Anyone who knows about the Myers-Briggs Personality Types will understand me when I say I am a big ‘P” as in Perceiving. I like to adapt to the world rather than live in the confinement of structures. This also means that I struggle every time in getting my kid fed, washed, clothed and to school all before 08:25 am.
I like taking my time until I realize that there is no time left!
So the other day, as we are rushing out of the house because I was late, yet again, I arrive in front of his school at 08:22 am with nowhere to park my car. I park in front of a garage with my alarm lights on only to have the gazing looks of a woman who is in charge of letting parents and their children cross the roads safely. She was judging me verbally and non-verbally!
Then I dropped my five-year-old son off for the first time just in front of the school gate and asked him if he can walk alone to his class by himself. Both the janitor and I were cheering him as he walks within the school yard.
His pupils dilated, and his chest started puffing as he walked by himself to his class, with pride and ego!
It all of a sudden hit me that people are really like sophisticated animals in life. How many times have you dealt with colleagues who puffed their chest as a form of power projection, posture or pride? How many times did you deal with the gazing look of someone and you knew you were in deep shit? And how many times did you associate this with a negative connotation leading to judgement of putting people in “good” or “bad” boxes?
Well, first of all, there is no such thing as bad or good people. People are either joyful or miserable depending on different timings in their days and throughout their lives. Second of all, often what people do or say has little to do with you and more with themselves. Moreover, people have their map of their world based on their own experience and mental bias that guides their behavior.
Puffing chests and gazing looks are derived from our animal instinct within us and are a reaction stemming from our emotional part of the brain. We are all bad weather animals, and when our brain goes into fight or fly mode, three survival questions pop up in the reptile part of the mind:
1. Can I eat it? 2. Can I fight it? 3. Can I sleep with it?
This article on how to befriend your reptile brain and use it when you actually need it helps explain the science behind the fight and fly mode, and gives some practical advice on how to use it in everyday life.
Starting a career as a rookie in an institutional bureaucracy can be challenging to say the least. Fresh out of university with several internships on your resume, you are ready to be recognized as God’s gift to the organization. Until you discover a quite opposing reality and all kinds of feeling you never felt start kicking in.
Now, this may not be true for most rookies. Some are lucky and work in organizations where they value psychological safe environments that have a people first mentality. Office politics and throwing each other under the bus is unheard of. Unfortunately, this is still not the case for many large institutions around the globe. Sustainable cultural and organizational change to truly reflect a people-first mentality is likely to be the solution for many of your problems.
Until then, these are my first top three messages on how to make your life more comfortable at the outset!
Watch and learn
First impressions are exciting and if you are lucky, people show you who they really are right off the bat and they will stick with this behavior throughout your interactions. Often this is not the case though. People are human beings who sometimes feel good and sometimes not so good; they sometimes deal with high pressure both in the office and at home and sometimes they are on top of the world; they sometimes have problems you are unable to grasp, and other times they are problem free and just like to be annoying for no reason.
Point being, we all have our map of the world. A common mistake is that we see and judge the other through our map of the world. This will for sure make your life miserable and complicated beyond your imagination. So don’t go there. Understand we all have different maps of the world and observe. Observe people’s behavior and learn. Learn what qualities you would like to model and what actions you know they will never be yours.
Use this as an opportunity to find out whom you want to become at the workplace by watching and learning from others.
If you want to learn how to adopt behaviors in line with your personality, you have to know your self from the inside out. What do I mean by that? Let’s take me for example. I am a kind, ambitious, driven and hard working individual. I perform best under pressure, and I like intellectual conversations that run deep and have meaning.
I also know when I am hungry or when I hit that time in the month, I am better left alone. I try to avoid people, avoid making big decisions and try not to have meetings. I just know it is in everyone’s best interest. If I can’t escape reality, I communicate my boundaries and my state of being for the day, so we are all on the same page.
When you know your triggers of behaviors that stem from your shadow self, it will help you manage your office life. It will help you avoid nasty confrontations, misjudgments and feeling like crap after you did something you regret. Knowing your self and having constructive conversations with yourself, will help you increase your productivity at your peaks.
Peaks you will be better able to identify as you get to know what your boundaries are, what triggers an unwanted behavior and what will get you your desired outcome at work.
Awareness of others
If you are a P like me, a freedom fighter with no structure and planning whatsoever, the J’s amongst us can get pretty frustrated with us and vice versa, unless you stop judging and start seeing how you can complement each other’s strengths to achieve greatness. I know I suck in details and thinking in confined structures. I am a big picture person, I visualize the future into much detail (that I can do, and I love doing!), I am a last-minute woman, but I deliver, always. Over time I learned to adopt behaviors that help advance teamwork and organizational objectives. As long as you are working in a diverse team with different personalities, common ground is essential to advance in life.
Becoming aware of personality types from others is pretty essential to achieve your desired outcome at work. Let go of judgment and assumptions. Instead, observe and question yourself and others with a positive intent.
Every behavior has a positive intent, no matter what the actual outcome is. Remember that.
You can’t change people’s behavior to fit your map of the world. Instead, you can expand your map and look at it from a different perspective. Everyone is trying to make a difference in life, whatever the difference may be. If you learn to work with all kinds of people, the horrible and the amazing ones, you will start seeing that they all are working towards something greater than themselves. They are just horrible or amazing people trying to make a difference.
And you, my fantastic rookie, are getting the greatest experience in life while watching and learning:
A Masters in Experience and a Ph.D. in Wisdom!
Stay tuned for my follow-on advice for bureaucracy rookies!
Stories from the heart
Thank you for taking the time and reading my stories, stories written to inspire you. Follow me for more inspiring and motivational blogs & videos on www.inspireshareact.com.
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