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It defines you
How we define ourselves often sets the boundaries of what we believe is possible for us. What if you could change your label and change your life?
I met with a client this week who reminded me of one of the ‘pitfalls’ of assessment. At one point in a discussion, they came out with “I’m not very good like that BECAUSE I am an ENFP”. I have had other clients say “Oh, but I’m a DI”.
In other words, they are using the outcomes of assessment tools that describe preferences to defend their behavioural rigidities or incapacities. They become excuses as to why they can't live up to their potential.
When you take on ‘labels’, such as ‘ENFP’ (from Jungian systems like Myers Briggs) or ‘DI’ (from DISC), what you are doing is allowing the wonderful complexity that is you, as a person, with your capacity to behave in such a range of different ways in different circumstances to be constrained and limited.
These assessments can be really useful for self analysis – I should know, as a qualified assessor and tester registered internationally, I use these tools appropriately with clients. They are useful for understanding behavioural preference. The part that is often missing is allowing clients to understand that it is not a definition, but what is working for them in this situation, at this time.
Did you know that the same person is 50% likely to change at least one letter on Myers Briggs if they retest in two weeks? How can it then be an accurate label of the person?
If you accept labels as ‘truths’ rather than as broad models of description of preference, then you allow yourself to be limited. The opposite is to realise that you are complex, unique and can act in any way that you choose.
How do you label yourself? Here are some I have heard recently, that are not all that helpful:
Can you see how having one of these labels suddenly allows the world to be filtered through it, so that our natural ‘confirmation bias’ leads us to see only those things that support our label?
In coaching clients, I listen closely for the ‘labels’ that they use to limit themselves, and help them find their true potential that is not bound by such labels.
Exercise: Listen to yourself and others. Tune in to “I am” labels and descriptions, especially when they are rigid or ‘negative’. Ask yourself “What if I am not (x) (eg, ‘hopeless’?) and “how am I when I am not (x)”?
You have a choice how you behave, act and label yourself. The only way to tap into your true potential is to do so without the burden of negative or unhelpful labels that limit your possibility.
How do you label yourself? What have you done to break an unhelpful label?