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  • Jerry Phillips

Panic at The Office

I recently took a Predictive Index survey with my friend Doug Roberts at Rocket Leaders. As we debriefed, the first question he asked me was if I had a cardiologist. I assured him I didn’t but was in great health. Then I asked him why. He had piqued my curiosity.

I have taken about every behavioral assessment available in the market, so there are very few surprises when I take them. I don’t believe I bias them or game them. I just know who I am and what I can do. I once spent a week at the Center for Creative Leadership, and I was tested and evaluated in depth. After the week, as I was driving home from the airport, I shared with my wife that my team found me intimidating and demanding. She told me that she could have told me that. I’ve had to dial back my intensity a little bit. So, I am aware. Unfortunately, awareness doesn’t mean I have it completely under control. In fact, Doug’s PI review was a bit of a surprise.

He shared with me that I was in the top .03 percent of the population in intensity level. Thus, the question about my cardiologist. He was being humorous, and it did make me laugh, however it also influenced me. Was this how I come across to people? Am I too intense and setting myself up for failure?

For a few days after the PI review, I almost had a panic attack when I was working out. I’d have a knot in my stomach and a challenge breathing normally. It made no sense. I work out six days a week without much trouble, and they are high intensity workouts. Yet one humorous comment and I was reacting with a near panic attack. Am I that mentally fragile?

In the past 18 years since I started my practice, I’ve had some ups and downs. We have had the “Great Recession” and the Covid induced lockdown and recession. I’ve had some huge years, and some leaner years. I never panicked. Why did I react to this information? It isn’t new information. It was just the visual chart and the comparison to the rest of the world’s population that made it much more real.

The key was the visualization made it real. When you work with your customers, do you make it real? Do you paint a visual picture of what they can achieve? Do you see a reaction that makes it real for them? Do you create a visual or tell a story that makes the solution real for the customer?

I wear a watch that tracks my workouts, sleep, and heart rate. I like the visuals. I’ve closed my workout goals 15 out of the last 18 days. I guess I’m that intense.


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