1. Your Unique Design

1. Your Unique Design

You are created with an internal design and an internal purpose, and these don’t change. I believe “You can do anything you put your mind to.” However, I don’t believe it in the same way most motivators use it.  When you choose to pursue or put your mind to a goal that also matches your heart’s desires, then I believe you can do anything.In other words, the desires of your heart can be attained because they are placed there as part of your inborn design. Most of us never stop to think about where the desires of our hearts come from, and so many people miss the point of their life. They don’t experience the purpose of their life because they’re going after something they falsely think they should pursue or some goal their peers are pursuing or some prize of the moment.  When aiming for their life purpose, they miss the mark because they’re pursuing something contrary to their natural design.

When a large corporation ordered profiles of their candidates for a high-level executive position, the candidates had a lot of incentive to lie in order to gain the large base salary and bonus package. Many of them did lie during their profile interview, attempting to slant the profile results in their favor.  Ironically, it didn’t matter if they lied. During an interview, we actively listen for the patterns of a person’s passion. Their enthusiasm indicates their core natural abilities, and it is difficult to fake it. For example, if the candidates lied about being self-starters, their voice trailed off as they talked about it because their passion was actually in finishing or maintaining a project given to them. Your design isn’t what you try to be; it’s who you are! Many people think that their frame of mind has to be “just right” when interviewed for their profile assessment. But people always leak who they are.

When speaking of abilities, I am talking about you – the unique you. I’ve reviewed the profiles of thousands of individuals from all over…corporate executives, teenagers, homemakers, millionaires, and people who are barely getting by. And I have never seen two profiles exactly alike. That is not surprising. Just as each of us has a unique fingerprint and a face peculiarly our own that greets us in our bathroom mirror every morning, we have an internal design that is similarly recognizable.

Because everyone leaks who they are, it is possible to learn what to look for to capture who a person is.  Using observational analysis, we evaluate an individual’s patterns of gifts, abilities and styles. Based on this profile, we instruct the individual as to how this pattern of abilities can be used in a wonderfully dynamic way. Observational analysis has been utilized for as long as men and women have been aware of differences between individuals.The Greeks, the Sufis and many other cultures used it. I have refined the technique and applied it to the problems individuals face in the 21st century.

Your design is comprised of your innate abilities, what you gravitate to naturally. Everyone in my large family is right-handed. When my third nephew was born, we noticed early on that he preferred to use his left hand. He was naturally adept at using it. We tested his determination to be left-handed by putting items into his right hand. Time after time, he’d switch them to his dominant hand. It wasn’t heredity nor was it his nurture.  He was simply innately compelled to use his left hand.  Similarly, we are naturally compelled to use certain attributes irrespective of our nurture or genetics. 

For many of us, one of our earliest experiments from science class was observing the consistency of a compass pointing north.  No matter how much the needle is deterred from its purpose, nothing will wear down its resolve to find north. Likewise,on our journey in life we are designed to find our own true north. We may be deterred or detoured, but we remain in a state of internal awareness as to whether or not we are pursuing our true purpose. That innate awareness orients us to our personal true north. It’s not really a matter of choosing, but a compulsion to move toward what we are designed to do.

If you’re not aware of what your innate and learned abilities are, however, you do not know what your true north is.  You don’t know whether you’re moving toward success, significance and thriving or toward atrophy, loss and surviving.  You may be giving your power away to other people, trying to find yourself in their eyes, to find your validation in their expectations and their approval. That is a goal, but perhaps it doesn’t answer why you were put on this planet.

As I’ve already mentioned, your innate abilities are demonstrated by your enthusiasm. Enthusiasm comes from the word “in-Theo” which means “God-sized fullness”. There is no more passionate a word than enthusiasm. You don’t register enthusiasm by focusing on what’s wrong with you but by concentrating on what is right about you and folding that into your life, your business and your relationships. Enthusiasm literally inoculates you against burnout. 

Innate Abilities vs. Learned Abilities. Webster’s NewCollegiate Dictionary defines the word ability as “the quality or state of being able, competence in doing, or skill”. This dictionary defines learn as, “to gain knowledge or understanding or skill in by study, instruction or experience; to come to be able”. We can have abilities from birth or we can learn them.

Innate abilities are not learned. They are inborn. They come naturally and unconsciously to you. Your innate abilities are your natural gifts and they reveal truths about you. They are basic to who you are, and they make you come to life. They are what you are passionate about, and they show up whether you are 5, 25 or 55 years old.  Natural abilities must be cultivated, fostered and nurtured; not ignored, abandoned, and orphaned. 

Learned abilities are tasks, skills, and behavioral tendencies that you acquire. A learned ability is a result of nurture and experience. What you learn depends on your environment, what’s expected of you, your culture. Your learned abilities are secondary to your innate abilities.

This point can be confusing, so a few examples may clarify it. If one of your innate abilities is a strong competitive drive, how your competitiveness plays itself out can vary, and this depends on your nurture. If you grew up in a family that loved to play sports and your parents signed you up for tennis lessons, your competitive drive might be expressed by being on the tennis team at school. However, if your family emphasized music, you might learn to play the piano because your mother wanted you to. Then you might express your competitive drive through piano competitions. The learned ability is piano or tennis, but your innate ability is competing.

