Thanks to Clarence Thomson, a great Coach and an expert in Enneagram style that I got to know my style, the box in which I have been living my life and operating from there. Remember, everyone operates living in either of the nine boxes called the nine Enneagram styles. After having read Clarence's books and after having been coached by him on my Enneagram style, now I know why I do what I do; why I behave the way I do; why my inclination towards innovation, creativity and intense emotions; why people misunderstand me at times & likewise; why my resistance to systems; why my affinity towards those who are discarded/considered as misfit; why the mood swings and the like. When inside the box, everything made perfect sense to me. I saw myself, life and the world living in that box. But with that came lot of other things that hindered my growth & progress which I wasn't aware of. The very gifts become bottlenecks when you are not aware of your style because every one has their own way of reacting, behaving and doing things. I am so glad to have uncovered this aspect of mine that now I find so much comfort not only in accepting myself but every other view that comes my way. I now don't consider myself as flawed because of my uniqueness but a huge gift which can be utilized in projects, situations that seems like a deadlock to others. To read more about the Enneagram styles, do read my earlier blog post, the link is given here: your-views-are-skewed-and-not-shared-by-everyone.html.
I dedicate this post to all those people who are highly creative, innovative and can think out of the box but fail to convince others to buy into their ideas or upon facing resistance to their ideas, they just sulk and give up like me. You see there is high demand of people with these gifts that I had quoted above. Don't take it as bragging, but I have all those gifts too along with the dark side of these gifts. I have come out of these by learning hard lessons, I don't want you all to do that. Hence, I am writing for you all. How the world looks like to us when we operate by living in that box which has innovation, creativity and out of the box thinking and when this doesn't make any sense to others living in a different box, what we do? So, here it goes and if you can relate to this and want to add more points based on your experience, please feel free to do so either by commenting or writing directly to me.
1. It's difficult to change something that is rooted deep, that which makes sense to everyone else. Your out of the box thinking may not be accepted at one go. Because that idea, thinking is making sense to you but not to others. If they have to buy your idea, remember you have to understand the box, the well that they are in. Only when they allow you in their well, you can lead them out. Got it!
2. Don't take resistance personally. In fact, be happy that your ideas are too unique for others to understand, assimilate and even accept that to be real. You see the way forward, but others can't. They will resist, but if you allow the resistance to put yourself down, then the idea remains an idea without any execution. And that's not at all good for something that needs revamping and innovative thinking; needs YOU.
3. You are not flawed, you are unique. Many a times, there is a tendency to doubt ourselves. This happens because not all think like us and hence, we don't have the majority supporting us. Instead of considering yourself as unique there is maximum probability for us to consider ourselves as flawed. This thinking erodes our very gifts and disables us from making huge impact in the world. We are meant to do that.
4. More the resistance, greater possibility of you making an impact. Challenging status quo needs courage and different set of skills. The more you face resistance, remember you can make a greater impact there. So, instead of sitting back when faced with opposition, try to understand the reasons for their resistance. It might be due to fear, due to discomfort or seeming threat to their very existence. To help them, you have to allow them to first over their fears and inhibitions. Be patient here.
5. Along with empathy, comes mood swings. There are times when because of the empathy, we tend to have our own mood swings to deal with. Because we can feel so much, we live by looking at what is missing and hence have to deal with a surge of emotions when we don't see others understanding the flaws of being where they are. We see great possibilities, but we also lament over the idealistic things that we have in our mind which leads to melancholy. These are the times, when others misunderstand us and our behaviours.
6. Seek to understand first and then be understood. In a world where it is hardwired to first be understood, let's play the game other way around for our own good. Let's understand first by getting curious when faced with resistance, and then help them understand our point of view. Makes sense?!
My biggest take away is, "To help them, you have to allow them to lead you in." Only then you can really make a difference through your uniqueness. Only then you can make the best use of your gifts. If you give up, you lose and they lose the opportunity to let innovation, creativity and out of the box thinking solve the problems that they are stuck in. So, let's not resist but let's try to persist. Let's try to overcome our dark sides to enable us & others to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our intention is to make a difference and not to win an argument. Be creative about your approach, rest you have it all to make it happen.
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Life & Organizational Development Coach