Do you mismatch yourself out of success?

Do you mismatch yourself out of success?

Do you doubt yourself? Do you ever get an idea and then pick holes in it until it crumbles into dust and you end up doing nothing? Do you always find the faults and the flaws in things? Do you burst bubbles and call yourself “a realist”?

Hello lady, you’ve got a strong inner Mismatcher.

There are many, many different personality meta-programs are influencing your life,  all day long, without you even realizing it. One of these meta-programs is the “Mis-matcher”, the opposite behaviour is the “Matcher”. Meta-programs are mental behaviours and capabilities that we all have, and all use. A Meta-program describes process of your mind that you use to sort the world: to perceive, distort, delete and focus. Sometimes we get stuck using some types of mental behaviour over and over in contexts that don’t serve us, this is when we can get ourselves into trouble. The Mismatcher tendency can be a tricky one to manage sometimes.

The Mismatcher behaviour often clusters together with other Meta-Program behaviours Judgement, Polarisation (black & white thinking) & Discounting. These behaviours together can cause havoc in your life when turned on yourself and your ideas. These four little meta-programs are very good at finding all the flaws, picking on them and telling you that because of those flaw, everything is shit, you’re shit, and you shouldn’t do anything at all.

The opposite of these are Matching, Perceiving and Synthesis (both-and thinking) & Counting. They are the easy-going, more positive opposite. This is when you notice the stuff that works, look for things that match, just perceive the world without judgement, and can see the synthesis, two sides of the story, shades of grey. These behaviours allow you to notice what is working, see that even if something is not working, there are other options, and begin creatively coming up with options.

The case to match – support & create.

“Ideas are very fragile” Jony Ive – Apple’s head of design.

ive_and_jobs_imac_4I have been listening to the Steve jobs biography, and I was really interested in listening to their process as they created some of the revolutionary tech ideas like the multi-touch screens on the iPhones. Ideas that changed how computers & phones worked completely, and now we take for granted just a few years on. Jony was very careful with the new ideas that he shared with Steve in the early stages. He had his teams work on some new ideas in secret. If you haven’t read the book, Steve is a classic binary thinker, a Polariser: black and white, awesome or shit. He would routinely dismiss ideas, and berate staff members as “bozo’s”, his staff learned they had to fight to show him why an idea was good, to prove it. Jony had the philosophy that a creative idea is fragile, you need to nurture it, nourish it and allow it to get strong before you test it and try to tear it down to make it better, hence the secrecy on new projects and ideas.


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The case to mismatch – tear it down.

The Apple products were critically assessed and reassessed all along the development chain. Often, even when they were close to completing and shipping a product they would find some tiny flaw and stop, redesigning the whole thing again until the flaw was fixed and they had an incredible product. This happened with the iPhones, the iPods, the store designs, and the iPad. Apple (with Steve at the helm) was driven by the core goal – to create great products, and an incredible user experience. They would test, test, and test to make sure they were only creating things they themselves coveted and wanted to own.

Steve was well known for his tirades and personal attacks on his staff. He was a crazy-passionate, all or nothing perfectionist, and just couldn’t moderate his emotions when he thought something was not up to scratch. According to the biography, his staff came to translate him saying: “This is shit, and you’re a bozo!” into “please explain to me why this is the best option”. While Steve’s managerial style is probably not a recommended leadership technique, it goes to show how making the ideas fight to stay alive, mismatching them, testing them and testing them again, can really create incredible new things.

Mismatch again – The red team.

I’ve also been watching Newsroom, a TV show about a Journalism in America, in the show I was introduced to the idea of “the red team”. According to the show, (I’m not sure if it happens in real life journalism, but it seems plausible, the closest I’ve heard of is a fact-checker) with a really big, controversial story, there will be a team assigned to research the story, to find all the evidence to back it up, to check and double check it to see if the leads and the story are true. This is the white team. This teams primary goal is to find the story, they are searching under the premise that it is true, and they need to prove it. Once they have enough evidence and are convinced that the story is true and are ready to run it, sometimes after months, they let in “the red team”; a different team of equally accomplished journalists who’s sole job is to tear down the story, to pick holes in it and disprove it. This team hears all the evidence the white team put together and is now acting under the premise that it is not true. They are the skeptics, and only if the red team become convinced that the story is factual will they run it.

What’s the point?

These examples are demonstrating two different thinking styles & behaviours in action: the matcher & the mismatcher.

The matcher finds similarities, searches under the premise of sameness and finds common ground between things. They match things. This is like that. the White team. Jony Ive at Apple.

Matching is the basis of rapport and creating friendship and warmth, people like people who are the same as them. You do matching all the time when you meet new people, you search for clues whether they are like you or not, whether they share similar values and traits. You look at cues from what they wear, what they say, how they talk, and what they do.  Matching & Counting is also the basis of nourishing, nurturing and supporting and idea, allowing it to grow legs, get strong and robust. You search for ways that something can work, and support and nourish it until it does work.

The Mismatcher style searches for difference, looks for flaws and bursts bubbles. This is one of Steve Jobs’s key traits. The red team. This is the basis of testing an idea. It is also sometimes the critical, judgemental voice inside our heads.

We have both. Always.

Each if us has both of these behavioural thinking options within our capacity, while they seem to be opposite, they are connected. Both are about strengthening an idea, creating the best option. We usually tend to lean to one style more than another in certain situations and contexts.

From considering these two examples I realized how important it is to match before mismatching in the creative process. So many times when we have an idea, before we give it a chance, it is dismissed. In many creative pursuits like songwriting and brainstorming, the first session is about matching; Throw down any idea you have, don’t censor it, just share it and let it out, the crazier, sillier or more extreme the better. Empty all your ideas out, bounce off each other, let it flow and see what you come up with. There is a frame of permission to say and think whatever you want, contribute to the purpose without restraint. Give your brain a chance to create. Then, only after you’ve emptied out all the creative juice, you switch hats, and go into Editing mode. This is where the mismatcher team of behaviours is perfect. Cut, judge, eliminate what does not work, get it off the table so only the very best ideas are left. From this you can create greatness.

The problem is when we mismatch first, when we judge an idea or course of action, or (gasp) ourselves, before we’ve had a chance to be nourished and supported, everything falls down. You do nothing. You feel terrible and nothing is created.

Your creative genius spirit needs a safe space to play and create.

Yes you have one! Everybody does.

So the next time you get an idea, imagine putting on the coat of Jonny Ive, the White Team, or a loving, supportive mother as you nurture the idea, and give it the chance to grow legs. You might be surprised where it takes you. All it takes is one great idea to change the course of a whole life…


Reference: Personality Meta-Programs are a concept from Meta-Coaching. I am a licenced Meta-Coach. You can find out more about the many, many different Meta-Progams in this book “Figuring Out People – Design Engineering with Meta-Programs” by L. Michael Hall Ph.D and Bob G Bodenhamer D. Min.

Comments (1)

  1. Such an interesting read Kylie.
    I come across women all the time who tend to mismatch first. I’m not sure if they’re doing it because they actually believe their idea won’t work, or if they’re fishing for me to reaffirm that it will work. I tend to believe it’s the first one.
    It takes a bit of mindset work to help them see that their idea is actually really good and that they may only have to change a couple of things around in order to get it off the ground or just think a different way.

    Thanks for explaining the mismatcher and the matcher Kylie, it’s helped me learn about the 2 different behaviours.

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