17 Reasons Why I Should Have Failed
(Biology is not destiny. Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t.)
My husband HATES personality tests. I mean, if I want to piss him off, my go to response is to start describing how what he is doing fits his ISTJ personality. Myers Briggs in particular is not his problem. His real problem, I’ve come to understand, is that personality tests put people into boxes and those boxes, he feels, are limiting. By knowing your personality test results, you might expect less of yourself in some ways because “it’s just who you are” and if your boss or your partner know your results, they might be handicapping you based on those results rather than creating space for you to rise to the occasion. People are more complex than any test can show.
This was one of those things my husband and I were going to have to agree to disagree about. I love personality tests and how they help me to identify areas of strengths to focus on and weaknesses to be alert about. There are no good or bad results from tests like Myers Briggs, Disc, Strengths Finder, Human Design, or Fascination Advantage.
All of these tests, give you lists of careers and jobs suited for your personality. Maybe you should be a teacher or a bus driver or a tour guide or a writer… or indeed maybe you should be an “Entrepreneur.”
Here’s the thing that’s scary about personality test, they are actually doing studies that correlate results to biological functions. I took a personality test recently call the NEO PI-3. They have been studying how this test can identify things like genotype and brain chemistry. There was a study published in the journal Science that found a relationship between the serotonin transporter gene regulatory region and the neuroticism subscale on the test. And they noted based on the results they could correctly predict which individuals would have a shorter allele based on their test results. Basically, the personality tests can predict which gene variances you will have! EEK!
We take all their care to protect the privacy of medical records, so that jobs, schooling and housing decisions aren’t made based on those results, but in effect, personality tests can inadvertently be carrying medical information!
A lot of business coaches have told me they believe not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. This makes sense, right – different personality test results, different career paths.
A friend and fellow business coach said: “I personally do not think everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Not everyone has the grit to get through the startup stage or navigate the emotional ups and downs that come with the territory.”
I found a test online that would help you identify if you were cut out to be an entrepreneur from the Business Resource Center at Dixie State University. They say only 5% of people pass the test. There are several classes – online and virtual you can take as well to help you “identify the personal qualities and skills of successful business owners.”
The evidence seems really clear, entrepreneurs are born and not made.
Well ya know what?
When I took my NEO PI-3, here’s what it said: “This woman will never make it as an entrepreneur.”
The test measures things like “Extroversion,” “Agreeableness” and “Neuroticism.” I was outside the norm in 17 of the categories… 17 outliers. 17 reasons to fail. 17 reasons I am different than everyone else and it’s harder for me.
Check this out… in the “agreeableness” category I was in the 13th percentile – meaning pretty-much everyone is more agreeable than me. If there is a room of 1,000 people I am probably the least like-able there – according to the test anyway.
Look, here’s what I want you to know – your personality or your genetics, or your brain chemistry – NONE of that can stop you from being a kickass entrepreneur. Because you know what no test in the world can measure?
HOW BADLY YOU WANT IT
I had 17 reasons why I could fail – but I have one big reason to succeed that is bigger than any limitation.
I am DRIVEN by a deep soul commitment to help authors make a difference with their books and to take full control of their intellectual property. Throughout my life there were so many times I wanted to die and books saved me. I know that’s why I must help other create books that matter. It is my soul’s contract.
I wanted what I wanted. I fought through all my limitations – and by the way, I continue to fight them every day. I know a lot of people don’t like me. I know what I say can be controversial and misinterpreted. I know I can come off as arrogant. And mostly, I know it’s extra hard for me to get support because everyone thinks I have it all figured out (even when I shout from the roof tops that I do not have it figured out!)
Did I have some things in my favor? Sure.
• I’m white in America. That comes with a host of privileges. It was easy to find mentors and coaches who were also white. (Less easy to find ones that were overweight women.)
• I grew up with an entrepreneur for a parent so I knew it was possible to succeed doing what you loved. (But let’s be very clear, said entrepreneurial parent was not my biggest fan.)
• I grew up with money to travel and buy as many books as I wanted. I didn’t spend time gathering wood or water across military lines so my family could eat or stay warm.
So yes, privilege. Sure. I get you.
But even with that privilege, I had a LOT of strikes against me.
I’m a woman.
I was significantly overweight.
I am on the autism spectrum.
I had a serious autoimmune condition.
I was pre-diabetic.
I was incapable of feeling even the smallest feeling without reverting to self-sabotage.
I was massively in debt and going through a legal battle.
I was a single mom to a child with a lot of needs.
I was highly unlikable and what’s worse? I didn’t like myself. This made me incredibly unattractive to be around.
And as the personality test indicated, I had 17 strikes against me.
17 reasons why I could… and maybe SHOULD… fail.
But I didn’t.
I didn’t fail because I decided not to give up.
So when I hear business coaches say, “Look Angela, don’t worry about your clients who are struggling, maybe they just weren’t cut out to be entrepreneurs.”
I think: BULL FUCKING SHIT.
If I can do it, anyone can.
You can persevere through any personality test, any health limitation, any family situation…. ANYTHING… if…. YOU WANT IT BADLY ENOUGH.
And look, here’s the thing, you don’t have to want it.
An entrepreneur recently said to me while I was putting this post together: “Some people like having a boss. They take comfort in being told what to do, even if that means being able to play out unhealed teenage tendencies. When you’re the boss, you have to be the boss.”
And I agree. A hell no to entrepreneurship with integrity is equally great. I see a lot of people who say they want to have a successful business just spin and spin and spin. They get stuck in passive action consuming content, planning, learning, and hiring coaches and confuse that with the massive action required to do the actual work. That’s the real tragedy.
So the next time someone asks me if I think everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship my answer is a clear 100% yes. If you want it, you can have it. That is the only criteria.
No matter how much or little privilege you bring to the table.
No matter what your personality test say.
YOU CAN DO IT!
Everyone – LITERALLY EVERYONE – must face fear and self-doubt. The ones who make it through are the ones who keep taking action – and those people have their own collection of 17 reasons why they could have failed too, they just were too busy taking action to pay attention.
This is why your PERSONAL VISION – YOUR WHY is so much more important than any personality factor that might hold you back. Without your reason for doing this, the self-doubt and the fear will be too much for you to handle. Your reasons to fail will win out.
Simon Sinek says to Start with Why – and I agree – but that’s only the first step. Once your why is clear, then you will face a million challenges of all shapes and sizes each of them asking “Are you sure this is what you want?”
The difference between those who succeed and those who fail isn’t biology, genetics, brain chemistry, or personality test results… the difference is commitment and persistence.
I still love personality tests, but I suspect my husband is right: They can keep people stuck in a box. But just know, there are successful entrepreneurs with every possible personality result, every possible limitation, every possible reason to fail. And if they have succeeded, you can too.