I’m starting off this Blog with a few questions to get you thinking. What were you raised to believe as a child? Did you perceive that your environment was friendly…or not friendly?  Favorable? Or Unfavorable? Did you think tasks should be handled by taking control of them? And the faster you handled them the better! Or did you think that, “things should be done at a slower pace and taken great care of and handled correctly?  Or not? Were you raised in a family culture, with strict or lenient rules to follow?  What story did you make up about yourself, your parents, your siblings, yourself and the world in general?

Over time, what did you find that worked for you?  Was it easy to get others to love you, accept you, and approve of you, for most of the time?  Were you blessed with a level of satisfaction that others seemed to envy? Yes, I did say there were going to be a lot of questions so, “hang in there”. You might want to write your answers down, and reflect on them after you’ve finished reading to the end.

Did you feel that you had to keep trying something new? Or did you know at a very early age exactly who you were and what you could achieve?  Or are you still looking for that because no one anchored it for you very solidly as a child.  Or did you already know who you were?  Either way, you would have continued to “Gather Evidence” to shape your personality and to prove that your way of doing things was “right.” And if you’re a parent are you starting to see that your child will no doubt be asking themselves all of the above questions too, as they shape their personality. 

Well, here is the good news. We now have a tool that gives you all of the answers. Have you ever heard of the DISC Model for understanding observable behavior? It’s been around since the 1920’s and now there are many online assessments that can identify your DISC Personal Style. 

The DISC Model of Behavior was seen, researched, noted and described by a Dr. William Marston in the 1920’s.  An American who identified the four most common patterns of behavior – Problems, People, Pace and Procedures that describe the main focus of the D, I, S and C primary styles.  He gave us this new language to use so we could start to understand why we are most satisfied and happy when operating in our COMFORT ZONE – being called on to use our greatest gifts – and it is what we go back to anytime we are under any sense of pressure, fear or fatigue.

So, what my team and I have done is develop our very own online DISC assessment using four birds to describe the four DISC Styles – Eagle (D Style), Parrot (I Style), Dove (S Style), and Owl (C Style). You can take a free DISC Assessment here to find out what DISC Style you are: Free DISC Assessment.  

We have another assessment called DISCovering Me that shows you where you tend to be most of the time in the four primary dimensions or FOCUS’s of life, and your DISC graph shows the intensity of your needs to use any one of the four dimensions as either LOW, MEDIUM or HIGH.

The Four DISC Bird Styles – Which one are you?

Here’s a birds eye view of the traits, personal strengths and fears for each Bird Style. I’ve also added a tip for each of the styles. When you’re reading these you might start to see yourself and your kiddos in a different way now. Also try to remember each Bird’s overview, as it will help you to communicate more effectively with each style:

Eagle Styles like to focus on TASKS and are FAST PACED

  • Are naturally competitive, results orientated, innovative and direct. 
  • Great at solving problems – a strength of this style. 
  • They fear loss of control and under stress may become dictatorial. 

TIP: Eagle Styles would benefit from practicing patience by calmly tolerating a delay or confusion, and by accepting things they cannot control with humor and grace. And those of you who identify with the Eagles remember that tolerance is respecting the opinions of others when they are different from yours. 

Parrot Styles like to focus on PEOPLE and are also FAST PACED

  • Are naturally confident, trusting, optimistic and sociable.
  • Can motivate others by their enthusiasm – a strength of this style. 
  • They fear being rejected and socially disapproved of and under stress will become superficial and sarcastic.  

TIP: Parrot Styles would benefit from practicing self-discipline by not being so overly emotional and by not having to seek approval all the time. If you think you are a Parrot, use detachment so that your emotions won’t control you. Start creating routines for yourself and keep the agreements you make with others in your family. 

Dove Styles also like to focus on PEOPLE and are SLOW PACED

  • Are naturally understanding, friendly, patient and team players.
  • Known for being supporters and good listeners – both strengths of this style.
  • They fear sudden change and under stress will become submissive and indecisive. 

