Sometimes I feel like a split personality.
Some days, I’m an extrovert and I get lots of energy from the people around me. Some days I’m an introvert and I can’t WAIT until I can hide away from everyone for an hour, a day, a week. And then, on particularly challenging days, I can flip-flop in a matter of hours – even minutes.
Some days I love my job – the leadership energy required to energize and direct a national team, the opportunity to talk to so many different people in so many different places, the creativity of figuring out the best way to communicate, to educate, to fundraise. And then some days I hate my job and all of the energy it takes and I want nothing better than to just hide in my little basement studio writing, painting, dreaming.
Some days I long to be a true urbanite, hanging out in a funky apartment in downtown New York or Toronto, eating at trendy restaurants, attending all the latest plays and art exhibits. And then some days (or even on the SAME day), I long to hide out in a little seaside cabin far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Sometimes I think my greatest strength and interest is in writing. Other days I want to put more energy into photography. Still other days (or hours), I think I should focus on leadership, or art, or facilitating workshops, or…. oh the list is endless.
I’ve never fit any categories very cleanly. It’s hard to put me in a box. I’ve done oodles of personality tests, and almost every time, I end up different from the last time I did a similar test. There are some things that are fairly constant (like the fact that I suck at maintaining and organizing details), but I can flip-flop on many of the categories (especially introvert/extrovert).
I’ve done the True Colours assessment several times (and have taught it a few times too, so I know it quite intimately – it’s one of my favourites), and mostly I come out as an orange (innovator), but once I actually came out with three colours – orange, blue (relational),and green (scientist), exactly equal. (‘Course I’m ALWAYS low on gold – the details oriented organizer.) I’ve also done lots of leadership style tests, and they always show different or confusing results too.
It’s been a little frustrating, this difficulty in pegging who I am. I find myself envying those people who can so clearly say “I am XYZ and I know that I am motivated by ABC,” and in my moments of weakness I think “what the heck is wrong with me that I just can’t seem to figure myself out?” Trust me, it’s not for lack of trying – I’ve read lots of books, taken lots of personality type tests. I keep thinking I’ll be more successful at living a full and satisfied life if I figure it out and work to my strengths.
But here’s the thing – one of the other messages I’ve heard from more than one manager is that both my greatest strengths and my greatest flaws are two sides of the SAME COIN – my ability to see both sides of an argument, my tendency to be able to weigh both pros and cons, my ability to come up with lots of good – and often incompatible – ideas, and (too often) the resulting difficulty in making firm decisions I (and my team) can live with.
I’ve been reading some interesting stuff about the concept of “scanners” (people who have so many different interests that they have difficulty settling on just one), and you know what? I FINALLY found something that defines me a little more closely. I am a scanner. And then I was listening to something online about the different types of Wealth Dynamics (ugh – HATE that name) profiles, and heard about the “creator” (someone who is half-way between introvert and extrovert and who is better at coming up with good ideas than implementing them), and again, I felt like there was something that made sense. I’m a HALF-WAY person! Neither one Meyers Briggs type nor the other, but a unique blend of both!
Now – I know that these are just made up names, and ultimately, the categories don’t really matter, but after all these years of wondering why I didn’t fit (like a square peg in a round hole), I’m beginning to realize that my NOT FITTING is what gives me uniqueness, beauty, and strength.