Who are you at your core?

I believe that if my personal core values are met in my work environment, I feel fulfilled, have purpose, motivation and meaning in my life. Are your core values congruent with your career choice?

Take Integrity for example.  Integrity is one of my core values.  I endeavour to live my personal and professional life with integrity.  It can be hard and challenging and sometimes I feel that I am falling short but does this mean that I am not living my life with my core values at the heart of everything I do?  There have been times when I have had to gird my loins to do what’s right over doing what’s easy.  

A while ago I was walking the dogs and observed a group of teenagers throwing stones at some swans on the river.  I felt intimidated by the number of them in the group and feared that if I challenged their behaviour, there might be reprisals.  I am averse to conflict yet I know the difference between what’s right and wrong.  I was torn.

In the end I challenged the group because I couldn’t compromise my core value.  I did get threatened and was sworn at but the group moved on and the swans were free of their tormentors.

In a work environment I have experienced similar struggles.  There were times in my previous career when I needed to give unwanted news or felt compelled to disagree with a proposed strategy that I felt was detrimental to the core business or wellbeing of the workforce.  The familiar uncomfortable feeling would make itself felt and I would find myself wrestling with the choice to speak up or remain silent.  I chose to speak up because by choosing the alternative option, although less confrontational, would have felt unacceptable to me.

I haven’t always “done the right thing” and I try not to be too hard on myself when I feel that I haven’t lived by my core values.  Occasionally I just haven’t felt strong enough for the challenge but have decided to “park” the issue to tackle at a more appropriate time, or I have evaluated my choices and decided that in the whole scheme of things, my input will not influence the outcome. Equally, I do reflect on times when I haven’t spoken up and how that has made me feel. I can tell you – not very good.

There came a time, however, when my values became more and more incongruent with those of my employer.  There had been a number of changes in the organisation and I no longer felt that I was a good fit which eventually resulted in redundancy for me (a long story for another time).  

When deciding on a career path, it’s a good idea to find a good match in relation to your core values.  How much time do you spend thinking about that?  Maybe now is a good time. If you have a great match with your employers values, tell us about it.

Here are a few core values to think about.  If you had to choose 5, what would they be?

I feel lucky that I have found a career that is congruent with my core values and it feels really satisfying.  That’s not to say that I have it all sewn up; it’s something that I am mindful of and strive to follow as part of my life long learning.

How the four main personality types cope being isolated with their families or alone

So we’re well into week 3 of restrictive measures.  Are families coping well or ready to throttle each other?  By understanding the strengths, struggles, fears and blind spots of family members can help us accept each other for who we are and take steps to support each other during this lockdown.

Do you recognise your own traits in the table below?  Do you recognise your family members too?

Meeting the needs of your family members can help you cope more easily.  You’re in this together so make the most of connecting with the ones you love.  Not forgetting your distanced friends and family either so take a look below and make a difference.

D – DominantInfluencing
Our Dominant style is fast paced, positive, charming, driven and determined.  These people like to get things done.  They have people to see and places to be!  The D personality style won’t like loss of control, having rules imposed upon them or being confined to home if they disagree with the reasoning behind the decision.  They may well bend the rules if they can justify their actions in their own minds.  The D style is fast paced, positive and driven.  Living alone, they cope well but may find prolonged isolation difficult as they prefer to be involved and have control, discipline and purpose.  They dislike being bored so need to make sure they have a long task list!Influencers love nothing more than social interaction and the more the better!  They are our happy go lucky fun loving social butterflies. isolation will make them feel sad and they may wilt with lack of social interaction and fun with friends.  They can be disorganised and dislike attention to detail.  They crave social acceptance and popularity.  I’s are generally positive, enthusiastic and fun loving.  They enjoy spending some time alone if they are absorbed in something they find interesting , avoiding detail and succeeding in their tasks quickly.  They will be the first to be connecting with you on video calls and you probably won’t get a word in edgeways!

