High Processing Personalities (Episode 225)
In the previous post, we talked all about people that are high energy - those that seem to constantly be "on", and tend to be the biggest attention-getters in the room.
Now we address the majority. Yes, it is not that high-energy person; the majority of the population falls into this other category - high processing.
As we explore more about the personality styles and what all is covered in my new "DISCovering You" course, we've lumped people into two categories - those that are high energy personalities, and those that are high processing.
Some people may be slower to act, yet that isn't a knock on their intelligence. Seven seconds of processing time makes for better thought-out responses.
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We all want to feel important, loved, acknowledged, heard, and more. We're coming at it from many different perspectives. The more we can better understand not only our own approach, but others, the more we can connect. That's the beauty of synergy - how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
The most Common Personality Style
As you've been following along in this series, you know I'm breaking down the DISC personality assessments for better understanding. These are the foundational component to all I do...not as the end-all-be-all, as a label or excuse...but to simply open the door to self-awareness and see what you want to step into and take ownership of in your life.
The S personality style is the most common of all the styles there are. In general, over 70% of the population has the S style as one of their main strengths.
S's are high-processing personalities that are sympathetic, kind, calm and steady. When I envision an S personality style, I immediately think of their gift: comfort. They are the ultimate nurturers, humanitarians, supporters and philanthropists. There is no question what Mother Theresa's personality style was. Typically reserved and more introverted, a high S style is the opposite of an I style when it comes to being in the limelight. They observe first before speaking, and like an old friend told me "think three times, speak once." They may be quiet, but when they do speak, they are pretty darn witty!
Eager to support, high S styles are super reliable and sensitive to the needs of others. They have a knack for seeing from others' perspective and are typically the first people you think of when you need a shoulder to cry on. They are excellent listeners, and are the peacemakers who want everyone to get along!
High S Insights
S high-processing personalities love the comfort of stability. When their security and safety is challenged, it triggers their fears of instability, and you may see more reactive behavior. When an S faces great change and/or unpredictability, what happens is a direct antithesis of what you know as a nurturing S. All of a sudden, labels like lazy, indifferent, apathetic and uncaring come out. They need to recharge by unplugging...and under pressure, that can be extreme.
Envision the poor mama with a filthy house and kids, who is so overwhelmed she simply gave up trying. Or the teenager who holes up in his room and just sleeps the days away, barely coming out. You wonder how they can sleep so much, and it may be a sign of stress, not exhaustion. How about the overweight individual who can't pinpoint their emotion, but simply feels better when they eat - another survival mechanism that takes them away from the emotions they may be feeling inside. Overeating, sleeping all the time, avoiding life (bills, emails, etc) are all symptoms of a high S under pressure.
So what then, do you do to get out of it? Where do Ss thrive? In their connection with others! An S doesn't need a party; they need a friend to confide in and know they are safe. They don't need an award and big recognition; they need love and affirmation from their close circle of friends and family. They need time to process and to get support for their feelings.
Our daughter Juliet, while clearly a high D in many ways, also has S tendencies. With a combination of D, I and S styles, her high processing S tends to come in a super emotional outburst. Here is a story of her at two that highlights that extreme.
Real Life Example #1
My just two-year-old started to get the gimmies in the grocery store, like all normal kids. She wouldn't quit protesting and started to squirm. In my sheer act of desperation for the mounting temper tantrum I felt erupting out of her, I squeezed her leg and told her "That is enough" in her ear. And, holy cow, you would have thought I slapped her across the face.
Her incredulous look at me told me I was in for it. She screamed at the top of her lungs in the store "Mama! You pincheded me! You hurt my heart!" Thank you, thank you, little piece of humble pie.
The build-up of too much had hit her, and the explosion of emotion just couldn't be held back any more.
No mama has her act together all the time. And if I ever get too confident that my kids are just perfect, I simply need to go out in public to remember they are not a) push-button entertainment or b) quiet little cherubs all the time. Scratch that. Pretty much any time.
Ss do not like conflicts...until they can't take it any more. And then....they may just explode. Be aware - what may not seem like a big deal may mount into one. Sometimes they will keep their emotions in check too much (especially the older they get) and end up exploding over something small, or harboring resentment and anger over something they just never confronted. Let go of grudges and be open and honest - it's super important to really connect with others.
Never, ever confuse kindness for weakness. S's are not weak because they are caring and considerate. It takes great strength at times to choose compassion over rebuttal.
Real Life Example #2
This is actually more an analysis from my coaching with personality styles. More than any other personality style, this is the style where I see a skewed graph. I explain graphs more in depth in this post, but for the sake of this example, when you look at a graph, you typically find 1-3 of the styles above the midline as your prominent styles, and 1-3 below the midline as not as much like you. The more drastic they are, the more true to yourself you tend to be. If they all hover around the midline, it typically means you are in transition of some sort, and the pressure shows up in a report that may not be fully accurate. (That being said, there is no "wrong" report, because they give us valuable insight as to where you in the process - if you want to find out more, check out my profile with coaching here)
So...what do I see with a high S in transition? All four styles - D, I, S & C - above the midline. Wha...? Are they everything? Well....yes.
