The Freedom of ‘7-4-7-2’​ 

1997-2020 Kathy Kolbe. All rights reserved. 

I had an epiphany moment on February 27th, 2014, with one small caveat: I didn’t realize it at the time. “Aha!” moments are often cultivated through deep work, focused attention, and diligent commitment to self-improvement. How can we expect to recognize when a life-changing opportunity presents itself if we haven’t prepared for its existence and presentation? It was my first workshop in my first year of Strategic Coach when I experienced this delayed revelation. I was asked to complete the ‘Kolbe Index,’ which I did. And I found it was a strikingly accurate portrait of my inner motivations, naming things I couldn’t have articulated for myself at the time but that resonated at a gut-level as I read my results. But those results themselves were not even the “aha”–that came later. The self-knowledge that came from the Kolbe Index would lead to deeper relationships, increased efficiencies, and a newfound level of self-efficacy. 

The Kolbe Index was created by Kathy Kolbe. The result articulates the innate ways in which a person is inclined to take action while striving toward an outcome. Kathy is the world’s leading Conative theorist; she’s also your clubhouse leader in answering the question that’s probably on your mind: What the heck is ‘Conation?’

Conation (kō-ˈnā-shən) is action derived from instinct; the purposeful mode of striving and volition. The Conative is the third part of the mind, playing a lesser-known role than its counterparts Cognitive and Affective. Simply put, the cognitive portion of the mind concerns itself with intelligence, the affective handles emotions, and the conative drives how one acts on those thoughts and feelings. It’s a conscious effort to carry out self-determined acts. 

My Kolbe Index articulates, with uncanny accuracy, how I take action. When presented with a new challenge, I start with factual discovery, in-depth research, establishing specific priorities, and defining objectives. Once I have sufficient and accurate details, it’s time to innovate solutions, promote alternatives, negotiate shortcuts, and defy the odds. Fact Finder (how I gather and share information) and Quick Start (how I deal with risks and uncertainty) are two of the four ‘Action Modes’ of the Kolbe Index where I happen to shine (I say ‘happen’ because the Conative part of the mind, unlike the Cognitive and Affective, is inherent. In other words, when it comes to the Conative, ‘I just work here’). The remaining two Action Modes, Follow Thru (how I organize) and Implementor (how I handle physical space and tangibles), describe actions I take in a complementary role. Each Action Mode is measured on a 1-10 scale. There is no “good” or “bad;” instead, the numbers indicate how each of us use our creative energy. See below for my Perfect Score (spoiler: …everyone gets a Perfect Score).

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You Got a Perfect Score on the Kolbe A™ Index

You have an uncanny talent for coming up with unique strategies, prioritizing opportunities, and dealing with the unknowns in complex problems. You thrive when quantifying an opportunity and prospecting for ways to enhance it.

Returning to my back-door epiphany: Getting my Kolbe Index (7-4-7-2) incited a desire to learn about and test the theory. The theory held up, which solidified my belief in the results and my commitment to trust my conative strengths in every major decision. And a crucial crossroads was looming.

This upcoming January, in 2023, I’m leaving the safety of the insurance world altogether–a world I have known success in, and could keep succeeding in–so that I can not only maximize my 7-4-7-2 Kolbe Index, but to help others learn about and maximize theirs. I’m proud to announce my full-time leap into the world of entrepreneurial consulting and coaching with my new business, Command Clarity. 

I hope you’ll follow along for insights, client testimonials, and the chance to learn more about yourself in the process. The “aha” that came from Kolbe nearly a decade ago has defined the way I move through the world. It has given me tools to improve workplaces, deepen relationships, and become the person I am. As a certified Kolbe Consultant, I can’t wait to help others learn more about themselves and increase their self-knowledge and, in turn, their self-efficacy, both within teams and as individuals.

Expecting Adversity

I am reading Seneca, an ancient Stoic philosopher, on a snow-filled spring morning. As I read, I listen to the whipping of the wind and the buzz of the text messages canceling school and practices, and I think: how lucky we all are to be given this opportunity of an April snowstorm. 

From Seneca’s dialogue “On Providence:”

“Why do you wonder that good men are shaken to make them strong? No tree stands firm and sturdy if it is not buffeted by constant wind; the very stresses cause it to stiffen and fix its roots firmly. Trees that have grown in a sunny vale are fragile. It is therefore to the advantage of good men, and it enables them to live without fear, to be on terms of intimacy with danger and to bear with serenity a fortune that is ill only to him to bears it ill.”

Seneca is writing hundreds of years ago, but the truth of his insight meets me on this snowy April day in the twenty-first century. We can look at disruptions as opportunities to build our strength, our inner reserve, and our emotional resistance. Indeed, as Seneca’s imagery makes clear, our strength is directly related to the weathering we’ve endured. This weathering means we become more objective to changing external hardships and see them for what they truly are–which is more often than not a fleeting moment of inconvenience.

If I might add to Seneca’s insights, I’d go even further. Times of “good fortune”–those decidedly sunny April days, for instance–are only ours to recognize because of these stormy days. Because during those stormy days, we made a commitment to be our best self. On those days of good fortune I try to remember to take advantage, enjoy it, and remain steadfast in my recognition that past obstacles prepared me for this current success.  

Then, when the next involuntary disruption inevitably strikes, I can look at it and say: “Hello Adversity… I’ve been expecting you.”