Saturday, May 16, 2015

I am a Type A Personality

Small talk generally bores me, but there’s an exception. The one time small talk will not bore me is when I’m meeting other creative types such as metal bands, indie authors, artists, entrepreneurs etc, or fans, because I feel we have a lot in common and we can share experiences and advice. I’m a very genuine person and I love meeting fans and independent artists I can relate to, and I do express a genuine interest in talking to them and listening to what they have to say. That’s the exception.  But this does not mean I will be rude to you. I will treat you with respect and listen to you, but eventually my mind might drift off.

I have chosen the hard, sometimes lonely, path to do what I love, and there are times when I don't think people understand what goes on in my head. I tend to go into my own little world because my brain is busy creating. It's my obsession and my passion to write, and to create something like a comic book series, or a film. It's almost like I don't want to just be ordinary. I want to create an extraordinary, imaginary world using a chosen visual media.

But I’m also rather reclusive in the sense that I hate wasting time. I have a serious phobia of wasting any time. I’d rather lock myself in a room and work, and I need to always be doing something productive towards my projects. I am very annoyed by anything and anyone who cuts into my creative time or slows any progress towards my getting things done and because I’m so efficiency-driven.  I hate waiting too. But I’ve managed to cope with this by being productive on my iPhone while waiting a a doctor’s office or waiting in a line. I also make a to-do list and schedule my time so if there are times I have to wait, I have something to do, such as promotions on social media using my phone. I live by to-do lists, task and project lists, and I have plans of action and preliminary schedules at least five years in advance. I need everything to be streamlined (even down to planning my meals and wardrobe) and running like a machine.

This tends to make social situations a little bit of a challenge for me. I have little patience and when a conversation or social situation starts to bore me, and the talk is just about non-creative stuff,  I just tune out or even leave, because I feel like it’s a waste of my time and I could be putting my energy towards something else. I could be getting a lot of things done. I guess that’s the one quirk I have. If I want to socialize, I’ll just go on Facebook. Or to a local metal show, where I will never ever get bored when I’m around hard-working bands and promoters and metal heads I admire.

The reason of course is that I have a goal-oriented, deadline-driven mindset and an intense drive to devote my time to my projects. There’s always a sense of urgency and impatience that I am trying to control. What usually happens is that my brain goes into overdrive and I always feel the intense urge to create, write, and make my ideas happen. You can say I’m an obsessed overachiever and workaholic. It takes some really devoted friends to put up with me, lol.

However, along with my driven personality comes anxiety, over-worrying,  and becoming agitated and frustrated if things don’t go my way. I always want to stay on top of things and I’m a little bit of a control freak when it comes to my projects. But I’ve managed to control this by staying as professional as possible, and instead of constantly worrying about a problem or a future problem, I now create a problem-solution list that helps me cope.

The hardest thing I try to control though is that I’m always in a rush. I feel like every minute must be filled with something productive, I can’t be idle, and I need to get things done. It may not show in the outside, but inside, I’m freaking out because, you know, time is of the essence and I need to get things done. Can it wait until tomorrow? My mind says not really— it will feel like a long, painful, endless wait, so I usually don’t sleep but when tomorrow comes, I’m off and running. I get such a single-minded, laser like focus that yes, I will sacrifice my social life. I tend to be good at accomplishing my goals, but sometimes I sacrifice a lot. Because I’m so work-obsessed  I’m constantly multitasking— writing while I eat, seeing eating as slowing me down and so I eat fast, and wishing that someone would invent computers in showers— that I’d rather be working every single minute of the day and night and do more than one thing at a time, and I probably even work in my dreams.

Relax? What’s that? Ask me to take two days off to go camping or go on a vacation and I will look at you like you have just placed a brick wall in front of my speeding Ferrari. I’m always like a racehorse at the gate—eager to go and get my stuff done.

