JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

10 January 2019

Have you ever taken a personality test? Did it describe the you that you always thought you were? Thinking about the way I view myself compared to the way others view me, I wonder if any true personality test can be valid without both perspectives. I may think I am a fabulous communicator, but if the ones I communicate with don’t agree, where does the truth lie? Also, what if my personality changes? Is that allowed?

About 13 years ago, the company I worked for distributed the DiSC profile test. I was working in a sales management role, in which I was actively pursuing insurance agents to sell life and annuity products through me as their MGA. I was on the phone daily, trying to sign agents up and cultivate relationships with them. How could I be surprised that my personality was defined as dominant and influential? Duh! I was actively practicing those skills every day.

I’d imagine now, after switching roles to account management and mother of two, my dominance has likely decreased, and my steadiness and conscientiousness have likely increased. What does it mean to comprehend that my personality can change? My identity? The essence of who I am? That’s right! We can change!

As I remind my children as often as needed, just keep practicing. You’ll get better! When it comes to our personalities, our brands, or even our emotional well-being, the good news is, with the right dedication, it can change. Expertise is not a skill you’re born with, it’s a skill you hone. It takes time.

There’s a tale I’ve recently been made aware of involving Pablo Picasso and one of his napkin drawings. As the tale goes, Pablo was enjoying a meal at a café, doodling on a napkin. He stood up to throw the drawing away and a nearby patron asked if she could have it instead. Pablo said, “Sure, it’ll cost $30,000”. The patron was taken aback, “But it only took you five minutes to draw.” To which Pablo masterfully replied, “No it didn’t, it took a lifetime.”

Even Picasso knew he wasn’t born with his artistic talents. He had to cultivate them. The power behind that means I can be anything I want to be, as long as I put in the work and practice. And do you know what that means for you? The same thing! Your identity and your brand are not static.

You haven’t been defined until you stop defining.