Each of us is a unique blend of both positive and negative personality traits, both of which help to satisfy our basic wants and needs.
Interestingly, we tend to focus not on our strengths but on our weaknesses because, let’s face it, it’s human nature to concentrate on what goes wrong. Although it is our strengths that support growth and prosperity and our weaknesses that hold us back, sometimes it’s pretty hard to tell the difference. This is especially the case where the result of our efforts yields results that are considered culturally desirable such as, for example, being self-focused enough to succeed in one’s career.
Not surprisingly, however, because so much of our health and happiness comes down to the quality of our relationships (both personal and professional), it only makes sense it is those personality traits that seem damaging to our relationships are the ones upon which we should concentrate our efforts. But how much self-focus is good and how much is bad and which person in the relationship, if it is to survive, needs to change and how?
Consider the following:
Cathy is working hard to make this catering event perfect. It is set to lead to some high-profile referrals. As a perfectionist, she’s dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” for the nth time. Meanwhile, her best friend and new employee, Agnes, is in the kitchen polishing serving trays to enhance presentation. Unfortunately, Agnes is having trouble keeping her focus; she can’t stop thinking about her recent break up with her boyfriend and worrying about whether she’ll ever find the right guy.
When a good-looking waiter invites her outside for a quick smoke, Agnes doesn’t think twice. As the result, the appetizers go out to the guests on stained trays and Cathy is furious. Although Cathy realises her friend has been distraught about men as late, she can’t understand why Agnes couldn’t have tried harder just this one time when the stakes were so high for Cathy. Agnes can’t see what is the fuss; Cathy has always been too fussy and after all, Agnes is trying her best to be a good friend.
- If you were Cathy’s life coach, what might you ask her to consider?
- If, on the other hand, you were Agnes’ life coach, what might you suggest she consider?