Adapting a Natural High S or Low S

by | DISC Assessment, DISC University

Charles Swindoll is credited with this quote: ‘Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.’

Those reactions can typically go 1 of 2 ways:

  1. We can react to stimuli based on our usual behavioral preferences, or
  2. We can change the way we normally prefer to behave.

A reputable DISC profile can measure how we prefer to behave when we’re in our natural state and also how we might adapt our behavior when outside influences affect us.

Today we’ll focus on how the S of the DISC model, Stabilizing, may adapt. Folks with a preference for higher S behavior can be described in their natural state as steady, reliable, and cautious like Stabilizing Sasha. On the other hand, those with lower S scores tend to act more like Spontaneous Spencer who prefers to be faster, improvisational, and flexible.

External stresses and pressures might mean an already higher S like Stabilizing Sasha, which causes them to be slightly resistant to change, will dig in their heels even harder and push to hold to the status quo. They may take even longer to make decisions and take action than usual. Now would be the time to undertake some proactive planning. The first thing a higher S wants to do when in a stressful situation is to make sense of the chaos. Give them the space to plan for their next steps.

When Stabilizing Sasha is on a work team with higher D’s and I’s, you may see them adapt their S lower than their typical preference. In these cases, they could strive to be more talkative and less reticent to share their opinions. By adapting their S down they could try to increase their typical steady pace to match the action-oriented speed of others in the room.

Now let’s look at how a Spontaneous Spencer may react under stress. Throw some chaos in the room with them and they may adapt their already low S even lower. Then Their gut reaction might be to move even faster than they normally would. A word of caution… keep them in this chaos too long and they may become impatient. Their preference for action in these situations could become even more evident.

Spencer could choose instead to adapt their lower S a little higher when under pressure. In these cases you could see them work to slow themselves down, try to find or create a routine, ease up any impatience they feel to allow others to operate at their own pace.

We all change the way that we behave in response to life’s ups and downs. The trick is trying to keep our reactions steady and subtle so that we can lean into our most authentic selves. This is where we can do our best work.