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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

That is one well-developed skill you've got there

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

I recently reviewed the results of an emotional intelligence assessment with a client, a high-performing executive in afast-paced, male-dominated industry. While his overall score was high, his score in emotional expression, the ability to constructively share his emotions, was low.

When I asked him to reflect on it, he shared a vivid memory of creating an elaborate paper plane as a child. He carefully labored to build it, only to destroy it in frustration when he couldn’t get it to fly right away. He remembers an acute sense of loss and shame. He made aconscious decision never to let his emotions get the best of him.

It’s the origin story of the stoicism that has served him wellthroughout his life. And it’s an excellent example of how sometimes our greatest strengths need a counterbalance. Yes, it’s good to be able to manage our emotions to make better choices. But when we find ourselves stuffing negative emotions, we miss an opportunity to use that emotional data to express ourselves constructively.

One of my core strengths is self-discipline. Making myself do things I don't want to do to achieve something meaningful is my superpower. When I examine that strength, I can see that it derives from the satisfaction I get from growing and contributing.

But it also stems from fear: fear of falling behind, fear of running out of time. It shows up in my inability to relax if deadlines loom. I see it when I have difficulty transitioning from the workday into family time.

I've cracked the code on self-discipline. Now it's time to work on the counterbalance: flexibility.

What is a signature strength of yours? Does it need a counterbalance?

All MindFrame Minute stories are used with permission from clients.


MindFrame, LLC delivers leadership and career coaching, team facilitation and keynote presentations to help you create change for good.

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