I do have one fault: I do get frustrated and snarky because I am less tolerant than others when it comes to anything that gets in my way, or if I feel that a person doesn't have the same sense of urgency. I am extremely impatient with any perceived unproductive time. I don’t always show it because I try my best to be professional. Sometimes I act as if everything had to be done yesterday. But I’ve been really working on these tendencies by trying to lighten up a little more, turn my worries into more positive thoughts, not dwell of the negative what-ifs, and develop a little more trust in people who I work with, slow myself down and be more patient. I now keep records of progress and write down my fears and possible solutions, and I find that things aren’t so bad or urgent after all. Oh and the breathing exercises friends have recommended to me help a whole lot!

I’m not a difficult person. I’m extremely friendly, supportive, genuinely nice, welcoming, and approachable in social situations, online, and when you do meet me in person, I'm genuinely interested in what other people do. I work to treat my fans and friends with respect. I just tend to be Type A when it comes to my work and projects. I don’t make unreasonable or impossible demands, but my driven personality will sometimes take over and become the priority over everything else. So sometimes I tend to socially isolate myself so people don’t see this side of me (because it’s pretty brutal). I tend to be a loner so I can move about quickly and independently and not have to wait for people and I don’t like relying on others. Fortunately I’ve been able to work on self-control by being as professional as I can be.

Some tips on how to deal with a Type A personality like me:

1. Don’t beat around the bush. Be direct and honest and communicate with me. GET TO THE POINT. Don’t make me have to analyze your messages. I also hate messages that begin with “Hi.” and that’s it, no other context or follow-up. Or the next response I do get will be “How are you?” I am frikin’ fine, get to the point, what are you contacting me for? Don’t drag things on. Be concise because you will instantly lose my attention. I’ll  be respectful, but know that it does irk the hell out of me.

Also, don’t wait until the last minute on a problem. Let me know right away so I can work on it.

2. Never ever ever be  constantly late especially to a business meeting or any meeting without giving me an update.  I value my time too much, I myself try to always be on time, and it show disrespect for people to be late and to not let me know. Also, don’t expect me to veer off track from a schedule at a whim. It’s hard for me to do. Well, in general, never show up late with me (unless your plane is delayed or something like that).  I am very time-sensitive and it’s the quickest way to get on my nerves, although I am trying to be understanding if there are unforeseeable delays.

3. Know that I need my “me” time because the drive is sometimes so overwhelming a lot of people don’t understand it. But it comes first and I may become unrealistically and unfairly resentful of anyone and anything who stands in my way. I get too anxious. But I’m working on that. Also, don’t use me as a therapist and dump your problems on me. Hence, a theme in my books). If you do bring a problem to me, I will give you my advice, follow up,  and expect you to start working towards solving the problem yourself and move on. But I’m not patient enough to have to listen to and endure constant venting of someone’s personal problems every day and the person making no effort to do something about it (and if your problem is serious enough, please see a therapist—  don’t rely on me to play one). I see it as a waste of my time. I’m not trying to be insensitive or non-supportive, but it’s one of the quickest ways to drive me away from someone. I’d rather hear about your solution and your plan of action. Then I even will cheer you on.

4. I tend to see things in black and white with no gray areas. I’m stubborn and come across as inflexible because I like concrete answers to problems. But  sometimes there are  “maybe’s” and I hate uncertainties (well, who doesn’t). But I’m working on that too, because I know that there may not be definites and that I have to be flexible.

5. Don’t be offended by the above.

Thankfully for the artists who work with me, they have not experienced this extreme side of me, and have not given me any reason to do so. They are probably the only people I've been extremely patient with--which is how much trust and respect we have developed with each other. I’ve learned not to micromanage and I’ve learned to communicate clear goals and deadlines with them, and be a little more flexible and understanding because, well, sometimes things can get pushed back and because life happens. They have helped me learn that, after working with my artists who are dedicated and reliable and trustworthy people and who are also my friends and who have not let me down, to sit back and finally make an effort to relax and not worry so much, and know that things will get done.

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