We all have traits. I am serious, ambitious, scared, inappropriate, logical, quiet, private, and so on.
Those are neither good nor bad traits. They are a list of traits I exhibit, and which decide my day to day.
You have traits. Your traits could be similar to mine. They could be entirely different. They are you, and they drive your day to day. That’s okay.
Good Trait/Bad Trait
My wife and I had a conversation in which I stated she seeks attention. She vehemently told me no, while dressed up in steampunk and a plague doctor mask to go grocery shopping. It’s her discreet way of protesting the mask mandate.
In her mind, attention seeking is a horrible trait. Yet in my business, sales, everyone is seeking attention. Otherwise you see a customer three times in two weeks, they call your office, and they say, “I don’t know who that is.” This has happened to me. Attention seeking is absolutely crucial in my line of work.
But we have certain traits we view as bad. Lindsey Lohan and Miley Cyrus are trainwreck attention seekers. So seeking attention must be bad.
Yet attention leads to sales, friends, and other great things.
In our current society, quiet isn’t a great trait. Are you an introvert struggling with this cultural dilemma? Check out Quiet by Susan Cain. Fantastic read on how being quiet can be powerful.
So remove from your mind good and bad traits. All traits have their place and are situationally good or bad. Most traits that have a label, though, were culturally given a label because of someone who negatively embodied that trait, or it’s a trait we as a society don’t care for.
Embrace Your Traits
Nothing is more powerful than stepping into your traits. I’m very quiet at meetings. I’m contemplating, I don’t want to rush to a decision, and if I don’t have anything to say, I don’t say it. Good or bad.
Susan Cain helped me tap into that silence and what it meant. I learned Rockefeller would sit on a couch during his meetings, eyes closed. Now and then he would pipe up and speak. There are stories of others who have been perceived as strong just because they don’t react and speak immediately, and when they do, it is measured.
At the same time, there really was a guy I had seen three times in two weeks. Friday of the second week he called up the office and said he had no idea who I was. Now, that could be something about his personality, but I try to keep accountability on me.
In order to get remembered, I utilize my inappropriate trait. Say weird things, while keeping it short of Jeffrey Dommer, and people remember you.
Your traits are the same. Some situations they will be an incredible boon to getting you through. Other situations they won’t be very helpful at all. Approach situations in such a way that your traits shine. Privately strengthen traits you don’t possess so you have a wider range.
Stop reading this for just a moment. But after the next paragraph. And then please come back. Pretty please.
Write down your traits on a piece of paper. Nothing more than what the trait is.
For each, come up with how a situation could require that trait. Find the value in your trait. Feel good about that trait.
In short, traits are neither good or bad. Our perceptions of them are good or bad (thanks stoicism). Traits will work better in some situations than others. You can always develop new traits.
Let me know about your traits! I’d love to hear about who you are!