red balloonsIn May 2012 I went through my very first Life Styles Inventory survey (LSI) and became an accredited practitioner with Human Synergistics at the same time. Having access to and a deep understanding of these tools has been a complete game changer for me in my professional life as a coach and facilitator, but even more amazingly it has changed how I am in my personal life… I am finally learning to take the pressure off and give up the power trip!

When I first received my LSI 1 results (my own thinking) I was not at all surprised to see two big pieces of red pie staring back at me. Yep there they were… my inner demons… high scores in the aggressive defensive styles of competitive and power! To be completely honest with myself, and with you, at the time I actually felt a sense of pride about those scores. Damn right I thought… that’s my strength… back bone right there! I had always associated being tough and hard with being confident, strong and resilient.

Whenever I did something stupid or made a mistake my inner voice would go to town giving myself a swift kick up the backside by reminding myself what a fool I am and that I should remember to be stronger, better or smarter than that. I had taught myself to crank up the heat and put some pressure on myself… that’s what drives personal growth and success… right?!? And in fact it was true this type of “toughen up princess” self-talk had got me results and made me strong and resilient, however before my LSI, I had never stopped to consider the cost of my “inner strength.”

From the outside looking in it would be fair to say that I had achieved some almighty highs in life, and I also managed to stay strong in the face of some horrific lows. I strived to never be a “victim” of life and instead prided myself on being “tough”. In my mind, being tough meant pushing through life on your own, being strong was about being independent. Of course this also translates to thinking I have to do it all on my own – hello high power score!

As it turns out I am not really a control freak, nor do I feel the need to exert power over others to find my own significance. My personal power trip was all about being strong, independent and doing things myself. So what’s really behind this kind of power? Well like all our defensive styles it’s fear of course! For me personally it was fear of asking for help, fear of seeming needy, and at the very core of it fear of vulnerability.

I think I may have suspected that courage not weakness lived behind vulnerability, and my journey of personal growth over the last 18 months has confirmed it to be true. If being vulnerable is something you want to “play with” then check out Brene Brown’s work – click here to watch her brilliant TED talk!