100% Jodi: Are You Type A? You May Be Surprised
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We are this close to official Spring in the northern hemisphere and I am ready for it! I do appreciate winter for what it brings: reflection, the holidays and the slower pace. At least, it’s supposed to be a slower pace. I do less travelling in the winter but that didn’t stop my schedule this year from being pretty jam-packed.
I am ready to be energized by Spring and I’m looking forward to what this season has to offer.
Spring is also bringing Marianne Williamson to Portland, Maine and I am freaking out. She is the author of the quote at the end of each and every episode of this podcast.
I first heard this quote from her book Return to Love: Reflections on A Course in Miracles exactly 20 years ago. It was 1998 and I was in a leadership development program at the time and one of the other participants read the quote and passed out printed copies of it.
Hearing the quote the first time gave me goosebumps and I remember starting to cry the words resonated so strongly with me. To say Marianne Williamson has had an impact on my life would be an understatement.
Her words changed the way I related to myself and this concept is at the core of the coaching I do today. I feel like this is another of the many blessings that have come into my life when I started putting out to the Universe what I wanted.
This week I wanted to chat about something that has been on my mind because of the work I’ve done for my website and it comes up in conversations on the regular for me.
The whole concept of being or not being Type A
I promote myself as a coach for Type A women, and naturally that’s my answer to the questions, “What is it you do?” or, “Tell me about your business.” I can see how my answer immediately has the person I’m talking to assessing whether or not they would put themselves in that category.
I often hear as a first response, “I don’t know if I’m Type A” or, “I wouldn’t categorize myself as Type A.”
When I ask a few questions to help them figure it out it commonly turns out that they do in fact have Type A tendencies.
Because this is a common occurrence I debated on changing the language to describe the work that I do.
However, rather than being coy about the fact that women with Type A tendencies are my ideal client I’d would prefer to remove the stigma of being Type A. Because that is what I believe is at the heart of this.
There is a negative connotation in our culture to having Type A tendencies.
The qualities of being driven, goal-oriented, results focused are not considered feminine qualities. The stereotypical image I believe most of us have about a Type A person comes from a masculine image of an aggressive, super-competitive, “winning is the only thing that matters”, workaholic, unfeeling type of person.
That’s not me and that’s not you. I don’t even know many men that would fit this stereotypical description.
I think this negative stereotype of being Type A is why many women shy away from the term Type A until I can get them to see their own natural tendencies and laugh about them.
Let me give you some background on where the term Type A came from, along with some descriptors of Type A tendencies and the positive and negative aspects of these tendencies.
Where the term “Type A” came from
In the 1950s a study on heart disease was conducted by two cardiologists, Drs. Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman. As was common at the time all the subjects of the study were men and this study identified three types of behaviors:
Type A, which they labeled as competitive, ambitious, impatient, aggressive, and fast-talking;
Type B, which is more relaxed and non-competitive, and
Type C, which is hard-working but becomes apathetic when faced with stress.
Now I bet you and I can both consider those categories and see ourselves in some but not all of those descriptors in different areas of our lives.
More research has been done over the years and more nuances to Type A behavior have been uncovered.
For instance, people with Type A tendencies are likely to:
- Work diligently to finish activities within deadline and over deliver on what’s expected
- Be involved in multiple stressful activities tied to deadlines.
- Practice perfectionism.
- Have a need to be in control or in positions of power (owner/leader/decision-maker) and thus…
- Be a business owner or corporate executive.
- Take their work and causes quite seriously.
- Have an intense sustained determination to achieve personal goals.
- Be hypersensitive to time because they hate to waste it.
- Compete constantly against others and themselves.
- Have a persistent desire for recognition and advancement.
- Exhibit mental and physical alertness over a long period of time.
- Appear to be insensitive toward other’s feelings.
You can hear/see that in this list a balance of strengths and weaknesses and the weakness come when Type A tendencies are un-managed.
Having Type A tendencies is pretty awesome unless…
If left unmanaged, these tendencies lead to stress, anxiety, frustration, exhaustion, martyrdom, overwhelm, feelings of powerlessness, self-doubt, insomnia, and an inability to concentrate, make decisions, unplug/relax, have fun or feel happy.
All of this impacts the quality of health, relationships, finances, and career or businesses.
I also want to point out that because of our culture more and more people are exhibiting Type A tendencies. There’s more value placed on achievement, to be successful, be known, stand out of the crowd and make a mark, etc.
I can’t speak for other countries but in the US, because of the cost of living the standard American lifestyle most households require both partners to bring in a good salary. This also creates a push to land a great job, have regular career advancement or for the self-employed, to be making enough profit consistently to sustain the household budget.
So people who under different circumstances would have comfortably described themselves at Type B or Type C they are now finding themselves exhibiting Type A tendencies.
It seems pretty bleak talking about un-managed Type A tendencies but I’m here to tell you being Type A is pretty awesome, as long as you are taking care of yourself and keeping it in check.
Embrace your Type A tendencies. Own them and be appreciative of them.
If you take pleasure in your work and have a value of excellence, what’s so bad about that?
If you are motivated by competition because it brings out your best work and your most creative ideas, what’s so bad about that?
If being driven and focused on results means you can look back on all your efforts and see that they did in fact make a difference and changed the lives of others for the better, what’s so bad about that?
If your leadership and organization rally’s other to achieving their goals, where they might have otherwise been left floundering, what’s so bad about that?
And if you find you are going into overdrive working too much and not finding the space to relax, reach out to me. I can help you to accomplish more by doing less. It’s all about leveraging your strengths so you have more time to relax and stay in a creative and connected space.
Being Type A is pretty awesome and I wouldn’t change if given a choice. I’m speaking for myself when I say I wouldn’t have started my business or this podcast if I wasn’t so driven. I may have written my book but I wouldn’t have gotten so into my health and fitness. I definitely would not have moved to Maine or gotten so many promotions in my corporate career.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to hide if you are driven to get results and love the excitement of a new challenge.
Do you need to take excellent care of yourself in and out of your work? Yes, you definitely do.
But if that’s your struggle, that’s what I’m here for. And it’s probably why you’re here as well.
Did that provide any new insights for you? I’d love to get your feedback. Being Type A I love both critical and affirming feedback. I can’t get better if I don’t know what can be improved and I’m all about getting better, thank you very much.
You can comment wherever you found this episode or you can email me directly at Jodi@womentakingthelead.com.
As always I hope my drive for excellence and providing great content was helpful to you and here’s to your success!
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