Nike loves to make me feel horrible.
For the second consecutive day in a row, the low is 10 degrees and you know what — sometimes, I just don’t feel like moving.
But then I see commercials like this, and at 6am, with the brutal cold rattling my bones, somehow, I muster the energy to get up and get to the to work:
“Luck is the last dying wish of those who believe that winning can happen by accident.”
There is definitely something to be said for PUSHING yourself through uncomfortable, undesirable or downright painful situations when you know that on the other side, victory is waiting.
There’s tremendous value in knowing when to suck it up, stop whining and JUST DO IT.
But have you ever tried to push yourself through a painful, difficult scenario to no avail?
Have you ever pushed hard, but just ended up spinning your wheels?
If you’ve ever pushed hard to finish something, but you just end up spinning your wheels, maybe the issue isn’t a lack of “motivation” or a personal failing.
Maybe the root of the problem is that the work you’re trying to get done isn’t part of your natural skill set or personality.
An example: Several months ago, I was on the train working on an investor pitch document. I was asking for $100,000.
This was a warm connection and I just had to communicate my idea and show how the investment would be of mutual benefit.
The train ride was going to be pretty long — a few hours at least. This wouldn’t take me more than 45 minutes.
I opened my Macbook.
I looked around.
2 hours and 45 minutes later, I still had a blinking cursor on an open Word document. To be fair, I had managed to write the title, “Investor Doc.”
But I’d literally made ZERO progress. And the scary thing — this was for a potentially life-changing $100,000.
In the college, I’d had similar difficulty forcing myself to write essays and papers, but I always chalked that up to the fact that 99% of the time, they were about things I didn’t care about.
But this was different. THIS WAS FOR MY COMPANY.
The possible investment was extremely important to me. And I DID care about it.
So why couldn’t I get myself to do it? The short answer: it’s just not my personality.
I love coming up with ideas. I’m not as good at executing them. I can execute, but it’s just a lot more painful for me than it is for others with different personalities.
According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, I’m an ENTP. Take a look at the entire spectrum:
All 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types
If you’re not familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, it’s definitely worth studying to learn more about yourself and others.
I spent years considering myself a failure because I was unable to finish the things that I started. But when I read into my own personality, I realized that it wasn’t a personal failing—it was a function of my personality (and indirectly, a function of my success). The fact is, people with my personality type have the potential to do great things and inspire others, but when left to our own devices, we tend to jump from thing to thing, never finishing anything we start.
The solution? To pair my Perceiving type with Judgers.
That’s when I called Johnny.
The solution to my investor doc problem was simple: Just call someone to help me who I knew could execute the idea painlessly. I called my intern Johnny from the train:
Maneesh: “Hey, man. I’m having some trouble writing this investor doc. I’ve been trying to get it done for 2 hours. Can you help me?”
Johnny: “Sure. I can do it right now.”
I opened up my Macbook again – but instead of trying to write it myself, I turned on the webcam and made a 3 minute video explaining exactly what the document needed to say. This was surprisingly painless.
Uploaded the video. Sent it to Johnny. He finished the investor document in less than an hour, and I’d be struggling with the first sentence for over 2 hours.
This was a huge “lightbulb” moment for me — realizing that I didn’t have to do everything alone, that not everybody is suited for every task, and reminding myself that playing to my individual strengths, rather than always trying to be a “jack-of-all-trades”, is a huge asset.
Recently, I’ve begun to hire a team of people around me who are Judgers — able to take my grand ideas and execute upon them. Understanding my personality has allowed me to feel comfortable letting go of the things that I’m not designed to do.
Developing new skills is wonderful. But sometimes, we should just focus on our strengths.
What’s your Myers-Briggs personality type?
Here’s a free tool that will give you a good idea of where on the spectrum you fall.
Also, some recommended reading: The Art Of Speed Reading People, a book about identifying Meyers Briggs personality types and dealing with others. Discovering, deeply, what that personality type means was a complete pattern-shifting experience.
What did the tool say about your personality?
ENTP like me?
Maybe you’re an IFSP or EFSJ.
Take the test and let me know where you fall in the comments.