Unless Otherwise Directed…

By: Alan Shaw in Personal Growth, 3 years ago


I’ve taken several behavior assessments and honestly, there haven’t been any surprise results. Don’t get me wrong. I highly recommend them and will share my favorite with you. But assessments can only raise your self-awareness. It’s still up to you to act. For example, I know that my natural tendency is to seek out the opinion of a trusted circle of friends. That doesn’t mean I wait in limbo until they’ve opined, but I’m more likely to seek them out first, especially with major decisions.

A good friend of mine has a similar behavioral trait and recently applied a phrase to her life that I’ve found helpful as well: “Unless otherwise directed…”. She still looks for initial direction when given a task to ensure she understands the intent but now, unless otherwise directed, she is going to start in the direction she feels offers the best product or idea. When given additional guidance, she’ll adjust course and keep moving…unless otherwise directed. The phrase became so important to her that she started adding it to her email signature block. She’s always been empowered to make decisions, but the phrase gave her an additional sense of confidence.

She and I have our behavioral opposites: people who are very comfortable with little guidance or opinion. To them, “unless otherwise directed” is a natural behavior. It doesn’t mean they are better innovators or leaders. Their strength is an area I may struggle in, requiring more energy and effort. Likewise, they may struggle in areas I excel. That’s a key understanding for any assessment. I don’t believe in “strengths” and “weakness”; rather, I have “strengths” and “struggles”. A weakness leaves you powerless. A struggle leaves you self-aware enough to act.

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you prefer to seek others’ opinions before stepping out on a new adventure. Know your strengths and know your struggles because your circle of friends will likely direct you to what THEY think is best for you, not necessarily what IS best for you. Just maybe, the “unless otherwise directed” approach will uncover an idea or direction that leads you closer to what you are meant to do, and who you are meant to be.

If you’re interested in my favorite assessment to better understand your strengths and struggles, contact me and let’s walk this journey together…unless otherwise directed. Check out other articles and a list of my coaching gigs here.

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