Success Psychology: The Freedom to Be Yourself

When I began my career as a psychologist, I was twenty-five years old, having completed my doctoral degree after twenty-two straight years of schooling (pre-K through to my Ph.D.). To say that I was a bit arrogant is probably understating the issue – I was convinced that I could “fix” any issue that any client presented.

As my understanding of the reality of human psychology began to replace the theoretical one I had built up during graduate school, it didn’t take me long to have my ego handed back to me on a platter.

More often than not, in my experience, the dysfunctional behavior that brought people into my office was not due to some fundamental dysfunction in their lives, but rather to their determined attempt to become someone they were not. Instead of seeing therapy as a process of changing people, I began to see it as a process of helping people to discover who they really are.

It may sound like merely a shift in semantics, but this realization had a dramatic impact on the way I approached my craft. From this new perspective, my job was not to fix or change people, but to help them discover who they really were and to help them give up trying to be what they were not.

I’ve never been able to determine whether it’s a learned behavior or simply part of the human condition, but most people have a hard time feeling good about or celebrating who they are. Rather than working to unlock their innate gifts and abilities, the vast majority of people focus their energies on developing skills that require excessive effort and create stress, and at which they will never really excel with ease.

Our own skills and talents seem like nothing special to us, while we yearn for the abilities that come easily to others. Of course, the old proverb “the grass is always greener on the other side” applies to everyone, and others are often yearning for the ability to do what comes easily to us. What a crazy situation!

Practicing skills that are not part of your innate repertoire will almost always result in frustration, not to mention physical, emotional, and psychological stress. And no matter how good we become at them, we will never perform them with the style and grace that is possible for us with our own repertoire of natural skills. The final irony is that we constantly berate ourselves for our inability to develop acquired skills rather than recognize that our desire to do so is the problem.

While coaching and therapy are miles apart in some very important ways, when performed well they are both about helping people excel at being who they really are. Coaching focused on mastering acquired skills will have no more success than therapy focused on changing the client. In my opinion, it simply cannot be done (but there are certainly a plethora of folks out there who would like to charge you for trying!)

Perceptual Style Theory is built on the premise that the way people perceive the world (their Perceptual Style) is innate and unchanging. It describes, in detail, the skills that are natural to each of the six Perceptual Styles, providing a base from which people can explore and develop their own unique gifts and abilities, creating a real basis for success in life and work.

Ultimately, by defining, affirming, and developing the skills that are natural to their Perceptual Style, people discover the freedom to be who they are.

To find out more about the services we have available to help you find the success you want and deserve go to www.YourTalentAdvantage.com.

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