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Why Overcoming Personal Constraints is the Key to Success

Why Overcoming Personal Constraints is the Key to Success

By Dr. Chris White

9 years ago




Why do certain people reach higher and higher levels, while others struggle or just plug along at a lesser level of achievement? We decided to study as many highly successful people as we could to discover the differences: top performers on Wall Street and leaders in manufacturing, retail, and the military. We looked at top athletes, children with exceptional test scores and performance, and parents doing an outstanding job raising their kids.

In our work as consultants focused on leadership and executive development, we top studied corporate and educational leaders and even television personalities. As we coached these leaders, we discovered the difference between those who perform at the top – and those who don’t. And we’re still studying to refine our understanding.

At the heart of Overcoming Personal Constraints™ is a powerful notion: our strengths don’t single-handedly define our success. No matter how formidable our talents, we are held back by behaviors that limit our performance or are the reasons for our failure. Our personal constraints determine our ultimate level of success. If you can identify those constraints and make a plan to overcome them, you’ll see a dramatic surge in success, productivity, and happiness in all aspects of your life. In short, you’ll discover who you were born to be.

The Personal Constraint Theory™ challenges two prevailing self-improvement approaches that had often proven unsuccessful for our clients: Personality Theory and Strength Theory. Personality Theory asserts our personalities are essentially fixed in ways that define how we act. A broad field that encompasses several sometimes-conflicting views of “the self,” Personality Theory offers little help to identify issues or strategies for improvement. We agree that our innate characteristics or traits can define who we are, but Personality Theory fails to acknowledge our tremendous capacity for making a positive change in our lives and provides limited use as a tool for growth. Dozens of profiles can describe your personality. DiSC, Myers-Briggs, and Taylor-Johnson are interesting and helpful but are not particularly useful in bringing about behavioral change or directing personal growth.

Strength Theory suggests that a focus in the direction we naturally move can reveal our strengths and show us where to channel our energies. It goes something like this: our hardwired personalities resist change, so build on your natural abilities instead of concentrating on areas where you underperform. To quote the phrase popularized by this theory, “Play to your strengths.” Again, we agree with the basic concept. Why work in an office when you are a gifted musician or stay in a job you hate just because it pays a decent wage? Find your gifts, develop them, and use them for the highest and greatest good.

Strength Theory contributes to success, but it’s still not enough. Playing harder to your strengths won’t cause a significant jump in performance. Most of our clients don’t need pep talks about being better at what they’re already great at or loving themselves as they are. For example, telling a highly creative person with no self-control to simply celebrate and expand his creativity would be counterproductive; his or her gifts can never be fully expressed without the focus and discipline that come with self-control.

Overcoming Personal Constraints is built on the notion that change is more than possible; it’s imperative. To live fully, we can and must learn how to minimize behavioral weaknesses while also maximizing our strengths. Yes, many obstacles are difficult to overcome. A single-minded focus on our limitations can be frustrating and even depressing, but ignoring them is even worse.

Take the first step toward overcoming your personal constraints – click here to take a free assessment that will highlight your strengths and pinpoint your personal constraints. Also included at no cost is a debrief with an expert coach, helping you apply your results in your current role and most importantly – steps you can take to overcome your personal constraints!

Dr. Chris White

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