Whatever you do, do well. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
I recently took a survey to see how my personality would fit into a workspace situation. To no one’s surprise, my strongest personality trait is conscientiousness. This means I take a logical, objective approach to things to ensure accuracy. I’m very systematic and like to create standards to bring about efficient, high quality outcomes. In order to avoid making mistakes, I can be quite cautious and like to take time to think things through. I can be very hard on myself when I’m wrong about something. I prefer to work alone and prize my independence and privacy. I’m uncomfortable in social situations with strangers. I can get annoyed with people who ignore logic and incontrovertible facts. I pride myself on the quality of my work, but I shy away from public recognition. I prefer to work behind the scenes.
And yet, so many of the things in my life have required me to stretch beyond the pigeon-hole that the survey showed for me. As a teacher, coach and minister I have had to put myself to the forefront of the things I have been responsible for. In those same capacities, I have had to deal with new people and those with less knowledge or experience in those areas nearly all my life. I still don’t like to make snap decisions without thinking them through. And I still am very organized. And I’m still a perfectionist.
But you know what? I’ve never been happier than when I was doing those things that were out of my comfort zone. So never put yourself in a box where you can’t see everything else the world has to offer. Your personality may cause you to be more comfortable in certain situations or with certain people, but there’s a big world out there with endless opportunities to stretch yourself to be more than just comfortable. Dr. Suess said no one could be youer than you, while Oscar Wilde said to be yourself because everyone else is already taken. I couldn’t have said it better myself.