100% Jodi: Decoding What it Means to Be Type A

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Hello everyone and thank you for joining me today. This episode is going live the day before we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and for me this signifies that I will be competing in my first Spartan race in exactly 3 months.

I’ll admit I have not been taking my training as seriously as I wanted to at the outset and now I’m making some dramatic changes to my schedule and lifestyle to get myself in the best shape so I can enjoy the experience. Yes, I did say I want to enjoy this Spartan race. I know it will be tough but I also know there is a satisfaction that comes when at the end of the race I can say I did my best and for me my best includes the training.

Wish me luck!

A Type A Discovery

Over the past year or so I began to realize that I attracted into my community and my clientele women who all seemed to fit a particular personality profile. It was no surprise that they were a lot like me.

They were going through challenges I had overcome or was in the process of overcoming, they had strengths that were similar to my strengths, and weaknesses that were similar to my weaknesses.

When I began to sort out all the trends and commonalities it jumped out at me what I and these women all had in common. We all had Type A tendencies.

Since then I have spoken about being Type A women, I wrote my book for Type A women and I’ve spent more time focusing on how to help these women not only be successful but to feel successful.

With these conversations I’ve also had more women wonder aloud to me if they are Type A. Sure enough many of them do have a lot of Type A tendencies, but Type A, Type B and Type C all describe a variety of tendencies that live on a spectrum. So you don’t want to think of yourself as being wholly Type A or Type B but rather recognize the degree to which you are each of the Types.

I wanted to go deeper into Type A in this episode so that you will know once and for all the degree to which you are or are not Type A.

The Definitions of Type A

According to the Business Dictionary, Type A is “a temperament characterized by excessive ambition, aggression, competitiveness, drive, impatience, need for control, focus on quantity over quality and unrealistic sense of urgency.”

Well that doesn’t sound very complimentary but that’s a starting point so let’s continue.

In her article, 16 Signs You’re A Little (Or A Lot) Type A, Carolyn Gregoire, the Senior Health & Science Writer at The Huffington Post, writes “there is a continuum that as you’re more on the Type A side of the spectrum, you’re more driven, and tend to be impatient and competitive and get irritated easily by impediments to your progress on things.”

In the 16 signs she lists out in her article there were 11 that I and my clients definitely identify with. Let’s see if you identify with these as well.

  • You’ve been described as a perfectionist, overachiever, workaholic or all of the above.
  • You have a serious phobia of wasting time.
  • You’re highly conscientious. [being thoughtful and considerate of factors]
  • You have a hard time falling asleep at night.
  • You put more energy into your career than your relationships.
  • Relaxing can be hard work for you.
  • You have a low tolerance for incompetence.
  • You’d be lost without your to-do list.
  • At work, everything is urgent.
  • You’re sensitive to stress. [I always feel stressed]
  • You make it happen.

Do You Agree With These Type A Descriptors?

The other 5 signs I could logically see but I didn’t agree with the way Carolyn labelled them. And some were sub-categories of the tendencies I’ve just listed.

  • Waiting in long lines kills you a little bit inside – I think almost everyone would rather not wait in long lines and this feeling falls under the category of having a phobia of wasting time.
  • You bite your nails or grind your teeth. I used to bite my nails as a kid but most kids have bad habits that they grow out of.
  • You’ve always been a bit of a catastrophist. Carolyn goes on to describe excessive worry and dwelling on worst possible outcomes. I would say I worry too much at times but the catastrophizing I don’t relate to.
  • You frequently talk over and interrupt people. I would not say I do this frequently. If I get really enthusiastic about something I can have a lot to say on the subject and will catch myself interrupting but I quickly become aware of it and put effort into managing myself in these moments. I think this behavior is displayed more often by people who lack awareness of themselves and their impact on others, regardless of their personality type.
  • People can’t keep up with you — in conversation or on the sidewalk. Do I want to move quickly? Yes. Do people experience not being able to keep up with me? No. While I would like it if people moved faster because efficiency is a Type A value, it’s more of an internal struggle and this looks more like impatience rather than physically or verbally moving too fast for others. This goes back to having a sense of urgency and a need to be efficient with time.

