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?

I DISAGREE!

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?”

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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. 
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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.

Comments

13 responses to “17 Reasons Why I Should Have Failed

  1. I reallhy loved this article. It was what I needed. I feel like I have been spinning my wheels for a while and I decided to take action this year. Do you only work with fiction writers?

  2. I agree with both you and your husband, but as your husband stated these test are designed to keep us in a box. Unfortunately for me as a “African American woman” we are stereotyped both within the confines of a box and outside the box. Fear of failure, lack of support(emotionally and financially) and rejection are some components that stall us also. I love writing and reading and being an author is and will be a dream come true for me. So my question then becomes; how do you get or find sponsors to help with the completion of the DREAM. #KeepingtheDREAMalive.

  3. While I agree that personality tests can sometimes seem to put people in boxes, I also find them to help tremendously in evolving to the next best version of ourselves. They outline strengths and weaknesses. If you look at the weaknesses and figure out how to turn those into strengths as well, then you’re unstoppable. I see personality tests as a starting point in personal evolution rather than a final statement on who a person is or will be.

  4. I think you are so brave!!!!! You are Brilliant and just the type of person I would be best friends with. I have only had 2 people that special in my life. Please don’t ever stop inspiring people and basking others in your brilliant light!

  5. I agree 100%. While I am just venturing outside my self imposed box I know I can make it happen. Not just a why for money or recognition but love, passion, and most importantly leaving a positive legacy. Each day I will have to choose so the why better be damn strong to over come the bad patterns of self sabotage and judgement of the world.
    Thus, I have tied strong emotion to my goal that uses those inherent patterns to push me vs. Sabotage my goals. For example: putting my desire to coach others by highlighting their internal power as a goal but the desire to make a positive impact on those around me as my why. My self sabotage in the way of “self neglect and self judgement” isn’t supportive of those I wish to help. If you are reading this may you know that you can do whatever your heart desires because you are you!
    Sending love and light Christine Ripley

  6. Other things are important as a entrepreneur in addition to wanting it and persistence. I find that you have to keep re-inventing your business as you go along, to solve the issues that come up. You have to be flexible and a problem-solver. That’s why being an entrepreneur can be so creative. Look for and implement solutions to problems that come up.
    Btw, I love personality tests. When you see people being who they are, it’s really freeing. You can work with that. You can’t blame them and you can’t change them. Don’t even try.
    I work with creative people, and I’m successful because I “get” them in a way that others don’t.

  7. Dear Dr. Angela, This brought tears of empathy, and memories for me too. Ever since I can remember anything (really, even as a baby) I have felt like I was put in a box or someone was trying to get me into a box. It felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere and the tests were even more proof that something was wrong! The IQ test was a real testament to that. I became resistant to all of it and at the same time trying so hard fit it, not giving up on the possibility that I was wrong. Doing so didn’t help me to get clear about what I wanted though. It merely created a different box, maybe like a hole I dug and put myself into – trying to block others out and trying to stay out of their boxes. Trying to lay low, hide, and maybe escape some day to a different world. I felt like such a huge mistake that I didn’t think I would actually live very long and I would “go back” soon. I would hold out, go through the motions, and eventually it would get sorted out. But the years went by.
    There are so many ways we categorize people, every step, every milestone in our lives. As good or bad, right or wrong, beautiful or ugly. Seeing what I didn’t want along my path determined so many choices I made with relationships, work, what I wanted to do with my life, and figuring out why I was still here. It guided my decision to have a natural child birth as an “older” mom, and then my parenting style, nursing as long as he wanted and homeschooling.
    There were beacons of light along the way, many actually. My aunt when I was a kid, books, stories, and authors like Kahlil Gibran, Leo Buscaglia, Siddhartha, Og Mandino, to name just a few, a brief friendship with a woman who I admired, who seemed to see something in me that I didn’t, some college professors, animals and trees, lovers, short-lived friendships, a holistic doctor who saved my life, another who became a mentor, a Lakota Holy Man, a shaman, a husband. AND many tests to determine who I was, what I was like, where I could fit it, and what I was supposed to be or do. Continuing to look outside of myself for what was only inside this box of ME.
    Just rambling in my reminiscences.
    I want to be a light in the darkness for anyone who can see it.
    I want to be the sweet sound that someone needs to hear to give them a feeling of hope.
    I want to be that hug that someone needs when they’re feeling in despair.
    I want to express love to the world, without giving away myself.
    I want to learn to be happy , so much so, that it showers others with those good feelings.
    I want to let it out and not hold back anymore.
    I want to do all this and balance taking care of me at the same time.
    Thank you for helping me to clarify this right here. There’s so much more I could say. I think there’s a book here! 🙂

  8. Dear Angela,
    After reading the strikes you have had against you, I love what you do and respect your abilities even more.
    Thank you for sharing the dynamic gifts, that you are.
    I appreciate your honest communication style.
    I am a survivor. I have healing to do. I plan to share what I know, and the ‘Truth’ is not always pretty.
    When truth is out, it does stop crimes of abuse. Silencing truth, is why crimes continue.
    I will Not be silenced.
    I have had many strikes against me. I have had health disabilities, and more. I truly want to educate others, so their world, is safe and opportunities are not hijacked, through no faults of their own.

    Love and peace,
    Rachel

  9. Great blog, I enjoyed reading your words. I was able pick up on your writing style to benefit my quest to be a great author, like you. Makes lots of sense how easy it is to tick someone’s mind with a few words, personality test is a good source to use when identifying the character behind the mask. I believe everything can be achieved, I agree, “The difference between those who succeed and those who fail isn’t biology, genetic, brain chemistry, or personality test results; the difference is commitment and persistence.” How badly do I want it? I remember the time I attended aviation school, it felt like my first kiss in junior high. I badly wanted it than and I badly want it now. Commitment and persistence has been written in my DNA. I can visualize my first book from within; the neurons have begun firing and a time is coming when I will place my words in order. At that time I will be glad to present my words to the universe. I will share with the universe my deepest thoughts and simplest ideas and I won’t let them down. Every thought counts every second matters, you either give it all you got or don’t try. I was taught to go full throttle, to go beyond the other guy; there my commitment was born. Yes, I can boldly say it. I badly want it! My persistence comes from within its up to me to direct my energy towards the achievement.

    Thank you for your great words; it bring inspiration to my mind.

    Romeo

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