Wednesday, April 18

What's your Information Style?

I'm doing personal growth work with a guy near here (Boulder is one of those places where you can fling a wet towel and hit a spiritual teacher of some kind) named Larry Byram. There are many facets to Larry's work, and people come and go as they need and come and hear what they need to.

One thing I take away from Larry's work is an understanding of Information Styles. (He calls them creative energies.) There are seven basic styles, and I'm going to present them in the form of a story. Let's say you've taken your canoe out to the lake to do some fishing. A bit later, a good friend comes to the shore and greets you. In waving back, you knock your paddle out of the boat. What does your friend do?

  • Priest: will stay on the shore and may encourage you to see the silver lining in the situation or tell you what you should have done to not lose your paddle.
  • Sage: will swim out to your canoe and climb in so you're not alone and will spend the afternoon telling stories.
  • King: will get the next group of fishers down the shore to come and help you.
  • Artisan: will look around for something that could be used to get you into shore. Might find something. Might invent a way to keep you from losing your paddle next time.
  • Warrior: will go get their boat and row out to tow you to shore. May or may not tell you what they're doing.
  • Servers: will go get the first friend they can find to come help you. The person may or may not be equipped to help.
  • Scholars: will attempt to talk you through an alternate method of propelling your boat which they've read about.
Now, all of these are valid information styles. Some probably resonated as "helpful" for you and some resonated as "irritating."

I think whenever we come to the town commons, it is important to know our own Information Style and those of others. For example Debra Lynn Dadd is a Priest. She's gonna tell you what the best option is and why. Ed Begley Jr. is an Artisan, and he's out there trying on possibilities for the rest of us to learn and possibly benefit from. David Suzuki is a Server and he's providing resources where you can go help yourself in parallel to what he's doing. Al Gore isn't quite a Scholar naturally, he's more of an Artisan with a touch of Scholar. In An Inconvenient Truth he's playfully and creatively presenting information he's very connected to. And Gov. Schwarzenegger is bringing some much needed Sage energy to the environmental movement. He's out there talking with people, pointing out the fun, bringing people together, and basically saying this is something we can all do.

Some Information Styles are naturally going to be comfortable for you and easy to listen to, and some may be grating. Use your style to find the people you synergize with, and let people who do it differently, but who are heading in the same direction, pass with a friendly wave... not a lot of energy in getting them to change to your style.

(Thanks to Laura for help with this post.)

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NotSoBigLiving is the story of a woman inspired by Sarah Susanka, Bill McKibben, Airstreams, Tumbleweed houses, Mennonites, Jimmy Carter, hippies, survivalists, Anasazi, Pema Chodron and Joko Beck, Scott Peck, Buckminster Fuller, and Al Gore to see what she can do to reduce her carbon footprint in her mid-80's suburban townhome. Strategies include roommates, alternative travel, organic eating, planting a victory garden, mindfulness, and a belly full of laughter.