Are You Too Passive?

too passiveAre You Too Passive? Do you take measures to maintain the status quo and control your environment more than your peers? Are you generally accommodating of others? Do you find yourself resisting innovation albeit passively? If so, you may also find that your passivity can be a liability.

Take this quick assessment and see if you’re the type of person I’m talking about:

Circle each bullet that applies to you.

  • I frequently adapt to what the group wants. I like to “go along” and “get along.”
  • I prefer planning out my work and giving consistent performance.
  • I am motivated by harmony and peaceful negotiations.
  • I crave having time to think through and weigh my options as I make decisions.
  • I notice that I tend to internalize conflict.
  • I truly love working alone on most of my projects.
  • I’ve heard that I am slow at making decisions.
  • I can literally sense the energy, emotions and morale of a group.
  • I tend to enjoy cooperating with others.
  • I work best within predictable routines.

You may be wondering what these traits have to do with the concept of being “too passive.” In my experience, people who exhibit many of the traits mentioned above also have moments when they feel weakened by passivity.


One way to consider your results:

If you checked 1 to 3 of these boxes, you may consider yourself occasionally passive.

If you checked 4 to 7 boxes, you may feel passive more often than the norm.

If you checked 8 to 10 of these boxes, you’re probably cooperative, moderate, deliberate and accommodating. However, you probably don’t enjoy being too passive, especially if it leaves you feeling like a doormat, a dishrag or less than.


Why Should I Care?

Here’s something to consider: I’ve found that individuals who are often too passive also tend to exhibit the following superpowers:

  • They are surprisingly exceptional and effective when allowed to specialize in an area of expertise.
  • They are predictable, consistent and can bring a sense of sanity and steadiness to a team.
  • They are good at maintaining a steady and practical pace.
  • They are really great at maintaining an environment that requires regulation and specific controls.
  • They can pay refined attention to critical details.

Individuals who experience the hobbling influence of being too passive may also express:

  • I don’t articulate my ideas with the amount of ease and exactness I would like to.
  • I’m wiped out if I don’t get time to be a hermit and withdraw into my own little world.
  • I get disappointed by how long it takes me to complete many of my projects.
  • I wish I could be more like people who think out loud and on their feet. I feel a bit defective.

Roughly 25% of the population will find similarities between themselves and what I’ve just stated. Many of these folks don’t yet know how to harness the power, influence and strength embedded in these traits. Interestingly, these individuals often struggle to set boundaries. They choose to sweep things under the carpet, which pulls them off course from their most desired outcome—peace and harmonious connection.


Now What?

If the “too passive” shoe fits, let’s discuss how to better wear it. Let’s talk about how to take this idling strength and manage it into an ally. The following ideas offer you a host of experiments to try on:

Leverage your capacity to oversee detail and support the systems involved in quality control. Play with this at work or home or both. You have an ability to master certain aspects related to the way things look, feel, are presented, etc. Put yourself in these types of roles.

The western world acknowledges the loud and the driven. You often find yourself at the opposite side of that spectrum. If you feel that your inner drive comes from deeply rooted core values, identify a very short and clearly defined set of said values. Align your behaviors with these and make decisions accordingly and with confidence. Visit my free online course to excavate and polish your personal set of values. Be True: Find Your Truth And Live It! via

Spend time journaling and meditating—think about what you truly want. Most people don’t take this sort of time to clarify their wants. You have an innate ability to do this. Take 30 days to clarify 100 Aspirations, both personal and professional. These links will help you get started:
(Part 1) – Aspirations 101, read on!
(Part 2) – Aspirations 102, continued on!
(Part 3) – Aspirations103, last but not least!

Once you’ve identified your wants and/or aspirations, hire a coach or engage an accountability partner to support you in your efforts as you lay claim to one or more of your wants. You will thrive when you have compassionate, deliberate, conscientious and talented support.

It is not uncommon for you to run up against barriers that seem to keep you stuck. Always have a friend or trusted confidante on your sideline, someone who can help you reframe your thinking. When you are sensitive in the ways of the “too passive,” you often don’t see the path through the forest because of the trees. Curate a small, trusted few to support you in this manner.

Take risks! Strengthen your courage muscle. Plan out five to six small, approachable and yet risky adventures for yourself. Rally a small support group around you and tackle each. Take time to plan, execute and celebrate your victories. Plan quiet or private celebrations if that feels most appropriate.

Track your daily routines. Make note of those things you do consistently. Drop the results of your record keeping into a table, graph or chart. The idea is to have a visual representation of your steady performance so you can value this strength with more appreciation.

Learn to tell the truth, the whole truth, more often. Sweep things under the carpetless. To do this, you might need to hire support. There are ways to create sustainable factors of peace and harmony in your life. Click here to fill out an intake form. Send it to me for a free discovery session and write: Too Passive in Pursuit of more PEACE! We’ll chat. 

Author’s Note

This blog is based on twenty-plus years of coaching experience, and information I’ve gleaned from research developed around the DiSC Profile AssessmentIf this blog is speaking to you, and you’d like to take an actual assessment to find out just how “too passive” you might be, click our resources button to take a DiSC assessment.