Last, but not least, we’ve got the Rebel.

>> If a Rebel thinks they’ll go to the gym tomorrow morning… 🤷‍♀️

>> If a colleague asks a Rebel to send something by 5 o’clock… 🤷‍♀️

You might be a Rebel if…

~ You’ll go to the gym if you wake up and want to go.

~ People joke about not telling you what to do because you’ll do the opposite.

~ You’ve got to feel free.

Gretchen Rubin explains that Rebels “resist expectations imposed from withinas vigorously as those imposed from without.”

>> They often “enjoy flouting rules, expectations, and conventions.

>> They “want to act from a sense of choice, freedom, and self-expression.”

>> “…the ability to choose is so important that sometimes they make a choice – even when it’s against their self-interest or it’s not what they prefer – just to reassure themselves that they can make a choice.”

Rubin emphasizes, “When dealing with Rebels, it’s crucial to accept that Rebel-hood is a deep part of their nature; it’s not a stage, it’s not something that they will outgrow.”

Like Upholders, Rebels can lean towards being more of a Questioner or Obliger.

Remember that Obligers typically honor outer expectations, but have a harder time with their expectations for themselves… so they benefit from added accountability, like personal trainers and gym buddies.

And Questioners typically honor inner expectations, but have a harder time with others’ expectations for them… unless they understand why.

Rubin differentiates:

~ A Rebel who leans towards the Questioner side thinks, “I do whatever I choose.”

~ Rebels who leans towards the Obliger side thinks, “I refuse to do what anyone tells me to do.”

When managing, married to, or parenting a Rebel, you have to be careful not to set off a Rebel’s spirit of resistance, which might make them do the opposite of what you want/hope/need from them.

At work or at home, here’s how to talk with a Rebel:

  1. Lay out the options.
  2. Outline possible outcomes and repercussions.
  3. Let them decide what they want to do.

From there, allow a Rebel to experience the consequences of their choice:

—> If a Rebel doesn’t prep for a talk at work… they can wing it (and deal with their manager’s reaction).

—> If you said “dinner will be at 6:30” and a Rebel shows up after dessert… they can enjoy the conversation (and not eat).

—> If a Rebel doesn’t rent a tux in time… they can pull another outfit together (and be cropped out of the wedding photos).

If you love someone and/or love helping other people, it can be hard to stand by and watch what could lead to a nose-dive.

But a Rebel needs consequences in order to learn… so they can decide what they want to do next time.

Each of the four tendencies has its awesome parts and harder ones…

The glory of being a Rebel:

  • They’re in touch with what they want.
  • They can be more present in the moment.
  • Rebels gleefully color outside the lines.
  • “Says who?” has inspired a lot of innovation over the years.
  • Rebels can have a nonchalance that others envy.

The challenge of being a Rebel:

Rebels can struggle because so much of our world is based on structure, institutions, and expectations.

If resistance rears its head, you might ask yourself:

1) Why might you want to do something?

  • Why might you want to show up at 9am after your manager asks you to be on time?
  • Why might you want to make (and keep) plans with your spouse?
  • Why might you want to go grocery shopping on weekends?

2) What type of person do you want to be? Or at least seen as? (Rubin calls this “identity.”)

  • If you want to be an involved parent… you might choose to chaperone a field trip.
  • If you want to be a mentor… you might choose to have a monthly lunch with someone you see potential in.
  • If you want to be a reliable team mate… you might choose to bring the Igloo of water every week.

After writing about them in 2016, I took this time to revisit the four tendencies because I’ve repeatedly seen how the framework can help with self-awareness and awareness of others.

Comment below and let me know what questions you have about any of the tendencies. Thanks!

Sheila Devi is an Executive Life Coach.

She focuses on deadline-driven, high-pressure careers (like law and accounting).

Individuals: Sheila helps private clients get perspective on professional/personal challenges so they have more time to focus on their best work and other priorities, such as family and health.

Firms/Corporations: Sheila teaches EQ (in a way your team has never heard) to help them navigate working with stressed clients/colleagues, avoid burnout, and rediscover satisfaction and engagement.

Interested in one-on-one coaching or having Sheila connect with you company? –> Simply email

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