Most people think having a Type A personality is a key to success. What they don't know is that being Type A can also sabotage their success.
No shocker here…but I have a Type A Personality. I love structure, task lists and I am competitive in certain situations. I have stamina and can stay focused for long stretches of time. Order makes me happy; even my spice cabinet is organized in alphabetical order.
I always believed that my Type A tendencies were a huge help in my career and my business. Until I learned that that they weren’t.
I recently re-read a FABULOUS book called “The 12 Week Year” as part of some research on an upcoming coaching program I am launching. I was in the part of the book that was talking about how important it is for you to create a vision for yourself that aligns your personal dreams with your professional ones. When I got to the following sentence, it literally reached out off the page and smacked me across the face:
“Some people, especially type-A people, think that vision is fluff. Those who think about vision this way tend to leap past the question of purpose and dive into action. The problem is that when the going gets difficult, it is harder to stay committed to the work in the long run because there is no compelling reason, no persuasive why.”
I am here to tell you that this is 100% true. I know this because I lived it.
If I got a nickel every time I was encouraged to “peel back the layers of the onion” and really “dig deep” to uncover what I truly wanted, I could retire today. It got to the point that it really started to irritate me. I would avoid going to events where I just knew the first 30 minutes would be spent journaling about your “why.”
You see, I considered this a colossal waste of time. I thought those 30 minutes would be better spent actually “doing” something. I would rather take that time to complete an activity on my list that got me one step closer to my goal.
So, I avoided it. Over and over and over again. For years.
During those years, I hit many roadblocks on my journey as an entrepreneur. Sometimes I could work through them, but most of the time, when something seemed just too hard or insurmountable, I would just change direction. I talked myself into believing that my direction change was “being smart” and “learning from my failures.” Sometimes it was, but more often than not, it wasn’t. It was really me giving up when the going got tough.
I was missing a key ingredient. I did not have a strong, emotional connection to my goals. I had not created that dream that combined my personal life and my family with my business goals. I had no vision.
I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment I changed and “gave in” to this whole vision thing. I can’t. But what I can tell you is this – today, I start each and every day reading the vision I have written down during my morning routine. Some days, I even read it out loud. Connecting to my vision every day makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck and gives me the chills. I can actually feel myself in that desired place.
When I made this change in my life, everything changed. Those goals I was so good at setting, those detailed plans I was so good at putting in place… they finally had a new power and strength behind them. Now when I hit a roadblock, I can connect with my vision and continue on. My vision gives me the strength to work through those hard tasks. My vision keeps me focused on the WHY, not the how. If I do change my plan, it is a conscious, strategic decision that I know is keeping me aligned with my vision.
If you are a fellow Type A individual, learn from my mistakes. Create your vision. Write it down. Read it daily. Update it when needed. Let it steer you and guide you.