We receive a lot of input from many sources in life that focus on who is better, richer, stronger, most beautiful, most talented, most athletic, etc. – which puts the emphasis on superlatives and its inherent competition. There are those who believe this contributes to people feeling isolated and ‘less than’.
After all, no one is the best at everything, so even if we are the best at something, the media constantly barrages us with more information about the areas where we do not naturally excel.
Psychological style theories also serve to emphasize what’s different between people. They fit people into distinct ‘types’, each with their own areas of unique strength. As a coach, I’ve used style theories for a long time, because I’ve seen that – when used correctly, in context – the insights they provide can dramatically accelerate the results of coaching.
But too often, people regard style theories as yet another source of information about how they measure up or compare, and one of the unfortunate aspects of focusing on these differences is that people sometimes begin to believe that the differences are all that matter.
The truth is that people really are more alike than they are different. And while the differences are real, so are the dangers that arise from losing sight of what we have in common.
We all share the experiences of being understood and misunderstood, of being complimented and criticized, of being loved and disliked. And we all want to feel like we belong. That’s what makes us human. Our commonalities are the “what’s” of life. Our differences are merely the “how’s” we use to go about it.
Is it really critical that the way you go about creating community is different than the way I do? The foundation for a strong relationship should be the fact that we both value community. Understanding differences helps us to clearly see that there is more than one “correct” way to experience life. Those differences simply add dimension and richness.
Perceptual Style Theory (PST) was created to bring people closer together, to help people understand the differences they experience, and to give them tools to get past and accept those differences so that they can connect with each other more profoundly. As a coach, I think it’s important to emphasize that PST is a tool designed to help us acknowledge our differences, yes, but also to help us put those difference in perspective and rise above them in discovering what we have in common.
So, while you may have a different Perceptual Style than I do, we’re probably more alike than you think! Let’s spend some time finding ways to connect on what we have in common.
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