Gretchen Rubin

I have some fun getting my “Style Statement” from consultants Carrie and Danielle.

The first of my Twelve Commandments is to “Be Gretchen,” and one way to do a better job of “Being Gretchen” is to increase my self-knowledge.

This lofty goal also provides a good excuse to do things like read books about the Enneagram.

When I read Cynthia Kling’s article in Domino magazine, Phone Date with (Style) Destiny, about her “Style Statement” appointment with a team of consultants, Carrie and Danielle, I was intrigued.

Carrie and Danielle's motto is "Communicate who you are in all you do." Their “style statement” is a two-word phrase that sums up your personal style. It’s descriptive, but also prescriptive, because it not only describes you, it’s meant to help you think about your decisions and actions with more insight into what makes you happy. The first word in the phrase describes your dominant style, and the second word, the individual edge – in an 80/20 balance.

Gosh, that sounded fun. Knowing my “style statement” might boost my self-knowledge, right? I also have resolutions to “Experiment with psychological shortcuts” and “Try something new.” I decided to give it a shot.

I made a phone date with Carrie (on the left in the photo). For about an hour, she posed a series of questions meant to reveal my values, priorities, aesthetics, and approach to life. Then we took a break. When she called me back, she gave me my style statement.

Her analysis: I’m “Constructive Insouciant.” (Cynthia Kling was “Cultivated Wonder,” Carrie is “Refined Treasure,” Danielle is “Sacred Dramatic.”) The first word, “Constructive,” represents my foundation and fundamental nature. The second word, “Insouciant,” represents my creative edge, and, if I understand correctly, also the aspect of my personality that, while important to me, is at risk for being overwhelmed and lost.

So did I feel that “Constructive Insouciant” is a phrase that gives me insight into myself?

“Constructive” absolutely does feel like a great fit. Some of the observations that rang true were: loves order, patterns, cohesiveness…likes making things happen…like being clearly expressive…wants to get things moving in the right direction…often very driven…needs sound foundation of love and family, or can be overcome with worry…likes a look and feel that’s sturdy, complex, detailed, strategic, tailored, social responsible…

There’s more but that’s the idea.

At first, I wasn’t sure about “Insouciant.” I sure don’t think of myself as insouciant. But then I realized – a desire for more play, more creativity, more light-heartedness was a major motivation for my starting The Happiness Project. I have resolutions like, “Force myself to wander” and “Take time to be silly.”

Obviously I felt the need to bring more insouciance into my life – and the way I did it was typically “Constructive,” by carefully building a structure to include “play” and writing down appointments in my datebook for things like “browse in a bookstore.”

So I guess my style statement was pretty darned enlightening.

Carrie and Danielle have a book about the “Style Statement” coming out in several months, can’t wait to read that. Getting a phone consultation is expensive, so I think many people will be excited to have the option to read the book.

The Carrie and Danielle website has their Manifesto of Style, which I found very interesting. Now I'm inspired to try to write a Happiness Manifesto.

Re-reading this post, it strikes me as kinda flack-y, but all very sincere.

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