Wading through it.

I get lost in thought more often than not. I've never been great at small talk because it never contributed to the larger narrative. I need substance that I can sink my teeth into or else it's a waste of time. This has always been my take on the art of conversation. And when I say it's an art, I really do mean it. Some people are meant to be musicians, and they pursue music. Some people make great conversationalists, others prefer to listen. The night of the governor's ball I called my friend Josh, who had done many public speaking events, and said, "I'm in over my head, what do I do?" I have no idea how to go up to a stranger and start a conversation. I will be open and honest about any topic, but unless we are connecting on a certain level I've always participated in the conversation rather than leding the conversation.

When I first started at Maximus, they were doing a few different trainings with the supervisors, including a Myers-Briggs type indicator test, trust exercises, and a few others that had been developed by the trainers themselves. I remember one exercise had six animals taped up to various columns, we were instructed to go to the column and find out what your commonality was and what drew you to that specific animal. A bear, a lion, a wolf, an elephant, an owl, and something else that I can't remember. What I do remember was that in a room of about 60 people, only myself and a guy about my age named Aaron were drawn to the owl. We agreed that we would much rather watch and listen to the surrounding world in solitude and only speak up when we felt we had something of genuine value to add to the conversation. There we were, the two awkward introverts just hanging out in a corner while the rest of the room burst out in laughter from their ease of finding common ground. We joked about how this is what most parties were like for us, too.

There was another exercise on motivation. In essence, the exercise was an opportunity to pitch your personal approach on motivating strangers, since that was your job as a supervisor. With a last name starting early in the alphabet, I was one of the first to present, giving me the least amount of time to prepare. I looked around the room and I asked, "When you think of an amazing car, what immediately comes to mind?" I heard Porshe, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and all sorts of names, but not the one I was looking for. "All of those are great, but when I think of a great car, a truly great car, I look no further than my last name, and I think of a Bentley Continental GT. You will find no finer luxury or dedication to craft than with the name of Bentley. Every component of that vehicle is handcrafted by someone who is an artisan of their craft. The name demands excellence to prevent tarnishment. How do I motivate others? I ask them if they are okay with having a Bentley for their supervisor."

I think of things differently. I think of possibilities. I always have, I always will. The irony here is looking at things the way I do is the main source of my anxiety and depression. Every situation in life has a reality and a possible outcome. Every outcome has the possibility of 10 different choices, and each of those choices have their own branches that venture off. I used to explore the possibilities more than focusing on the world around me to the point that I would stay up until I was only getting 10 hours of sleep a week. Fortunately, that was a previous life and I have better managed my ability to explore those possibilities. I still explore them, but now I focus on the ones that help progress towards a vision.

A friend had told Hailie about a website called 16 Personalities. It's a newer model that dives further into the existing Myers-Briggs type indicator, and it provides a much more personalized experience based on commonalities of your personality type. I had done this test before, I had no issue with doing it again, and to be honest I was interested to see an outward perspective of what I've evolved into. Hailie and I decided to do the test together to see how we could strengthen our marriage by better understanding one another. Hailie didn't believe her initial results, and it wasn't until she took the test a third time with the exact same results that she finally agreed it was her personality type. After 15 minutes of answering question, 5 letters stare back at me. INTJ-T.  Mine didn't take that long to realize it was describing me, in fact, it as pretty quick to see a lot of the similarities and struggles I deal with. When Hailie read mine, she couldn't stop laughing out of complete agreement. It was pretty eye-opening to realize that a lot of what I've done in the past year has been in the pursuit of an inward desire I could never define. This helped me provide definition to satisfy my curiosity.

I'm staying a little quiet on the blog over the next month or so, but I've got a few updates on their way. I need to focus on vision.


Vision only has value when you have a dedication that matches it's worth.

Chris BentleyComment