. After all, the best teacher of how to understand a trait is one who has already taken down that trait.
What is mine, you might ask? Well, let me tell you that in becoming President and having to rise to a new level of accountability and “bigness,” a bunch of traits have come to the forefront. The one I am working actively on right now is the Calculating Manipulator. I have an agenda for what I want you to say and do, and so I will give you just the right information that will have you do it. For example, if I want you to agree with me that we should go to a certain restaurant, I will tell you the things I know you will like about the restaurant (the location and the decor) but I won’t tell you the things you won’t like about it (the food and wait time). This isn’t really fair to you, the other person, because then you don’t get to have an honest opinion about what we do. You get to have my opinion, and that is it!
This trait gets me in trouble because, when the person eventually discovers all of the things that I hid from them, they feel like I betrayed their trust. If I knew that they wouldn’t like the food at that restaurant, why did I still take them there? I may get what I want in the short run, but in the long run I erode trust and confidence in my relationships, which is not worth it!
At first, I resisted naming this trait. I liked the “calculating” part, because I come from an engineering background, and we sure do love to calculate. But the manipulating part was a tough pill to swallow, and I fought my coach for a while, insisting that I wasn’t really manipulating. Once I finally put down my ego and saw the truth, it was liberating. It’s ok to have negative traits. They don’t have to be a badge of shame. They really can be “cute.” Mine sure is.
What trait do you want to take down this fall? Drop me a note and tell me about it!
Remember that this is just Step 1. Once you are aware of it and playful enough to name it, we can move on to taking it down.
A blog by Dr. Samantha Sutton, President of Handel Group Life Coaching
Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/bierlos