Week 35/2021: explore and observe

Week 35/2021: Week of 30 August 2021

What did I want to do better this week?

Focus on being observant. In particular being mindful in one chosen activity.

So, how did that go then?

Keep reading . . .

Sunrise over a beach with the light making a pathway to the water and the rocks in the foreground
Sunrise

21 for 2021 update

The Change Journal (thing 4)

This was Week 2 of trying to do the activity in the Change Journal I forgot to do last week.

Guess what?

I forgot again. So much for mindfulness and paying attention.

Kramstable’s videos (thing 8)

I did a bit more work the video. I need Kramstable to provide some supplementary footage in a couple of spots but apart from that I’m almost caught up with the footage that I have. It’s going well.

My mother’s story (thing 9)

I had a quick visit with my Mum this week and chatted about a couple of things.

I also started reading the book Writing True Stories by Patti Miller, which is preparation for a class I’m going to take with Patti at the end of September about, well, writing true stories. I’m hoping it will help me start to write this particular story.

The Compelling Frame course (thing 11)

Progress!

I worked on some of the lesson 14 exercises and finished lesson 15. I have to remind myself this isn’t a race (oh, shit, did I just say that?) and the idea is to learn from this course, not rush through it to tick a box before the end of the year.

I made a list of the creative exercises I want to spend more time on so they’re easy to access instead of me having to dig through the course website to find them. And I started to do one of the exercises only to have it turn into something else entirely.

That was fun!

I also started a completely different photography course with a completely different angle, which is giving me some really interesting ideas to explore.

Brainsparker (thing 17)

The class this week was a bit different

We looked at the Lumina Splash app, which provides a cut down version of Lumina Spark personality profile. I love these types of profiles and I went to the Lumina website to check out a bit more about it.

A couple of things appealed to me about this.

First, unlike some other tools, this one doesn’t make you choose between two options on a scale, such as (I’m just making this up) “I prefer to plan my day in advance” or “I prefer to leave my days open”. The website says that they “embrace paradoxes”, which means you can embody seemingly opposite personality traits at the same time. The tool independently measures the level to which your personality has “opposite, competing and contradictory aspects”. So, if that were a real example, you could say that you like planning your days and you like leaving your days open and this would be reflected in your score on both of those elements.

I love this.

A second element that caught my interest was that the tool looks at three elements of personality: Underlying, Everyday and Overextended. It doesn’t really describe these but I imagine “everyday” is your go-to styles and preferences, which must be what the more standard profiles look at. But it also looks at how you might respond in situations where you’re really stressed (overextended) and also in situations where you’re totally free of all constraints. I’m guessing this is what “underlying” is all about, the real you when you don’t have to meet any expectations.

It places all the traits around a circle and creates a “splash” that shows how strong your preference is for these traits, and each is assigned a colour.

So for example, if you start in the bottom left quadrant of the circle, this is where the blue energy lives. This is the introverted, measured, detail-focused part of the circle. Unsurprisingly, this is where I score highest: pragmatic, precise, down to earth, reliable energy.

As you start to move around the circle, around the traits, the colours change too. So moving clockwise from blue, you go through blue-green to green (the people-focused energy) to yellow-green and then to yellow (the imagination, big picture energy, which sits diagonally opposite blue). Keep going and you move through extroverted orange to red (the outcomes-focused energy), then the red-purple, disciplined purple and back to blue.

The Lumina Spark framework - a ring of eight colours with their relevant characteristics from the Lumina Spark profile
The Lumina Spark framework (from the Lumina website)

I wasn’t surprised that my splash was very much skewed to the blue quadrant. Every single test I do puts me squarely there. What I did find interesting was a very strong splash in the yellow region, diagonally opposite the blue.

Barb's Lumina Splash profile showing very high blue and high yellow scores
My Splash!

In the Lumina Spark model, the yellow energy is the “disruptor” energy, the conceptual, imaginative thinking that looks for connections and jumps around between ideas. It’s the opposite to the blue energy.

