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Confessions Of A Type A Personality:  Learning to release and let go
by Hope Porter

It is said that confession is good for the soul.  I must agree with that saying.  I never thought of myself as a Type A Personality.  You know…that personality that is characterized as ambitious, aggressive, controlling, highly competitive, impatient, tightly-wound, and also called a workaholic.  However, as I look back and began to evaluate my life as a wife, mother of five, business owner, nurse and attorney, an alarming picture began to emerge.  Please know my realization was not a result of self-reflection and introspection. It began more as a result of those around me who began to reveal the inconvenient truth.

My daughter complained regarding my consistent use of the cell phone and constant contact with my office staff even well after business hours and on weekends. My son asked me what I thought was a profound question, “Why do you have to speed everywhere you go?”  If these were just whispers, I began to hear a scream when, one day as I rode in the passenger seat on a trip home in moderate traffic, my car seemed to be poking along at such a slow pace while the other lane to our left was wide open.  I began sweating; my right foot was pressed to the floor as if I was accelerating and my heart was pounding. 

I was surprised at my response to such a small event over which I had no control.  And to think my hurrying was not for any legitimate purpose other than arriving quicker because the opportunity presented itself.  As I battled to deal with my new dilemma, I began to think about how I could improve my situation.  I took a hard look and came up with the following steps to help correct my position.

First, I began to realize that the world does not revolve around me.  Despite my many responsibilities, activities and tasks, I had to realize that what is important to me is not necessarily important to everyone else.  Others have issues that concern them as well and my aggression, impatience and controlling nature are not helpful nor of value.

Second, I had to begin to understand and utilize an invaluable tool called delegation.  Delegation is defined as the act of empowering one to act for another.  Learning to empower those around you to act for you or carry out tasks for which you are responsible can be a much needed step in beating the Type A Personality.  With instruction and guidance, you can infuse your directions and policy to someone so they may carry out the directive.  Take the step to not only allow your delegate to carry out the task but infuse their own individuality in the project.

Third, my health is important and operating at the level of stress and anxiety at which I operated was unhealthy.  Stress and anxiety can place you at greater risk for heart disease and lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks and/or strokes.  It is important to work and live in a less stressful environment and find a release.  One can find methods through prayer and relaxation to relieve stress.

Fourth, tomorrow is another day.  Alleviate the pressure of having to complete everything in one day.  Be realistic about what can be accomplished when considering professional, personal and family commitments.  Stop, breathe in, breathe out and smell the roses.

Fifth, allow room for others to participate in the things that are important to you.  I began to realize that if it is important to me, it is probably important to someone else.  If it’s a concern for my family, my husband shares that concern. If it’s my company’s performance, there’s an employee that is also concerned.  Understanding that commitment is not a monopoly but a shared concept can go a long way in allowing others to share in what you feel is valuable.

Finally, confession is good for the soul and wanting a different result requires doing something different.  Incorporating these steps into my behavior and outlook has helped me to stem the tide and begin the road to change.  That’s my spin on it.

Hope Porter is a Nurse, Attorney, and co- owner, with her husband of more than 20 years, of Staffing Etc., a health care staffing firm.  David and Hope have five children and reside in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area.  To learn more about Hope, check out her website: www.staffingetc.net or email her at hporter@staffingetc.net.