Part of why I love my work as a coach is that I get to help people embrace their idiosyncrasies. So much of our culture teaches us to look outside for answers – to value advice and opinions above our own inner guidance. There is a time and place for seeking external models of expertise. I get that. I am approached for my own expertise on looking for work, and excelling at work, but I view that expertise as offering a process. My goal is always to tap into my client’s values and strengths to build them up.
So, what does this look like?
Here are three recent examples that may just propel you to embrace your own idiosyncrasies!
I have one long-standing client (let’s call her Stacey) who has been working with a new office manager. This office manager (let’s call her Idi) is talented at many things but takes a scarcity view on everything, which is very different from Stacey. There have been so many clashes between Stacey and Idi lately that I asked Stacey what value she is getting from Idi’s work. After a pause, Stacey was able to recognize the benefits of Idi’s opposing views. Stacey realized that she is a rebel, and that she thrives in pushing back against Idi’s ideas. This back-and-forth process helps Stacey to generate the best practices for her business. One of these spars resulted in Stacey producing a viral social media series! Stacey now embraces her inner rebel and no longer questions the value of Idi’s own idiosyncratic contribution.
I have another client (let’s call him Aaron) who I’ve been helping with his billing habits. He struggles with capturing all his time and then beats himself up about it. Speaking about seeking external models of expertise, Aaron has attended countless CPDs to help him bill better but nothing has worked. Our work has been to deep dive into his mindset around billing and then operationalize habits that work for his own idiosyncrasies. Aaron responds to external accountability well, so we came up with a system whereby Aaron inputs categories of work into Clio the night before. This gives him focus at work (so that he knows what he’s doing as soon as he enters the office). Aaron will also use the timer for each task he’s working on. This helps him say no to non-urgent interruptions – he is accountable to the clock. We also structured his day so that writing (his favourite activity) is done in the morning while meetings/phone calls are reserved for the afternoon (since this latter work tends to drag on and Aaron benefits from a hard stop at 5pm due to the structure of his clients’ workday). Instead of trying to make Aaron someone he’s not, we worked with his completist (someone who needs to complete an outstanding task before commencing another) and obliger tendencies.
I had another client who is a self-described completionist (someone who completes any task once they start it). The challenge for Isaacs was that as he entered a new stage of growth in his practice, there was a risk that he could fall into the same trap of identifying a solution and then going full throttle. We had to slow down his ideation process and make sure we carved out quality choices before he began investigating them. Issacs was so glad he did so because it turns out that the one idea that seemed to make the most sense to him at the beginning was not the best option for him. Now Isaacs is going completionist with this new option!
How do you leverage your idiosyncrasies at work?
If you’re looking to embrace your own idiosyncrasies, let’s talk about working together.