The answer to that question can reveal much about how your handle internal and external expectations. I am a devoted fan of Gretchen Rubin author of the Happiness Project, Better than Before and The Four Tendencies. She studies habits, human nature and how to make life a little happier. She also does a weekly podcast with her sister Liz Craft a writer, producer living in LA. Gretchen’s Four Tendencies framework was life changing for me.
First what is the Four Tendency Framework? Gretchen explains:
“During my multi-book investigation into human nature, I realized that by asking the suspiciously simple question “How do I respond to expectations?” we gain explosive self-knowledge. I discovered that people fit into Four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Our tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding this framework lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively. The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t act.”
Having this information is so powerful. For example, I am an Obliger (you can take the quiz to find out your tendency). Obligers easily meet external expectations like a boss asking me to do a project. However, internal expectations are a whole other thing. If I set a goal to walk every day, I won’t do it unless I have external accountability meaning I walk with someone, or I text a friend every time I walk, use an app to take money out of my account if I don’t walk. Most people are Obligers.
Upholders easily meet both internal and external expectations. These are the people who get everything done. If they say they will do something they will do it. My husband is an Upholder. In my last blog I talked about how we play disc golf. We played a new course, and the signage was awful. It took 20 minutes to find the first hole and then at the end of hole 6 we couldn’t find 7 for 15 minutes. I was done – tired, grumpy ready to go home. John wanted to finish. I started walking off the course and he followed. We drove home in silence. He dropped me off and drove away. I knew exactly where he was going – back to the course finish all 18 holes. This is a classic upholder move. He couldn’t help himself. He had to finish what he started.
Questioners will do something if it makes sense to them. If you ask someone if they make new year’s resolutions and they say “No, January 1st is such an arbitrary date” They are very likely to be a Questioner. They want lots of information before they make a decision. Sometimes they suffer from analysis paralysis.
Rebels do what they want when they want. This is the smallest group. They do not meet external or internal expectations unless it is paired with who they are/want to be. For example, my youngest son is a rebel. He came home with a friend to get headlamps for a caving trip. When they were leaving, I said, “Since I know you are going caving, would you text me when you get out, so I don’t worry.” He assured me he would. Three hours later no word. Thinking about the tendencies I texted him “I know you are a person who wants to keep his word, are you out of the cave?” He immediately responded “yes, we are out. I am sorry”
As a coach, knowing someone’s tendency is so helpful. I can share with them how to optimize their goal setting and actions to achieve the results they want based on how they handle internal and external expectations.
If you have a goal you are trying to achieve, I can help you.