My DISC Dilemma: Am I Really Such a Terrible Person?

The most interesting class I had in graduate school was one in organizational behavior at Arkansas State University.

Never having really considered the workplace dynamics of personalities and how they jive or clash, it was a fascinating exercise to go through the Myers-Briggs testing and the DISC assessment. If our “natural” personalities don’t mesh with our co-workers, family and friends, we can sometimes see how our “adjusted” personalities take over to compensate in certain scenarios.

After entering into a professional coaching relationship recently with Dick Savidge, president of Ministry Coaching International, one of Dick’s pre-requisites prior to our initial coaching session today was the completion of the DISC profile assessment, which I had taken many times before.

This marks the beginning of my relationship with Dr. Savidge, and one that I pray will be productive. Dick has agreed to take me on as a client primarily for the purpose of keeping me focused and accountable to the things I’ve determined as important in my life. His initial assessment of my “self-destructive” nature a week ago should provide for some interesting conversation down the line.


The DISC is standard fare in professional coaching. It offers understanding and insight into our natural and adjusted styles of behavior and communication. Further it enlightens us on our own world view, values and “emotional” intelligence.

It’s amazing how a 20-minute test can provide such amazing insight into a person’s psyche.Typically, anyone who goes through the DISC will confirm some things they already know about themselves, and may be actually taken aback by some other revelations.

Let me share with you some words and phrases intended to describe me in this most recent DISC assessment.

  • Aggressive and direct
  • Bored with status quo
  • Dominant
  • “short fuse”
  • Arrogant
  • “emotionally involved”
  • Defiant
  • Egotistical
  • Opinionated
  • Stubborn
  • Self-willed

Well, that’s enough of that. I’m already starting to psyche myself out.

Not that there weren’t some “good things,” mentioned in the assessment – but of course, my natural tendency is to focus on the problems, fix them, and move on. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

In DISC language, I’m a “high D” in my natural style. This means my preferred style of communication is direct, short and to the point. Let’s analyze, assess and move on. No “how’s your day going” chit chat. Oh, the humanity.

But we also have an “adjusted” style of behavior and communication to which we shift in certain environments. Problem is, my ability to shift is probably less than it should be, and really takes me out of my comfort zone.

Ironically, most people who know me on the surface probably see me as easy-going, light-hearted and generally a decent person. Most don’t see the bad guy inside, and that’s a good thing.

This is probably what concerns me the most… The characteristics of  “high D” are the things mentioned above. Self-willed, egocentric, arrogant, forceful and on and on… Furthermore, the bar graph assessment shows me at 100% D. It doesn’t get any higher than that.

So with those natural, instinctive, characteristics in mind, and if that’s, indeed, the way I really am, and I’m seeking to be in God‘s will in everything I do, rather than in my own will, what does this mean?

Am I hearing God’s voice when I make a decision?

Or am I just self-absorbed in what I hope He wants me to do?

Am I just pretending to be a follower of Christ?

Or am I just a “fan” of Christ on the surface?

And if these things are true, what am I going to do about it?

Hope you’re ready for this, Dick. You may have your hands full.


Light that Motivates

I’m a big believer in the value of personality profiling, especially when it comes to how we relate to others in the workplace and in social settings.

A few years back I took a battery of tests that would help me understand myself better so that I could relate to my clients in the coaching industry. One of the things I discovered is that I’m a visual learner, and moreover, visually inspired.

The things I see (as the light depicts them) motivate me and compel me to give my best. So a few months back when I committed myself to beginning the manuscript for my first book I took action.

There was a total makeover of my home office. Three different colors on four walls. The color combination of pepper red, chocolate brown and sky blue give me a sense of balance. But the highlight of the makeover was the visual prompts that were hung on those walls.

There is a simple iron cross to my left; family photos of my wife and kids, photos and medals from a few of my past marathons, movie posters from Lonesome Dove, Gladiator and Braveheart; a historical sports photo of Muhammad Ali standing over a floored Sonny Liston after a KO in the first minute of the first round; a large photo of Nelson Mandela, perhaps the greatest champion of democracy that ever lived; a victory photo of the US hockey team after they defeated the Russians in the 1980 Winter Olympics; photos of Jack Nicklaus, Andre Agassi;  a space shuttle launch I witnessed in 1988; and the great Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics.

These visual prompts remind me of great times. Great moments. And they inspire me to give my best, especially in my writing.

Directly in front of me is a list of seven life priorities. A copy also hangs on my bathroom mirror. This is intentional to remind me to keep focused on what’s important and eliminate distractions.

And there are some strange parallels I take from knowing that I’m visually inspired. I’ve committed myself to become an author. Over the years I’ve published hundreds, if not thousands, of newspaper and magazine articles, but no books – YET.

Much as I hate stereotypes, I suppose I have one for the way an author should look. So when I made this commitment, I changed the way I dress. I began dressing in the way that I see an author would dress. I started collecting hats, one of which I wear almost every day. And I take a lot of good ribbing from friends about the hats I wear, but it’s part of the fun.

And I now speak a little differently than before. On the things about which I dream, I speak as if they are so. As surely as I type these words I know there is a another home that awaits me in South America where my family and I will spend regular time improving the cause of humanity and spreading the love of Jesus. It awaits…

As I sit here writing at 4 a.m., I’m also reminded of two important things on my desk. There is a lit candle and a small globe. The candle reminds me of the power and purity of the Light, and the globe helps me to recall the world is a small place, and that as a group of committed people we can make a difference in that world.

I couldn’t see these things if it weren’t for the Light, and even if I flipped the light switch off, there’s a candle that still burns and it’s right by my side.