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Double-Edged Personalities

Can you think of any personality traits that are good in one setting and bad in another?  Our personality can directly affect our personal and work relationships in a big way. Take a few minutes to think about your own personality traits.  Are you intense, sensitive, critical, passive, controlling, and/or outgoing?  Sometimes our traits serve us well at work, but create conflict at home. As I mentioned in last week’s blog some of us have very little awareness of our actions and their impact on others.  In some cases, we are rewarded for our traits at work and criticized for the same characteristics at home.  Many highly successful people are praised at work for their drive, intensity, perfectionism, and risk taking nature, yet condemned for these traits in their personal relationships.  The other common problem is that these characteristics are often manifested at extreme levels.

A recent article written by Trish Regan for USA Today discussed this very issue.  She mentioned CEO Dov Charney of American Appparel and his reportedly inappropriate behavior that eventually was reprimanded.  The writer concludes that “the very personality traits that enable entrepreneurs to thrive early on – self-confidence, charisma and a willingness to be controversial – often prove to be their undoing.”  I couldn’t agree more with this analysis and personally witness in my practice the results of destruction to relationships.  Often the increased power and control associated with success combined with a sense of entitlement and arrogance proves to be a volatile formula for failed relationships.

The ways to prevent this scenario from unfolding come from maintaining humility, accountability, and respectability.  Leading a balanced life, giving back to others, and focusing on gratitude can keep us centered on others not just ourselves.  Also nurturing faith and accepting that there is a power greater than you will help you stay grounded.  Recognize your strengths in your personality, but don’t allow them to be become weaknesses.  Living a good lifestyle is not necessarily living a good life.

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