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Surely, It’s a Character Flaw, Right?

Just because someone "can" doesn't always mean they "should." We should be cautious of how much we can realistically expect people to stretch.

Last week I was working with a leadership team on the value of the personality traits. We were digging deep to understand the extremes of the traits and APPRECIATE someone who is different. In a hypothetical situation, this all makes complete sense. I’m a 9 in OR and, logically, I understand how a low OR shows up and can reflect on times when it is helpful. Often, I speculate that if I’m ever having surgery, I don’t want my surgeon getting all “hey, let’s try something new and different” on me.  This always brings a good laugh. 

But then a few days later I heard, “well, there’s no way to make that situation work.” Immediately, I felt my eyebrows raise, my head start to shake and my old inner voice would say, “What is wrong with this person? there’s always a way to solve a problem. Why don’t they just try something new?” My old self would coach this person or send them to a training class on “thinking outside the box” to fix their obvious character flaw. 

It has taken years of being purposeful to believe that it’s not a character flaw that needs to be fixed; it is a different way of thinking.  Just like some people are more agreeable, others more assertive, some more introverted others extroverted, and so on. 

When we spend most of our time in our areas of strength, we have the energy to develop strategies for things that are our weakness. I just ask – actually I’m begging – to be mindful when you are stretching yourself or someone else to the point of snapping. Keeping in mind that “snapping” will show up as “fight or flight;” some will lash out while others will simply disengage. 

Many of us are still wading through the fog of the past two years. And, yes, many are saying, “enough already – let’s move forward”. Recovering from the trauma that we have all experienced – many still experiencing – doesn’t work that way. Patience, understanding and empathy will go much farther than pushing or pulling. 

We are here to support you, even if it’s just a phone call to think out loud or you need an ear for support. This thing called life takes a tribe, and you are part of ours. 

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