I have a new coworker at my “day” job, and since we have finally gotten settled into our office after a month offsite, I decided to take her on a tour of our facility. While she is not new to the organization, she is new to the building—the only building I’ve actually worked at during my tenure at the company. We left the office for our “brief” jaunt but ended up taking a little longer than usual as we walked throughout the entire building. When we returned, the intern asked candidly, “What took you guys so long?!” I was about to say, “It’s a large, confusing building”—which it is. But before I could say anything, my coworker replied, “Michelle knows everyone, and everyone loves her, so she had to stop and catch up with everyone!” That was an interesting observation about me, a task-oriented high D!
Luckily, the DISC profile covers those discrepancies in our personalities, giving users two graphs to consider. The first is the “This is expected of me!” graph, which addresses who you think other people want you to be—how you act out others’ expectations of you. The second is the “This is me!” graph—who you really are when you are with close friends and family. My coworker’s observation of me was simply her seeing my “This is expected of me!” graph (high I) on full display—the people-oriented salesperson who loves and inspires everyone. However, when she made that comment, I had to ask myself…is that really me?
Here’s a couple of things to remember about that tension between who you believe others expect you to be, and who you really are:
What you think others expect of you can change. I’m going to be honest: I’ve found that when I’m working at something that I don’t care about, my “This is expected of me!” graph tends to change with the situation. I can be super steady, candidly cautious, a demanding director, or an inspiring people person! For example, I currently work with a high C, a high I, and a high S—so I am comfortable being the high D in my office. But for the previous three years, I worked with two high Ds, a high C, and a high S—so I needed to be the high I to balance the office environment. This high I personality was the person that everyone in the building knew—and the one everyone liked. It was my job, but I wasn’t passionate about it, so I simply adapted to my circumstances. I equate this to the apostle Paul, who noted that he became “all things to all people” so that he could preach the gospel more effectively (1 Corinthians 9:22). However, it was way more exhausting for me to constantly be someone other than my true self.
Who you really are is what’s important. Ultimately, you want to have both graphs match or at least be similar, because you don’t want to spend your life being two people—one that others expect, and one that you actually are. But how do you merge the two? I’ve found that one of the ways that I can help my graphs to become more similar is to do something that I love. When you are doing what you are passionate about, it is much easier to be yourself without caring what others expect or think of you. The second way is to mature, both emotionally and physically. Physically, the older we get, the less we care what others expect of us (yay for that!). But emotionally, as we concern ourselves more with finding our true passions and purposes, the better we become at letting go of “This is expected of me!” and embracing “This is me!” The Bible warns us that caving to others’ expectations is a snare (Proverbs 29:25); instead, we should accept who God has made us to be and live confidently as His children.
The pull between expectations and reality are a daily battle for each of us. However, you can begin to win those battles for reality simply by being yourself. Learn more about who you are, what you love, and what God has called you to do so that you can confidently declare in every situation, “This is me!”
What is your “This is me!” personality? Let me help you identify it through personal coaching!