If you are isolated in your family with a D style, they will want to have plenty to do to keep them engaged and motivated and will want to be on the go, getting jobs done, exercising and expecting others to participate too!  They want to win and are very competitive, preferring to be centre stage.  If they feel stressed by being constricted, they can be hurtful and may be perceived as aggressive. They could take out frustrations on others by being abrupt, insensitive and demandingIf you are isolated with an I style, involve them in coming up with family routines and plans.  Give them something fun to get stuck into, like creating a vegetable patch or coming up with a special dinner menu or organising an evening of games or a quiz (as long as they don’t have to compile the quiz!) If they are feeling stressed they will become emotional, dramatic and will not be shy about complaining to every family member!  Having said that, they are innately positive, sometimes unrealistically optimistic which might grate on other family members
To support the D style, either remotely or within families at home, make sure they have plenty of tasks to complete and give them some autonomy, something to be in charge of. It may be a good time to sort out or resolve tasks that have been put on the back burner.  The D style will enjoy the challenge!  Avoid being overly emotional and needy.  Be direct but respectful in your approach.  Acknowledge their successes.  If you know a D style who is living alone, keep in contact by checking in on them by phone or text.To support the I style, give them plenty of time to talk, praise them and give them recognition for things they have done well such as coping with isolation or for sticking to plans and routines and for keeping everyone’s spirits up.  They need a friendly and harmonious environment and really get a buzz when others visibly join in with their activities. If you know an I style who is living alone, frequently keep in touch and encourage them to talk about how they feel.  Let them do most of the talking and give them plenty of praise and flattery!
The Conscious style is reserved and more task focussed so is comfortable in isolation and often prefers solitude to being amongst loud emotional people.  They enjoy quiet time to think and reflect upon completing tasks correctly.  Measure twice, cut once!  They are minded to create a plan for home working or will find tasks to complete in the home and garden.  Routine is second nature to the C style.  They are low risk takers and compliant with rules.  Although not demonstrative with emotions, the C style does feel emotions but struggles to voice them.  If they are worried, they will internalise their feelings, will become pessimistic and will retreatThe S style are patient, reliable, loyal and steady who enjoy the company of others and are known for being people pleasers.  They will accept the conditions of being isolated and do enjoy their own company but do seek out the company of their few close friends and prefer to do things together.   They are great listeners and it won’t surprise you to learn that this personality type often works in the caring industries. They seek reassurance so could become hesitant, indecisive and lack confidence with prolonged isolation.  This personality style could find it difficult adapting to swift and significant change and will need support to adjust
If you are living with a C style, you can support them by giving them time to reflect, giving them specific and well defined tasks to complete.  If stressed they will slow the pace, which family members may find frustrating, but knowing this helps family members to accept it.  Acknowledge their accomplishments, contribution, particularly the quality  or accuracy of their contribution.  Being correct is everything to a C style.  They may come across as picky or overly critical but this comes from their strive for perfection.If you are living with an S style, they will be looking after you and making sure that your welfare is a priority, often above their own wellbeing. If stressed, they can become withdrawn and can be perceived as being stubborn, passive aggressive and uncommunicative.  Come up with a plan together, involving the whole family and make sure that the S style person is included.  Acknowledge their contribution with sincerity and show them that you value them.  Do not take advantage of their people pleasing personality because this will put undue stress on them and eventually they will snap and no one will want to experience that!
To support a C style either remotely or at home, consistency, quality and excellence is key.  Allow them their quiet thinking time but also involve them in family activities such as compiling a quiz, baking a favourite cake, creating art activities.  Encourage them to have a little fun too.  Although they don’t wear their hearts on their sleeve, ask them how they are coping with this new way of living and what they need to help them feel comfortable with it.  Maintain lines of communication but avoid being overly emotional and communicate by text/email too as it will give the C style time to reflect and respond in their own time.To support an S style either remotely or at home, encourage them to talk about their feelings and to ask for what they need to make this whole experience more manageable for them.  Show them appreciation and offer to take on some of their workload as they can be put upon.  The S style needs to feel safe and secure so give them reassurance and time to adjust. For an S style living alone, call them and ask them how they are doing, how they are coping and what they are doing to keep busy.  Acknowledge their progress and give them sincere appreciation.  As well as speaking to them, send them text and email messages to let them know that you re thinking about them as they will appreciate your friendship and loyalty

Maintain harmony within the home by accepting family members for who they are is so important.  We all have traits that irritate others so a little acceptance and understanding will go a long way.  Talk about how you are coping and take time to listen to each other but avoid offering solutions as most people just want to sound off and let their voice be heard.

This time in isolation as a family is a true gift to bring families together.  No one says it’s easy to co-exist 24/7 but if you are all prepared to work at it and understand the traits of your family members, it will enrich your relationship for life.

Julie Brown

Licenced DISC trainer and Professional Coach

How to get Career path clarity

How much do you love the job you do and for whom you do it? Many of you will be happily employed and a good number will not. For those of you who are not loving what you are doing, you may really want to do something else, something that fulfils your work passion but you just don’t seem to be able to make that break. “But what can I do instead?” I hear you ask.

You have the answer to that question which may be buried deep. You could begin by daring to dream about the future you would like to see. Children day dream all the time but as we get older we spend less time dreaming about what we want to do when we grow up as other things get in the way. We then lose confidence and self-belief and this stops us and holds us back from achieving our goals.

