Authenticity Humanity Learning Life Self awareness

What you can learn from snowflakes

Realize you’re unique, but know that that also comes with perceptions, behavior, and blind spots.

It’s March.

The Maldives are long gone and a distant but unforgettable memory.

Spring seems to be in the air. The weather is not precisely spring-like.

I’m traveling to Belgium for a meeting, and our plane needs to be de-iced. 

Wind and snow circle the plane as I deliberate what I will write about on my way to Brussels.

Then watching the snowflakes results in an idea.

Last week I got certified in a psychometric tool to help me better serve my clients. 

There are many of these tools, some good, some not so good, and they all serve two purposes.

To help people become more self-aware and to help people interact with others in a better way.

All these tools help us understand the principle of perception and behavior.

That’s all there is, and it can be impactful when appropriately applied. 

Some of these tools use colors; others use words. There’s always some model behind them. 

Often the model, the colors, or words, get confused by users.

They let the model define who they are.

I’m blue or red or yellow or green.
I’m an introvert or extrovert.
I’m an ENTJ, etc.

Or worse, an IFSP. 

That was a joke.

You don’t need to know what the above means.

Because it’s not helpful to define yourself as a color or a four-letter code. 

The models help describe how specific psychological preferences have shaped your perceptions and, therefore, your behavior.

They help you become aware of your strengths, opportunities for growth, and blindspots.

Most of all, they help you to understand how unique you are.

They don’t define you.

Like snowflakes.

Snowflakes are snowflakes like we are all human beings. 

It’s easy to look at snowflakes and make them all the same. 

They’re all white and cold, resulting in fun in the mountains and trouble on the road.

But they’re all different.

When you put a snowflake under a microscope, you see a unique combination of crystals.

Not one combination is the same.

Like us, human beings. 

Don’t label yourself with a color, a code, or a combination of words that ‘defines’ you.

Don’t attempt to make yourself less unique than you are. 

Just be who you are!

A snowflake has a unique DNA, and so do you. 

But it also works the other way around.

While stereotyping sometimes helps to have a fun conversation, it’s, in the end, not helpful.

And it’s always a matter of perspective.

The Dutch may be considered direct as a population, but that doesn’t define each individual. 

You may consider someone an extrovert because she is more outgoing than you.

For someone else, the same person may be considered an introvert.

That’s why labeling doesn’t help. 

I, for example, show introverted and extroverted behavior and different times.

We all do. But that doesn’t make us an introvert or extroverts. 

It just describes our behavior. Behavior that’s perceived differently by different people. 

If you have the ambition to be exceptional, work on mastering yourself first.

It’s impossible to be effective without knowing yourself first.

Realize you’re unique, but know that that also comes with perceptions, behavior, and blind spots.

Ask people who you trust about your blind spots. Tell interested people who you are. 

Challenge your thinking and perceptions.

Snowflakes can’t do that. But you can.

Your turn: What’s your blind spot?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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