At the original rainforest market, hidden at the back of the many markets scattered in the main street of Kuranda you’ll find a small stall amongst the natural hand made ice cream vendors, encouraging you, for just $2, to find out the characteristics of the high achievers who were born on your birthday.
What I loved about this concept was the story behind how these cards had been created. Meet ‘The Birthday Guy’ who’s pictured here with one of my sons. He dedicated two years to review some of the research available about the characteristics of high achievers. He then edited all of this information and captured them in double-sided business card sized insights (see mine below).
There is something quite amazing about the way The Birthday Guy’s brain works, because he did not stop here. He also memorised each of these cards and, when we suggested over 5 different birth dates to him, he could share the key characteristics of high achievers born on this date. I loved this idea and encouraged him to find an App developer to monetise this concept. For now, he’s charging $2 per card and is yet to create a website.
The Influence of Profiling on our Self Belief
Psychometric tests and profiling tools are an invaluable resource used by many organisations to help assess someone’s suitability for a role type or organisational fit. The Birthday Guy’s angle was clever, and a fresh approach. For career practitioners, tools such as Gallup, Strong and Harrisons are used to help people identify an individual’s preferences as they review and reflect on their next career move. These are particularly useful after a redundancy or if they have engaged the services of a career coach.
On a personal level, you will hear me talk of my experience being ‘misdiagnosed’ as an ENFJ by the Myers Briggs personality test when I was in university, working for my Marketing lecturer as a research assistant. Importantly, the E in ENFJ stands for Extrovert, which I’m relieved to have since discovered is not really where I sit in terms of ambivert and introvert tendencies. Please read this article to find out more about my ambivert journey. If you have always felt you were not quite an introvert and not quite an extrovert it may shed some light on why!
My point in sharing these reflections with you, in the context of success, is that there are many external resources able to guide us on what we ‘should’ be doing and how our tendencies and preferences can influence our behaviour. But you need to be really careful about how to use these insights to shape your plans and mindset.
The Pros and Cons of Behavioural Profiling
I asked Jo Wise, who’s one of five active Australian Master Trainers of the Extended DISC Behavioural Profiling, for her thoughts on the pros and cons of behavioural profiling. I have colleagues who have introduced new team members and asked Jo to profile them to explore their way of working (a very constructive way to use these tools). Jo’s approach to behavioural profiling with her clients, and the coaches and consultants she trains to become behaviour profilers, can be summed up in one sentence.
‘If you are looking for limitations, excuses and reasons why you can’t be the best you can be; you are in the wrong room’.
Jo believes behavioural profiling, when used for ‘good’ is a great resource to support individuals, teams and businesses to create a greater understanding of themselves individually and as a group.
It empowers them to leverage their energy, focus and time in the right directions to maximise their results and deepens their understanding of what gives and takes their energy. Once they have a better understanding of themselves and how they work best they can use these insights to build deeper and more productive rapport, motivate others, communicate more effectively and help their teams to reach greater results and feel good about themselves and their work.
Interestingly, Jo’s initial response to behavioural profiling was the feeling of being put ‘in a box’ and being told what ‘I can and can’t do’, seeing this as limiting. I like Jo’s common sense approach. She suggests, like any business system, tool or advice, behavioural profiling can be used for good or evil.
If it feels right with your intuition and personal judgment, keep it. Otherwise – let it go and move on.
Success Starts with Your Own Self Beliefs
But here’s the thing. How’s your self love these days? Do YOU believe you are capable of great things? Have you made the decision to put a line in the sand and confidently go after the life you imagined? In my experience, it is those people with the willingness and openness to try, regardless of the outcome and regardless of what others think of their ideas, who will succeed. And when we discuss the concept of ‘success’, I certainly don’t mean ‘get it right every time’, I mean ‘have a go’, ‘work damn hard’ and keep moving in the direction of your goals and your personal mission. I hear many colleagues talk about the self doubt they experience and their acknowledgement that if they just ‘got out of their own way’ they would increase the likelihood of them achieving the success they dream and plan for.
I believe knowing who you are and what you want to achieve on a very personal level is what drives people to achieve great things. Jamie Oliver and Lisa Messenger are great examples of this. If you’ve read the June edition of The Collective Hub you’ll have read the interview with Jamie about his journey as a businessman, and now activist, and Lisa Messenger’s reflection on how her interview with him influenced her own journey. They both discuss success, and their values are prominent as a key driver of their actions and decisions.
It is your personal values, beliefs and mission where you will find the key to your own success. My personal mission is borrowed from Ghandi and to be the change I wish to see in the world. With a childhood surrounded by an assortment of Christians, including the more zealot ‘born agains’ and the quieter Uniting Church variety (which I identify more strongly with), I developed my own lens on the values that are important to me.
Honesty, integrity, curiosity and insight are my core values. Overlay this with the belief that I can help those I work with reach their full potential, and you’ll get a sense of my purpose and what drives many of my decisions when collaborating with other professionals. As a feminist, I rarely talk about gender, because I believe that’s missing the point. As a parent, I aim to help other parents carve out a more family friendly outlook to their working lives. It is this strong and deep sense of why I do what I do that drives me. Am I successful? I draw great joy from what I do, actively participate in my children’s lives and am writing this from a family holiday in Port Douglas, also known as ‘Think Bespoke’s writing retreat’, funded by my business. These are my own, very personal, measures for success. I encourage you to define yours.
If you’ve made your way to this point of my words, thank you for tuning in. I’d like you to think about how the words you use to describe yourself and what you believe (especially your self beliefs about what you are capable of) influence your actions. Because I know that if you do this work and start to accept and love who you are and what you can bring to your career and business, then you will achieve the success you desire – on your terms and at your pace.