Greetings To All,
Sometimes our goals and our reality seem to be on different paths and we have a hard time getting both to cooperate. We really want our goals and reality to be the same, yet there seems to be real competition. This month we explore some thoughts about that dichotomy.

Living with Our Competing Selves

What happens when we come face to face with our own inconsistencies? It may happen when broken New Year's resolutions become far too apparent to ignore. Or, it hits us when we say one thing to our children, and an inner voice reminds us that we don't walk our talk. At work, we make a bold statement to our peers and feel a twinge of guilty conscience and hypocrisy inside.

Most of the time we kid ourselves with a system of delusions and denial. We say we are one kind of person, while doing things that are contrary to our desired image.

Psychologists call it "cognitive dissonance," a state of discomfort when we say one thing but do another. We will go to any lengths to avoid that feeling, hence we construct an elaborate system of delusions, denial, and some behaviors we don't even notice.

To face the fact that we aren't acting like the person we believe we should be is painful and unpleasant. We don't have time for that. Negative emotions get in the way of our being productive and focusing on the tasks and goals at hand.

So we live with incongruities and denial, and our battling inner selves seem to be just part of who we are. We find a way to excuse ourselves. We are forgiving of our inconsistencies. We're only human, after all.

The Price of Self-Ignorance

The price we pay by not facing these paradoxes is fatigue, irritability, and lack of energy. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to maintain the different sides of our personality in some sort of harmony.

Most people don't recognize the extent of their inner complexity. We grow up with ideas of who we are or who we should be that are given to us by our parents and teachers. "Oh, you are such an extravert, you just love being with people" is a message that doesn't recognize your desire to be by yourself. So we think we are one way and don't pay attention to our other side.

The truth is that we may have a preference for a certain set of behaviors, but that doesn't mean that we don't act out of preference, depending on the situation.

We run into trouble when we set goals that do not take into account the differing sides of our personalities. We say we are health conscious and set a goal of eating healthily at least 80 percent of the time and working out 5 days a week.

When we fail to maintain our healthy lifestyle, we get down on ourselves, blaming our lack of willpower and discipline. But there may be another explanation.

Competing Values

We have competing selves and competing commitments. On the one hand, we may truly be health conscious and want to maintain a set of healthy standards. On the other hand, we may also be committed to having fun and enjoying life. These two values may compete for attention, and usually the goal of immediate pleasure will win out over delayed satisfaction.

We may value family life and work hard to give our family things that provide pleasure and comfort. But what happens when our commitment to work and financial success interferes with spending time with children and spouses?

What about our sense of orderliness? What happens when our focus on getting things done overrides getting the most important things done? In order to pay attention to what really matters, we may have to let organizational chores go.

Basic Drives

One way of becoming more aware of the things that motivate us — and their competing forces — is to work with a coach. A personal coach can help acquaint you with self-assessment tools to increase your knowledge of what really drives you.

There are many such tools available, and all lend increased awareness of our individual personalities and drivers. A look at the Reiss Desires Profile of common desires will shed some light on our basic drives. According to Stephen Reiss, Ph.D., there are 16 basic desires. They are listed here:
Acceptance Honor Order
Social Contact
Curiosity Idealism Physical Activity Status
Eating Independence Romance Tranquility
Family Leadership

Everybody is motivated to a certain degree by these values or desires. People have high, medium, or low motivation in each area. We are motivated to express our values. Knowing what motivates us is an important element to being able to commit and prioritize our energies.

Success-oriented people tend to be high in Status and Leadership desires. What is interesting is to look at how the desires that motivate us can compete for our attention. The desire to maintain order and tranquility may conflict with a strong desire for family activities. It is difficult to have both. Similarly, it may be difficult to satisfy a desire for competitiveness when one also has a strong desire for honor or idealism.

Identifying Competing Values

Human beings are complex animals, with competing drives and a multitude of values. It is not easy to know oneself well. How do you honor core values without self-knowledge and the ability to juggle more than one competing value?

How do you gain self-awareness so that appropriate goals and priorities can be set?

Try to identify 3-5 areas that motivate you strongly. Then identify any competing values that also must be satisfied. Working with your coach will make this process easier.

Once you identify your strongest desires, and the competing drives that vie for your attention and focus, revise your goals and priorities to honor both sides of your personality.

Both sides of you will love you for it!

Final Thoughts:
If you haven't explored coaching, please give me a call. I would love to be part of your exploratory process and help you find a coach. I can be reached at 312-842-4577
or e-mail me . You might also enjoy visiting my web site at

Have a great month.

Coach Jerry

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Jerry Pinney

For the last twenty-two years Jerry Pinney has been president of his own consulting firm. Currently he focuses his efforts on providing executive and personal coaching to persons who are interested in improving their quality of life and consulting to small and mid-sized companies and nonprofits. He is a facilitator for peer advisory groups with The Alternative Board and is a Certified One Page Planning Consultant. Jerry has over three decades of experience in the food industry, and possesses a unique perspective of customer service, marketing and strategic planning. In addition to overall general management qualifications, Jerry has proven expertise in operational planning and business development. His food industry career started at Jewel Food Stores followed by a long career with IGA, with their retailers, wholesalers and ten years as Vice President of Marketing. In addition Jerry has served as Vice President of Membership for the National Grocers Association, Sr. Vice President of Procurement for Shurfine International and Executive Manager of The Zenon Hansen Foundation.

Jerry has also served on a number of nonprofit boards including: President of the Volunteer Center of Northwest Suburban Chicago. He is currently a Project Manager for the Executive Service Corps of Chicago. Jerry’s ESC assignments have included coaching for several Executive Directors, and consulting on various Board Development projects and on a number of strategic planning projects.

Jerry Pinney & Associates
102 East 32nd Street
Chicago, IL,
phone: 312-842-4577,
fax: 312-842-4705

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