I am what you’d say an extroverted introvert. Everyone thinks I’m as yellow energy (Insights genius) as they come, yet I’m far from it. Back in my corporate days it felt like we were personality tested every other week, of course they were interesting, but not actually effective. If they were, there’d be no need to repeat the process even once.
That changed for me when I stumbled across Insights, in a bar whilst chatting to a colleague. He grabbed a piece of paper, drew four boxes and tried to determine if I was more task or people orientated and if I was self directing or I needed collaboration to get things done. In that five minute demonstration, he was able to tell me why I found being visible so hard. I wasn’t all about the people as everyone thought, I was actually more about getting the job done. This meant I was more reflective than I’d realised, I recharged my batteries on my own and being ‘backstage’ felt comfortable whereas being in the lime light, felt all jazz hands and it didn’t sit well with me.
All that from a piece of paper and four boxes. But those four boxes aren’t designed to keep me invisible, they’re just a guide to help me navigate a way to be seen and feel good about it.
Let me bring this to life. The insights process is a simple one, it consists of four colours:
Red – Organising, challenging, efficient, results driven.
Yellow – High energy, sociable, involved in everything, light on detail.
Green – Supporting, helpful, sympathetic, heavily involved.
Blue – Analysing, thinker, curious, Evidence based.
Red and Blue are self directing (recharge on their own), yellow and green are collaborative (recharge amongst others). Red and yellow are tellers (will you empty the dishwasher) and green and blue are askers (when you’ve got a minute will you empty the dishwater please).
(If you want to see what colour you are (I call in habit style) try this quick quiz here)
I struggled to be ‘be seen’ because I was going about it all wrong, and because I had some limiting beliefs I had to tackle at the same time.
How to go about it the right way.
- Determine your predominant style. This will help you in everything you do, in every relationship you have and in every group dynamic you’re part of. As soon as I realised I was red/blue, it became really clear that thinking I needed to compete with the yellows amongst us was nigh on impossible. So I stopped. A yellow energy person is a natural star, they love the lime light. Competing against that is really intimidating if you’re the opposite. Find your style, and bring out all the wonderful qualities that style has and you’ll be naturally seen.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s futile. We’re all so different. The minute you feel a comparison starting, get back to first principles and lean into your natural style and energy (red, yellow, green, blue).
- Decide what you stand for. If you feel unsure what that is, start by working out what your values are. You can do this here it’s an exercise I use with every client and on myself every year. A sign your not aligned or not sure about your values, your decisions will be emotional and you’ll feel like you change your mind a lot. A few years ago I realised that my values weren’t actually mine, they were what I thought I should have as my values in the job that I do. I did the exercise above and landed on ‘curious, direct, rebellious.’ After that all my plans and decision checked in with those values, it was game changing.
Those hidden beliefs we’ve got about ourselves that keep us invisible and stuck. I have to say, they’re a bitch. Just when you think you’ve found the last one, more appear. I believe it’s part of the human condition. The good news is, they don’t have to be an issue as long as you’re open to recognising them and seeing them for what they are.
Most of our limiting beliefs are formed when we’re a child, because as children we can’t determine the meaning behind the vast amount of information we’re taking in. A lot of time we make it mean something it’s not and it can have a baleful effect on us as adults. Here’s some examples:
- If I earn more money than my friends I will be disliked
- If I’m more successful than my partner, he will leave me
- If I stop drinking I’ll be dull and boring company
- If I lose weight I’ll upset my family for not eating the meals they spend time cooking for me
- People who are successful change
- People who earn a lot of money are horrible
- Money is the root of all evil and makes people fall out
And the list goes on. A recent one I had was a big one. My mum was a famous author, she died just as she was about to sign a film deal and even though she was already a big hitter, she was about to be global. She died from breast cancer when she was 49 and I was 15. It only occurred to me that I’d held an unconscious belief that if I get really successful I’ll die too! Add to that the fact I’ve also had breast cancer and my daughter is about to hit 15 and it’s all been going on. Luckily I spotted it before it sabotaged me all over again, as these crazy beliefs have a habit of doing.
The trick is to get curious about where you hold yourself back and ask what’s underneath that fear. It’ll be something that you will have you puzzled at why it’s had such an impact on you for so many years.
How you do one thing you do everything. Look at where your successes are because there’ll be many even if at first glance you’re scratching your head. Then look at the areas of your life where you feel the most frustration. What are the fears in those frustrating areas? And what are the beliefs behind those fears? I will put money on it, they’re limiting you.
Try approaching this methodology; your thoughts (beliefs) about your circumstances are creating your results. If you’re not getting the results you want, look at your beliefs (thoughts) first.
So, you know you recharge best on your own, and the results you’re getting right now, are not what you want. You still find it hard to be seen. What do you need to be believe to be true for it to be easy to be seen? You’re not suddenly going to become all jazz hands and go against your natural style, so what do you need to believe to be true as the person you naturally are for it to be easy to be visible?
I’ll leave that thought with you.