I vividly remember Dr. Julie White report on studies of female behavior in an audio series I listened to years ago, especially this morning in a moment of self-doubt.

When given an insoluble puzzle to complete, the women involved in the study blamed themselves–“I’m not very good at puzzles” and “I must not’ve listened to the instructions carefully enough.” While the men being observed in the same psychological test responded, “There must be something wrong with this puzzle” and “You didn’t explain it well enough” when they failed to complete the puzzle.

The puzzle did not have a solution. Those providing the test were observing the responses to being handed this conundrum. As you can see–very different reactions between the men and women.

This morning I was at a coffee shop on the Upper West Side waiting to meet someone new–a fellow coach in my neighborhood. She texted me that she’d be 5 minutes late, followed by a second text saying “Wearing agreement coat.”

Now she took the same Coaches Training Institute (CTI) coursework I took albeit about 3-4 years later. “Agreement coat?” Was that a principle they began teaching after I graduated? Was it about creating a new perspective that I hadn’t learned? Did I miss that memo? Was she forewarning me as to how she’d like to approach our meeting?

The mystery was solved when Lisa Hart walked in seconds later in a green coat, but not before I had diminished myself in my own mind for lacking some imagined coaching vocabulary based on a texting auto-correction.

Anyone else guilty of self-flagellation prior to investigation?

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