I write a lot about dreams and goals and taking action because, well, it’s something that I strongly believe in.
Life can be pretty grinding and seem so unchanging. Clinging to dreams and better yet trying to fulfil those dreams by setting goals can make the difference between moving forward, however slowly, and spiralling into a morass of depression.
I’ve been caught in that spiral before and it’s not pleasant.
My main strategy for staving off negativity is to actively focus on positivity and part of that is setting goals and making changes. Like quitting my day job to go build my own business.
And that pretty much sums up my current challenge. I’m finding it really hard to stay on track. I’m building my business. I have a strategy and I have tactics. What I don’t have is unwavering commitment and focus.
I set myself some internal deadlines and then I pretty much blow them off, or at least blow them so completely off schedule it’s hardly worth bothering with the schedule in the first place. And yet I would never, ever blow off a deadline when a client is waiting for a result. I hate disappointing clients.
Why can’t I give myself that same level of commitment?
How Do You Respond To Rules?
Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, actually has a lot to say on this subject. There are reasons why I feel the need to honour client requests but don’t show the same reluctance with blowing off my personal goals.
It all comes down to how we respond to rules, both those applied externally, like laws and employer requests, and those applied internally, like diets or personal goals.
The way we react to rules can be summed up into four groups.
Upholders – “What has to be done today?”
These are the people that happily accept both internal and external rules. In fact they are motivated by fulfilling those rules. They don’t want to let others down and are reluctant to let themselves down too. On the downside, they follow the rules. They’re great self starters but not necessarily the most critical thinkers.
Questioners – “What needs to be done today?”
Questioners by contrast question the rules presented to them. I need to diet – why? I need to do this task – why, why do we need to do it? If Questioners can successfully address why they need to do something they’ll get on board. If they don’t, well, why bother then?
Rebels – “What do I want to do today?”
Yeah, it doesn’t matter how good or otherwise a rule is because to a Rebel the standard response is “don’t tell me what to do”. That applies as much to internal rules as to external rules. Rebels like to do what they want to do. They value freedom over anything else.
Obliger’s – “What can I do for you today?”
Otherwise known as “people pleaser’s” an Obliger is great at completing tasks set for them by other people. They’re not so good at self starting. In fact they spend so much time making sure other people are getting what they need they often burn out when it comes to fulfilling their own needs.
For a full breakdown of the different groups see the video below.
It’s pretty safe to say I’m an Obliger. I respond well to outer rules but struggle with inner rules.
I understand that knowing as much about yourself as possible will facilitate finding ways of working that supports your needs. And I even understand how that applies to knowing how your respond to rules.
How to work around that persona? I don’t know. Anyone have any ideas?