Two words I’ll be throwing around a lot are personality and purpose.
I thought you might like to know what those words mean to me, and why they’re at the heart of my work to educate and coach ambitious introverts.
Wordnik says personality is “The totality of qualities and traits, as of character or behavior, that are peculiar to a person.”
To say it another way: it’s the stuff about you that makes you who you are. The reason(s) you’re not a copy of somebody else.
The American Psychological Association says personality refers to “individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.”
Why does personality matter? Because often it’s the overriding attribute when people decide whether they want to interact with you (whether in business or personal pursuits) or not.
Here’s one example…
Suppose you’re up for a job, and every candidate is tied in the skills department. On paper they all look the same. Who’s going to get that job?
The person whose personality is most desirable to the decision maker.
Your personality makes the difference when other things can’t.
If personality is so crucial, why would anybody mask it?
Sometimes we mask our personality because we’re concerned somebody won’t like it. Sometimes we do it because we don’t like something about it.
Personality is at the heart of my coaching because I know a lot of introverts have great personality, but suppress it. Fear is usually to blame for this. But by suppressing their personality, they dial down the very thing that could help them really make a difference.
Purpose can refer to the objective toward which a person is working, or the determination they have to reach an objective.
Both matter when it comes to growth.
If you aren’t aiming at anything, you cannot be successful. You can’t be “successful” or “unsuccessful” without a defined target. And you certainly can’t make a plan to reach a destination if you haven’t selected the destination.
Beware: you can be successful at hitting a target and still have a purpose problem. People aim at targets all the time that they don’t really want to be shooting at. Sometimes they’re shooting at those targets because somebody else told them to. Sometimes they shoot at them because they know they can hit them. They’d rather aim at a different target, but why risk missing when you know you can hit this one?
But you won’t feel successful if you aren’t hitting the target that really matters to you. Even if you hit the bullseye time after time on the target others are shooting for—or want you to hit.
That helps us understand why seemingly-successful people can be “successful” and miserable at the same time. The crowd sees an arrow in a bullseye and thinks “success!” But the archer knows the arrow went into the wrong target, or that he wasn’t allowed to aim for the target he really wanted.
You need a target that matters to you, so when you hit it you’ll feel satisfied. Many introverts are hitting targets, but they aren’t targets that are meaningful to them.
Putting Personality and Purpose Together
I see introverts making mistakes in both these areas. And I’ve made them, too. We’re afraid to bring our personality—our unique skills and strengths—to the task at hand, and we allow ourselves to shoot at targets that don’t make us happy.
It’s easy to do when so many people around us are doing the same thing. It’s hard to risk exposing your uniqueness, especially when others are ready to criticize and question you for daring to be different from them.
Much like crabs in a bucket, people will try to pull you back down if you try to break free and put yourself out there: if you try to Get Out of the Bucket (GOOB) and make an impact.
I’m here to celebrate and encourage the GOOB-ers. To support them as they strive to live life with both personality and purpose.
If I can help you figure out what target you want to hit, or how to use your unique personality to help you hit the target you’ve already identified, I’d love for you to contact me and let me know what’s going on.
To your growth,