Another assessment tool I used at work looked at similar elements to the Splash and I was placed very clearly in that tool’s equivalent to the blue section. But I always felt if there was another space I wanted to go and play in, it was the space diagonally opposite my quadrant, even though that space didn’t show up strongly in my profile at all. The facilitator for this program said that, while people can shift around in the general vicinity of their preferences, it was impossible to morph into your polar opposite and that people in this opposite space would be the people you most struggle to understand and work with.

At the time, my inclination was, well screw that. No personality profile is going to tell me what I am and aren’t drawn to (thus entirely overlooking the whole point of a personality profile, I know). But I also knew this wasn’t generally the way I behaved, and that hanging with people who were strong in in that space for too long (about five minutes) exhausted me. So there was a bit of truth to what the facilitator said.

However, my understanding of the Lumina Splash profile tells me something different. Okay, I know that a free two-minute test on an app is not going to be as accurate as a paid profile. But the predominance of yellow and my attraction to the space, despite my strong preference for the blue space, got me wondering. It seemed to me this was the precise paradox that Lumina says it considers. Why can’t I be grounded and practical and up in the clouds as well? If I’m a detail person, why can’t I be a big picture person? Who says I can’t? A personality test?

This model says I can.

Okay, so you might be saying, who cares what a personality test says you can do, just go out and behave however you want. Fair enough. The tools aren’t designed to box you and tell you how you must behave all the time. But I think they do shed some light on ways that you naturally behave and prefer to do things, what you’re strong at, where you’re uncomfortable and how you communicate with other people. It can also show you areas where you might be wired to perform well, but where, for some reason, you haven’t ever used that capacity.

Thinking about this leads me to my Myers Briggs type. I’m a big fan of this on many levels, not just at the level of the basic 4-letter code, which is the simplest way of looking at it and the most open to misunderstanding. Going deeper into my type, it seems to me that the yellow energy this test has picked up on is found within my secondary cognitive function, which is extroverted intuition, aka “exploring”. That’s about getting away from my comfort zone where I normally sit doing my logical thinking, and going out into the world, exploring, finding connections between unrelated things, asking “what if”, being curious, experimenting. It’s exactly what I think the yellow energies of the Lumina Splash are about.

It’s the element of my personality that I’ve neglected the most, through years of staying in my areas of greatest strength: detail, reliability and procedure. I know I do good work here. I’m recognised for it. It’s safe. But it’s also one-dimensional because I haven’t complemented it with other strengths, in particular, exploration. The yellow side. So I’m missing out on using a massive chunk of my ability. I’ve avoided this side of myself and everything it entails because these attributes are outside my safety zone.

These are the areas that excite me the most but they also scare me the most because to do them I have to go out, and I’ve spent my life staying in. I live in Fortress Introvert, where things are structured, predicable and organised. And quiet. Very quiet. I see people in the yellow side of the splash as being highly energetic, extroverted people who have loads of good ideas but who wear me out very quickly. I am not and never will be like that, yet I feel I need to be in this space.

To my mind, the Splash and the MBTI work I’ve been doing are both saying the same thing to me. That it’s time to be in this space more often and to develop my exploration capacity. But rather than try and be like the super-extroverted yellow people (note my zero score on the extraversion scale), I need to do it in my own introverted way.

I’m really enjoying how little things I’m reading and picking up on at the moment are all pointing in the same direction.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 3 (1, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 4 (8, 9, 11, 17)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 9 (2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 16)
  • Things not started: 5 (3, 12, 15, 19, 21)

    Two tall buildings framing early morning clouds in a blue sky
    Cloud watch

What else did I do this week?

What was the best thing about this week?

Learning about the Lumina Splash and working on my photography courses

What do I want to do better next week?

Be more mindful and observant, and start to develop my capacity to explore.

What I’m reading this week

  • Mindfulness-Integrated CBT for Well-Being and Personal Growth by Bruno A. Cayoun
  • Writing True Stories by Patti Miller

Habit tracker

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 5): 7
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 0
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 4): 0
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 3
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 2
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.45 (Goal = 6): 7
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