I hate rules. Seriously! I used to wonder why and constantly asked myself if there was a time to break the rules. Looking back, there were a few clues along the way that I was going to be a rule-breaker…
(Insert Wayne’s World alternate ending music…)
There was that time in theology class when I argued like a seasoned trial lawyer with the well-meaning priest who had to be at least 100 years old.
I got him so upset that he leaned down, banged on my desk and said (with as much restraint as he could muster), “Young lady, I have had about enough of you!”
My reaction… I laughed. However, I stopped laughing when I had to spend the afternoon in the Dean’s office.
“Gender norms” are another rule I have struggled with since childhood! I think I was 8 or 10, during a 4H class when the nice volunteer mother had the boys make Balsa Wood racecars and I was assigned to sew a wrap skirt.
I remember making her afternoon a living heck, refusing to sew like a good girl, and demanding that I get to make a racecar like the boys. To this day, if a button falls off a garment, I take it to the dry cleaner or bribe a friend to sew it on.
Break The Rules And Celebrate You
Don’t get me wrong; there is a time and a place for actual rules. Rules, for example, to keep us safe. I am referring to limiting thoughts and actions masking as rules.
We need to break those rules. As the rule-breaking coach, I will not list them, as you already know what they are for you.
What you may not know is this: When we don’t know what our innate strengths are, we don’t function in a way that is natural to the person we were meant to be.
This creates a void, and that void gets filled with limiting thoughts and actions that mask as rules.
So, how do we know what our innate strengths are? How do we operate naturally?
It starts by trusting our instincts. We were born with certain instincts. They have been there since we were children. These are the same instincts we may have tried to ignore as an adult.
I knew at an early age that I had to put my spin on things. Just like I knew that I would always question the status quo. Another thing I knew at an early age was that Sally Homemaker was not someone I would be. It’s just not me.
There are 4 modes of operating within our natural instincts. Most of us are dominant in one or two of these modes. So what might be your natural way of operating? How do you know what your instincts are?
Here are some clues:
1.) You might be a natural ‘Fact Finder’ if (this is the ‘why’ person):
- You are the detailed note-taker at work
- You look up restaurant menus online before making reservations
- Your emails are long paragraphs, including details and facts
- You prefer to hear the cost is $39.89 versus it’s about $40
As a natural detail person you might say things like, “Have we tried that before and what was the result?” or “Give me the details, precisely how did you come up with that hypothesis?” You like to do research and you value accuracy.
What others need to know about you: Be sure to have your facts. When in doubt, don’t guess. You are going to ask a lot of questions and that’s because you want to make sure you gather information first, prior to deciding.
2.) You might be a natural ‘Follow Through’ if (this is the ‘process’ person):
- You like agendas and check off items as they are completed by presenters
- You follow the recipe every time
- You naturally organize everything, even your sock drawer
- When you watch a sporting event, you can see the plays, almost like a mathematical formula
You believe in the process, an established road map. You have an impressive ability to go from point A to point B, and so on. You might say something like, “What process did you follow?” or “Where is the project plan?”
What others need to know about you: Be sure to show you what steps were taken. If others want to deviate from the process, they need to show you that the new way has been thought through. They need to show you the logic behind the decision and explain what is remaining the same.
3.) You might be a natural ‘Quick Start’ if (this is the big idea person):
- Oohh, look… bright shiny object!
- Bullet points, please
- Get to the point, then the details
- Sitting in a meeting is painful; you’re the one standing in the back of the room
You love new ideas and it’s not unusual for you to have lots of starts and stops. You imagine solutions and are a great visionary. You might say something like, “I have a bunch of new ideas” or “give me the high-level version.”
What others need to know about you: Give you the bottom line or punch line first, then feed you some details. You don’t need a lot of details to decide.
Emails should be bullet points whenever possible. You are going to jump in and you are going to chase the bright shiny objects because you trust your gut and it is usually right.
4.) You might be a natural ‘Implementor’ if (this is the action & hands-on person):
- When giving a presentation, you must have props!
- “Step aside and let me set that up (I’ll do it correctly)”
- You prefer to build solutions instead of talking about them
- “Don’t buy another one honey, I can fix it!”
You are very hands-on. You value having someone show you what he or she has done more than telling you about the work. You might say something like, “Show me how you did that, walk me through it.”
What others need to know about you: You have to get up and move because sitting behind a desk all day is not your style. When working with you, remember that you expect high-quality materials.
So what is the best natural mode of operating to have? YOURS!
When we embrace our natural strengths by going with our grain instead of against it, refusing to do anything but be who we are; we gain courage, conviction, and self-esteem. Also, our personal lives and professional lives flourish with passion and purpose!
As you go about your day, ask yourself, “How will you trust your instincts today?”