4 steps to REWIRE yourself...forever.

Dernière mise à jour : juil. 6

Aging like a fine wine.

I don’t know about you, but there is something I have heard so many times over the last years: “You know… people don’t really change!”

“People don’t change”, does it translate a lack of faith in Human Nature? Does it include all the people? Is it actually true?

Despite the quality of my high-school philosophy classes [sarcasm], I have to humbly admit that I am not able to answer this question.

And now, we have just reached the moment in this article where the readers split into two different groups. Those who are thinking: “Of course people change!”

and the other group who is thinking: “Of course not! People don’t change! They evolve…”

Well, again, I am forced to admit that I cannot chose which one of those two groups I belong to.

The concept of “a change”, in a human being (whether it is valid or not) would mean that at a certain point, a person could be defined by a finite behavioral description or framework. Despite all the personality tests currently trending, can we really describe someone’s personality and set it in stone? I am sure we all agree that people think and act differently depending of their situation, their stress level, their happiness, their tiredness, their knowledge level, or for some of them even their hunger level, for example.

If you take your grandfather’s best bottle of French wine that stayed at 55°F/12°C in the wine cellar over the last ten years and open it. It probably tastes excellent. Let it breathe a few hours, it probably tastes even better. Now leave the bottle uncorked for a week on the kitchen counter. Get yourself a glass and drink it. Awful, right?

[DISCLAIMER - This is by no means the promotion of alcohol or wine. It is purely used as an example to explain the following point in the article. Although, if once in a while, you pour yourself a glass of French wine, it should not hurt. But well, this is maybe a subject for another article – END OF THE DISCLAIMER]

Getting back on the wine topic. Between the moment your grandfather bought this amazing wine ten years ago, the moment you first tasted it, found it excellent and the moment you last tasted it and found it awful… it was the same wine all along…

Simply, during its lifetime, the wine aged, matured and then “turned” bad, depending on the environment and conditions it was put through.

What if people were subjected to similar phenomena?

Putting aside the wine comparison: What if our personality was simply the symptom and outcome of the continuous sequence of situations we are put through? This would mean that the situations we are in, affect us. I am sure we all agree on that.

However, it would mean, as well, that two people would be impacted the same way by a same situation… which is not really the case. A same situational input can actually trigger two different behavioral outputs.

YOU decide…

So maybe a more exact statement would be to say that: Our personality is simply the symptom of the analysis we make of the continuous sequence of events we are put through.

It changes it all. “The analysis we make”. It means that we are in control. Yes, you decide what you do, when you do it, how you do it and why you do it.

It puts a significant amount of accountability on your shoulders. If you are awesome, it is because you have decided it. At some point in your life, you have been through situations that you have decided to tackle the right way, you took actions and you managed to shape yourself an amazing personality. The same way, if you are an @$$, it is your fault. Regardless of what you have been through, you decided to enclose yourself into negativity, anger, frustration or jealously and it made you become who you actually are.

The great thing about all this, is that, again, you are in control. When you are in control of something, you can slow-down, accelerate, switch gear or change direction!

Switching the gear of proactive growth.

People who I have worked closely with know that after passing my initial “observation shell”, I am a very outgoing, warm, positive and proactive person, who literally sees everything (good or bad) as an opportunity either to win, or to learn.

However, the same people who know this version of me, probably would not have recognized, ten years ago, the initial version of my professional self: negative, pessimistic and frustrated.

What changed since then? I simply realized that I did not deserve anything less or more than anyone else and that there was no place for entitlement.

If I wanted to achieve what I wanted to achieve, it would be based on my ability to care about my environment, make the best out of any situation, and genuinely bring value to people. This combination of behaviors, more than a personality change, became a lifestyle.

But where to start? Can we really rewire ourselves? Yes!

Step 1: Know where you are.

Based on my personal and managerial experience, I feel very comfortable to state that in a group, a company, a team or more generally in society, people (we) are usually spread across five “categories” of behaviors:

Category A: 5% - Top People. They are what I call the “Amazing 5%”. Very high EQ, Self-Awareness, Ability to bring value continuously, Ability to self-question and enter into a continuous improvement approach despite their level of Excellence. Ability to inspire.

Category B: 20% - The High “Value Makers”. They are on track to be part of the “Amazing 5%”. They aim at reaching Excellence. They are able to learn continuously, help and support all the other categories and show the example.

Category C: 60% - The Operators. They are the “Doers”. They belong to a system or an organization that brings them something and they accept to bring something in return.

Category D: 10% - The Swingers. They are operators who usually got bored. They are still part of the “Doers” but might very easily be influenced by the “Detrimental” category and join them from time to time.

Category E: 5% - The Detrimentals. They are usually former members of one of the four categories above but got disappointed. They are now acting proactively against the organization or group they belong to.

(NB: Percentages stated are rough estimates)

Caveat: These five categories are not about putting people into boxes. It is about landscaping yourself and your surroundings in order to create awareness.

Your rewiring process needs to start with your self-assessment. Where do you think you are? Are you already at the top or are you part of the detrimental team?

This exercise can be hard to do on your own. I would definitely advise you to do it with a close friend, a colleague or even your boss. You need to be as objective as possible and ask yourself questions like: Over the last six months, how did I feel? How do I feel about the organization I am in? Have I done my best? Who did I inspire? What did I improve? Have I done the maximum of what I could have done?

Step 2: Define your North Star.

Great news: No matter what category you belong to, you can reach the top. It all depends on one thing: YOU. (Yes,… again.)

When I started my career, after two years in the company I was working for, I felt completely frustrated and undervalued. I felt I was owning my scope of work, I was working mostly on my own and my level of responsibilities was not stimulating enough for me. I was probably in the Category D turning Category E. In order not to fully jump into Category E, I presented my resignation to my boss.

Three years later, I was managing a team of a hundred people and generating millions of dollars… for the same company.

How did that happen? Simple. While presenting my resignation to my boss, I realized it was actually the first “real”