I am Who I am

I am who I am!

People often make this statement. There is some truth to the statement, yet there is also falsehood in the same statement. We do have natural tendencies, personality traits, talents, gifts or as some people call them, our natural bent.

In my experience, the only people who say “I AM who I am!” are people who are not successful in one or more areas of interpersonal skills. They know their gut reaction to a situation and assume that is the ONLY way they will ever react to that situation. They likely do not even know WHY they react, the way they do. They just “know” that this is the way they react, it “always has been” the way they have reacted, and will always BE the way they react.

Let’s examine the statement a little deeper. I am (made) the way I am (made)! On face value, the statement is true.  There is a way you have been formed, and it heavily influences the way you act or react. Let’s call this natural bent your scaffolding. This is the unchangeable system part of us.

What you add on to that scaffolding, that frame, is quite open. If you are in your twenties, the statement “I am what I am” may ring true. Your past and present are mingled together because there is not much adult past to look back on. If you are in your thirties, I would hope that you can see a change in how you react now compared to the 18 to 25-year-old you. And hopefully that maturation process of learning and refining skills continues throughout your life.

Can we find out our natural bent and how to improve them? That is a great question!

There are several online tests or “assessments” that help you discover more about yourself. Some are truly personality assessments; others assess your natural talents or “bents”.

One of the simplest assessments is the 5 Love Languages. Based on your answers, you learn how you want to be loved or appreciated. The best way to use this is to do the assessment with others. Then you can appreciate and recognize each other (whether as a couple, coworkers, or just a group of individuals) in a way that is meaningful to the recipient.

Clifton strengths is based on the idea that there are 34 different natural talents, and there is a way to determine which you are stronger in and which you are weaker in. Don’t hear me wrong. The question IS NOT “are you strong or weak?” This assessment answers the question “which attributes are you strongest in, and which attributes in you are weaker?” Each of the 34 attributes or “strengths” have positive and negative ways of showing up, and all are equal in value. This is not a “Sue is better than Tom” test. This is a “Sue is better at X than Tom AND Tom is better at Y than Sue” type of test.

Each individual has their own make-up of the 34 strengths – the scaffolding – but how you show up in interpersonal relationships is dependent on how you use your top 5-10 (the sweet spot) and how you manage your lower scoring attributes.

The DiSC assessment evaluates your style of interacting with coworkers. The four types are: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. Again, there is no right or wrong answer.  In fact, most people are a blend of one, two or three of the types.  Your assessment results not only discuss your natural tendencies in response to situations, but they will tell you how you tend to interact with others of all four different types or groups of people. Each type has its good side and its bad side – its “Jeckyl and Hyde” so to speak; and everyone can grow in the proper use of their “natural bent.”

6 working geniuses

The basic premise in this assessment is that every task can be broken into 6 smaller tasks

Wonder – The natural gift of pondering the possibility of greater potential and opportunity in a given situation.

Invention – The natural gift of creating original and novel ideas and solutions.

Discernment – The natural gift of intuitively and instinctively evaluating ideas and situations

Galvanizing – The natural gift of rallying, inspiring and organizing others to take action

Enablement – The natural gift of providing encouragement and assistance for an idea or project.

Tenacity – The natural gift of pushing projects or tasks to completion to achieve results.

Each of us has two areas where we are “geniuses”. Not only do we do these tasks well, but these tasks actually feed our souls and we could do these tasks all day, all week and not experience mental or emotional fatigue.

Each of us has two competencies. We can do these tasks well, but they drain us. We need to limit the amount of time we spend doing these tasks because if we don’t we will become stressed out jerks (read the book – you will understand)

Each of us has two areas that are “frustrations.”

These areas give No satisfaction or meaning to our lives and we are much better off delegating these tasks to someone else.


Bottom line:

You ARE who you are, AND you CAN become a BETTER VERSION of yourself, with a little work.

Do you really know who you are?

  1. You know on some level how you interact with others – at least based on your own evaluation of how well liked you are / how successful you are at winning people over.
  2. You can learn more about yourself through self-reflection and seeking honest feedback if you are fortunate enough to have true friends who won’t just say what they think you want to hear.
  3. You can go deeper with an assessment and exploring the results. (One way of exploring the results a little deeper is through coaching.)
  4. And if you do some exploring and find that you scaffolding/frame is bent or broken, which is a real possibility and no reflection of your success or lack thereof, I would encourage you to seek counseling.  If you pursue counseling, I would recommend someone who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


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