Do you believe you can bring your whole self to work? Insights Consultant Ian Faulder has switched wheel positions many times over the years and wondered ‘what is causing that?’ and ‘what does that mean?’
In this guest blog, he shares his reflections and explains why he believes that developing his relationship with his Earth Green energy, being more authentic and embracing vulnerability has been key in his own developmental journey…
“I believe we are all on a developmental journey through life and we have some level of choice; we either consciously work on that process and gain some control over the direction – or we don’t – and that means we run the risk of taking directions which may seem to control us.
“For example, when I first joined Insights many years ago I purposely didn’t bring my whole self to work. At the time I believed that my work persona needed to be different to the person I was at home and in my personal life with family and close friends. I thought that, to be effective in my role, I needed to present a tougher, more extraverted version of myself. However, in recent years I’ve come to realise that this approach simply doesn’t work and is not useful either for me or those I work with.
“Instead, the past few years have been a journey in which I’ve embraced my more inward looking and values driven side, including showing vulnerabilities, and have intentionally dialled up my Earth Green energy more as part of my own personal development path. I suppose you might call that finding and relaxing into a more authentic self. As a result of that, I’ve switched wheel position multiple times… Of course that journey is not one you take completely alone and I have been able to do so with the support of both close (non-work) friends and also some great colleagues at Insights who have become closer friends (once I had taken on board that there were people around at work I could take the risk of trusting and saw that their support could be real and valuable!). There are one or two people who have been key in this process and many others who have helped it along. Where have I moved from – and to?
“Let’s talk about the Insights Discovery Personal Profile first of all. As well as providing us with many pages of insightful statements about ourselves, the profile includes a number of wheels and graphs. “One of these is your ‘wheel position’. When I first joined Insights and completed the evaluator my wheel position was 24. This meant I had two prominent colour energies, ones I called on or led with most – Fiery Red and Sunshine Yellow energy – and two I used less – Earth Green and Cool Blue energy. The order of my colour energies was Fiery Red, Sunshine Yellow, Earth Green and Cool Blue. “The next time I completed the evaluator I moved to wheel position 23 briefly, which is quite similar, and the next the time I took it I moved back to position 24. I stayed there for the next few years and wheel position 24 seemed to be a stable outcome of numerous evaluator completions.
“However, about five years ago I completed the evaluator again and I came out as wheel position 44. The colour order is the same as it is at wheel position 24, however, there was one important change: my use of Earth Green energy had increased in a significant way. In the last year I’ve moved to wheel position 144, with Earth Green energy continuing to rise, so that it’s now become my second colour energy. My colour order is now Fiery Red, Earth Green, Sunshine Yellow, and Cool Blue.
Why have I moved wheel position?
“When I reflect on my development journey over the past few years, a key theme is my relationship with Earth Green energy and the part it’s played – and continues to play – in my work and life. To me this is a great example of the dialogue and conversations that Insights Discovery can create – both with yourself and with others.
“As I touched on at the start, when I first joined Insights, I’d come from a very different work environment. In that environment the values of trust, humanity and compassion were all on the low side. I’d learned to survive, but it meant I brought with me a belief that I could safely show only a certain side of myself at work. That was the more extraverted, logical, action-oriented side i.e. my Fiery Red energy. To put my whole self out there in that environment felt unwise.
“While, of course, I could be a compassionate and caring human being at home with my family, and my reflective inward-looking side could live while being on my own at times, at that time I believed that my work persona needed to be different. In hindsight I purposefully didn’t bring my whole self to work. Instead, I presented a tougher, more driven, outward going, extraverted persona. In hindsight I realise that the paradox of this is, if I am ignoring, holding back, not accessing or using a part of me, then that less integrated part is likely to be in charge of me at unexpected moments. So at times I would find myself behaving in ways I did not intend or see coming, usually driven by my earth green energy and my values mixed with my fiery red directness and action orientation.
