We all have behaviors which define who we are. We do some things more than most people, and other things less than other people. Every aspect of our behavior has advantages and disadvantages.

  • You like making fast decisions. You move quickly. You make more mistakes.
  • You enjoy learning new things. You're happy to figure out unique challenges. You are inconsistent with routine tasks.
  • You love diving into detailed work. You figure out tricky problems that others miss. You take longer than others on the same tasks.

Sometimes your default behavior rewards you. It's your superpower. It is what differentiates you from others, and helps you succeed. When your superpower lines up with your work needs, you're the right person for the job!

Other times your initial reaction to a situation is wrong. Your superpower becomes your Achilles heel. If your behavior is the opposite of what your work needs, it can limit your ability to be successful.

The key is being able to recognize when your natural behavior will reward you, and when you need to act differently. You need to learn how to force yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you can swing your behavior to the opposite spectrum, you've given yourself a complimentary set of superpowers, which is a valuable asset.

When to question your behavior

Be mindful in the moment. We usually don't question our default behaviors. If you tend to talk loudly and walk into a library, you're going to offend a bunch of people. If you instead recognize that your default behavior will not work in the situation, you have an opportunity to act differently. You might love talking loudly, but I bet you can figure out how to whisper.

Recognize your most extreme behaviors. Average behaviors have average impacts. Our extreme behaviors are our biggest strengths and our biggest weaknesses.

When someone describes how you work, what would they call out? If you think of your largest strengths (or weaknesses), what would you name?

When is your strength and weakness most apparent? When would acting the opposite be useful?

If you're working on a security project, is it the right time to move quickly or carefully? Most people continue with their natural behaviors, regardless of the situation. It's hard to act like a different person. But if your normal behavior is not the right behavior for the situation, what would happen if you did the opposite?