I met the female version of myself… and didn’t like it!

Rarely have I been allowed a window into my soul quite as powerfully as I did while attending a seminar in Maryland many years ago. I now jokingly call this my “Myers & Briggs moment.” Most of us have one but they may be associated with more pleasant memories than mine. Mine was equivalent to being hit by a tornado.

I was at this seminar for three days and during that time we were divided into groups. Now, you need to know something about me: ever since my primary school days I did not like working in groups. When the teacher divided us into groups, I was always the one to ask whether I could do the work by myself.

My reason for disliking group work was twofold: a) I was too much of a perfectionist; b) I absolutely hated the slackers, the ones who did nothing and got the same grade those of us who worked hard got.

So, the gods of grouping gave me a “gift.” The “gift” came in the form of a contrarian female who drew the same number I did and thus we were in the same group. That was the beginning of the end of all fun and games; the seminar was ruined for me. Well, not really…

I don’t remember what that female looked like. I have no idea how she dressed or what she munched on during the breaks. But I certainly remember her demeanor. From the time she joined the group, she tried to dominate the group dynamics, the conversation, even the thought process of the participants, and especially the ones of one Ivanildo Trindade.

We locked horns, had verbal spats, and made a spectacle of ourselves. Nothing loud or impolite; on the contrary, we were sober, deferential, and even respectful to each other. But everyone who was in our group knew that we were like oil and water. I couldn’t believe that this lady could be so full of herself, so intent on being the center of attention, so eager to display the wealth of knowledge that she had undoubtedly acquired over the years. I felt like putting her in her place, but held my tongue the best I could.

At this point, if I told you that I would later call that lady a gift and not a “gift,” you wouldn’t believe me. But that’s exactly what happened. After a couple of days, we took the famous Myers & Briggs assessment. As the facilitator was explaining how to read the results, I inadvertently peaked at the woman’s letters summarizing the findings of her personality, which were written on the first page. I don’t remember the exact letters, but I remember the shock as I realized that her letters were an exact match of the ones of one Ivanildo Trindade!

I thought, “No! That can’t be!” Then I thought, “Yes, I found the female version of myself and I don’t like it.” I was disturbed, “So, it that how I conduct myself?” “Is this how people see me?” And it was that little window into my soul that helped me to start working on becoming better, with God’s help. And if you don’t like the version you now see, just be happy you didn’t meet me 16 years ago!

Ivanildo C. Trindade