Well, it’s Groundhog Day … again. If you’re a fan of the movie starring Bill Murray, you may remember the interesting change his character went through by getting stuck re-living his least favorite day of the year over and over.
Groundhog Day became a cult classic because of its timelessness. You could play it for kids today and they would still find it relatable, even though there are no cell phones or social media references. As my friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin says, “The more things change, the more we must rely on things that never change.” The story of Phil Connors, the main character, is timeless and unchanging ... because of how much he changed from the movie’s beginning to its end.
By the filmmakers’ own admission, Phil was made out to be a “jerk” in the beginning. A selfish, sneering, condescending man with a jibe for everyone he met. He torpedoed every potential relationship that came his way, including ones he actually wanted, with his biting remarks and callous self-absorption. He badly needed a mastermind group to hold him accountable!
This made me think of something we use heavily in the Iron Sharpens Iron world - the DISC profile. We use it because it’s a reliable tool in understanding the different personality types who show up in our online mastermind groups.
With young men, however, we’re learning more all the time regarding the formation of personalities. A man who enters our new mastermind groups aimed at the 20-25 age bracket will not be the same man a decade later. It’s easier to categorize a 40-year old with a dominant, set personal style than a 22-year old.
We could either label people incorrectly, or we could choose the more agile path of how personality tests are used these days. Author Morgan Snyder framed this well, by recommending we use them as “lenses” rather than “labels.” In other words, we learned to interpret certain behaviors as signals of the way people express portions of their personality, not its entirety.
Formatting the DISC
Young men seemed to be “all over the map” until we started doing this. Once we understood, however, that you could be a “D” (dominant) type one moment and an “S” (supportive) the next, it made more sense. A good mentor or coach needs to be able to spot these transitions. You have to learn to think like a quarterback reviewing game footage, and slow everything down so you can listen carefully to what people say and watch how they behave.
We also realized some personality aspects have “atrophied.” They get used mostly when the person’s lower self and passions are in control. One young man I know slips into obsessive “C” (cautious) mode when fear takes over, and gets lost in a radical self-inventory, critiquing his every thought. This is not good. When he’s his usual self, he is poor at systems and processes. When he’s tired, angry, hungry or bored, he turns to ruthless self-judgment.
This also applies to reserved people who are generally reliable, but afraid to share their “glory” with the world. These people are amazing when they let their “I” (influencing) shine. Most of the time, one of our youngest members keeps quiet and waits until someone invites him to speak. As soon as he opens his mouth, however, the rest of us become spellbound at his command of certain subjects. He is like a self-contained master mind group of knowledge!
A DISC assessment will help you get bearings on an individual, but you should pay close attention going forward. Especially, as we’ve seen, with young men, whose minds aren’t fully formed on average until age twenty-five.
Recall my two young friends I described - one who becomes a “C” every time things go bad, and the other whose abilities as an “I” would be kept hidden if we didn’t press him to share them? These ironic outcomes of the human personality are actually “clues” that can also tell us what needs to change, or consistently be subject to review, of mastermind groups online.
Think about it: if you don’t become a “C” unless you’re stressed or negative, what does that say about you the rest of the time? It means you’re probably a well-spoken, big-picture, people person like me! It means your insecurities are strongest when it comes to nuts and bolts. It means you need to develop that side of your personality. Not to the exclusion of your zone of genius, but enough that you aren’t blindsided by details or how they affect the big picture.
Conversely, if you refuse to exercise your “I” because of how people may respond, it tells me you are probably a dominant “C” who over-exercises their sense of caution and propriety. You are likely depriving the world of a vast depth of knowledge and ability in the name of controlling how you’re perceived, or because that’s how things were done in your family. You may love individual people without strings like an “S.” You may be diligent in executing your every task like a “D.” But what the world needs most from you in the moment remains hidden because you’re afraid to expose it.
The DISC In Your Head
The conclusion of Groundhog Day presented a very different Phil Connors. He won the hearts of the entire city of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the annual Groundhog Day festivities took place. He won the heart of Rita, his love interest. He served everyone who crossed his path with humility, generosity and kindness. He learned to live contentedly in a time and place he’d previously despised. And then one day, he was released from his curse … and he elected to stayin Punxsutawney!
While Phil’s case was extreme in the beginning, we believe in the same kind of transformation for young men through our masterminds online. Each man who enters our groups has areas where he’s naturally strong or gifted, and others he’s either buried, or emerge when he’s off-balance. This is where a fellowship of peers and elders to whom he can bare his soul has enormous potential to steer his life in far better directions.
Like Phil, our members exchange old DISC narratives. Particularly the ones that surface when they’re not well. They trade them for new ones that amplify and proliferate success in their personal and professional lives.
If you have or know of a young man who needs something like this in his life, I want to encourage you to send them the link to our application site.