TIP: Dove Styles would benefit from practicing assertiveness when pressured by sharing their own ideas and feelings and by tactfully asking for what they want. If you think you’re a Dove and need support, ask for it, because us Doves tend to take on steadying everything in our family – taking responsibility for doing it all!  

Owl Styles like to focus on TASKS and are also SLOW PACED

  • Are naturally detailed, courteous, fact finders and compliant.
  • Like to organize and plan when it comes to the details of a task – strengths of this style. 
  • They fear being wrong and can become too critical and impersonal. They are their own worst inner critic and need to worry less about everything. 

TIP: Owl Styles would benefit from practicing trust by having the confidence that the right thing will come about without worrying and trusting in their own abilities – knowing they are perfect just the way they are. If you think you’re an Owl, learn to open up and share your feelings more. Find the joy in life and let that joy be felt by your family. You know those moments where you tell a joke with your kids, or pull a funny face at the dinner table, just because you can! 

So, as you can see we all have strengths and fears that make us who we are. At the end of the day it takes commitment to change our behavior for shifting what we are struggling with when working from home. 

Children love learning about DISC 

A number of years ago I was invited by a local school principal to offer DISC assessments and a debrief session to her management staff.  She then asked me to design a program that gave exercises to the 11 and 12-year-old students to better prepare them for entering high school.  The goal was to illuminate and bring into awareness these four dimensions of DISC and it turned into an overwhelming success according to the children and teachers involved!  The children responded intuitively and enthusiastically, because they recognized and identified with the strength of their own unique style characteristics.  

Every child, teenager or adult needs to know that we are OK – just the way we are and are not! I facilitated interactive activities to help them see and identify their strengths and their most typical styles… and pointed out that they are not ALWAYS any one way – and they don’t need to feel “Stuck” with the style they are using.  

In fact, by just learning how to recognize each of the four major style types, children learn quickly that they are not limited by any one of them and they can truly adapt and adjust their own behaviors, thus resulting in harmony, caring and understanding types of behaviors consistently and in different ways – regardless of whom they are with!

Once anyone can see their behavior (and know that there are three other styles that others have that they do not), they can begin to CHOOSE the appropriate behavior for the situation they find themselves in – and then they DANCE ON THE DISC!

The following are a few of the celebration statements the children started to identify themselves with – after just two three hour workshop sessions.  Their teacher reported that they now know which style they instinctively are… pointing out that they now can choose to change – and get different results!  

I am a “MISS High I with a D”. I am motivated by people and problems. I tend to talk a lot and always question problems. I like to have control and need LOTS of people to be around ME!! When I am STRESSED I will either dictate and get angry or talk a whole lot more than normal! ME, MYSELF and I describe ourselves as bubbly, funny, outgoing and hardworking when the time’s right. I am everyone’s cheerleader (a good excuse to be very loud)…                             

I’m a High S and I am a very social person. I like to go at a slow steady pace. I also fear sudden change in certain situations. I get really angry and nervous under stress. I like to take my time with things. When it comes to performances I am afraid people will criticize me about my performances, that is why I’m shy…                                     

I am a High I. To get the best out of me you need to invite me to parties, talk to me, don’t ignore me and I need to trust you. When I am stressed I talk more and I attack verbally. I love talking to everyone and I love having lots of friends!                           

You should have seen the joy in the eyes of these kiddos, as they shared who they were. Now they had a way to not only understand what was driving their behavior but how to adapt it.  All it takes to change our style is to see it… name it… and claim it.  OR, with enough awareness and practice, these children are learning how to change it!

The next step for this initial class is going to teach what they are learning at school to their families! Which is what I suggested to the school’s Principal. What could be better than people actually recognizing and valuing the gift in each different and unique personality style, in all families!

So, please take a free DISC Assessment and also ask your children to take one as well, if they’re 12yrs or older. We have a lot more resources in our online shop at PeopleSmart World. If you’re homeschooling your kiddos you especially might like my workbook with a teaching guide and online debrief session, called Creating a Culture of Kindness and Peace Pack. Or ask to join my Facebook group – Parents with Teens, Tweens and anything In between for inspiration, tips and support.