Do It Your Way: How Your Conative Style Affects Your Success

How Your Action Style Affects Your Journey

Over the last 4 weeks we explored the Cycle of Change and how to make sense of four distinct phases of a psychological metamorphosis: 1)  the Meltdown, 2) Dreaming Your Next You, 3) the Climb, and 4) the Smooth Sailing.

Change Cycle
Change Cycle

As you took this journey, did you notice one or two squares that stand out as "your squares"?  The ones that you could write a book about, because you have spent loads of time there, you know it inside and out, and you would call it your "comfort zone."  There is a reason for this:  you have a style of doing things.  And your way of taking action will influence your journey through the change cycle in a unique way.

Tortoise vs Hare
Tortoise vs Hare

Remember Aesop's fable "The Tortoise and the Hare," where the boastful and quick rabbit gets beaten in a foot race by the slow and steady tortoise?  Even as a very young child, I immediately related to the shame of the rabbit – not because I like to brag (cross my heart, I am more of an introvert) but because I completely share the hare’s instinct for quick actionover the calm and steady progress of the tortoise.   I had a hunch early on that I would make a lousy tortoise.

Little did I know then, that my instincts were true and that there is actually great wisdom in Frank Sinatra's popular song, "I Did it My Way."  (And I thought it was just a narcissist's pretty rant!)

You are equipped with an instinctive "doing" style,  known as your Conative Style.  Cognition is how you think.  Affection is how you feel.  And Conation is how you do stuff.  Unfortunately, conation is the less understood science.

Kathy Kolbe is a leading expert in the conative field and based on historical, philosophical and psychological research, she has identified four basic "styles" for doing.  Which styles sound the most like you?  Notice how each style relates to a specific phases of the Change Cycle.

Red Sneakers
Red Sneakers

The Quick Start faces challenges by jumping straight into the process, and learns best by trial and error, and working with pure action.  These types are frustrated by long instruction manuals and will instead push buttons and switch things on to get going with "figuring it out."  These types thrive and do well in Phase 1 of the Change Cycle.

Yellow Arrow
Yellow Arrow

The Follow Thru prefers focusing on systems and using established protocols. If there is no system to follow, then these types will invent one.  These are the people who will read the instruction manual.  They are also excellent and comfortable in Phase 4 of the Change Cycle.

Hammer 2
Hammer 2

The Implementor is hands on and will choose working directly with physical objects over studying them.  Engineers, artists, architects and carpenters tend to be this type.  They  do best by just doing.  They are concrete and grounded in the 3-D world.  These types do well in Phase 3 of the Change Cycle.

Fact Finder
Fact Finder

The Fact Finder loves to compile and analyze information. Google searches, stacks of books, and distilling information into conclusions is their comfort zone.  You will find them at the library and writing out great notes on a new subject.  These types love Phase 2 of the Change Cycle.

Do you have a sense of which action type(s) you are? You will probably relate strongly to one or two of the types.  Another type you will "get by" in.  And chances are, there is one type that makes you cringe.

A great recipe for misery is to be forced to do a style that is not natural for you!

As you move through the Change Cycle:  you will find that certain phases of change will feel like coming home while another will feel foreign. For instance, a "Follow Thru" is not a happy clam when moving thru the unpredictable phase of a meltdown.

The good news is you can bring your strengths to the phase of the change you are in.  For example, as a quick start and a fact finder, when I am in Phase 3 (Climbing the Mountain) it helps me to use my research skills to break down a large imposing task into small bite size pieces that I can jump into.  If you are an implementor and find yourself is in the Phase 2 of Change (Dreaming the Next You), it will be beneficial to get hands on with your dreams by pulling out scissors and a glue stick, and constructing a vision board.

Your action style will feel cozy to you and when combined with the right goals, your life will be downright  delicious.

For more information on Conative Styles: go to kolbe.com where you can take the Kolbe Index .

So go ahead ...  Do it your way. 

My friend, I'll say it clear.  I'll state my case of which I'm certain.  I've lived a life that's full.  I traveled each and ev'ry highway.  And more, much more than this, I did it my way." -- Frank Sinatra, "My Way"

Which Action Style(s) is most like You? The Quick Start, Follow Thru, Implementor, or Fact Finder?  Which one(s) feels off course?   I'd love to know.  Leave your comment below. 

Heather Gray

I am Heather Gray, a life coach, published author, and the founder of Soul-filled Life. I’ve spent thousands of hours helping creative, gorgeous individuals articulate and create lives that they love.  I draw from a background in Psychology, Life Coaching, and Energy Healing to move you towards personal breakthroughs and beautiful life change.