Two days ago, we did some deep inner work by working through our Enneagram assessment which helped us understand our core needs and personality traits. Yesterday, we devoted our time to deciphering our learning style. With those in mind, today we are going to figure out our action style and how that can help or hinder our ability to work toward our goals as singers and musicians.
Your Diva Action Styles
Kathy Caprino, of Career Bliss fame, has an excellent article for Forbes called, “The 6 Dominant Action Styles: Why You Need To Know Yours To Be Happy And Successful.” We are going to use her excellent advice gleaned from 11 years of coaching professionals, five years as a therapist, and 18 years in corporate life to help us with our singer small businesses and distinguishing our action styles.
You’ll probably want to read her full article and sign up for her email list to get the most out of today’s post. All the block quotes in this post come from her article. (I am not an affiliate and not connected to Kathy’s work – just trying to send some good vibes her way for sharing her incredible knowledge.)
Kathy’s 6 Dominant Action Styles include: The Striver, The Seeker, The Researcher, The Pacer, The Challenger, and The Advocator.
The Striver in music will obsessively choose large goals that are based on perceived victory and success. She will work tirelessly to realize those goals sometimes to the detriment of making lasting relationships, having a musical/artistic voice, and her ultimate whole body health.
This individual is motivated keenly by achievement and accomplishment – by setting goals and doing what’s required to clear the pathway to achieve those goals. Strivers work hard consistently to overcome their challenges, and won’t hesitate to get outside help, advice and support from others to achieve their visions. They are deeply driven by accomplishment and by getting to the other side of their goal as expeditiously and efficiently as possible, as if to make a “check mark” on their to-do list that represents “Done.”
Our divas of the seeker type follow their little beagle noses to whatever interests them, or encourages their personal growth, along the way. They may enter a MM degree program and feel totally comfortable using that experience to transform into a stage director or agent in the next iteration of their goals. They aren’t tied to the end-all-be-all goal. Their true goal is to keep pursuing their intuition and internal guidance. I gently remind Seeker Types in the musical freelance world to remember that “hope is not a strategy.” Positive thinking is powerful but not the only way of achieving goals.
The Seeker is motivated by expansion, learning and growth, and sees evolving and learning as the key objectives of experience. Seekers may change directions frequently, embracing the idea of “going with the flow,” and are more than fine with modifying their dreams and visions based on what new “material” shows up in their lives at any given time.
Researcher Divas love school. They love the whole process of really digging into each facet of the singing life. They want to listen to all of the recordings. They want to speak all the languages fluently. They have a never-ending mountain of potential repertoire. Divas of The Researcher persuasion, do not get so busy learning about how to sing that you find yourself without time to do the actual verb. If you notice your diva friends agonizing over researching every aspect of the audition process and failing to actually sign up to audition, encourage them to take the leap and try out their research.
The Researcher is deeply motivated by the process of study, research, exploration and evaluation – assuming a wide range of angles and perspectives in order to understand the best goals to pursue, and the best avenues to achieve these goals. The researcher needs to turn an idea or concept over and “peel the onion” to investigate, dig deep, explore and uncover as many alternative approaches and options in order to arrive at the best plan.
Divas with a strong Pacer vibe will be resolute in their goals but can get bogged down in their own methodology and understanding. There are times in the singing life that you need to be able to move quickly and take advantage of opportunities on the fly. This could be intimidating to a pacer type who wants to apply for gigs, grants, schools, etc on their own time and in their own way. Be aware of when your Pacer action style can help and when it might be preventing you from new opportunities.
Pacers will get to their goal, but they’ll approach the process very slowly, methodically, and often in a plodding way. The Pacer is like a great giant turtle with a hard, protective shell. When events or situations emerge that threaten the Pacer, s/he will submerge under the shell until the threat has passed. The Pacer will reliably plod to the goal, but often others have to move around the Pacer if they wish to speed up the process or take the most expedient route.
“The whole YAP pyramid scheme is a joke and an effort to prey on young, naïve singers! We should abolish the system! We should create our own opera company! We will dismantle the audition process!” If you’ve heard some of these statements before, chances are you’re friends with a Challenger. We should look at the ways the system can be better for everyone involved. Perhaps some of us do need to create our own opera companies. But, sometimes a diva of the challenger variety can run out of energy and other resources before accomplishing the goal they set out to achieve.
The Challenger feels the urge to challenge everything – asking questions, disrupting conventional thinking, and not taking any advice, authority or direction given as definitive. The Challenger thrives on being able to turn a goal or a belief over on its head, and questioning why it exists. He is motivated by following his own, authentic answers to deep questions, and views himself as the highest authority on what is the right, or wrong, way to approach a situation or goal.
Finally, our Diva Advocators are out in the field doing work that they can believe in. They need something larger than themselves to spur them on. They like their goals to be community-focused or service oriented. Advocators get shizz done because they are deeply committed to the idea of “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Our musical advocator action types can find themselves not getting along with others who do not share the same vision. If this is you, diva, remember that not everyone has to share the same goal that you do to make a project successful. Know your goals and needs and know other’s goals and needs. You don’t have to make them the same thing.
Finally, the Advocator drives to a goal only when it has “juice” and excitement for her – when it holds a deeper meaning and purpose, usually around advocating for some desired transformation – for herself, others, her community or the world. Advocators need to have deeper meaning and purpose in their work and in their goals, and long for outcomes that will bring forth positive benefit to everyone involved.
Show Your (Inner) Work
Have you already determined which action style best describes you? I definitely know what mine are. I bet you can probably guess them too if you’ve been a longtime Sybaritic Faithful. Put this inner work knowledge into practice by thinking about a current project or goal you’re pursuing.
- What is your overall action style?
- Do you have a different action style when it comes to micro goals along the way to the larger goal?
- Do you notice yourself having different action styles at different points along the timeline?
- Who are the people directly connected to this project and what are their action styles?
I hope this post has helped you bring some clarity to how your Action Style, as described by Kathy Caprino, affects your diva life. Share with me your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter. I’m @mezzoihnen.
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