What the Type A Women of this Community Are Seeing

I also wanted to add the tendencies that I myself and this community have identified in common. The way I want you to look at these qualities is that they are both strengths and weaknesses of Type A women. When we are managing our natural gifts they are strengths but when we’ve lost control of these tendencies they then become our weakness.

Quality Driven vs. Perfectionism

We have high standards for ourselves and this projects out onto other people. Because of this we are constantly growing, stretching, challenging our limits and the status quo. We achieve results and infuse others with an enthusiasm for personal and professional development.

However, when this goes unchecked our high standards go so high they become unattainable and beat ourselves up for not being better. This will hold us back from trying new things because we don’t want to reveal our weaknesses or be judged as incompetent.

I would rather someone think I’m unattractive than to think I was an idiot.

Caring vs. Intense

There is a Type A tendency to care deeply. Nothing is done in half measures (because that would be ineffective) so everything we do is all-in. And when we care we C-A-R-E. If we have decided something is important and deserves our attention it will get our best and so we make a big impact.

However, this highly focused caring can make us intense and cause us to lose sight of the big picture. We’ll obsess over details and micro-manage. If we lose sight of the fact that not all things that are important to us are going to be important to others it can create conflict. We will misjudge others as being uniformed, uncaring, lazy, mediocre and more.

Driven vs. Obsessed

When we know the goal action is a must! We are racing toward the finish line and only slow down temporarily when we hit an obstacle. Even obstacles cannot defeat us – we will conquer them if it kills us.

And that’s just it – sometimes we don’t know when to stop. We are so focused on the outcomes we are striving for, that we forget that we require rest and recuperation. And then we become a living example of the Law of Diminishing Returns. That is when you start increasing the amount of time you work without making other changes the results you will be able to produce will diminish over time. This is the epitome of working harder not smarter. This Type A tendency can drive us to be overworked and overwhelmed.

This also makes those with Type A tendencies prone to over-training – working out excessively without giving your body time to repair and restore itself.

Efficient vs. Impatient

I mentioned earlier that a Type A tendency is efficiency. This motivates us to look for ways to optimize everything which allows us to find ways to do more with less. As you can imagine this creates more opportunities even with limited resources. We can appear unstoppable.

However, this can also cause us to become impatient and annoyed when we are exposed to inefficiencies that we do not have a lot of control over. It can cause us to judge others harshly.  We will sometimes translate an “easy going” nature in others as being lackadaisical, uncaring, uncommitted, lazy, or mediocre.

Prevent These Tendencies from Becoming Weaknesses

What I have found is that I and the women of this community have everything it takes to be successful. We don’t need to add a lot to the mix. In fact, most of us have already found success – that is success according to someone else’s standard.

After all I just stated about Type A women are you surprised that they recognize that they can have a greater impact on the world?

They have a vision that is much larger than what they are currently experiencing but there’s a problem. Their Type A tendencies that got them to where they are today are not going to get them to where they want to be. And those who fight this notion have found their Type A tendencies going into overdrive and they have become frustrated with their lack of progress and results.

Does this sound like you?

There has to be an intervention to get off the hamster wheel and if you don’t do it voluntarily it will come involuntarily. It often looks like damaged relationships, job loss, lost profits or in the form of a serious and chronic disease. If it gets bad enough it can look like a combination of these.

If we can recognize what is triggering our Type A tendencies to go into overdrive we can stop the process and make different choices. Choices that lead to new strengths, new efficiencies and new success.

That’s what I do and that’s what I’m here for. But I can’t help you get at the triggers if I don’t hear from you. So if you know you’ve been wanting to work with me and you haven’t reached out, please reach out. You don’t have to struggle or go it alone anymore.

Reach out to me at Jodi @ Women Taking the Lead .com and we’ll set a time to chat and talk about what would be possible of you could achieve your biggest goals.

And as always I am happy to hear from any of you, whether you have Type A tendencies or not!

I hope this was helpful for you and here’s to your success!

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