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Rethink Productivity: How to Use Your Personality to Reach Your Goals

Rethink Productivity: How to Use Your Personality to Reach Your Goals

Dear Kirsten,

Reading through your descriptions, I think your guess is spot on. I’m a yoga teacher, and the best hours of my day are the ones I spend helping my students to open up and relax. Over the summer I had the idea to teach at one of the local lakes, first on the shore and then out in the water on paddle boards. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s a whole new dimension when you know you won’t hurt yourself if you fall! Plus you put new stresses on your muscles and gain additional strength… but that’s not really what I’m writing about, is it?

My goals… now that it’s getting cooler I can’t do the classes on the lake anymore, but they were a huge hit. I want to offer them again next summer, along with more traditional ground based classes. Longer term, it would be amazing to have a building on the lake shore where I could offer classes year round. Imagine a wall of windows overlooking the water, such a perfect place to find peace…

My commitments, well, I have my two daughters to provide for. Their father moved overseas and hasn’t seen them in years. My parents need help around the house occasionally, and I teach a yoga class at one of the homeless shelters downtown. Most of my income comes from teaching yoga and dance at various studios around town, which mostly covers the bills. I was able to pay off the last of my credit card debt by offering the water yoga classes, but that income stream is gone until next year.

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So I guess my goal is to open my own yoga studio on the lake without letting down the people who depend on me. Can my personality type help me do that?

Signed,

G

Dear G,

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In a word, yes.

You are sitting on top of an amazing resource, thanks to your personality. As a primary Environmental, you have a giant network of people for whom you’ve given your time and energy, and they’re just waiting for you to tell them what they can do to help you in return. Think about it – when you teach classes, you connect with your students, right? You get to know them, their strengths and weaknesses, and you see them regularly. I’ll bet a lot of them helped to make your water yoga sessions such a success – they registered for them, told their friends about them, and generally helped spread the word. Now think of what you could do if you approached that network with the end goal of building your yoga studio on the lake. You’ve touched hundreds of lives, G! And your envisioned studio is hardly selfish – it’s a foundation from which you can touch hundreds more!

So let your network help you build this studio. Tell people about your idea. Listen to what they have to say. Perhaps bring together a few groups for brainstorming about how you might get from where you are to where you want to go. When the web designer in your Wednesday morning class offers to put up a quick site for you, say yes! When the wife of an architect convinces her husband to draw up some blueprints, thank them both! I am a firm believer that the universe responds when we commit – but also that we make our own luck by creating a life that gives the universe something to work with.

Now, let’s address your secondary Fantastical type. I’m guessing that is where your water yoga idea might have originated. The Fantastical can pull together concepts that would never be considered by other types, and the results can be breathtaking. Now, the Fantastical also has some issues with organization, and your Environmental type isn’t going to help much when it comes to marshaling all the resources that your network can command. If you can’t handle the logistics of bringing your vision into reality, all the goodwill you’ve built up will disappear pretty quickly. You have two options to avoid that fate.

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1) Find someone in your network who can handle the details. You’ll want this person to be reasonably close to you, and someone that you trust, because they’re going to be handling communications, money, even offers of supplies and labor. You may want to bring this person on as a partner in your business, because they’ll deserve the recognition. This person is likely to be Structural, or possibly Analytical.

2) Get a giant whiteboard or chalkboard. Spend some time with a small group thinking through the steps you’ll need to take to get to your goal, and then divide up the board in such a way that you can keep track of both the steps and the people who have offered to help with them. This board will need to become an integral part of your life, because only by keeping it visible, checking it daily, and updating it regularly will you be able to stay on top of all the moving pieces and direct the efforts of others on your behalf.

Reaching your goal will take a lot of work – that’s true for any goal worth achieving. But tell me, what sounds easier to you: finding, screening and hiring all the contractors you’ll need and trying to get a bank loan to finance the studio, or reaching out to your network to see what they can provide and letting some of the good you’ve put out into the world come back to help you achieve your studio?

With Love,

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Kirsten

Now it’s your turn – how can you use your personality to smooth your path to your goals?

Have a productivity problem? Tell Kirsten all about it and get a solution!

Featured photo credit:  soccer ball via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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