“Over the first few years at Insights I began to realise that my approach was not fully effective, particularly in the area of having constructive and collaborative relationships with colleagues and others. I acknowledge that there are environments where bringing one’s whole self to work may not
be a good idea, but over time I felt the need to actively change that since I spend a lot of time working, it is a part of my identity and it gives me a sense of meaning and purpose. There were numerous incidents that stimulated reflection and also one personal crisis that brought this fully into my awareness.
Exploring my relationship with my Earth Green energy
“Around eight years ago I badly broke my right leg, snapping the tibia and having to have a steel pipe put in it with screws to keep it together – the only thing I have in common with Tiger Woods! “Almost as soon as I was out of hospital, I travelled to Insights HQ by train on my crutches to attend meetings. This was a painful experience at first and at times I could be quite irritable (as my colleagues may confirm) but over the next few weeks I began to notice certain things that affected my overall view of ‘other people’. It was impossible to get on and off the train without seeking and receiving help from other people. Very often the help was offered without me asking. People would give up their seats so I could sit down. Colleagues in meetings would be very supportive and helpful. Other people’s demonstrated compassion for me and my situation enabled me to have more compassion for myself. Those experiences had real impact.
“This, along with a number of other significant experiences and feedback from close friends and loved ones, helped me realise that I didn’t need to present the forthright outgoing persona and keep parts of myself back. It was OK to reveal my whole self, warts and all, own up to less than positive value judgments and reactions and also show vulnerability - and things still worked – in fact they worked better! This does not stop me from showing my fiery red passion and be eager to make progress, but it does enable me to channel that energy in more constructive ways.” “Some years previously I had read about the concept of servant leadership – now I began to actively adopt that by approaching all situations with the mindset of ‘How can I help?’. Really by accident I began to bring more of my whole self to work and, in Insights language, I began to consciously dial up more of my Earth Green energy. By doing so over time it began to show up more in my Insights Discovery profile.”
Considering external factors and context
“In addition to these developments, which were driven by my own intentional goals of increasing my personal and professional effectiveness, there are of course external factors to consider. Context can also influence my behaviour as well as my preferences. Many external factors can create the context for changing behaviour over time and hence wheel positions, and good examples might be…
- changes in your personal life
- loss of a family member
- changes in relationships
- changes in your role at work
- changes in your environment
“In the past year we have had one large factor that has had a huge impact – the COVID-19 pandemic – which has of course meant more home working and restricted travel and contact with others.
“My appreciation of my Earth Green energy has probably also increased as a result of these current circumstances and the context they have created. I’ve become much more aware of what’s really important, what is of value in life, and how much I miss more direct contact with friends and colleagues. I also believe lockdown gave more legitimacy to the more introverted side of me, the one which enjoys researching and writing.
“I believe that living every side of ourself fully is the best way to feel satisfaction and reward. In my case that meant exploring and reflecting on my relationship with my earth green energy. For others that might mean exploring other preferences or colour energies. In exploring this it means we have to be willing to explore “Who am I really?” “Who am I becoming as I put myself in different contexts?” “Am I on the right track to live who I truly am and become who I can be when I live it to the full?” “If I do not think I am on the right track now, what can I do about it?”
“It’s when we address these questions and do the work of reflecting and acting on the answers, that we are more able to bring our whole selves to work. In this particular case, for me it meant being more honest in the right contexts, and at the same time more understanding, more vulnerable and showing more compassion and positive emotion to balance the more forceful passion, drive and emotion to get things done. I acknowledge that this may also be connected to me getting on in years and being more in the latter part of my life and career. Jung believed that the process of ‘individuation’ came more into focus in the second half of life: however, I do believe that at any age being more authentic will enable us to be effective in a sustainable way and give enhanced meaning to our work, our life, and ultimately make us more resilient and more at peace with ourselves.”
You may be reading this thinking you’d like to find out more about our view on self-awareness or the four-colour model – or you might be thinking that you’ve switched wheel position over the past year. If you’d like to find out more then please get in touch with us today.