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Weekend Life

Theory: Using personality index to overcome life’s roadblocks

Look at you. I mean it. Go to your mirror and take a good long look. You are amazing. There is no one like you in the world. You are the product of centuries of DNA that came together to make you a very unique person. As a result of that, you inherited and developed personality traits, some visible, and others that operate in your subconscious. These subtle, more instinctual traits are the subject of this column.

Are you the sort of person who has all the great ideas, but never seems to get around to doing any of them? Or maybe your spouse always seems to need direction in order to get anything done? Perhaps you have a teenager who can’t seem to get her homework turned in on time. Personality traits are behind all of what we do, and having a better understanding of which traits are operating in the background can save you and your loved ones a lot of stress.

One personality index that I like to use in my work with clients is based upon the Kolbe Concept (by Kathy Kolbe).  Kathy Kolbe is the founder of the Kolbe Corporation and author of the bestselling book “The Conative Connection: Uncovering the Link Between Who You are and How You Perform.”

The Kolbe is used in various settings to assess the instinctive action and problem-solving styles of individuals. I think it answers a lot of questions about how we function not only in our professional lives, but in our personal lives as well. Kolbe looks at how we approach tasks and offers us four strength categories. You most likely will identify with two or maybe three of these, but no one is strong in all four. Which are you?

• The Conceptualizer – or idea person – is usually responsible for initiating a project, whether it be a social gathering of friends, a vacation, a new product line, or as simple as the day’s schedule. These are typically creative people whose mind loves to imagine or solve problems.

• The Researcher enjoys gathering the information to support the idea. These people enjoy the search, the details and investigating.

• The Organizer uses the information from the research to find the focus of the project in support of the idea. They tidy everything up, define the beginning, middle, and end, draw conclusions, and generally make sense of the work. And finally …

• The Implementer. This person is responsible for taking the show on the road. Whether it is creating the brochure, writing the report, building the house, presenting the findings or tackling that honey-do list, this person gets the job done.

Assuming that we aren’t strong in each of these areas. Can you see what happens in our lives when we are expected to do it all? Which is the case in schools, in self-directed careers, and in our personal lives.

Why does the teenager have difficulty finishing her homework assignment? Take a look at which area she is weakest in. If she is an idea person, hits a roadblock when it comes to the research, but is strong in the remaining two areas, the whole process will stall out after the idea. Or maybe she has the first three traits, but is weakest when it comes to implementation. Her great idea will be researched and organized, but still will not get done. In the example of the husband that is waiting to be told what to do and once told can complete the assignment with vigor – is he really lazy, or just idea deficient? The examples are endless.

Once you have gained an understanding of these silent motivators, you will approach relationships from a healthier place. Knowing these indicators can help you to select members of a team so that all strengths are represented; or aid you in managing your busy household with more patience. Helping all of your loved ones to be more aware of themselves is always a good thing. And there are so many personality traits to investigate. My column will touch on many of them, so make sure you catch it every month.

Once everyone is aware of what is operating in the background of their behaviors, they can be less avoidant, eliminate the excuses, have more patience with themselves and others, and ask for help when they hit that ever-present roadblock.

• Jamie Palmer is a Batavia resident and a licensed clinical professional counselor and senior mediator with more than 35 years of experience in the psychology. She can be reached at

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