I make a living teaching others to value difference, particularly gender and generational differences. I am confronted by another type of difference (which has nothing to do with gender or age); I need to practice what I preach. I need to accept and value those different from myself – lower my judgment and find strengths different from my own.
One theory of personality types is that people are either “A-types” or “B-types.” A-types (like myself) like to get things done and get it done now. A-types “multi-task,” moving quickly from one task to another. The highest value is to “get it done.” Being one of these, I know I have a lengthy “to-do” list in my head all the time. And I want it ALL done NOW.
B-types are generally more relaxed, being in the moment. To me, they seem to take life more slowly; they seem to like to do one thing at a time. There are several B-types in my life, including a good friend and my son. When I ask my son to do something for me, he may agree to do it. But he does not mean NOW. He means when he gets around to it. He thinks, “What’s wrong with tomorrow?” while I think, “What’s wrong with now?”
This difference can drive me crazy. But I drive B-types crazy, giving them multiple requests and wanting it all done on my timeline (now). If I become (even more) directive and shrill, the reaction is not positive.
Most of the B-types in my life, unfortunately, have read my book and know what I teach in workshops and speeches. Difference WORKS. I have to take a deep breath and recognize that B-types are simply different. I hope they can smile and recognize that I am not a bad, pushy person. I am just different!
Where do these differences show up in your life? Are you able to accept and appreciate difference (rather than having it drive you crazy)?
I recently had a fairly major surgery and found myself spending a week in a rehabilitation hospital. I continue to “rehab” at home. There have been many lessons, including patience, acceptance and compassion for others who had lost some aspect of their health. I had wonderful caretakers – friends, my children, nurses, doctors, physical therapists and occupational therapists. I saw both masculine and feminine styles – and I needed both.
Some of my caretakers were nurturing, gentle and solicitous. At times I needed these feminine strengths. Others were firm and directive and pushed me to do as much as I could do for myself. At times these masculine approaches were just what I needed.
My work is about achieving a balance of masculine and feminine in the workplace and in the world. My vision is of a world where both masculine and feminine are equally valued. Just look around and see how much we need both!
Where, in daily life, have you seen the benefits of both masculine and feminine ways of thinking and acting?