Monday, December 30, 2013

How I Made My Outside Match My Inside

“Some art shouts at your from across the room; this whispers for you to come closer.”

An art teacher my freshman year of college said that about my drawing when the class had posted our work on the wall. At the time, I thought he was saying my drawing was insignificant, which fit my image of myself and my artwork. I figured if I could do it, anyone could. Other drawings looked so bold and alive.My teacher was telling me that my art was powerfully subtle.

Feeling a Bit Lost In the Crowd

Being a middle child in a large family also adds to feeling a bit overlooked and lost. So it seemed natural for me to think that way. I was a sensitive kid surrounded by siblings – mostly brothers – who were loud and forceful. In frustration my mother once called me the Princess and the Pea.

Different Types of People

Fast forward 40 years to when I watched a series of online videos at that described four different energy types. Now that may sound woo-woo to some people, and like pigeon-holing to others. But being a lifelong introvert, I tend to observe and notice quite a bit

I am sure that you can call to mind people you know who are bold, some people who are quiet and may seem a bit timid at first, and others who are the life of the party, while some people just make things happen everywhere they go. Well, these are the four basic energy types the author is talking about.

Accepting Who I Am

After a year of looking at myself and others with this system, I accept myself more for who I am and what I bring to the table. I dress in a way that is congruent with my inner experience and outward expression. And hopefully that congruity is helpful to others as well, knowing what to expect from me. When I was wearing solid, deep colors I knew it was because I wanted to be taken seriously. But that image would have confused people when they heard my soft-spoken manner; it was incongruent with who I was and how I expressed myself. Now I realize that it’s OK to be quiet, kind, and detail-oriented, because it’s who I am.

Different Types on the Job

Before-and-after DYT
I laugh at the job descriptions I see that say they want someone detail oriented and able to multi-task, because those are two very different types of people. As a detail-oriented person, I could be happy focusing on one project for the whole day, never speaking to another soul all day, and the result will be a detailed, accurate report, project or spreadsheet. But if I need to multitask, as I did on my last job, jumping up to answer the door at a moment’s notice in the middle of complex calculations, there are sure to be numerous mistakes in that spreadsheet.

Type 1 thrives with a random schedule; they are the idea people, and are able to switch tracks quickly and easily, but might forget to go back to the original task and complete it. Type 2 enjoys planning and details, and a linear process. They can take Type 1's idea, and plan our how to make it so. Type 3 makes it happen, and they do a fabulous job juggling all those balls at once and keeping track of them, but they don't like details. Type 4 would probably also want the undisturbed, focused time, but wouldn’t be happy with the minutia of a full day of details.They like to analyze and perfect things.

A Surprise at the Veterinarian

Dressing Your Truth for Men
I recently took my cat to the vet. We have usually had women veterinarians, but this time we saw a man. He wore a colorful jacket and matching tie covered with orange cartoon cats. His curly wild hair made me smile. I instantly thought, "He looks fun and spontaneous." But as we spoke about my cat's health, it was clear he was a Type 4: Thorough, focused and efficient. If I hadn't known about this course, I might have been taken aback, seeing him as abrupt. But I shifted gears quickly, and listened to his astute observations and took them to heart. I wonder how others see him though, when he looks light-hearted and speaks seriously and directly.

Understanding Myself and Others

I find the system useful for understanding others at work, at home, at play, everywhere. And it's easier to get dressed in the morning because everything goes together better than it did before. And now my outside matches my inside. I am honoring who I am, and letting you know when you meet me what to expect when I speak.

How About You?
Do you struggle choosing what you want to wear? Have you tried this system? What did you think?