Back in 1995 I found myself sitting next to Wintley Phipps on a business trip to Orlando. Wintley is a gospel singer, author and minister. He has performed for six U.S. presidents at the National Prayer Breakfasts, as well as at the Democratic National Convention, on the Oprah Winfrey show, Saturday Night Live, and my personal favorite, Soul Train.
Check out his version of Amazing Grace at the National Prayer Breakfast with Barak Obama in 2009 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_7043fg1ag. Moving.
Anyhoo, Wintley and I chatted through most of the flight and right as the plane was landing he said, “I have a word from the Lord for you.” A word from the Lord, hmmm, what the heck is that? But ok, hit me. He took a deep breath and in his booming baritone voice he stated, ”Bold. Be bold.” That’s it? Were there any more words from the Lord? Be bold how? Be bold where? We deplaned and went our separate ways and at the time I really wasn’t feeling too bold.
I’ve often thought about that moment and how the word bold fits into my life. I’ve come to believe that God was validating my personality type because Cholerics are gutsy. We take risks. We are, by nature, bold. It was like God Himself was saying “Dale, I want you to GO BE YOU.” Permission to be me is an inspiring thing.
When Hippocrates, the Greek physician, first postulated his theory of the four temperaments back in 400bc, he based it on the bodily fluids of bile, blood and phlegm. Hippocrates believed that a surplus of one of these fluids in the body affected human behavior. So according to Dr. Hippocrates, a Choleric has an abundance of yellow bile, a Melancholy has more black bile, a Sanguine has lots of blood and a Phlegmatic is highly phlegmy. Nice. Over time the bodily fluid theory was disproven but the names remain to describe the differences in temperament.
Cholerics are the bosses, chairwomen, PTA presidents, directors and leaders of our world. They are strong and powerful. They can run anything. They are confident, decisive and organized. Think Oprah, Queen Latifah, Margaret Thatcher, Barbara Walters, Tyra Banks, Biblical Martha & Deborah, and Kris (Mama) Kardashian. They are practical and logical. Logic was the only college course that I received a final score of 100%.
Cholerics are doers, achievers, and activators. They get stuff done and lead very productive lives. Their motto is All Action and No Talk. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of my love languages is Acts of Service (www.5lovelanguages.com). Doing things for others is how I love them and others doing things for me is how I feel loved.
“How do you do it all?”
is a line Cholerics hear all the time because DOING is their life. Sitting at my daughters’ softball games weekend after weekend I am always asking myself “How can I make this a productive use of my time besides supporting my kids and cheering them on?” So while the team warms up I do work in the car. In between innings I read a book. And on the drive to those exotic locations like Loveland and Aurora, I listen to coaching podcasts. I love multi-tasking.
I used to think that question (How do you do it all?) was the highest compliment that someone could give me until I realized that being admired and appreciated is not the same thing as being connected. Cholerics can do that: sacrifice relationship for task simply because they don’t need people as much as the other temperaments do. They are like the pioneers who settled the American West, rugged individualists, so I constantly have to watch my tendency to be independent and self-sufficient by admitting my needs and asking for help.
According to the DISC profile, another personality system, only 10-15% of the population is Choleric. And other article I read said that most of them are men. Well, no wonder I don’t always feel comfortable in my temperamental skin. I am a bit of a rarity. I used to think something was wrong with me because I felt and acted different from others, but what if I am just unique? A verse that I read the other day comes to mind:
“Therefore come out from them and be separate.” 2 Corinthians 6:17.
Be separate…and not in some weird reclusive sort of way…but in a manner that allows me to stand tall, stay bold, and enjoy my God-given personality.
When my wusband and I separated on our 23rd wedding anniversary at the end of 2012, I was in shock. Plan A had always been to work on my marriage and work on myself. I never anticipated a Plan B. The first five months were brutal as I experienced a range of emotions, a whole lot of shame for not being able to make my marriage work, and a crisis of identity. I stayed close to God, my dear friends and family, and wise mentors who helped me process, grieve, and explore my heart. I did not feel bold at that time.
But I am in a different place now. I survived the separation and the divorce and most of the shame has melted away. I bought a smaller car and refinanced my house. I updated my resume after 18 years. I know everything there is to know about my finances. I am building my speaking ministry. I will speak to more groups this year than ever before. I am finishing my certification as a professional life coach and to date I have thirteen wonderful coaching clients. I am paying my bills. I am cutting my own grass. I am cooking dinner for my kiddos most nights. I am exercising a little less frequently than I make dinner, but that’s ok. I am surviving more legal fallout from the divorce. I am still meeting with Jesus each morning. I am loving and driving my children all over town.
I am optimistic and moving forward.
And I am going to make it.
I would not have been able to do any of these things without my BOLD Choleric personality. I have never been so thankful for my energy, my strength, my organization, my decisiveness, myindependence and my courage. Just as Mordecai penned these words to Ester in Ester 4:14:
“Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.”
Maybe I was made Choleric for such a time as this. And maybe you were uniquely designed as your temperament with purpose and intention so you could live your life to the fullest. Just sit with that for a moment.
If you were sitting next to Wintley Phipps today, what word from the Lord might he give you?
Next time I will talk more about the weaknesses and emotional needs of the Choleric temperament. I will describe the Choleric in the roles of mom and child. They are the reason that people write books on the strong-willed child.
If you would like to discover your unique personality blend and learn how to live out of your strengths more than your weaknesses, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out real.life.coaching on my website, www.daleskram.com. I offer a free 30 minute consultation to find out if coaching is the right fit for you.