When your Personality isn't Enough

Our fascination with personalities doesn't seem to be diminishing at all.

Myers Briggs, Strengthfinders, colored parachutes, and my favorite, the Enneagram. We like them because we're eternally fascinated with ourselves, with those around us, with what makes us tick or what motivates us. And we can learn so much from these tools.

But, if we're paying attention, there comes a time when we can't as much mileage out of our personalities as we used to. Maybe you're a goal-driven person, but you're realizing that setting more goals doesn't feel as satisfying anymore. Maybe you've focused on being correct or good your whole life, but that's losing its effectiveness. Maybe you've been the life of the party, but that's getting exhausting. Maybe you've relied on your creativity to get things done, but you're running out of ideas. Maybe you've been known as the one who always helps others, but you're starting to realize you have needs of your own.

Around the second half of our lives (40-ish, for most people), we have a choice to make. Are we going to just start working harder? Or are we going to go deeper? Are we going to keep revving that tired old engine of our personalities ("That's just the way I am!"), or are we willing to grow more comfortable with negative emotions like fear, rejection, shame, sadness, grief, and anger? Are we willing to slow down, name what we are experiencing, and sit with it? Are we open to operating out of our Essence instead of our personalities?

This isn't the kind of thing we can put on our calendar for Monday morning. It's an adaptive process with a step or two forward and many steps back, sometimes. But boy, is it worth it. The longer I coach leaders or clients who are at a crossroads in their life, the more I bear witness to the amazing folks who've chosen to go deeper, to risk operating out of a more sustainable well than their personalities. On the other side of that scary process? Joy. Freedom. Wisdom. Discernment. Truth. Forgiveness. Integrity. Beauty. No way there but through, though.