Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm Growing Like a Weed - is that good or bad?

The organization I work for is really big on personal growth. We are encouraged to do assessments to discover our strengths and "areas for development," and then come up with a plan (on paper) as to how we're going to grow in one or two of these areas. We are also encouraged to be a part of a peer coaching process, or "growth group" that will help keep us accountable to our personal development plans, and encourage and motivate us along the way.

I've gone about this process a little backwards as I joined a growth group several months ago, with no plan in place. Basically, because I liked everyone in the group, and if I could be a little more like each of them in some ways, it would amount to a lot of growth. But also, because it's fun to sit around a table for a couple of hours while someone watches your kids and say things like, "Yeah, you think that's bad, well MY husband..." 

Just kidding Ben, we like totally never say things like that.

Well, just the other day, I finally finished up the assessment part of this process, and began to get a plan in place. I won't share all of the gory details, just the ones I think are funny, ironic, or make me look especially ridiculous or awesome.

First of all, I did two assessments. One is called the EQi, which tests something called emotional intelligence - how you view yourself, relate to others, your general mood, how you manage stress, stuff like that. Another is the 360, which asks people in your life to evaluate you in various areas. Not my favorite, because that's just kind of awkward for everyone involved.

Then, a coach in our organization got on skype with me for 3 HOURS to go over the results. That's a long time. We didn't use video, and I still managed to resist the temptation to surf facebook the entire time we were talking - which I think should have earned me some extra points in the "impulse control" category.

Here's (some of) what I learned about myself:

Disclaimer: most of this is my unqualified interpretation of the results, not my coach's. Dee Dee, if you ever read this, I promise I was listening!
I seem to relate to myself better than I do to other people. I know, awesome.

That being said, I scored pretty well on empathy. The downside of that is I have a hard time turning my empathy into actual actions of care for people. My coach says that means I'm off to a good start. All that comes to my mind is the verse about how terrible it is if you know the right thing to do and don't do it.

My lowest score was in stress tolerance. That bodes well for this week as I have three small kids, an unavailable husband (just this week, not usually), and an enormous sleep deficit. I have to admit, I do find myself dealing with stress lately by loudly clapping my hands and yelling. Room to grow? probably.

Lastly, my favorite observation about myself. I feel oddly affirmed to have this quality factually confirmed. One of my lowest scores was in "optimism." But, one of my highest is in "happiness." I think that's pretty unusual (read: special). Yes, I am *a tad* negative. But, I am one of the most deep-down happy people you'll ever meet. I just like to point out the drama in life.

I was a little surprised to find out that I am not especially "independent" or "assertive." Anymore. I used to be. But, I also didn't used to be especially empathetic either, so I guess it's a trade-off.

What about you? Is personal growth something you think about?

And would you look at that - I just wrote an entire post that is not related to the adoption in any way.


God and Ponytails said...

Excited to follow you! We are in process in Rwanda! Just sent DTR!!

Charlie is adorable!

Rachael said...

That's really neat that your organization does those kinds of personal growth things. I would not have pegged you as a pessimist. Interesting about the trade off between independence/assertiveness and empathy.

Susie said...

Yes, I should definitely clarify that I don't think empathy and assertiveness are mutually exclusive. In my case, it's been a shift, but I'm sure there are many empathetic, assertive, independent people in the world!

Sarah said...

I take the lion/beaver/retriever/otter test every couple of years. With more children the perfectionist-beaver keeps getting bashed down and the I-Don't-Care-If-It's-Perfect-Just-Get-It-Done-Lion goes up a few points.
The only thing that cuts down on the shouting is a sore throat. Maybe I should try prayer?

Abby said...

I've been doing a bit of clapping at Calvin lately too, as if he's the dog and that will distract him/train him to do (or not do) whatever it is I need him to (or not to) do. I've found it to be 100% ineffective, yet I still find myself doing it. What does that say about my personal growth?

Anyway, I think you're growing perfectly, Sus.