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Shaping your way through the "funk" of change

Have you ever just been in a "funk?"


Sometimes, you don't even know why. You just feel "a little off your game." Work is hard, and even when the work isn't necessarily hard, physical work to do, or even hard, mental work, it is still exhausting and takes twice as long as it should.


After using PsychoGeometrics for nearly 20 years, I've come to recognize such times in my life, and that typically these feelings come from having to use skillsets that I am not naturally good at using, or even like to use, and require an unbelievable amount of concentration.

I could describe these times as:

  1. Annoying

  2. Frustrating

  3. Exhausting

  4. Discouraging

  5. Draining

  6. Fearful

  7. Confused

  8. Unsure

  9. Lacking confidence

  10. Indecisive

These feelings above undoubtedly come from my primary Triangle and secondary Squiggle, which represent my natural "Shape" strengths and the Shapes I love to be, and am really good at being!


But over the past two weeks, my Triangle got "flattened," and my Squiggle got "squashed."


This is due to the fact I have been making final edits to nearly 100 reports, using software I've never used before and problem-solving that requires an understanding, then using various methods of technology, which might as well be like me trying to learn and use a foreign language all in one day, expecting to get a 100 on my test.


Top it off with feeling pressure to move quickly, and now I am in what I call a "funk."


Funny thing is a "funk" doesn't last forever, and sometimes we forget that when we are in the middle of it. We can't see the big picture, we are deep in the weeds, and we begin to question or own abilities, as if something is wrong with us.


As someone who is a Subject Matter Expert of PsychoGeometrics, aka "Shapes," I am always surprised how even I can get caught off-guard when I am in a temporary state of change or transition, causing me to Shape Flex, using Shapes that I find hard to use because they are not my natural strengths.


For example, if you are right-handed, and you temporarily lose your ability to use your right-hand, you most likely compensate by using your left-hand. When this happens, you find yourself feeling awkward, frustrated, annoyed, and even discouraged because you are not able to use your left-hand very well.

Everything is hard, from signing your name to brushing your teeth, and you also find things are taking twice as long to do having to use your hand that is not your dominant one.

The same is true for Shapes. The Triangle and Squiggle are my dominant shapes, and are natural for me to use, just like my right hand is my dominant shape, and I can use it without even thinking how. It just comes naturally.


You also have dominant Shapes within you, that you enjoy using and that are easier to use than the other shapes.


So back to my "funk" over the past two weeks.


Finally, in week two it occurred to me why I was feeling "off my game." Duh! I am going through a Rectangular change in my career right now, and I am having to use other shapes that are not natural for me to use.


So I took my own Shapes Assessment, twice in fact, and instead of making my choices based on what is natural for me, in terms of who I am, what I do, and how I relate to others, I completed the three sections of the assessment, answering honestly about how I was feeling, thinking in the moment, and perceived myself to be in that moment. Both times I got the same result. My Shapes Report said my Primary Shape was a Box and my Secondary Shape was a Rectangle.


Ahhhhh, well there you go! That explains everything. No wonder I am in a "funk." I am having to use my left hand instead of my right hand the majority of the time lately, and it's "frustrating and exhausting hard," not "challenging or exciting hard," which is how I prefer to look at tasks that typically slow me down.


That's because:

  1. my Squiggle is motivated, even excited, when something disrupts the same, old routine, and

  2. my Triangle loves the challenge of overcoming an obstacle to get the win.

It's just that, typically, I already have the Squiggle ideas, naturally within me, to quickly figure it out, and the natural Triangle within to give me the confidence to take action and hit the target.


But lately, my Squiggle's "got nothing" and my Triangle has come to a grinding halt, because during times of change and transition, it can sometimes take a different skillset, represented by a shape that is not your natural strength.


Consciously, or subconsciously, you shift to a different shape or combination of shapes in order to survive a change of circumstances, or environment, and you do it so seamlessly because that is what your brain is trained to do naturally, even though it would not be a natural choice for you.


