One of the reasons I love working with the Birkman Method®, is those moments when a lightbulb goes on for the other person. Sometimes their face will almost literally light up.
I’m not in control of this process of course, because I never know precisely just how all these scores have been playing out for them; all I am doing is opening a set of previously closed boxes, and inviting them to look inside…
So what exactly is going on; and more importantly, how can you turn the lights on for yourself, even when there isn’t a Birkman Professional in the room, feeding you lines?
Let’s start with what shouldn’t surprise you: your Usual scores.
If you are using expresso or Snapshot, that will just be the Diamond on the Grid; if you have Signature, then it is the first graph on each of the Behavioural Component Pages, as well.
This score isn’t likely to be a surprise to you, since it is essentially what you told us when we asked you about yourself. This is how you like to see yourself, and what you expect of yourself. No lightbulbs required.
The first level of surprise is likely to be your Stress descriptors.
That’s the Square on the Grid / Map, and the final graph on each Behavioural component page.
Generally you shouldn’t be too surprised about the content - mostly you should recognise this, and if you don’t, it is definitely worth speaking to a Birkman Consultant. But you might be surprised that it showed up in your report, because you could well be saying “I know this happens inside my head, but I have never told a living soul…” (I have had that said to me, and on many more than one occasion.)
The answer of course is that you didn’t need to tell anybody: your reactions to situations are entirely predictable once we understand your most fundamental perceptions - the interplay of how you see yourself (Usual) and how you understand the world around you (your Needs - the Circle on the Grid / Map and the middle graph on your Behavioural Components pages).
This is where those big “aha”, lightbulb moments come from.
All we have done for you is make visible to you something which was there all the time, but which you may not have been able to see.
Think of the goldfish in its bowl. It can tell you about itself (a bit) - “I have gold fins”. It can tell you about the fake seaweed and sunken pirate ship in its bowl, and probably describe the room beyond the bowl pretty accurately too… The one thing it can’t tell you about is the water it lives in.
It can’t even see it (unless perhaps it is well overdue for a change of filter), and yet the water is the most fundamental part of the Goldfish’s continued existence. More importantly, everything the Goldfish sees, it sees through the lens of this “invisible” water.
Your Needs scores are like that too.
Some you may be seeing and saying “yes, I know that I am (for example) less Socially inclined than people think I am”; but the biggest lightbulb moments come from the scores you couldn’t have told another person. Seeing them written down, you go “oh my goodness, of course that is right!”; you have kind of been aware of that Need, but never able to articulate it. The moment your report gives you the language to express that fundamental perception: lightbulb!
Are there any lightbulbs yet to fire for you?
Look for the Needs scores you think are wrong. I spent nearly two years telling myself it was a great report but that my Physical Energy (or Activity as it was formally known) Need score of 4 was clearly nonsense. Even my 73 on Usual seemed too low; but Need 4? Ridiculous! …Until one day the lightbulb finally fired and I realised how I had - for over twenty years - lived out a pattern of repeatedly burning myself out because I wouldn’t acknowledge my need for downtime.
For you it might be something else, but look for the Needs score that you “just know is wrong” - and give it another look. Get a second opinion! A Birkman Professional can help you, but you may not need to look that far. If you have a spouse or partner, ask them.
As a Bonus, here’s one more potential source of light.
If you have a high 90’s Interest score and said either “I expected that to be high, but not that high…” or “well yes, I do x a lot, but so does everybody else”, I’ve got great news for you. Those extreme Interest scores equate to an unconscious perspective, too (the water in the bowl, remember).
It’s just possible that other people don’t care as much as you do about Numbers, or Music or how things Look or getting Outdoors or whatever your high score is. Which makes that a whole new source of self-understanding for you…