“You are here not to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more of who you really are.”

“You are here not to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more of who you really are.” -Oprah Winfrey

Prior to ISANNELEADS, I had not taken the Myers-Briggs inventory.  I learned on Tuesday that I am an INFP.  Google tells me that 4% of the population has the opportunity to experience life as an INFP.  Even prior to this week, I was aware that I am incredibly introverted; I am ‘in preference’ on four of the five traits of introversion.  Factor in the findings revealed on my FIRO-B, which indicated that in a group, I play the role of the ‘loner’ and that collaboration is challenging for me, and you have the recipe for veritable hermit.  So, how is this hermit able to be effective as the Dean of Academics?

During my first few months as Dean, my capability was defined by other people’s belief in my potential.  I thought I could because they believed I could.  As time went on, I was able to shift that belief and demonstrate to myself that I could do it.  Certainly I could do the things that seemed almost innate, but I could also complete the parts of my job that I was most uncomfortable with.  My feelings about the latter have not changed; I still do not enjoy some expectations of my role.  What has changed, though, is my own understanding of the job at hand and the wisdom and experience I gain so much through the experience of doing my job, even the challenging parts.  For example, I am never going to be thrilled about mingling with parents during the social hour at Homecoming weekend.  Upon surviving that experience for the first time, I was pleased to realize:  a.  I did not die and b.  I engaged in meaningful conversations with families about their sons, which is powerful and important.

As emerging leaders, we need to find a way to balance what we are comfortable with, what we are capable of, and the expectations of our position.  If we can anticipate our own discomfort when aspects of our job are in direct conflict with who we are, we will be better able to manage our reactions to that.  Understanding who we are allows us to become more, rather than less.