Sam Radford

May 20, 2021

‘It’s just who I am’

I know I’m not alone in having used, ‘It’s just who I am’ as an excuse.

Rather than embracing the need to change or improve or develop, we settle. We embrace a version of ourselves that is closed to getting better.

This is not to suggest we don’t genuinely have traits that are unique to us. We do.

Whether innate or acquired, there are things about us that are, well, just us.

And that’s fine. Until it’s not. And it becomes a barrier. Or an excuse.

More often than not, using ‘it’s just who I am’ is laziness. Rather than recognising that a trait is causing problems, we go all defensive.

To be clear, I’m not a believer in investing huge amounts of time in areas of weakness. I’ve long been an advocate of StrengthsFinder and the emphasis on giving your best time to your strengths is right. Our greatest potential for growth lies with our strengths. It’s not wise to spend all our time trying to improve weaknesses.

That doesn’t mean we doing nothing though. We invest in our strengths but we manage around our weaknesses.

Maybe there is something about me that is just me. Perhaps, ‘it’s just who I am’ is a legitimate excuse. That doesn’t mean it’s a good one though.

If any behavioural or personality trait is causing problems in either our professional or personal lives, we need to do something about it.

‘It’s just who I am,’ doesn’t cut it.

We need to manage around it. Find strategies to mitigate against it. Plan approaches to minimise any negative impact. 

In other words: we do something about it! Don’t accept ‘it’s just who I am’ as a reason to do nothing. Find another way.

You’ll be better off for it. And so will those around you.