October 24, 2021

We all seem to have the same patterns…

In 2014, when my wife got cancer, I learned something about myself. And I didn’t like what I learned.

I don’t handle stress very well.

I mean, I thought I did. I thought that with a master’s degree in psychology, a lifetime of living on-the-edge, and even a handful of near death experiences… well, none of it mattered.

Because I had not learned what to do if I couldn’t influence what was causing the stress.

And to be honest, what I couldn’t influence, I would try to manipulate and control. And if I couldn’t control, I’d blame. Or withdraw. Or just beat myself up for failing.

That’s when I learned about adapting. About getting outside of the problem. And to serve my way through the stress.

In the years since that realization, I have shared my ah-ha moment with countless people and we all seem to have the same patterns.

One of those patterns is this: at our best, we are usually ONLY good at either getting inside the problem or getting outside of the problem.

In other words, if you are good at influencing, you probably aren’t a very good adapter. And if you are good at adapting, you probably aren’t a very good influencer.

Part of this is personality preference. Some of us are simply hard-wired to go at a problem, to conquer it. Others of us are simply hard-wired to pull away from a problem, to understand it. 

But for some reason, natural influencers become blamers and/or eventually withdraw completely. Natural adapters become manipulators and/or eventually wallow in shame.

As a parent, I see this with my kids all the time. One is a natural influencer. The other is a natural adapter. The influencer will shift to blame the moment influence isn’t working. The adapter will shift to shame the moment adapting fails.

I see this in marriages. And co-workers. And celebrities. And on and on…

So, here’s a mirror moment for you: what is your pattern? Do you flip from healthy to unhealthy – or do you rise above it and stay in that serving mindset? And what do you see in others?

With that said, there is good news. We can change the pattern. We can be good at BOTH influencing and adapting. We can avoid the unhealthy stuff. My kids and I are working on it. Maybe you are, too.

But it takes self-awareness to even begin the journey.

(Like what you are reading? Please follow this blog and join the conversation.)

Published by timohai

Father, widower, leader, sales enablement pro at Workday. *These are my personal views and do not officially represent Workday.

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