“Road trip” or “Holland again, Holland again, jiggidy, jig, jig

So, I’ll be heading to Holland for the second time in five days tomorrow morning at 6:15 a.m. We had a short staff retreat there Sunday evening and Monday and now I’m returning with my boss and supervisor for a meeting with our favorite marketing firm The Image Group to talk about the future of online education at SAU. Sounds important, eh?

It kinda is. I’m not sure what input they’ll be looking for me to offer, but at least they feel its worth the University’s money to have me tag along when I could be working on any number of approaching deadline items.

The weekend retreat was really good. Seems God confirmed a few more things I’d be thinking already. Among those is the idea that office-based, deadline-driven enviornment are NOT those I flourish in.

We all took tests called Kolbe A and Kolbe B, which were similar to personality-profile tests. But the results they present are quite different. They seek to measure one’s "striving instincts," or where one naturally desires to expend energy. The categories are Fact Finder, Follow-through, Quick Start and Implementor.

I scored highest in Fact Finder and Implementor instincts, through which I am a pragmatist, prober, arbitrator, practitioner, researcher, judge or realist, as a fact finder, and a manufacturer, molder, builder, handcrafter, weaver, agriculturalist or handler, as a implementor.

That’s kinda vague, I know. But here’s a more descriptive paragraph that rings frighteningly true:

"Your forte for handcrafting makes you the ideal candidate for fine-tuning solutions and demonstrating this talent to others. With an uncanny knack for getting machinery working and assuring quality, you figure out the intricate details by exploring complexities. Once you’ve examined all the facts and reconstructed probable causes, few stones are left unturned. You are a master at delving to the greatest possible depth."

Those who know me well know that is true. I value the process and the details to a HIGH degree. It drives my boss nuts. And I used to feel bad about it–like it was something I needed to change about myself for me to be successful. But Kolbe claims that success comes when we have the freedom to be ourselves. In other words, we’re successful when we perform the way God wired us to perform.

A paragraph about Kolbe results in general, not specific to me:

"With your Kolbe results you can liberate yourself from the stress of working against your grain. They highlight how you need to get things done–and how you need to avoid trying to act because it just won’t work well for you. They have nothing to do with learned behaviors [which stem] from the knowledge-based cognitive part of the mind… The Kolbe index is the only validated method of measuring instinct-based actions."

In summary, I think I’m instinctively more an artist than I ever realized. Basically, everything I do–at least, everything I do that I take pride it–I labor over like a piece of art. I labored over my car stereo installation, I labored over building my computer, I labored over remodeling my basement. I labor over editing photographs and the things I write and the designs I make.

Many, many people can do adequate work much faster than I. But my nature is to make something riddled with so many details that it couldn’t possibly be replicated. That’s where I find satisfaction–even if I’m the only one who knows what I went through to get it that way. It sometimes frustrates me that few can appreciate the work I put into some things…but that doesn’t get in the way of me moving on and putting the same time and energy into another "work of art"–be it a fire pit, hair cut, or car wash.

I used to think it was some obsessive, perfectionistic personality fault. And maybe it does get carried away sometimes. But it’s how I find satisfaction. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there? Isn’t that what some artists do? Maybe it doesn’t work well in a University Communications office, but I’m pretty sure it will find a home elsewhere…most likely right here, with myself.

The University probably didn’t want to pay for a test that would further convince me that I’m not meant to work for them much longer. But in the end, we’ll both be better off…

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

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