If you do know your ultimate career goal, write it down. If you don’t know, don’t panic. Spend some time visualising or imagining what your perfect work day looks like, hour by hour; what time you will get up, what you have for breakfast, what time you will leave home for work, your mode of transport, what time you will arrive at work, what environment you will be in, how many colleagues you will work with and what they are like, what you will spend time doing and your achievements. Include how you like to work and time management methods you practice. Think about whether the job role is sedentary or active, whether you will travel for work or remain in one place, what meetings you might attend, what interactions you will have with other people. Write it all down to build up a complete picture, including the date when you would like to be doing this fabulous new job role.

Did anything surprise you in your imaginings? Reflect upon what you have written and write down your insights.

Now think about your strengths, what you are good at and write them down. Write down what other people tell you you’re are good at. What do friends seek advice from you for? What are you acknowledged for? If you have been asked to teach or mentor someone at work, what has it been for?

Think about what you want to learn from a job or career and how you want to contribute to the workplace or business. What will ignite your passion?

So far you have dreamed about what a future job or career will look like and you have thought through and written down all of your strengths, abilities and personal attributes. On a scale of 1 – 10, if 10 is landing your dream job, what number are you at right now? Write down what needs to happen to take you 1 step closer to 10. Write down as many action points as you can think of to take you 1 step closer, even if the actions feel scarey! What actions would your best friend suggest? What actions would your parents suggest? What actions feel daring? What actions can be taken quickly?

From all of the actions that you have chosen, select 3 that will help you to move 1 step closer to reaching your goal within the next 2 – 3 weeks. Put a timescale on taking forward the action. How committed are you to taking the actions? If necessary, break down the actions further until you feel comfortable in taking them forward. Take the actions. Once you have achieved the actions, you will feel great and this will boost your confidence. You can then go on to take 1 more step further towards achieving your goal. Good luck!

I’m interested to hear your strengths and struggles in taking forward your actions. Are you racing along to your career goal or have you stalled and need an injection of fuel? If a 15 minute conversation will help you to get started, give me a call.

What type of career suits the “S” style personality?

The “S” style personality is reserved and people focussed.  The “S” style likes to work as part of a team and is dependable, loyal and steady.  Patient and good listeners, they tend to take on the role of Peacemaker within teams as they like to maintain the status quo and dislike confrontation or aggression.  The “S” style likes nothing better than to work on one task at a time, following procedures and systematically getting the job done, preferring clear parameters and guidelines with which to work.  As they like to maintain the status quo they can sometimes resist change and would prefer to be in a secure job with plenty of routine.  The “S” style person is extremely caring, often putting others before themselves.  They often seek out supportive roles and enjoy good working relationships with other personality types due to their controlled and modest behaviour.  They love to please and value sincere feedback and appreciation.

The “S” style personality will often seek out a career within the caring sector such as nursing, social worker, carer.  They also like to work in small teams where relationships can be developed and trust built up amongst team members. Many administrative posts benefit from the “S” style personality as they embrace the routines and consistency of support functions.  This opens up a wide range of opportunity from small businesses and organisations to Education and everything in between.

What type of career suits the I Style personality

The I Style is fast paced, optimistic, enthusiastic and likes to be involved, much like the D Style but the emphasis here is that the I Style likes to focus on relational matters, caring, sharing and emotional whereas the D Style prefers to concentrate on the task, process and procedures.  The I style has plenty of ideas and is inspirational, being able to motivate others to perform well and get them on side.  They foster excellent team spirit and can be very persuasive, enjoying being the centre of attention. The I Style can also be impulsive, such is their enthusiasm and quickness of pace.  Like the D Style, they prefer to be in charge and don’t like being told what to do.  Rules are a mere suggestion rather than compulsory.  The I Style loves being around people and is energetic and optimistic.  They tend to be disorganised and careless, preferring to leave detail and analysis to others.  They can find listening a challenge and when others are talking, quite often an I Style will be more focussed on interrupting with their own story or thinking about what they will be saying next.  The I Style loves to be praised, having a desire for social recognition and fearing the loss of acceptance or rejection.  The I Style loves getting the task done while having fun and others can see them as charismatic, being drawn to them.  Equally, when their strengths are over used, they can be seen by others as wasting time with joviality and chattering.

What kind of career would suit an I Style?  Actors, comedians, TV personalities, performers who can be extremely engaging to audiences with their fun loving and playful ways. Business and organisations also benefit from their fair share of I Style employees at all levels of the organisation or business.  They are extremely adaptable to change and can carry other employees through change with their motivation, enthusiasm and genuine desire to keep people happy.  If an I Style is the boss, they may find it a challenge to deliver constructive criticism and it would not be a surprise for an employee to leave their office not realising it because the I Style boss has been so flowery and evasive about the issues through their own fear of losing popularity and acceptance.  They don’t want to upset anyone!