9. Performer (From The Impress Family)

9. Performer (From The Impress Family)

As an Olympian loves challenges, the Performer is challenged by provoking a response from an audience. Both pursue their goals with the same tenacity. Performers are the provocateurs who swim against the current and start new trends. Without them, we’d all live in the same boxes.

How dull our lives would be without entertainers and high-performance athletes! What would be our inspiration if we had no one to amaze us or make us laugh or entertain us? How boring would school have been without the class cut-up? Performers delight in making others think, feel and respond positively to living outside the box. Remember the first grade teacher who left an indelible stamp on your spirit? Or the friend who prompted you to move in a new direction you’d never have thought of yourself? The Depression would have been harder to bear without Chaplin, Keaton, Laurel and Hardy. Wars would have been total hell without Bob Hope and the USO. Young people would miss the niceties of political satire without Saturday Night Live and Late Show monologues. The antics of Robin Williams and Jim Carey delight us. The showmanship of the Harlem Globetrotters entertains and amazes us. Performers light up the world. They energize a room. They provoke others to feel, think, laugh, get out of the mundane or mediocre. So what if they’re showing off? That’s their thing! Performers have to wow us with excellence. Everything is a performance, including how they enter a room. They love to be at center-stage.

The worst thing for them is trying to win over an audience that won’t react. Performers are allergic to unresponsiveness. They break out in hives when they encounter it.  Because they’re highly sensitive to the nature of response, indifference is their Achilles heel. For an Impress person to feel satisfied, the audience must register enthusiasm. Performers need to remind themselves that others may not naturally be responsive. If ignored, Performers feel like part of the wallpaper and may act out inappropriately. This is their greatest disability. They’ll go around provoking others in any way they can, living life in a drama department of their own making.  When unmanaged, this can become quite negative, intentionally to provoke a response. 

Our society doesn’t know what to do with these people, but we need their ability.   Our recognition of their value goes back to the time of court jesters. Society has always needed entertainment. Performers are wonderful in their ability to amuse, shock , and provoke us…to make us think and feel differently. 

While they love an audience, Impress people are not generally responsive themselves and do not make a good audience. They tend to want to reserve the wow response for themselves. This is often evident at awards shows, especially at the Oscars, where practiced civility and graciousness replace real enthusiasm.

Performers have a natural ability to be noticed and remembered.  At the grocery store, strangers come up to them and gush, “Oh my Gosh, how are you?  How are the kids?  How are things going?” Performers cultivate recognition on a subconscious level. A businessman would need to spend thousands of dollars on marketing materials to be noticed and remembered to the same degree. Impress people are naturally endowed with the greatest marketing tool – presence. That alone represents and sells them. Presence motivates and influences others. It’s a marvelous gift and a pragmatic tool.

The Impress ability doesn’t require its owner to be dramatic. People with this ability can move quietly through a group of people and still be noticed, acknowledged and welcomed. They use the environment to be noticed. Quiet or dramatic, those with an Impress ability are always aware of their relationships, surroundings and position. They seek to be valued by being acknowledged.

My youngest brother Kevin has three abilities from the Impress family. Things are never dull in his world. He is about impressing others with quick-witted humor and provocative insights. If Kevin is in the mood, he can change the emotional temperature in the entire family from subdued to raucous within five minutes. It requires no effort for him to do this. His presence brightens our lives and restores our mood, humor, and enthusiasm. When he was a teenager, he had a job at a bowling alley as a janitor. Now, this is traditionally an obscure job. But everyone leaks who they are, and Kevin’s impress abilities transformed the job “slightly.” He’d take large plastic garbage bags, use them as a cape, and run through the bowling alley as Captain Garbage, super-hero of trash collection. 

It’s not hard to figure out that Kevin was celebrated almost entirely for making others laugh. Fast-forward to an adult problem Kevin experienced. His profession required him to handle hundreds of thousands of dollars for his clients, but he had a problem with people seeing him as a serious professional. His profile shows he has the gift of insight and creative thought. He is able to negotiate and process thoughts quickly. Whenever Kevin came to hear me speak, I always went to him for input afterward. I knew he would immediately have a valid feel for how effective I was with the audience. Any critical insights of his were always perceptive, true and appreciated by me. Until recently, Kevin had never consciously chosen to change how he is perceived by those in his sphere of influence. He now makes a conscious choice to show up inside his business. By that I mean the dialogue he uses professionally now focuses on his abilities of clear insight, thinking outside the box and quick thinking. He is still outrageously funny in his personal life, but he puts forth a casual, amiable, yet professional style in his business. It has created phenomenal results for him and has boosted his competence and confidence. If there is someone in your life that you delight in talking to or who puts a smile on your face, most likely they have an Impress ability.

Like Justices, Performers can be particularly sensitive to the nurture they received. They may have had stoic parents and been punished for acting dramatically. Perhaps they were told that they should be seen but not heard. The Performer can be funny and dramatic, but also extremely toxic.

There are three basic ways to show internal integrity:  

  • by following traditional right/wrong, black/white ethics and values;
  • by manifesting excellence
  • by impacting an individual, organization or audience.

Performers demonstrate their integrity through impact. They’re designed to have an effect on you.

Those with the Impress ability can make good salespeople. But boy, can they be sold a bill of goods themselves! They’ll have a garage full of Ab-rollers, Thighmasters, Nordic Traks, and all the latest computer gadgets. They can be sold anything and end up with buyer’s remorse. They enjoy the give-and-take of selling and buying.  They like the repartee and response.

In general, people with the Impress ability are hypersensitive to how they’re perceived. What happens if they make a mistake?   What if they fall on their face?  What happens if they fail to impress?! It creates a defensiveness in them. 

One of my staff became confident and comfortable with the Ability Management process only when she was able to set aside her Impress attribute. She did this by telling herself,  “I’m owning this information irrespective of how I’m perceived and regardless of how I’m being responded to.” That set her free to embrace the process and enthusiastically do her job. Up to that point, she had been somewhat tentative in her manner, not because she did not believe in the value of what she did, but for fear of how the person at the other end might perceive her.

Sometimes it’s necessary to say really hard things to people. Those with an Impress attribute can do this with humor so the message can be received without hard feelings.

Direct predators for an Impress person are people with Structure attributes. Ask Impress realtors, “Have you ever worked for an analytical, cerebral, engineer-type client?” If they have, they will tell you that it drove them crazy, because they didn’t know where they stood with their client. There was no laughter, wow, verbal acknowledgment or applause to indicate how well the realtor was doing. Analytical, cerebral, intellectual, facilitative people are naturally frustrating for the Impress person.

Performers regard others as mirrors back to them. Responses are milestones. But, there is a temporary nature to their impress. Response is like a rich, cream-filled dessert that is left unrefrigerated. It’s beautiful and sumptuous today, but turns bad tomorrow. You’re only as good as your last role. That’s the pressure in Hollywood that results in substance use. Actors and musicians are raised to stardom and then quickly fall from favor. Gwyneth Paltrow may’ve been the toast of the town a month ago, but this week she’s considered bland. Dennis Rodman did increasingly outlandish things to get a response. Some Performers finally get the response they’ve wanted and find themselves trapped in a specific role. They can only perform a certain way or remain in the same sitcom. Some want a response so badly that they get trapped in a vicious cycle, doing more and more to shock or provoke, leading to a tabloid ending.

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