I took a personality test, this morning, in the wake of the navel-gazing I’ve been doing recently. I scored high on measures of complexity, sensitivity, and anxiety, and low on orderliness, gregariousness, and friendliness. In other areas, parts of my personality don’t work together in the way that the test predicts. For example, my high scores in dutifulness would predict I’d like a really structured work environment. My low score on orderliness predicts that I would like an unstructured work environment. There’s truth to both. I want order in terms of what my goals are, and I want you to leave me alone about things less central to whether the work is being done. The number of knicknacks on my desk really shouldn’t be a factor in my overall success.
I’m doing a video course through Brene Brown’s platform, and one of the activities yesterday was to go to Kristin Neff’s site on Self Compassion and take the assessment. The thing that really stood out for me was that I scored nearly as high as I could on the metric of isolation, which is, in her frame, how alone I feel in my self-criticism. I was actually alarmed at my scores in this area. She has some great advice about other areas of self-compassion (how to improve the positive metrics and reduce the negative ones), but doesn’t talk a lot about how to address isolation.
Have you ever walked around with an undone task making you feel terrible, for weeks and months, growing larger and more terrible in scope? Yeah, me either.
It has long been my issue that my filter is far too good. Like the Meg Ryan character in “You’ve Got Mail,” my struggle is going mute in the face of outrage. Like she finds, in the movie, I truly acknowledge that most of the time, my filter helps me not to be cruel, but there are a lot of times when my inability to speak out in the moment just means that issues don’t get addressed when they should.
I had an interesting interaction with mom last night. Let me say up front that I was trying to do a good thing, she saw it for what it was, and thanked me.
The last year or so has been a fascinating study in the “motivational arts,” for me. About 10 months ago, I was working for my former boss, and I had worked really hard on a project— until midnight multiple nights, into a planned vacation. The project was problematic through no fault of mine, and I delivered it when she needed it. Simultaneously, I had introduced a conversation that let us deliver things in a way that made our customers happier, our content less likely to be pirated, and reduced our call volume by a lot. I didn’t build that second one myself, but it was through my persistence that we started thinking in new ways about an old way of doing things and advanced pretty exponentially.
It’s hard to tell if it’s progress, or if it was just a good day. As usual, these days, I worked just as hard all weekend on not-work as I do all week on work. And Mom kept acknowledging how hard I’m working. It’s unlike her— she normally wants to compete about how hard anyone is working or how tired you are, but this time, she acknowledged it. Possibly because I came home at the end of my rope at least once last week. Hard to say.