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If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me, "I am who I am!" And they usually say it with this emphatic voice, like 'whatever you're doing, I'm NOT going to change!'
Now a lot of the time people think that they're being asked of someone around them - 'Oh, that's just a response. Somebody suggested they change or modify their behavior.' It's like 'I am who I am', but the truth is, unless there is an extreme example of being asked to change, most of the time the request is for some softer, smaller change that could enhance the relationship or at work or at home.
My name is Linda Frazee and I've been working with people, individuals, companies, couples - for 40 years, helping them get better with communication and enjoying their lives. Now, I've worked with companies all over the country and these patterns that we get individually and in these invisible patterns that individuals and people have - often result in this attitude like 'I am who I am.'
Every time that's been said, you know there's some resistance and some fear behind it - even though many people will absolutely deny that. So, let me give you an example of that.
Years ago in Denver, Colorado, I was working with an office that had a problem. They called me in and they had this receptionist that was the, well, the receptionist was like a sliding door. They just were 'out' all the time that people would come in and they'd be there for about two weeks and then they'd leave. And it was to the point that the customers were beginning to wonder what's going on in this business? Is this business even stable? And everybody was quite mystified as to why this should be happening.
So I of course started talking to the management team and I talked to the receptionist and it was very clear as I began to talk to them, that the management team said the same thing as maybe other people would say, which is "It's just always been that way. You can't keep receptionist. That's just how it is. They don't get paid much and they just leave." That's an a version of saying, 'I am who I am and I don't want to change.'.
So after investigating this, I discovered that the supervisor of the receptionist was on the Enneagram, (which is a personality system that I teach), a 'One', which is a perfectionist, a reformer. And she is very bright, very, very quick, very, very fast in learning, very directed and intolerant of errors. She was the one who was supervising these new receptionists. For many of them, it was their very first job. They'd never worked in an office before. And those receptionists were completely intimidated by this very professional supervisor who was a 'One'. So as I began to talk to them about what could happen, I also learned that the receptionist was very lowly paid and she was expected to do very complicated things in between greeting the customers.
So it was no wonder that this is, these people were leaving because that wasn't enough money to put up with all of this. So I conveyed to the management team that they needed to make some shifts and they thought about it. I won't tell you that as soon as I suggested what I wanted them to do they said 'Oh, that's fine!' Even though it was small, they were all pretty addicted to 'I am who I am and I'm not going to change.'.
Well, after losing a few more receptionists, they finally called me back and said, okay, what do we need to do? Well, the first thing I suggested is that they raised the rate they were paying the receptionist to the market rate - they were expecting them to come in and do something that was below it. I worked with the perfectionistic - a woman who was a supervisor - and helped her see her blind spot of criticality and helped her get out of the idea of projection.
You see, we all do that! However we are, we think everybody else should be too. And if 'I can do it, why can't they?' So if 'I'm a quick learner, why isn't everybody else a quick learner?' We all do that - and that blocks good communication. So the management team got together and looked at the Enneagram, got their types, got how this was working, what was working and what wasn't.
The perfectionistic supervisor decided she was not the right one to be supervising the receptionist. And so what happened instead is there was a 'Two' on the team (who is called the helper) and she volunteered to be the one that would help the receptionist - the next one that came through the door - and really helped them learn about these complicated sort of things they wanted them to do and and to like her job and to feel safe.
So - three years later when I went back to visit - that receptionist had stayed for three years and not only had she stayed, she had done such a good job over time that she'd been promoted, and was actually in a higher level job! She had now trained her replacement as a supervisor!
So this is an example of what can happen in an organization. When we all look at who we are - our weaknesses, our strengths - and we dare to examine those patterns that keep us stuck in like, 'I am who I am and I won't change.'.
Again - remember - it's the small things that make the difference. Now in business, those small changes can result in more profit. You know, in personal life, it can result in more communication, more joy, and more connectedness, which are things that I think most people really want.
So I invite you to go to my website, LindaFrazee.com and look at my five part video series about the Enneagram (https://www.lindafrazee.com/whatistheenneagram) and try to find yourself on that because that will tell you about those underlying patterns that are really running the show in your life.
And next on YouTube, I'm going to talk about this same issue about 'I am I who I am' on a personal level. That could be the beginning of you understanding of your personal patterns that can get in the way at home or at work. Remember you can still be who you are and make changes that will benefit your work and your personal life as well!
Have a good day!
The Five Part Video Series about the Enneagram:
I am looking forward to staying connected. I respect your privacy and will never share your information. If you prefer to call me direct, please call 602-686-6313.