Today I’m wearing a muted, dark blue sweater and a blue scarf with silver in it. My good friend and colleague, Linda Ernst, gave me the scarf for Christmas and several Christmases ago she gave me something else blue. We had drawn names among our small staff because most of them were on tight budgets and we set a $20 limit. Well, Linda drew my name and she stretched the limit a little. She found a muted, medium dark blue suede jacket at Chicos and it was on sale, plus she used a discount she had as well. We had a laugh about that and no one felt bad because I got such a valuable gift. I was so pleased and surprised. It became my favorite jacket and I wore it until it became too big for me and this year I finally gave it away since I don’t intend to be that size again.
The real gift was the insight I gained. Linda’s comment was that she thought it would look great on me because of the blue in my eyes! Yowsa! I never saw my eyes as blue, but as green that could look olive green or dark green. Actually, they are what is called ‘hazel’ and look different according to what I’m wearing, but never blue, or so I thought. What followed was my attraction to those muted shades of blue even to dark navy. Her gift expanded my awareness and opened me up to some great new wardrobe options.
But the real gift was the insights that came with it. I really hadn’t realized that there is some blue in my eyes, so my sense of self was expanded. I opened to new things. And every time I wear these blue things I wonder in what ways I might be limiting myself by how I see myself. What is already in me that I haven’t tapped into yet? And what do I need to be more open to?
So the gift was so much more than a lovely, useful jacket. What a gift of insight that we receive when we find out more about our core selves! My awareness has deepened even more as I realize that the personality lenses we use gives us some of that gift, but I would say that it is as much the approach as it is the models we use.
We hold the models lightly, sharing them in such a way that people are always free to decide if another pattern is a better fit. We present them in such a way that development is always encouraged and we strive to use language that doesn’t label. We make a distinction between a pattern and dynamic processes so try our best to not label people as ‘being’ a type based on a single process that is dynamic. We discourage statements like, ‘She’s a Sensor, or a Director or….’ We are capable of shifting, therefore a process doesn’t define us. We do have preferences for different processes that we can get stuck in, but we don’t have to be stuck. There is a lot more to the approach than I can describe here, but I want us all to remember that how you communicate about type is more important than what you are explaining. This helps us give great gifts of insight that keep on giving and help people grow.