Do You Know Who You Are? Really?

“My only friends are pirates, it’s just who I am
I’m better as a memory than as your man.”

Lindsay Lohan PartyingSo sings Country Western songster, Kenny Chesney, and a whole lot of other famous, or perhaps infamous, people. When Lindsay Lohan, George Michael, or innumerable star athletes ask for dispensation with “It’s just who I am,” we think it’s a flimsy excuse. But are you stuck in the same pattern? And is it keeping you from being who you want to be?

There’s an old saying: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Yet many of us are absolute nitpicking perfectionists. “It’s just who I am.”

I’m obsessively punctual. I’ll arrive 15 minutes early and sit outside your door and knock as the second hand sweeps by 12 on the agreed minute of arrival. “It’s just who I am.”

Got a DISC or Myers-Briggs or any other commonly used behavior profile? They’re incredible for supporting our excuses. “Hey. I’m a Dominant. So I’m supposed to yell at everybody at the staff meeting. It’s just who I am.”

Wake up, Lindsay Lohan! Wake up, George Michael! Wake up, reader! My guess is that being stuck on “who you are” isn’t always working too well for you. I’m 30 pounds overweight, yet I can’t pass a good rib joint in St. Louis (and we have great rib joints). It’s just who I am. If I want to live longer, run farther without my knees killing me, and get down to 170, maybe “who I am” wants to change!

How “Who I Am” Limited Me

For those of you who know me, you’ll recall that I am a very high DISC Dominant. It’s been important to me in my life that things get executed the way I see them being executed. My Knower/Judger has demanded doing things my way. As my dad would say, “Don’t confuse me with facts. My mind’s made up.” This has gotten me in a lot of trouble over the past 50-plus years.

About five years ago, when studying under my mentor, Jut Meininger, I saw some clear data for the first time. Jut asked me if my clients all looked the same. I reviewed my client base and found all the good ones—the ones I had fun with and made most of my living from—to be similar in nature. Hard-driving, get-it-done-now-type people. In other words, high DISC Ds, just like me.

Since only 12% of the general population in the U.S. are these Ds, it occurred to me that I was pretty untalented at connecting with other (Influencers, Sensitive, and Conscientious) 88%. And I was missing some big boats. If I wanted my business to grow, I either had to attack the market of high Dominants (and they can be a hard bunch to get through to), or adjust “who I am” in order to connect with others.

The Power of Redefinition

I chose the second path. I smiled more. I connected my hobby with my business so I had some fun stuff to talk about with clients and prospective clients. I stopped having to be right. I didn’t present myself as the guy with all the answers (although clients still want me to be most of the time).

My world has improved tenfold. My customer base is large and varied now. I do weekend summits with a great variety of attendees. I coach executives and leaders who are on a continuous growth path to becoming who they want to become. I do corporate retreats for mid-size and small companies, almost none of them run by high Dominants. My wife and family have noticed a kinder, gentler Kim.

What did I do? I stopped using my Knower/Judger’s belief of “just who I am” as an excuse. I worked to get the filters out of the way and used my Learner/Researcher to see the data, the reality of the situation. There’s more out there for me than can get through the filter of “who I am,” and I’ve decided that I want that. Fun people. Great projects. Terrific ideas. Less stress. Improved cash flow. Life’s good.

So who are you? Who could you be? Are you making all the connections you want to make? Or are you making excuses based on your Knower/Judger’s vision of who you are? Are any of us really who we want to be?

BTW, I’m one-third of my way to 170 pounds, too. It’s just who I want to be.

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    […] because I’m aware of how much gasoline I carry around just to engage someone in an argument. “It’s just who I am.” And I’ve always been able to calm a rant by what I call “pouring cold water on the […]

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