6. Pioneer (From The Growth Family)
Who were those trailblazers, making their way to the land rush in Oklahoma, heading to the Gold Rush in California or drilling for oil in Texas? What about that coach who brought you to the next level? Or that businessman who took his company to dizzying new heights? Where would the space program be without John F. Kennedy’s insistence that there be one? They were dynamic people who made a powerful impact on our society.
Pioneers gift people with irresistible hope. They put a fire in our belly. They compel us to move forward, to take the first step and the next step. Recently, my brother Brian, who is a Pioneer, decided we would all do a marathon despite my vigorous objections. He had an answer for every question and a way around every roadblock. Eighteen weeks of training and nine blisters later, I found myself stepping over a finish line I didn’t know I could cross.
Pioneers can take us to places we never could have imagined. What price would you pay for the realization of a goal or dream? How valuable would it be to have someone pave the way and show you where to go? Someone to take the bruises for you and to show you where not to venture? Pioneers are easy to spot. They’re the ones who are always on the go, looking for growth and movement and overcoming the obstacles. Pioneers won’t let you settle for status quo. They’re the people who don’t accept excuses.
Members of the Growth family have a keen interest in personal success, in personal growth and prestige, and in the development of people, projects, products or businesses. They’re aware of growth, and also aware of atrophy and loss in their lives. Pioneers can be described in one word – momentum. They have to progress, to move forward to the next level, the next achievement, the next goal. They are momentum machines, tenacious and determined, with an insatiable appetite for growth. Pioneers must keep moving and growing to be inside their significance. I call it the bulldozer attribute or the pile driver. Sometimes they bulldoze right over their own needs or the needs of their loved ones in order to accomplish what they set out to do.
They are keenly aware of pragmatic, empirical growth and want it to be substantial. So they can be angered by the lack of growth or progress. It can be hard for them to verbalize their dissatisfaction. Instead, they may experience it as a kind of quiet gnawing. These people can walk into a factory and be instantly aware of the volume on the conveyor belt or the lack of it.
As I mentioned previously, there is no hierarchy of abilities. Pioneer is an attribute that throbs…when happy or when oppressed and frustrated. It’s one of the first attributes to show up when we do a profile because it involves a level of boundless energy as well as impatience. Pioneers tend to lash out if slowed or stopped. Had they been born in the 19th Century, they’d be participating in the Oklahoma Land Rush; and the moment they planted their flag in the ground, they’d be off to California to pan for gold. After they found their nuggets, they’d rush to Texas to drill for oil. They’re designed for movement. Their significance stems from achievement of a goal and then moving to something new. They’re either leveraging their achievement, building from it, or simply changing direction.
It is a provocative attribute because it can spur others to move, grow, and transform. It can be relentless and intimidating, but it can also champion others. For their own peace of mind, Pioneers are compelled to track and inventory their movement and growth. Otherwise, they won’t have a substantive measure of how much they’ve grown, how far they’ve moved, where they’ve come from, where they’ve yet to go. At the beginning of every year, a Pioneer I know goes away for a couple of days with his wife to take stock of what they’ve achieved and to set their new goals. They inventory where they’ve come from and where they want to go. This measurement gives them a sense of grounding, anchoring, stabilization, competence, and confidence. It’s their compass to point them to their true north.
The desire for growth needs definitive movement. A dream is a goal without legs. Without movement, it’s just a wish…frustrated and frustrating.
Like the markers along the way in a marathon, substantive and experiential milestones are important to Pioneers as a way to know they’re moving forward. They must see the signs and experience the experience to validate, nurture, re-energize, and persevere in running toward the finish line. Milestones, goals, something to shoot for and spring-board from are vital and literally directional in nature for them. They need that compass. Without it, they are magnificent ships without direction, sailing around, floundering, looking for a purpose and a port.
Examples of experiential milestones show up in Pioneers’ conversations: “We now have the time to take a family vacation” or “I made $10,000 in commissions” or “We just finished renovating the house” or “I saw 25 more clients this year than I did last year” or “I saw 25 fewer clients this year than I did last year.”
Pioneers are just as aware of any atrophy in their lives as they are of growth. They have to champion themselves by marking when they grow and move forward.
Pioneers need multiple sources of significance in their lives. Ronan Tynan, one of The Irish Tenors, exemplifies the unstoppable spirit of the Pioneer. He was a championship equestrian show-jumper. Born with ankle deformity both his lower legs were amputated at age 20. He went on to compete in the Disabled Olympics where he won five Gold medals. Later, he became a doctor. While he was in his medical residency, he entered a singing competition as a tenor where he again won and had the opportunity of touring as professional singer. Ronan Tynan has come full circle todoing singing, touring and breeding horses.Pioneers are happiest when moving to the next level. They don’t rest on their laurels. They bulldoze through whatever obstacles they encounter. What fulfills Pioneers is movement.