I’m participating in a virtual personal coaching course. I registered for the Thrive-her course for two reasons. The first is one of my truisms is ‘Always be Learning’. The second reason is the coach is on the advisory board for Women in Technology (WIT). I am a member WIT and served as the relationship manager for the Georgia State University – WIT campus club for three years. I knew this was an opportunity for a great coaching experience.
It was not until I heard the coach describe the key indicators of a ‘maximizer’ that I realized I’ve been operating as a maximizer without full regard as to how it may impact my family and work relationships. The concept of a maximizer was explained in an assessment we were prescribed in the Strengthfinder 2.0 book. Maximizers have a strong sense of the levels of quality and seek to deliver with excellence. They are generally subject matter experts, influencers, and leaders. The maximizer are also considered to be strategizers and high achievers.
So, when I heard our coach describe the maximizer traits it brought back a memory of when my sons and I owned a cell phone retail business. My sons held positions of VP of Sales and VP of Operations. They managed the stores. I provided strategic direction and funding.
I would often get business ideas during the night. The next morning, I would schedule an impromptu conference call to share my ideas. Once I outlined the strategy, I would proceed with the steps they could take to achieve established goals. I would always end with saying, ‘All you have to do is.’
What I perceived as simple steps was not shared by my sons. They are not maximizers. The boys executed successfully; however, they made it clear to me the job was more complex. There was more effort required if they were to complete it with the level of quality expected.
This was not their first experience with me pushing my maximizing ways upon them. In the late ’90s I took a position requiring me to commute between Atlanta and Washington, DC. I worked in the DC office and returned home for the weekend every two weeks.
That spring on Mother’s Day I ordered plants and garden materials online and had them delivered to my home. Before I boarded the plane home, I called to say I wanted a raised flower garden. The Home Depot had a training class on Saturday morning to provide hands-on instructions.
I wanted the flower bed erected to resolve an issue with water settling outside the kitchen window. The flower bed would alleviate the problem and would make it possible for me to view beautiful Japanese ferns, astilbe and Lenten roses while enjoying my morning coffee.
The boys viewed the build specifications and immediately confirmed with each other they had some work to do. The bricks and other materials were delivered, and I left to complete my weekend errands. When I returned later that evening the raised bed was built and beautiful. However, there was an incident in which the gas line to the outdoor grill was severed. My sons contacted the gas company to repair the line and continued to make my dream come true. Before the boys left, I heard them chant, ‘All you got to do is’.
This past weekend for Mother’s Day I asked them to assemble a new patio table and canopy so I would be able to enjoy the backyard space while we’re sheltering in place. I overheard my oldest son through an open window telling my teenaged grandson about the complex tasks he and his brother have been assigned over the years in which I will often say, ‘All you got to do is’.
I must admit the canopy was unusual in that it was connected to the table-top rather than free standing with feet on the ground. Needless to say, assembly required some effort to keep it erected until each leg could be screwed into place.
As a maximizer, I thrive on dissecting intricate details and solving complex problems to produce a quality deliverable. I learned through this coaching course I need to be more conscious of how I present my ideas to others who may not share the same traits.
Are you a maximizer? Do you have a similar story? Do you approach work with your strengths and weaknesses in mind?
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