Allow me to explain. My Squiggle is destined to find a way, and right or wrong, my Triangle will press on and make it work, one way or another, even if it means having to do something that I would not naturally want to do, choose to do, or even like to do, but my brain knows instinctively I have to do.


I do not naturally think of slowing down, asking what others think, or saying "tell me more" when referring to the specific details or steps that are boring to me, or don't make logical sense to me. I would rather just focus on my desired destination and bulldoze my way through, eventually getting there.


But this is when your brain takes over naturally, but perhaps not consciously for you.

Among its various roles, your brain is designed to protect you, help you survive, and keep you from harm.


It's why out of ten things that may happen to you in a day, you find yourself dwelling on the one that hurt the most, caused the most frustration, or disappointment, instead of focusing on the nine things that made you feel good, confident, and happy. Your brain naturally goes to the "one pain, one setback, one failure" of the day to make sure you are aware of it so you can manage it and move on.


Here's another example, let's say you are someone who likes to take time to process the information, or analyze the situation, before making a decision. As a result, you know that for these very reasons, you can be slow to make a decision. This would probably indicate that you are someone with natural Box Strengths.


However, if you were to place your hand on a hot stove, your brain would naturally react, causing you to quickly remove your hand, without even thinking about it, which would not be a natural thing for your Box to do.


Earlier in this blog I wrote:

Consciously, or subconsciously, during times of change, you shift to a different shape or combination of shapes in order to survive a change of circumstances, or environment, and you do it so seamlessly because that is what your brain is trained to do naturally, even though it might not be a natural thing for you to do.

This may make even more sense to you now that you understand that when you are faced with a change, especially a change that causes discomfort or threatens your chance of survival, much less success, your brain will naturally, and most likely subconsciously, cause you to have a natural reflex.


This natural reflex causes you to do something you would not naturally think of doing, similar to when the doctor taps your knee with an instrument, causing the lower half of your leg to naturally move forward.


And, so, the same applies to Shapes.


In the last couple of weeks, a challenge presented itself as a barrier to my Triangle goal and ultimately to my success. My natural "Triangle Squiggle like tendency" would be to ignore the challenge, thinking I could just press on and make it work, because of or in spite of the challenge.


But instead my brain thankfully took over, doing its job to protect me and keep me from failing, and caused me to embrace and use two shapes that I am not naturally inclined to use, or naturally good at using.


Those two shapes would be my Rectangle and my Box.


Just because you may not be naturally good at using every shape, all five shapes are already within you. You typically use the shapes that you are great at using and like to use, and resist using the others, as you know you don't particularly like using them, nor are you good at using them.


Using my Rectangle meant I had to be open to doing something I don't even like doing, which was:

  1. slowing down,

  2. asking questions about things that don't even interest me,

  3. disciplining myself to not get distracted,

  4. staying focused on the details, and

  5. following the process every step of the way until I was done.

No short cuts to the Triangle finish line, and no Squiggly ideas to try a different way, that would have certainly been more fun than forcing myself to accept, "it is what it is," and take a boring, 5-hour course just to learn how to do the repetitive, by the book, work I would have to do in order to overcome the obstacle and meet my Triangle goal.


If I had been aware of what was happening, what I was doing, whether it was consciously or unconsciously, I could have prepared myself for the two-week "funk."

Rectangle awareness doesn't take the "funk," away, but it will help you prepare you for it, even embrace it, as part of the "process that leads to progress, even if the process doesn't always feel like progress." The Rectangle will also remind you that the "funk" is just a temporary state, and that it's all part of reaching your goal.

Sometimes just knowing what the problem is, remembering that it is only temporary, and is the thing you have to do, so you can do what you want to do, and get to where you want to go, provides the motivation to embrace the "funk."


After all, instead of the "funk" catching you by surprise, you can choose to embrace it.

The brutal fact is that not everything you do in life will be fun, nor will you enjoy doing it it, but "happiness can be something to look forward to."

When my Triangle Squiggle understands that, the mundane becomes connected to the miraculous, and the "funk" is just part of it.


To learn more about your Shape Strengths and how they impact navigating your way through change, take the Shapes Assessment at http://www.shapesforwork.com

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