[Allow me to preface this post by saying that it has nothing (or very little) to do with food, beer, or running. Count it instead among the handful of introspective entries that make me glad I have a blog because I have somewhere to spew this random shit.]
Okay. So I spent last weekend in rural Indiana, at a retreat weekend held every other year by my in-laws and their extended clan. The generational family members are all shareholders in a closely-held family business, so it’s not unusual for them to get together for events of this sort.
I attend as a spouse and interested party (assuming that we have children who will one day inherit this ownership) and although the meetings are occasionally stressful or uncomfortable, they are generally tolerable and sometimes even enjoyable.
Which is to say: there are plenty of periods of “family bonding time” which include, for instance, a pontoon boat ride, craft beer tasting, tasty dinners, and plenty of sessions where the alcohol flows freely and the game boards come out, all in the name of family togetherness.
I really would be hard pressed to imagine a worse in-law situation. I feel extremely lucky to have the opportunity to know my husband’s extended family so well, given that we are scattered all over the country.
Anyway. This summer, as part of our “let’s learn to work better together” efforts, we all took a DISC Behavioral Assessment. Everyone took the test (which was s twenty-minute, rank-the-following-words quiz) before the session, and then we reviewed our results together, with the intended purpose of learning how to better communicate with one another.
I took the test back in June and I’ll admit that I struggled with it. The test asks you to order four adjectives from most like you to least like you. Ugh…totally subjective and meaningless, right?
Or…totally right on.
It was hard for me to answer the questions because I haven’t had a traditional work environment in….a while. So I tried to answer in way that was consistent with how I behaved when I worked in consulting, as well as retail, as well as now (which is basically working for myself trying to write something that someone would pay for).
It was confusing as hell to think about. But I tried to just go with my gut.
And when I first saw the graph of my traits, I balked.
That is a high D. The four quadrants of DISC stand for: Dominance, Influence, Compliance, and Steadiness. You can read more about them here, but here is a brief summary:
D, Dominance: Ambitious, direct, forceful, independent, decisive, challenging
I, Influence: Expressive, friendly, talkative, enthusiastic, stimulating, demonstrative
S, Steadiness: Methodical, Steady, Systematic, Reliable, Relaxed, Modest
C, Compliant: Analytical, careful, contemplative, exacting, conservative, deliberative
I don’t think of myself as being a particularly dominant or overbearing person, but everyone has to fit somewhere on the grid.
Along with our graphical assessments, we received several pages of verbal feedback designed to describe how we functioned, how others would best communicate with us, and how we’d best communicate with others.
I have to say that pretty much everything listed in my results was spot on. In fact, I had a lesson in the above the next day when I attempted to retrieve a pair of reserved pontoon boats from the local marina and had to deal with a (very nice, but subbing-on-lunch-break) woman who was doing the charges + taxes longhand ON A PIECE OF SCRATCH PAPER. OMG get a damn calculator, I need to get out of here!
I tried to calm myself, but I could not.
With each superfluous longhand calculation, I grew more anxious. Anxious and agitated. Finally, I had to leave the counter and wander around the store just because I couldn’t stand the fact that this transaction was not straightforward and efficient. I wanted to yell at someone, but I didn’t know who to yell at.
What is wrong with me? I thought.
But then I fell back on the fact that this might just be my personality.
I’m a D. Dominant. Supposedly.
But is that really an excuse for being a bitch? I don’t think so. I need to work on that.
That is probably true. I’m a hellish bitch at the post office.
I’m still thinking about this whole DISC thing and how right or wrong it might be.
Meanwhile, I ran a whole 27 miles last week, including a 10-miler around the lake we were staying on in Indiana. I think I’ll start actually tracking my miles on here next week: as August wanes, I’d like to work up to 30-something weeks and then hit 40-something and maybe 50-something in September. I have a half marathon at which to PR (I hope) in November.
But while I’m upping my running miles, I can’t help but think about the more psychological implications of my DISC assessment. That I need to lead in order to be happy. That I prefer to be challenged. That I need problems and challenges in order to be satisfied.
Um…that’s not exactly the description of someone who hopes to write novels for a living. Doesn’t bode well.
I’ll leave you with this photo from my husband’s cousin’s condo-room-thingy at our resort in Indiana:
The whole thing was just weird.
And this post probably scores a D in comprehension.