I am a naturally reserved person. And I am comforted knowing that I am in the majority -
approximately 86% of people are more reserved than outgoing. Additionally, four out of five people are predominantly people-oriented individuals. I happen to fall in the smaller group - those that are task-oriented. This is also what makes me my own worst enemy. I have been functioning in my own little world of being task-oriented and reserved for over 50 years. If I expect to connect to others, I have to grow and learn to function in their area. While I can function in the reserved area, I have to be very careful not to put TOO much attention focusing on tasks - it is PEOPLE that are important.
Awareness of self is a good first step. I am fortunate that many people I now come into contact with in networking groups are going to be reserved as well. The problem is that I am not as people-oriented, so I may come off cold or lacking in care for others. This is just the opposite of the true me within; however, it still goes back to what actually comes out of me in the way of body posture, tonality, and words. I can still be my own worst enemy.
Awareness of this is good, but it makes no difference if I do not apply it.
There are others out there that are in the same boat as I am. We are naturally wired to focus on tasks. Here’s a funny side story……I was once working with a group where the person in charge was an outgoing and task oriented person. They seemed to be very people oriented, but their “wiring” DISC personality style said they were a pure D. This is a very small group of people. A very small group - and yet, their response was, “Now you all know my personality ‘wiring’ and you must adjust to me.” Aaaaagh! Really??!! I hope that you can see how backwards this approach is….and yet, that is, to some degree how we all operate - if we are not careful, we will choose to comfortably live and speak in our own personality “wiring” zone. When we think and act as if everyone we are talking to is just like us - We are our own worst enemy.
There is hope!
We can learn to better ourselves and our communication. It is not rocket science. Even though I am predominantly a reserved task oriented person, knowing that most people are people oriented - helps me to know that I need to adjust. I must recognize that I have the control to change. I cannot expect others to adjust to me. That’s not as simple as it sounds. The voice inside me reminds me that it is so much easier to focus on how I am “wired” than it is to pay attention to clothes. If I am not careful, I will take the easy way out. I am my own worst enemy. (But then again, so are you.)
Fortunately for me, I have developed a method - a “trick” if you would like to call it. If I want to get better about a focus on others rather than a focus on tasks, I make “people” a task. Now, please do not judge me. The method is not meant to be a negative, but a positive method for me to make sure that I keep the priority of people, especially those that I care about most, at the TOP of my To Do List for the day.
Life is not about our To Do List.
Life is about prioritizing what is most important. While there are some deadlines, and tasks that need to be completed. In general, we will drop everything, when family emergencies happen. And with that, nearly no one will fault our judgment. In fact, when someone realizes the complete situation, they would make the same decision.
Here’s a couple examples of putting people first. My daughter, Kylie, recently had another child, a son. They now have three children, twin daughters and a son. She is currently on maternity leave; and was looking for an extra hand to deal with the three kids while fixing dinner while her husband, who is a high school math teacher had parent-teacher conferences. I was available to assist. Of course, she could have handled it, and there are plenty of single mothers that handle this sort of thing all the time - that’s not the point. I was available. These are my grandchildren. They live in town. And did I mention that I was available? And to top that off, they were having tacos (one of my favorites)! When I walked in the door, each of the girls said to me, “Groot, come play with me.” First one, then the other. (Yes, “Groot” is my nickname. We all have a fondness for “Groot” of Guardians of the Galaxy; and grootvader is dutch for grandfather. No, I am not dutch, but it is special to have a fun grandfather name!) As it turned out, presence was even more beneficial than expected. While Kylie was cooking the hamburger, my grandson started fussing. What a terrible thing to get to hold him, and deal with the fussiness - he was starting to get hungry, again. Then, after dinner, a friend of Kylie’s was traveling back through town, and her car broke down. It is convenient that it broke down in Lincoln, rather than anywhere else, and while they were talking on the phone, that’s when four-year-olds want to ask questions. (I remember that’s the time that I seemed to want my mother’s attention as well.) I was able to play with them and keep them distracted, empty the dishwasher, and then load it with dinner dishes with the help of one of the girls. All good!
People are more important than the tasks.
This whole past year of leaving the corporate world and moving into the entrepreneurial one has been a journey. In fact, my own personal growth and personal success have been greater in the last year, than it has been in the previous three years combined. And it is accelerating. Recently, I was listening to one of my mentors, Deb Ingino, speak in the Maxwell Leadership lane. She helped me to realize that personal growth is the cornerstone of reaching our potential. Personal growth is more about growing to meet others’ needs, than it is accomplishing our own tasks. Adding value to other people’s growth process in order to fulfill their dream - that is what gives me the greatest rewards now. I love helping people “turn the light bulb on” to their potential!