Today I’m going to tell you about ‘The Four Tendencies’ – a fab personality framework that can help us meet our writing goals (and any other goals or habits, for that matter). (Hey, if you need help with your own writing goal or block, sign up for one of my coaching programmes: I LOVE helping writers! :-))
The Four Tendencies Framework
‘The Four Tendencies’ was developed by author Gretchen Rubin. I’m a big fan of her work; she writes about happiness, human nature and habits. A few years ago, she developed a personality framework called the Four Tendencies – it’s about how we respond to outer and inner expectations.
By outer expectations, she means a work deadline or a favour from a friend.
Inner expectations are things like: keeping a new year’s resolution or a writing a novel in your spare time. Something you choose to do just for yourself.
According to Gretchen, when it comes to meeting outer and inner expectations, we fall into 4 categories. Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels.
Summary of The Four Tendencies
This is how Gretchen summarises them:
Upholders – easily meet both outer and inner expectations
Questioners – question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
Obligers – meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet the inner expectations they impose on themselves
Rebels – resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
As soon as I heard about this framework, it made sense to me. I suddenly understood why some people struggle with their own writing deadlines, but others have no trouble.
What’s fascinating is that over 40% of people fall into the ‘Obliger’ category, which means, 40% of us need accountability to help us meet our personal goals. And without that accountability, we’ll always put other people’s goals first. (By the way, Gretchen found this stat out, because over 3 million people have taken her quiz!)
So, if you’ve ever wondered why you procrastinate so much over a goal that means a lot to you, this might be the reason why. Don’t beat yourself up, just accept that that’s a part of your nature, then set about putting the necessary accountability into place.
I’ve read a lot about Gretchen’s Four Tendencies because I’m obsessed with everything to do with motivation, willpower, habits and how we can get ourselves to meet the goals that are dear to our hearts.
I try to harness my knowledge of the Four Tendencies when coaching my clients. It’s also really useful for managers, teachers, doctors, personal trainers, dieticians – just about anyone who is trying to help others to stick to a goal or habit.
How I help writers with The Four Tendencies framework
When I’m working with writers who are Obligers, I know accountability is usually the biggest issue. For some writers, just knowing that they have to report back to me is enough for them to get on and write. Others need much more than that – so I come up with ingenious ways to make them feel accountable.
Questioners need to feel that everything makes sense before they’ll do it – so this usually means answering all their questions and backing up my advice with evidence.
Rebels like variety, they hate feeling tethered to a schedule. The idea of a daily routine often appals them. However, they love to do things that speak to their identity. So, if they’re struggling to get on and write, we’ll look at their identity and make sure that they’re living up to the person they want to be.
Upholders are pretty self-motivated when it comes to meeting goals. However, they can be very rigid in their ways, and sometimes, they’re so efficient, that they waste a lot of time on things that don’t matter. So, if an Upholder isn’t making the progress they want with their writing, we’ll look at how they’re spending their time, and see if we can come up with a more effective strategy.
If you want to find out your own tendency, take the quiz here
Do you need help?
- Want to nail your own writing goal?
- Overcome a block?
- Or get your writing mojo back again?
Sign Up for one of my coaching programmes.
**I LOVE helping writers!**
Recent good news from clients has included: –
- Getting an agent
- Landing meetings with TV execs and
- Finishing a 100,000 word novel!
This sort of good news just makes my day!
My 3 coaching programmes vary in length from 1 month, 3 months or 6 months. I’m happy to set up a payment plan if needed. If you have any questions, let’s chat! Drop me a line and we’ll set up a brief complimentary call.
It’s not too late to make 2021 your year for writing!
[Quick Heads Up – I’m currently on a hiatus from my animation writing gig. But once that starts up again, I’ll have much less availability. So don’t hang about!]