Talent Ought-ism: The Energize TalentsFeb 15, 2023
Grandma wasn’t always right.
My grandmother had a phrase she would often use that was her way of telling others what she thought about what they needed to do with their life. “Well you know, what a guy ought to do is …..” As grandkids we soon learned this was not a suggestion but an expectation. If you didn’t do “What a guy ought to do…” you were in grandma’s doghouse.
In the last blog we discussed how a strong concentration of talents in a quadrant can form a bias that leads to other forms of “Everyone should” thinking that I call Talent Ought-ism. Although Grandma never took the CliftonStrengths assessment, she clearly suffered from a form of “Ought-ism.”
When we move to the CoreClarity Energize quadrant, Ought-ism moves from thinking to action. The Fault Line here is “Everyone should do what I do,” or in Grandma’s case what I expect you to do. Or they should do it the way I do it or as quickly as I deliver results. People with a strong concentration of developed Energize talents have a high capacity to get things started, going, and accomplished. One of my co-workers told a Trail Blazer with three Energize talents “I always feel like I am just breaking the finish line of a marathon and look up to see you showered, dressed, refreshed, and handing out Gatorade wearing your gold medal.”
Energize is my dominant quadrant and in my younger years I could get darn right judgmental when others were not performing like me or delivering results in a timely manner. As my wife has often reminded me, “We know you have a high capacity to take things on and get them done - the question is, how many people will you be dragging across the finish line who couldn’t keep up?”
Brandy was a whirlwind of activity and achievement. Getting up early, working late, her Activator, Achiever, and Discipline constantly propelled her upward and onward. She was the embodiment of Just Do It! Her husband Kevin, on the other hand, was a Passionato who struggled with his weight. After years of yo-yo diets and failed exercise regiments the talent dissonance in their make-up was creating tension in their marriage. Brandy thought she was being a loving supportive wife with her admonishments of what to do and what not to do and pep talks on will power and discipline. If she had to lose a few pounds it just became another thing to tick off the monthly to do list to which she was internally driven to do. But Kevin, not having the natural intrinsic motivation of Energize talents, needed the external pull of people to overcome the magnetic pull of the refrigerator. Once Brandy realized the Ought-ism of her “do it like me” was hurting and not helping she was able to back off and support Kevin in a way that motivated him rather than her.
For those of you whose talent composition gifts you with strong energize capacity it is important to remind yourself that not everyone can, will, or should do things the way you do. Taking the time to hit the pause button on accomplishing to assess how others are wired will help you appreciate them and pace yourself to better complement with their talents. We need to be on guard against keeping our worth and identity tied to our to-do list and achievements because, after all, we are human beings, not human doings.