Another example is someone whose innate ability is to impact the lives of others. If the individual’s parents were teachers who encouraged their child to become a teacher, teaching might be the way this primary or innate ability played out. If one of the parents was a politician or an actor, the child might be encouraged to develop the skills needed for politics or acting. Of paramount importance to the individual is not the career in teaching or politics or acting, but the opportunity to impact the lives of others. That is what engages their passion and makes life rewarding. 

Recognizing the passion behind the pursuit. This is key to distinguishing between learned and innate abilities. My family members are all sports enthusiasts. And, they actively participate in many sports. So when I train for a marathon with them or play a round of golf, it is because I’m a sports enthusiast too, right?! Wrong! I am by nature the reader, the season ticket holder at the theater, the one who appreciates art. I have the ability to appreciate the beauty in the arts and in life, but I also have abilities that are relational. Therefore, I participate as a “team player” when I play sports because I enjoy the friendly camaraderie of a golf scramble, and I enjoy the connection to others I feel when I compete in a race. On the surface you see a sports enthusiast, but it’s misleading in my case.

I have friends who are well-known for their artistic endeavors. Their four children are artistic and not athletic. However, if you look behind the initial impression, you will find that one child likes to create private introspective moments with his music; another loves music competitions; the third wants to be provocative and liked with his art; the fourth wants to convey serious or inspirational thought to his audience. When you practice looking into motivation, you’re on your way to understanding yourself and others.

Some learned abilities are skills essential for survival, emotionally and physically.  Your learned abilities enable you to navigate through life, but they don’t necessarily have anything to do with your thriving.  In order to thrive, you have to engage your innate abilities. 

Furthermore, it is the blending of your learned abilities with your innate abilities that’s crucial to experiencing success and significance…thriving, rather than just surviving. Pavarotti has a natural ability to sing and a wonderful instrument, his voice. Through exceptional discipline and practice, he has learned the necessary skills. However, without his passion, without his zeal for excellence and his desire to move his audience, he would technically sing well, but would not thrive the way he obviously does.

Your profile doesn’t pigeonhole you or determine your job destiny. Instead of limiting you, it opens up the many possibilities available to you, based on your multi-faceted design. Even for someone like Prince William, who was born with a predetermined job description, his natural abilities will shape how he’ll fulfill the role of king. William was not born with the innate abilities needed to be King of England. Some of his natural abilities have leaked out: to nurture and care for people, to enjoy competition, to value camaraderie. His innate abilities will surface, even inside his future formal role as king. 

My brother Brian sold real estate with great success in the 80s. He now has a national company that coaches people to be successful in their own businesses. Many of them are realtors. I provide profiles for them, and I am fascinated by the broad variety of people drawn to this field. Nurturers are attracted to selling real estate because they like to help others find a home. Free-spirited people come to it because of the freedom and flexibility the industry provides. Some are drawn to this profession because they love the negotiations and the daily challenges. Their profiles do not narrowly define the specific job they should go into. Rather, the profiles reveal the variety of jobs they can do and indicate how people with varied profiles can do the same job differently, according to their own style.

I’ve sought to correct elements of past profiling systems that put people into one of 32 categories or into a combination of these categories. I also believe that it is wrong to compare individuals on a scale with everyone who took a similar test. These approaches limit results. They put a person in a box. There are only 32 YESes or boxes youcan be put into, but there are an infinite number of NOs. My technique, the Ability Management Profile, is designed to look for the YESes rather than the NOs.  My goal is to celebrate the unique gifts of the individual. You are compared to no one. My idea is not to limit or label you. My focus is to provide you a tool that opens up a conversation on how to empower you. I seek to have you understand and embrace your innate gifts and learn how to manage them.

Many of us have been told that if we focus on fixing what is wrong with us, we will right ourselves. Using your Ability Management Profile, we focus on what is right with you. 

Mediocrity is established when we focus on our weaknesses. Success and significance are manifested when we focus on our strengths and create a mechanism to support our weaknesses.

While providing an atmosphere of acceptance and grace, I challenge people with the truth about themselves, emphasizing what is right about them, not what’s wrong. My work is to help you harness what you’re good at and delegate what you’re not good at.  

Your abilities interact in combination to shape who you are designed to be. An important aspect of using your abilities, styles and perspectives optimally is in the interplay…in how these areas complement each other, intensify each other, or cause you internal conflict. When I go over a person’s profile with them, I want to shed light on the joys and frustrations of being that individual. When one ability interacts with another, both combine to form a hybrid. For example, if the Romantic attribute interacts with an attribute that loves to learn and explore, it might prompt the individual to work as a forest ranger. If the Romantic attribute is combined with the love of improving and refining things, the individual might be an interior designer.

How you use your natural abilities is as important as the particular abilities you have to use.  Your styles represent the ways in which you use your unique abilities. This is about how you work, how you parent, and how you relate to others. It’s about the environment for you to thrive, the best environment for you to learn and grow toward success and significance. With regard to styles, we talk about how you naturally communicate; how you need to be communicated with; where your significance stems from. With regard to time, we look at several areas: What is your reality? What are you aware of? What do you focus on?  How do you move through time? Quickly? Slowly? The big question is: How can your natural styles optimally benefit your life? I hope and expect that this book will be a beginning for you to discover answers for yourself.

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