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)?