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Oftentimes, the terms personality and behavior are used interchangeably. This is expected since our personality comprises aspects and qualities of one’s attributes; behavior is the way we usually act and conduct ourselves. Our behavior gives us hints about our personality. Here comes the tricky part. Frequently, usual behavior represents our “productive” way, yet it is not always synchronized with our personality needs.

Our usual behavior is out there for everyone to see. We have become comfortable with it. It works for us. We can get by and have satisfactory outcomes. We can be talkative and social because our jobs requires us to be that way. As professionals we will comply with our job obligations and tasks. Don’t get me wrong. This behavior is effective and represents a pattern of behavior that works for us. If the environment is working in our favor, we will be fine.

Hidden underneath our usual behavior are our needs. Needs represent our social expectations of how others (and ourselves) should be treated. This may be summed up as our comfort zone; our preferred environment when the world is working according to our expectations.

But what happens when our surroundings do not align with our everyday productive behavior? Here comes stress. Stress behavior specifically. Stress behavior is how we may act when our needs -- invisible to others and sometimes neglected by ourselves -- are not met.

For example: A person may be very communicative and seem in control of every social interaction, but what the person really expects is to have a purposeful task at hand and go ahead and complete it. He or she doesn’t want to spend time in meetings listening to everyone’s opinion. Because expectations and the environment are not aligned, the person might become argumentative and inflexible. On the other hand, someone may seem introverted but have an underlying need to communicate and interact with others. Think of an accountant or a lawyer who graduated with honors and knows his trade perfectly, completes projects on time and bills the expected hours. This person has a need for social interaction, but is confined to a closed off, isolated office space. This situation may trigger stress behavior resulting in unproductive actions that will take place. The person may become easily distracted and sidetracked.

There are many combinations of behaviors or outcomes that can arise when our needs are not met and our personality becomes an obstacle instead of an asset. Personal and professional development specialists recommended to work on our self and other awareness by means of a validated personality and behavior assessment tool, such as the Birkman Method that gives insight into our behavior and personality. Simply classifying each one of us into a personality quadrant is not the solution. We need to identify and maximize our uniqueness factors. We must find our best and perfect selves.

Usually only available to big corporations globally, the Birkman Method is now available in Puerto Rico through Certified Birkman Professional, Alberto J. Nunez Gonzalez. For more information:

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