August 4, 1992

Taking Action

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1. Take a minute and assess your baggage. Would you say the following items are more of a positive bridge for you or a negative hurdle in practicing the Power of One?

Bridge Hurdle
● Background and Roots
● Religion and Politics
● Personality and Temperament
● Habits and Patterns

2. Who are the hardest kinds of people you find to work with and relate to based on the disc chart?

Years ago John Trent and Gary Smalley created an analogy to describe different personality styles in people. It was built around the mental image from four common animals. It is another angle at seeing the huge diversity in the word everyone. See if you can identify your primary style of behaving.

● The Beaver—The busy, task-oriented person. Very focused and challenge-driven. Can work alone or with someone.
● The Lion—The classic Type A, king-of-the-jungle person. Used to being in charge and pretty well sees himself or herself at the top of the food chain.
● The Otter—What a party animal. This person really is most motivated when the people factor is at the highest and the fun factor breaks the gauge.
● The Golden Retriever—Very compliant. Very loyal. They always will be there for you and ready to help. Not a lot of bark or bite.

I liked their analogy. But it just doesn’t cover all the people I know. And based on that list none of us should have much trouble applying the Golden Rule to everyone…all the time. However, have you ever met any of these animals out of the zoo?

● The Sloth—This person is one big bag of laziness. He seems to have little to no internal drive—and he lets everyone else do the work. The sloth just clings to coattails and has no interest in independence.
● The Piranha—This person has a vicious, deadly bite. She runs in a circle of sarcasm, accusation, blame, and foul language.
● The Alligator—The alligator sits in the water looking peaceful and calm. But look out—one false move and he’ll explode with violence and revenge.
● The Elephant—This person lumbers along and doesn’t seem to have a clue about the little things of life. What path? What plan? She tends to go on her merry way, participating when the mood strikes. Others have to manage over and around the elephants—or risk getting stepped on.
● The Porcupine—This person seems to have so many prickles that no matter where you touch them you end up getting bloody. The porcupine is high maintenance and always demands that you approach with extra grace and measure.
● The Jellyfish—This person looks like shelter, glows in the water, and appears to be the one you can cling to. But once you’re close, you get stung.
● The Monkey—The monkey likes to be in control and fails to trust or empower others. He micromanages—nitpicks—you and is never happy with your performance.

3. What other animal caricatures come to mind in your dealings with people?

4. Now that the list is expanded, think again. What personalities are the most difficult for you to do the good, the right, and the true with?

5. If my family and close friends were going to label me with an animal caricature, what would it be?

Unfortunately many of us need to unlearn some habits, especially with those people we’re closest to. With family, friends, and co-workers, it’s easy to slip into a mindset that quite frankly becomes dull and lazy in relationship dynamics. We call this RQ (Relational Quotient) in our executive life coaching.

6. Why do you think we many times treat those closest to us worse than we do a total stranger or an acquaintance?

How much improvement do you need to make in this area?

1. I’m a slight offender.
2. I’m definitely getting worse and trending the wrong way.
3. I need some serious adjustment.

One of the first rules in human relations is to seek common ground with others. That’s a good guideline whether you are exploring a new friendship, meeting with a client, teaching a student, connecting with children, or arguing with your spouse. Comparing similar experiences and discovering shared beliefs can pave the way for successful relationships. The Golden Rule can be used to create common ground with any reasonable person.

“I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong.”—Leo Rosten

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