We all have ‘personality flaws’ or respond ‘automatically’ to certain situations in negative ways for reasons that we don’t really understand. Often we can even anticipate our response or behaviour, because we know that certain of our responses appear hard-wired. We accept that this is ‘just who we are’ but can we afford to be complacent where these responses impact on others even more than on ourselves? Our hard-wired responses can lead to others labelling those responses as cute and endearing, irritating, maddening or so truly awful that they avoid us. I think that most people recognise their own flaws, and even more readily see flaws in others.
One of my (many) new year’s resolutions is to confront myself a little more honestly and be as self-aware as possible; without totally disappearing inside my head. I won’t give you the complete list of my personal flaws but I will share one that has an impact in the workplace, hopefully more on me than on my colleagues. I dislike, with a passion, standing up as part of a ‘group presentation’. I sulk, often quite visibly, when I have to do something that involves this. I’ll deploy subtle but effective avoidance tactics. When actually presenting I can appear to enjoy it, and I hope that I appear reasonably professional…but the truth is I am so, so, so glad when it’s over.
So my resolution for 2012 is to understand better what the triggers are around this for me. My goal is to reduce ‘visible sulking’ when the prospect of a group presentation arises, by 50% over the next 12 months. I have made my goal SMART, that is, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, so that I don’t over-aspire and risk failure. If I am successful, my goal in 2013 will be to embrace group presentations with joy by 2018…although I might need longer. Perhaps I’ll have a five-to- ten-year plan (already sounds like a prison sentence) and aim for realistic progress – say 25% – over that time.
So what’s inspired my five minutes of introspection and enlightenment with the prospect of change? It was a series of short articles on the British Psychological Society website. Some of the world’s leading psychologists share, ‘one nagging thing they still don’t understand about themselves’. I read the articles and felt relief…I am confused but not alone in my confusion and in the best possible company. Find out what some leading psychologists still don’t understand about themselves.