The Flipside part one:
Most people are so busy they don’t have time to read books. I’m in a unique position where I do have time to read and then have time to blog about it and give you all the cliff notes!
One of my favorite books is called “The Flipside – Breaking Free of the Behaviors That Hold You Back” by Flip Flippen, (yes that is his real name). Flip is an internationally renowned speaker and psychotherapist. He really is amazing at understanding people, personalities and constraints that hold us all back. He has written this fantastic book about how to identify what your constraints are, and how to work on them so they are not the things holding you back in life anymore. Let’s dive right in as I give you the condensed version:
There is a list of the top ten killer constraints that Flip has composed. I will break the blog up into three parts to give each one of the constraints adequate coverage. In the book there are tests you can take to determine which one you are, so I highly recommend buying the book for that feature.
First Killer Constraint: Bulletproof (Overconfident)
Bulletproof people don’t question themselves. They move onward without any doubts, positive they are right. They can be arrogant and stubborn. It wouldn’t be so bad if their mistakes only affected them, but it never works out that way. Everyone around them ends up paying a price for their lack of wisdom. Flip says, “One of the greatest indicators of whether overconfidence is a constraint is a person’s ability to openly listen to other’s input. Once you quit listening to others the only voice you have left is your own.” (pg. 54)
One of my strongest core values is self-development, and maintaining a teachable spirit. I never want to be that person who is clueless as to how everyone around me perceives me, vs. how I perceive myself. So, I invite input into my life, from trusted friends who will tell me the truth. I never want my own voice to be the only one left. Do you?
How do you deal with Bulletproof people? Flip suggests going through the back door. Try to present things to them as if it were their idea, and make sure they feel as if it is their decision. Ask a lot of questions and make sure you point out where you agree with them, and then what you may add to that. Avoid direct confrontation and resistance, as it will usually only cause them to want to move forward with their own ideas even more. Bulletproof people are stubborn and strong willed but that doesn’t mean they are mean or malicious; “they just need help sometimes in initially embracing a different perspective.” (pg. 59)
Second Killer Constraint: Ostriches (Low Self-Confidence)
Ostriches are kind and gentle, but also nervous and frail. They have a hard time getting people to take them seriously, and they are extremely indecisive. Ostriches can also be true to their nature (sticking their head in the sand) when problems or conflict arise. You may have guessed that confrontation scares them to death and they will avoid it at all costs. Ostriches don’t want to be at the back of the line, but they will allow themselves to be pushed back there, and then very rarely do what it takes to move forward again.
The first step in developing this constraint is to change your self-dialogue. Stop being so hard on yourself! Start speaking positive things over yourself, and start believing in yourself. Each time you are successful in something, stay in that moment for a while. Soak it in. When you fail, pick yourself up dust yourself off and move forward.
How do you deal with an Ostrich? Be gentle in your approach. Remember they will hear a lot more negativity in what you say than you ever intended. Go above and beyond to point out the positive. Again, asking a lot of questions will help them open up to you. Ostriches need a lot of praise and affirmation. They will blossom under high praise. Invite them to give feedback, as they will rarely volunteer.
Third Killer Constraint: Marshmallows (Over Nurturing)
Marshmallows are givers and doers. They put everyone else first and they never say “no”. Marshmallows were usually taught at a young age that it is not ok to have boundaries. Sometimes this lesson can come from a well-meaning but too controlling parent. And sometimes, unfortunately, it can stem from having lived in an abusive environment. Either way it is learned behavior from a young age and it is difficult (but not impossible) to retrain yourself. Marshmallows tend to not have strong opinions in life and they also play the role of the martyr well. They seem like the most unselfish people to be around. But the truth is they are very self-centered in their thinking. They always do for others, but it can be for the wrong reasons. They can do it for love, they can do it for acceptance and they can do it to avoid rejection.
The first step in developing this constraint is learning how to take care of you first, instead of trying to get your needs met by taking care of others. Flip gives the example of the oxygen mask in an airplane. Remember what they say? Put yours on first so you can help the one sitting next to you more effectively. You are no help to those around you if you are passed out! Another thing you will have to develop is the ability to say no, and to set boundaries. I recommend the book “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Learn how to let other people carry the “weight” of their decisions by not bailing them out when they mess up. Let those around you start taking responsibility for themselves. This will be difficult at first, but it’s worth it. You will command more respect and honor by moving forward with these goals.
How do you deal with a Marshmallow? I have a story that I think best describes how to deal with this over-nurturing constraint. I had a friend a couple years back who was killing herself at her job. It was sucking all the life out of her and it was really affecting her mood, her family and her relationships. We (friends and family) all wanted her to quit so badly, but she felt an obligation to stay and be committed (even though it was draining her so much). So I sat her down and said “Shannon, I really admire how much you care for others. You are so loyal, and so reliable, and so giving. But lately I am really concerned for you. This job seems to take everything out of you and I’ve really noticed a change in your countenance. I wish you would point all of that affection and commitment and nurturing back towards us again. We miss you and that job should not get the best of you, your friends and family should. Will you please consider coming back to us?” (Affirm their caring ways, show them you have value for that, and let them know what you are feeling and what you need).
I’ve also noticed that Marshmallows are slow to give feedback or voice any needs. Asking them often what they need and how they prefer things is important. They have trained themselves to only focus on other’s needs for so long they may not even know what they want/need anymore. But continue to gently press them, they will learn how to articulate it over time.
If you’re a Marshmallow, start thinking “I will work from love and not for love.” You will do for others out of the overflow of the love that comes when two people are connected and feel safe with each other.
For my next blog we will cover the Critic, the Iceberg and the Flatliner.