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What I've learned this week

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
4 min read

So since writing that first hastily written post, I still haven’t sat down to make this blog pretty — since it’s more a journal, and a way to hold myself accountable to setting and keeping certain goals, I’m not going to sweat the look and feel.  Forgive me.  🙂

Set and kept goals for the last few days:  meditating 20 minutes a day, and writing every day.  WAHOO!!!!!  Both practices unfurl my creativity in a way that I love… it’s almost predictable, that if I tend to my spirit, and I exercise my pen-holding hand, I’ll experience bursts of creativity in other parts of my life, that otherwise may be drowned out by the overly loud voices of “must do’s” or other kinds of anxiety.

In addition, I’ve been on a reading kick.  A few highlights…

  1. An email from a colleague and kickass woman who’s taking her years of success at her current employer and turning that into future years of success in her own business (with her now-former employer as a client).  Tami – as soon as the website’s up, I want an interview for this blog.  More lengthy response to come via email, and I’m SO excited for you.
  2. A blog comment from my incredibly brilliant and large-hearted friend Tantek with some links that left me clicking for several hours (thank you!).  Try The Acceleration of Addictiveness vs Willpower, Productivity, and Flow, in response to Paul Graham‘s The Acceleration of Addictiveness.  Flow is something I think a lot about — I think a lot about finding those pockets of work / situations / social settings/ that feel natural and effortless and appreciating them sincerely, rather than always existing in a state of force.  Imposing the “stress of focus,” as T puts it, is something I can do more of, instead of just feeling overwhelmed by noise.
  3. Apparently these topics are drawing attention from the pop Psychology culture.  I like how the page called The Lost Art of Single-Tasking on Psychology Today is actually a landing page for ten articles and two other landing pages.  Avoid distractions, now!
  4. Two other articles stood out in my newsfeed last week:  The Four Year Career profiles a number of “scanners” / “Renaissance people” with an emphasis not only on the new, shorter “job tenure” but also emphasizing career changers.  And while I’m a little too old to be a Millennial, this one also resonated in some ways in thinking about my kickass girlfriends:  Millennial Women Are Burning Out At Work By 30… And It’s Great For Business.

And last but not least, I found myself suckered into yet another Personality Type theory book, this time, Do What You Are:  Discover the Perfect Career For You Through the Secrets of Personality Type.  I find Personality Type theory interesting because (1) it reminds me that no particular way of approaching things is better or worse than any other, we’re just all different and have different strengths; and (2) it reminds me that I have certain strengths and orientations that are productive and useful in the right settings and situations, even if they’re not always welcome.  While there wasn’t much new to me in the descriptions of the temperaments and personality types, one little nugget did stand out in a way it hadn’t previously:  that iNtuitives are oriented toward the future, while Sensors are more oriented toward what can be presently seen, felt, smelled, tasted, heard — sensed.  According to this book,

“[Sensors] trust whatever can be measured or documented and focus on what is real and concrete.”

“Intuitives…naturally read between the lines and look for meaning in all things… Intuitives focus on implications and inferences.  Unlike Sensors, they value imagination and trust their inspirations and hunches.”

Whoa.  Like, WHOA.  That so succinctly describes the conflict between my natural way of working and most of the employment settings I’ve been in (other than the one I owned myself).  No matter what my job title, I’m a natural process improver — and sometimes, that’s totally not what any given employer wants from me!  The single most helpful part of this book were the detailed descriptions by type — “As an XXXX, career satisfaction means doing work that:” — which I pretty much could have written the list they provided myself, without even a prompt.  The “popular occupations” recommendations won’t be a surprise to anyone who’s ever seen a career counselor and/or completed a skills and interest inventory, but the “possible pitfalls” section for each type is an accessible way to see what some of your own blind spots may be (mine was pretty right on).

And, the tidbit that made the book worth its purchase price for me is the section called “The Final Piece:  Changing or Keeping Your Job… The Key to Success.”  Sounds cheezy, but the chapter for my “type” was spot on with helpful advice for “massaging” my current job into one in which I may spend more time in “thrive” mode than in “firefight” mode.  The suggestions are — again — exactly what I’d list out, if someone asked me “How do you think you could massage your current job into one that suits you better?”  But it’s validating to read a list written down in a book.  And I appreciated that the advice is totally accessible and within my control — it’s not about going to a boss and saying, “Hey, this stuff needs to change.  It’s about having the discipline to structure my work in a way that suits me better.  Some of the advice for me:  to create opportunities for myself to think and unplug; to focus on one major project at a time; to emphasize opportunities to perform mission / vision work; to emphasize writing and publishing / sharing my thoughts and ideas; and embracing opportunities to teach and coach in my field of expertise.  All, spot-on, and all things that I can exercise control over, in my current (awesome) job.

After reading the book, and a good sleep, and a great journal writing session, it occurred to me — just like people have a Personality Type … systems of people also have a dominant (or extroverted) Personality Type.  Families, friends, co-workers, even entire organizations have a personality, and these concepts of Personality Type theory may come into play where the individual intersects with larger people systems.  WHOA again!  Head explosion!

So that’s it for this week.  What have YOU learned this week, in your efforts to right size your life?


Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.