Get Out of Your Own Way

Steve Williamson, VP Digital Marketing and Content, eRep, Inc.
Monday, January 8, 2024
Get Out of Your Own Way

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Raise your hand if you don't want to succeed.

None. Okay, maybe we can narrow it down a little. Raise your hand if you sometimes feel like you get in your own way. Raise your hand if some part of you recognizes that your personality — the way you are emotionally hardwired — can occasionally prevent you from being successful in your professional or even your personal life.

There's a saying that sometimes we are own worst enemy.

Like driving your car with the parking brake on, there are moments when we step outside of ourselves and realize the particular way we react to the world and prefer to operate within it may not be the best approach for a given situation.

Nobody is perfect. We all do and say things that we regret, from the small ways we may phrase a question to the major things that irritate and frustrate us the most.

There must be a way to understand how we are individually hardwired, learn how to recognize when that hardwiring is getting in our way, and correct our approach in the moment. (There is.)

Start By Understanding Your Personality

For this exercise, you need to take the world's most reliable and accurate personality test, the Core Values Index. The CVI describes your personality's DNA by referencing how much or how little of four core value energies (personality categories) exist within you. It is your unique ratio of these core value energies that makes you unique.

What follows are the descriptions of how these four personality categories influence the default way you act and respond to everyday activities and circumstances. If you have a CVI profile with relatively equal ratios of the four core value energies, all of these can apply to you at different times.

Most folks, however, have more of one core value energy in their personality profile than the others. When one core value energy is heavily represented, the others are proportionally lower.

As you read these descriptions, reflect on situations when you felt you were getting in your own way. Consider how these aspects of your personality can become barriers to moving forward.

Once you recognize how one or more of these behavior traits are negatively influencing your ability to reach your goals, you can use the advice we provide to counter that restriction and make forward progress.

Here we go.

Influences of Personality on Your Actions


Those with Builder energy in their primary spot love to act and get things done. They have great faith in their ability to always know what to do in any given situation. Impatience and the need to keep the ball moving down the field is their hallmark, but sometimes this can prevent a Builder from getting things done in the most appropriate or effective way.

Builders, learn to slow your roll when things aren't going well.

In essence, you must find a way to slow your roll when appropriate. You can tell when your Builder energy and enthusiasm is getting in your way when things seem to be getting worse rather than better. The people you work with might be expressing frustration at your fast approach. Or in your personal life, your need to act can move into your conflict resolution strategy of intimidation.

When this happens, look at your secondary core value energy (Merchant, Innovator or Banker). Ask yourself how someone with that core value energy would act in this situation?

The simple act of naming what's happening can shift your response from the emotional into the rational part of your brain, allowing you to take a new approach.

Merchants want to be loved and to be worthy of love. This means they hate doing things anonymously or in isolation, preferring that others recognize their valuable contribution. Merchants excel at getting everyone pulling together and working toward a common goal — that's one of their greatest strengths — but this implies that they also have a desire to be the center of attention in that group effort.

The Merchant's desire to be liked can sometimes skew their approach to getting things done. They may place too much value on what other people think rather than on the value of the outcome.

Perhaps you find yourself using "I" or "Me" a bit too much and "We" a bit too little in the conversation. Or you feel your emotions rising when someone else seems to be stealing the spotlight. Maybe your ego is feeling a bit pricked over something someone said.

Look for these tell-tale signs that you're caring too much about how people see you. In those situations, consider how your secondary core value energy would react. Use Builder energy to move the needle in a positive way, or the Innovator's altruistic desire to solve the problem regardless of who gets the credit.


The problem-solvers of the world aren't happy with finding a solution. They want to find the solution. This can throw them into what's called the Innovator's Loop, where they keep tweaking their effort, never satisfied to say, "Okay, it's good enough," and move on.

On the one hand, if a solution is there, you want to find it because it's worth pursuing. On the other hand, a good-enough solution today is often better than a perfect solution tomorrow.

"If a perfect solution exists, I can find it!" argues the Innovator.

When seeking the solution to a challenging problem, ask yourself what would happen if you stopped working on it now and tackled a new problem, rather than perpetually seeking perfection that is unlikely to ever be obtained?

Innovators actually work very well with Builders because the Builder will be focused on checking that task off the list and moving forward to the next objective, giving the Innovator permission to let it be "good enough."


The contribution of Bankers to the world is their intrinsic motivation to gather data and knowledge. They are the librarians and archivists of our society. They also keep us safe by double or triple checking the list to ensure everything is covered. If anyone has a list of lists, it would be a Banker.

From a Banker's perspective, their job is to generate and check that list, but not to make the decisions about when to start or stop — or make any decision at all.

The aversion to making a decision is what will keep a Banker from making progress more than any other reason.

It will be the Banker that verifies all systems are go, but it will be someone else that gives the launch order.

For the Banker afraid to commit and make a decision, be self-aware when this is happening. Somewhat like an Innovator who continues tweaking a solution in search of perfection, the Banker can fall into that loop of "I need more data" before they'll take action.

Banker energy is the least decisive of all four, so simply relying on whatever is your secondary core value energy to get you to click "start" may be all that it takes. Another approach is to put a "launch" step in your plans, built into your carefully researched data. When your checklist has been completed up to that point, the decision has already been made. All you have to do is follow the recipe.

Bankers love following recipes.

When you find yourself getting in your own way, learn to recognize it's happening, then shift into your secondary (or tertiary, if needed) core value energy for that extra nudge in the right direction.

Core Values Index™ and CVI™ are trademarks of Taylor Protocols, Inc.

Go to to learn more about the CVI or to take the Core Values Index assessment.

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Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson

Innovator/Banker - VP Digital Marketing and Content, eRep, Inc.

Steve has a career in project management, software development and technical team leadership spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (, and when he isn't writing, he enjoys cycling, old-school table-top role-playing games, and buzzing around the virtual skies in his home-built flight simulator.

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