High S styles have the hardest time with people-pleasing. Being all things to everyone is a way they can default to try and make everyone happy. They want to be there for everyone, so sometimes saying no and/or prioritizing is difficult - and I will be the first to tell you, this is not sustainable.
You cannot please everyone all the time. And you - YOU - are your first priority. If you truly want to help and serve others, you have to take care of yourself. And you have to draw some clear boundaries on that. You are worth it. I know all you high Ss have so many people that rely on you - because you people - you awesome people, are the comfort of the world.
That's why it's super critical as an S not to lose yourself in your care for others. What you say really matters. You make an impact, and we are all deeply affected by the Ss in the world. This quote is one I pull up time and time again as a reminder -
As a parent, if you have an S child like I do, being authoritarian is a quick way to crush their spirit. Tone it down. For a high processing style, being direct and firm may be the way to get their attention and take notice, while you may have just as powerful of an affect with a high processor by simply sitting next to them and speaking in a softer tone.
When you see a child who is slacking on everything, before berating them, sit down and talk to them. You may find your high S is struggling with something, and their emotional response is to shut down. Maybe the issue isn't about them cleaning up their room, and you have a moment to really connect and discover a deeper issue that has been brewing in them.
Thank you Ss, for all you do for the world. We are all powerful beyond measure, and you should never, ever underestimate the effect you have on the world. Not everyone screams for attention, and the Ss and Cs in the world can oftentimes be overshadowed. But know that every person in the limelight depends on the people behind the scenes to make things happen. Even if you or your child is introverted, quiet, or reserved, remember this in no way means you can't be confident, powerful, incredible you. We do not need Ss to become high Ds - never ever assume kindness means weakness. We are all powerful beyond measure.
The High C Style
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 or bedroom 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
When our children were younger, before we hit the road full-time, we enlisted a tutor to help our oldest with her reading. Our tutor was an incredible lady who was 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 would 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 loved the process of working one-on-one and really figuring out how to teach them in a way that made them come alive and love the process. She figured out how to bring her love of education to a format that worked for her.
Let me stress -being in a classroom full of 20 7-year-olds would have been a nightmare for her - but to pull a child out where she could really see how they tick on an individual basis; this is where she (and the child) really thrived. Covering the details, moving at an individual pace, looking to the past for what we can learn - all traits of a high C.
Real Life Example #2
Our oldest, Clara, is definitely our high C style. Living in a household full of high energy personalities, she's learned to speak up as well as allow space to retreat.
As she has gotten more true to her authenticity, stepping into it more as a 14-year-old now, I see those amazing C qualities really opening doors for her due to her natural curiosity and desire to learn. She was an entrepreneur by age 4, testing and experimented selling all kinds of things, and now does commission art pieces, movies, music composing and more, along with having her art up on RedBubble and Society6.
When she was 7, not only did she sell her greeting cards at every live event I hosted, but she worked out a consignment deal with a local vendor to sell them for her at farmer's markets and craft festivals. Why was that so cool? Clara's love is creating the art; not selling to people and lots of social interaction. This way she could focus on her art and let someone way more social do the selling for her.
The intricacy you see here is clearly that of a details-focused person. Clara's art is a true testament to the attention to detail that a C thrives in.
When Clara was around 7, 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.
When Clara was learning to tie her shoes, this became very clear. 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).
Your Weekly Challenge:
This is your challenge this week - pay attention to those high processors in your world. When you are talking to them, count to seven and experiment with adding less words and more space for them to step up.
If you haven't yet, make sure you've got my Success Secrets for Work and Home for communication tips for every personality style.
If you are high processing, make sure you communicate the small things, and remember the big picture.
If you don't relate to these high-processing personalities at all, know that you are now equipped with way more insight to better connect with the majority of the world, and I guarantee you have some high-processing personalities in your life. Slow your roll, and experience what new things you notice when you aren't running at full speed all the time.
When we are open about sharing our own insights into who we are, we don't leave someone with a guessing game on how to interact. The more we can be true to what brings out the best in us, the more we can celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste.
- What Is A DISC Personality Assessment?
- Get your free download of "Success Secrets for Home and Work" here
- 7 Seconds Will Change Your Communication and Connection (Episode 62)
- Perspectives on Attraction (Episode 223)
- Can I Get A Chill Pill? High Energy Personalities (Episode 224)
- What's Left Unsaid - Nonverbal Cues (Episode 192)
- Which is More Important - Skillset or Mindset? (Episode 218)
- Self-Love, or Self-Sabotage? (Episode 152)
- Ashley Logsdon, Relationship Coach
- Personality Styles
Questions or comments?
Personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, minimalism or travel - what is pressing on your mind?
Or, hop on over to the Unschooling Families FB group and ask your question there!