Is Your Type-A On Board?

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Do you ever struggle to rest?

Sure, we’d all enjoy a free vacation. But what would you do on that vacation, say, on day 4 of 10?

I’ve found that most people who are type-A, producers, drivers, have a hard time resting. I don’t mean sleeping (though that could sometimes be included). Type-A’s probably sleep too well – my wife often counting to 20 from when my head hits the pillow to when I’m snoring. I mean actually unplugging from their brain’s constant “on” setting and disconnecting completely.

The real problem is, there isn’t just one button to turn off.

There are about 30.

We’re constantly creating, managing, and revising. Our entrepreneurial spirit is looking at the next horizon, and our eyes are keen to spot new opportunities. Even when we’re “not” working.

In our creative lives, we have to switch off the:

• It’s fun to make something from nothing.

• If that person can do it, so can I.

• If no one else is doing it, I will.

• My previous idea worked, so this one could be even better.

• If I fix this right now, it will increase value longterm.

For most authentic drivers, we also carry deep senses of accountability and responsibility. Our creative impetus is linked to strong emotional triggers.

In our ethical lives we have to turn off:

• My value is proportional to what I produce.

• If I’m not doing something I’m being lazy.

• If I don’t work hard my household will suffer.

• I have a deep sense of loyalty to my employer; I can not fail them.

• I have a deep sense of loyalty to my employees; I must be there for them.

I am far from the authority on exactly how to switch everything off (very open to concise, wise council from experienced leaders), but I’m learning.

Things that have been convicting me and subsequently empowering me to turn off my “systems”:

• My longterm success is dependent on my present-term health.

• Things can wait.

• People need me more than projects need me; prioritize people accordingly.

Before you tell a type-A they should take a break, think through their lives a little before offering what appears to them as flippant advice. They do want your help, they just need it accurately and in context.

One of the most practical steps I’ve committed to recently – at the request of my wife and the example of my senior pastor – is turning my iPhone off at 6pm. My wife needs it, my kids need it, and I need it.

At home I’m also trying to work less and play more.

It’s not just a vacation we need, it’s a well-managed life where all the buttons get turned off in sequence before we hit the beach. ch:

  • gabe

    haha, most of that is TOTALLY me (except for the sleeping part; i can’t fall asleep quickly ’cause i still keep thinking like crazy). 😀
    great post.

  • I don’t consider myself an A-type, but I have some of the behaviors you mention above. Hm.. interesting. Maybe it’s the entrepreneurial spirit. I can also fall asleep anywhere and anytime. 🙂

  • This post totally describes me! I can agree with Gabe as well though where our minds won’t switch off!

    • It almost like you have to develop a whole new discipline set just to turn it all off, eh?

  • Oh, so I’m not alone with all these feelings. 😉 Haha I never considered myself to be a Type A person.
    I have struggled with a restless mind for as long as I can remember, mainly caused by a creativity overload (which happens too much) or worries on things I have no ability to fix at two in the morning, that just makes you feel crazy. I wish I could fall asleep at the count of 20… that would be so nice to be able to do.
    My mom was once told that the Type A personality came from the Japanese due to your blood type. They thought your personality would be due to what kind blood type you had. If you have A blood your personality trait would be Type A… which would mean that you had basically the kind of personality that you described.
    Kinda strange… sometimes I think we label ourselves with personality traits that don’t have to fit us necessarily. Like if you call a child a little monster long enough you might just end up with one. Or it you call someone stupid over and over, they might just end up feeling stupid. Same thing with saying you’re one type or another. If we let Jesus shape us and tell us who we are, our lives find balance.
    God’s care on you and your beautiful family.

    • Interesting blood-history! Amazing. And there’s certainly a large case to be made for speaking destiny over our lives.

      Thanks for the prayers! We’re almost back to NY; home by tomorrow afternoon.

  • Great insights as always my friend! Like looking in a mirror, or certainly a large corner of one. To be able to effectively REST on a vacation, my wife an I always build in an additional 2-3 days ahead of the “meat” of the trip to allow me to decompress and disconnect. She graciously allows me the time I need to accomplish this and doesn’t seem to complain that the vacation is a little longer. 🙂 Blessings to all your readers. Love, as always to the brood! G

    • This is SUCH a great tip! Building in a few days of “pre-vacation” for Type-A’s should be a must! Spouses of Type-A’s everywhere need to read this.