“For who that is charged with such principles, but must perceive, too, his own powers, and strive to put them in practice. Not even a bull is ignorant of his own powers, when any wild beast approaches the herd, nor waits he for any one to encourage him; nor does a dog when he spies any game. And if I have the powers of a good man, shall I wait for you to qualify me for my own proper actions?” (Discourses, 4) ~ Epictetus
Over the course of time, having a few different opportunities, I participated in personality tests for work reasons, community reasons, and personal reasons.
Most of which, for ease of communication with the teams involved, utilized animal personalities.
Those of a Lion, an Otter, a Golden Retriever, and a Beaver.
In my young adulthood I tested out as a Lion/Beaver. And was leaning toward the rough end of both personalities… being too aggressive and too analytical… which in turn didn’t make me the best teammate at work.
I struggled with that information, at each opportunity of taking the tests, because I could never really clarify what to do with that information.
The only thing I did do with it, was to keep it… in the back of my mind… as a sort of backdrop to my personal improvement, and re-branding journey.
Now, these many years later, I completed the same tests, doing three or four to make sure I had enough data to make a comparison with the information I had, from when I was younger.
My dominant personality is still a Lion. And leaning towards a “softer” leadership style.
I agree with that.
My sub-dominant style has changed.
In my youth I clocked out as a Beaver, operating with a single mindedness, very analytical, with work being the most important thing, and peoples emotions… not even on my radar. My take was, “It’s just work, it has to get done, why are you getting upset over that? That doesn’t help anything.”
And now, being a little older and hopefully wiser, I have “changed”. According to the tests, I am now in line with a Golden Retriever. With this line sticking out to me…
“A Golden Retriever will sit with one person, who they have noticed is struggling, being willing to sit and talk with that person at length.”
So now, instead of being “busy as a beaver”, too busy to notice anybody, I have developed the skill of “situational awareness”, like a lion surveying the savanna grasslands, and have been able to employ that skill to notice people who may need a bit of encouraging. Actually doing it on purpose, because I have grown into a man who can show kindness, and empathy, to someone, man or woman, young or old, who may need someone who is willing to sit with them for a moment in time.
It’s kinda what I do… now.
I do have a confession to make… I haven’t been aware enough, concerning my own powers as mentioned in the quote above, “[a man] must perceive, too, his own powers, and strive to put them in practice.” I added the brackets.
I have been caught up in the “comparison trap”, and have had my joy stolen.
Comparing myself to other men, men’s websites, even books written by those men who I consider to be “real men”, and seeing myself as falling short of the manly images portrayed by others.
By the way… what is your current… self image? Are you looking at others, or looking in the mirror?
I have grown. I have matured. I have come to understand my emotions, gaining some sorely needed Emotional Intelligence… and have come to the conclusion that I am a Lion… a Lion built to serve.
I have served in the past. In a few different capacities… and now I’m learning, growing, and maturing into a man who just might be able to help another man.
If we follow the advice of the “success” books, we will never be the smartest guy in the room, or the manliest, because we will have learned that in order to get better ourselves, one percent better everyday, we will have to surround ourselves with those people that we have found, who are in a place now… where we would like to be someday.
With my new personality information, and armed with the maturity gained in the last ten years, I can leverage my new understanding to my advantage… and yours…
If… you’re willing to read an old lion who’s offering what wisdom he has garnered in life so far!?!
“And if I have the powers of a good man, shall I wait for you to qualify me for my own proper actions?” (Discourses, 4) ~ Epictetus
Have you heard anyone call you a “good man” yet?
To paraphrase Marcus Aureilus, “You know what a good man is. Now go be one.”
We really have no excuse for being unmanly.
I’ve proposed that we, you and me, comprise a coalition of lions, but your dominant personality could be ONE of The Four.
Maybe you are a “happy go lucky” Otter.
And I have one thing to say to you about that…
We may not end up running together, but…
you won’t be devoured here either.
With my new perspective, and mature outlook, I can’t wait for my next opportunity to ENCOURAGE, EQUIP & ENGAGE!