Is Success or Failure a Matter of Perspective?

Steve Williamson, VP Digital Marketing and Content Creation, eRep, Inc.
Monday, January 27, 2020
Is Success or Failure a Matter of Perspective?

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I know someone (we'll call him Travis) whose Core Values Index psychometric profile is Merchant/Builder. (What is your CVI profile?) He is currently renovating his home and I hear updates every week or so about how things are coming along.

On the surface, this sounds like a normal activity that many people undertake as homeowners. What's so hard about painting a room or installing a new light fixture?

My psychometric profile is the opposite of Travis's. I am an Innovator/Banker; my Merchant score is dead last. As a result of this difference in profiles, Travis and I would go about the same task in entirely different ways and for entirely different reasons, even if the outcome may end up being the same.

Before I discuss Travis's home remodeling exploits, let me give you some quick background about how the CVI factors into this story.

The Core Values Index Psychometric Profile

To say Travis knows the CVI is a gross understatement. Perhaps the only person in the world that knows more about the Core Values Index psychometric assessment is the creator of the CVI himself, Lynn Ellsworth Taylor.

Shortly after I met Travis, I attended a presentation he was giving, the Core Values Index Foundations Course, for me and a group of co-workers. During that session, Travis asked me:

"Let's say you just bought a bookshelf from IKEA. What's the first thing you would do?"

Without a thought, I said, "I open the box, lay out all the parts into their labeled groups, sort the hardware into individual piles to make sure it's all there, and begin reading the instructions."

Keep in mind I'm an Innovator/Banker. This means I am a natural problem solver and I follow directions in a precise manner. My lowest core value energy is Merchant, which means social interactions and intuitively feeling my way through the emotional landscape are areas that require a bit of willpower and effort.

Travis then half-jokingly said about himself, "Instructions? Bah! I'm a Merchant. I just start putting pieces together until it looks like the picture on the box."

We'd both likely end up with a functional and attractive bookshelf, but we would go about it in an entirely different manner.

Now, let's return to our original story.

The Key of Motivation

Travis has been renovating his house and has told me about the various trials and tribulations he's gone through on the project. Knowing what I do about Travis's CVI profile, detail-oriented and tedious tasks like taping a room before painting it would be a non-fun experience for him.

What surprised me, however, was the high quality of his results. Considering Travis doesn't have the profile that lends itself to detail and tedium, I wondered why.

"It's more about motivation than it is about process," Travis said. "A primary Banker or Innovator will pursue success because they care about the quality of the result. A Merchant like me will pursue success because we care about what others will think of us if they see shoddy workmanship."

As I have matured and expanded my CVI knowledge and understanding, this factor of motivation keeps cropping up. Someone possessing a primary score in any of the four core value energies can produce a quality result, but their motivation for doing so can vary dramatically.

It is also about enjoyment. Someone with a very low Banker score (like Travis) can still do something time-consuming and tedious like reconcile bank statements, but it will be an emotional challenge for them to stay focused. One trick Travis uses to get through Banker activities is to eliminate distractions, make sure he has all the tools he needs at his disposal, and to concentrate the effort into a single (and hopefully short) block of time so he can get it done without dragging it out.

I go through the same emotions and struggles when I engage in tasks that require a lot of Merchant energy (my lowest core value), such as organize or attend a social event. I have to block out the time, mentally psyche myself up for it, and eliminate distractions, otherwise I'll find any excuse I can to postpone it or get out of it entirely. I can still do it successfully, though.

When Travis finishes taping and painting the spare room of his house, or I attend a networking event that requires a lot of social interaction, we will share a similar struggle to accomplish something that it outside of our primary psychometric profile energies.

"A professional is someone who can do their best work even when they don't feel like it." - Alistair Cooke

We both may look back and be satisfied about the result, although we will have entirely different motivations that helped us get through it.

Failure and success are matters of perspective based on one's psychometric profile. The definition of 'done' varies based on personal perspective. What a Banker would consider to be failure may mean success to a Merchant. What is fun to an Innovator may be misery to a Builder.

Finding the path that aligns with how you are hardwired, toward your definition of success, requires knowing your personality's DNA.

The only reliable way to know that is to take the Core Values Index psychometric assessment.

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

Employees hired with a CVI that closely matches a Top Performer Profile often outperform candidates hired without a TPP match by 200% or more. → Learn more

Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson

Innovator/Banker - VP Digital Marketing and Content Creation, 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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