Thursday, March 18, 2021

A client for life

An e-mail that changed my life: 

Brendon,

I am an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This tells you absolutely nothing about me or my ability to succeed. Not now. Not over the next few years. 

My top two strengths on the StrengthsFinder are “Developer” and “Achiever.” This also tells you absolutely nothing about my ability to get things done or attain any specific outcomes. 

On the Kolbe, I score highest as a Quick Start. This means nothing because over time I’ve had to deal with real life and improve at the other modes I suck at like Fact Finder, Follow Thru, and Implementor. 

I prefer blue over green. I’m more like a lion than a chimp. I’m gritty but too often lazy. I identify more with a circle than a square. 

I eat mostly a Mediterranean diet but like hamburgers. 

I like being around people, for a while, but often I long to escape into solitude with a pot of tea and a thick book. I shop weekly at Whole Foods, but many of my lunchtimes are spent at a cheap Mexican place. 

Nothing about any of this can tell you anything, at all, about my capabilities, my odds of success, or my future performance. So please, man, stop trying to bucket me into a “type” or assume that my “strengths” or background give me any edge whatsoever. 

Labeling people sucks, regardless of how it’s done. I hear you that these assessments are for exploring and learning about myself, not labeling me or directing me per se. But look, we know my supposed “strengths” and they’re still not helping me get ahead. My natural tendencies don’t do the job. 

As a leader, I have to be honest—sometimes it’s just not about who I am, what I prefer, or what I’m naturally good at. It’s about me rising to serve a mission, not the mission bowing down to match my limited strengths. 

I know you like to ask about my background, too. You know I’m from the Midwest but now live in California. My mom raised me and my sister by herself. She was a hair stylist in the mornings and a hostess at a buffet at night. Dad quit on her and us when I was 14. I got average grades. I was only bullied once or twice. I loved to play golf in college. In about a five-year period after college, I went through two pretty bad relationships. I was fired once. But I found some good friends, too, and I gradually acquired confidence. I sort of stumbled into the work I do now, but it’s great. 

This background, too, tells you nothing about my potential. It gives no definitive clues or path to get ahead today. 

So, I’m just being honest, Brendon. I know you like personality assessments and to ask about my background. But if everyone has a past and a story, then certainly a person’s past or story is not what gives them an edge. I guess I am saying that I can do the navel-gazing just fine on my own. 

I hired you to tell me what to do to get to the next level. I need to know what to do, Brendon. What practices work regardless of personality? Don’t say who high performers are. Tell me what they do at a granular level, across projects, that can be replicated. That level of detail. That’s the gold. 

Find it for me, and you have a client for life.

Otherwise, it’s time to part ways.
Source: High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard

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