She is calculated, witty and doesn’t miss a beat. She spends hours upon hours drawing intricate designs, and is content to doodle the details alone in her room all day. It’s not enough to get an answer to something, she has to know the reason behind the answer and make sure it all adds up.
The skeptic has to have the facts. Conversations that are emotionally charged can get lost on a high C personality style – because it’s all about the logic. Emotions are fine, but they aren’t concrete. To find an answer to a question, you must be prepared with all of the history, the statistics, and what has been proven. The first thing a high C is going to want to know is “how was it done in the past?” and, when asked to tell someone about themselves, their first inclination is “why (and what) do you want to know?”
Super inquisitive by nature, a high C style is task-oriented, loves detail and laying out systems. With the gift of order, there is always a method to their madness, even if, to everyone else, their office looks like chaos. The stacks and piles are all perfectly organized according to how they want them to be, regardless of how it appears to the rest of the world. Really, Cs don’t care too much about what the rest of the world thinks – they simply want to ensure that their life makes complete sense to them, and they can back it all up by facts.
Real Life Example #1: Our tutor is an incredible lady who is a glutton for research. When she first came to us, she presented us with folders for pre-K all the way through third grade, showing us all of the standards and measurements in the school system along with example exercises and the most perfect penmanship ever. Yes, I could simply look at her handwriting and know immediately she was a high C. It looked like computer-font because it was so neat. Every week I get a summary on what she did with the girls, along with notes on how they reacted and what worked and didn’t work. She loves the process of working one-on-one and really figuring out how to teach them in a way that makes them come alive and love the process. She has figured out how to bring her love of education to a format that works for her. Being in a classroom full of 20 7-year-olds would be a nightmare for her – but to pull a child out where she can really see how they tick on an individual basis; this is where she (and the child) thrives.
Real Life Example #2: My oldest daughter – master negotiator, activist, and creative artist in everything she does, from her dress to her gazillions of notebooks. An entrepreneur by age 4, she’s tested and experimented selling all kinds of things, and now sells her cards not only on my site and at every live event she can, but she’s worked out a consignment deal with a local vendor to sell them for her at farmer’s markets and craft festivals. The other day, when the topic of “bad words” came up in the car (heard a song with a curse word in it), her first response in our discussion was “well, if it’s not a word you are supposed to say, then why was it invented and put in the dictionary?” She, like most Cs, is naturally inquisitive about facts. Cs ask a lot of questions to understand how something should work. They observe, ask and seek out information, and as a result, make some surprisingly logical connections.
C children, especially, are the rule keepers. Intent on doing the right thing, they strive to avoid mistakes because they expect perfection from their world…which of course includes themselves. Cs can be extremely sensitive to criticism, so in an effort to avoid it, they can take perfectionism to an extreme and deal with “paralysis by analysis.” They can get irritated when someone else doesn’t meet their standards and they feel they should “know better.” And yes, all their i’s are dotted and their t’s are crossed.
I am so thankful for C styles – they make sure the rest of us have credibility and are educated in our decisions. They challenge us to not simply speak from emotion, but to have a valid reason behind our response. And what we can give to a C personality is encouragement to do something, even if they risk failing. Barbara Streisand has a song that states “There are no mistakes; only lessons to be learned.” Helping this personality style to let go of perfectionism allows them to learn and grow even more, and helping them grasp how to not sweat the small stuff gives them the opportunity to balance their need for everything being just right in an imperfect world.
The other day I had the perfect learning opportunity with Clara when she broke down in frustrated tears because she couldn’t get her shoelaces tied so they were even. We sat down together and talked about important things, like making sure we are buckled in our car seats for safety, and how, if our shoelaces are completely untied, we can trip on them and fall. And then we looked at having slightly uneven laces and whether or not it was a true safety issue. And we laughed. We laughed at the absurdity, and how this being perfect wasn’t a serious issue. And we took one step away from perfectionism and a step closer toward human connection. And that is what it’s all about. Let go of the “rightness” of it all in a haphazard world, and keep that detailed focus on the balance of love and grace amidst imperfections. (And coincidentally, when we took a breather and tried again, she was able to get her shoelaces tied exactly as she wanted them).
Do you or your children struggle with perfectionism? How do you let go of that and still embrace the intricate details of life? Please share below!