Friday, 27 March 2015

Understanding personality differences

Which of these values is most important to you?

1. To do the right thing, as perfectly as possible
2. To be kind, and to help people
3. To excel and to shine
4. To live and connect authentically
5. To understand, seek knowledge and to be wise
6. To be loyal - devoted to family and/or to social causes (to stand up for the underdog)
7. To enjoy life and seek out new experiences and people to appreciate
8. To be strong, and able to provide for the vulnerable
9. To accept all people and situations, and to love unconditionally.

As you can see, these are all good things. It's just that some of these qualities are likely to be more important to you than others, depending on your personality.

The Enneagram is a system of understanding personality types which I have found helpful, both in life and in writing from the point of view of fictional characters.

As a writer, I don't think it's a good idea to develop new characters based on one of these personality types - there's too great a risk of ending up with stereotypical characters, lacking individual spark. However, once your characters are on the page in draft form, it's really valuable to consider the Enneagram to  understand the characters' motivations better, and to write more vividly from their points of view.

It's also a great help in real life - in relationships and in the work place. My most well-thumbed book on the topic is 'The Enneagram in Love & Work' by Helen Palmer, published in 1995. She provides an introduction to each type, followed by a 'directory of relationships' which examines the inter-relationships of the different types with each other and how these dynamics can play out in love and work relationships, both in terms of compatibility and conflict.

It's not black and white. All types can love and work with all other types - the emphasis is on bringing out the best in ourselves and each other. Helen Palmer outlines the likely tensions and gives practical advice on how to resolve them.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

How to be Confident

Work on the three 'C's of clarity, certainty and connection:

  • Clarity about what you offer
  • Certainty that you can do a good job (through many hours of practice)
  • Connection - being open to meeting new people.

This message was at the heart of a recent talk to small businesses by Catrin Jacksties, who is a publisher, coach and speaker.  A week and a half after attending her presentation, this key content is staying with me. I love the simplicity of it.

Clarity about what you offer means having a 30 second 'elevator speech' to tell someone who asks what you do, in a way that is easy to say and to understand.

Certainty means knowing what you're good at and can be sure of delivering for your clients.

Connection includes going out of your comfort zone, moving away from only communicating with people you already know to initiating conversations with strangers.

Confidence isn't the same as competition. It doesn't mean shouting about how you're so much better than everyone else. It's being sure of yourself, and communicating what you offer, so that your ideal clients can find you.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Sandscape in Maroon

Here's Dean Bradley's most recent painting, which is now on show at Icon Art Park.



And here's a close up of the left hand side of the painting, showing more of the details.