Have you heard about Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies? The idea is that we fall into one of four behavioural tendencies: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger and Rebel.

And your tendency reveals how you respond to internal expectations (like vowing to quit sugar) and external expectations (like meeting a deadline).

After listening to Sarah Jensen chat with Leonie Dawson about the Four Tendencies, I decided to retake the quiz.

Because many moons ago, I did and it revealed something that made me guffaw in my galoshes: I am a rebel.

Say what?!

I can’t possibly be a REBEL!

I’m a high-achiever! A people-pleaser! A slightly manic scheduler!

“This quiz is hogwash!” I declared, in what I now see was quintessential rebellion.

So yesterday, I took the quiz again.

And sure enough, there it was in big bold letters: REBEL.

You see, a rebel is someone who resists internal and external expectations. The moment they feel pressure to do something, they flee. They crave freedom and choice.

That’s very different to, say, an Obliger, who craves accountability.

Or a Questioner, who wants justification before doing anything.

Or an Upholder, who needs to know what they should do.

A Rebel? Seriously? I’m someone who needs freedom to do things my own way?

Well yes, actually.


(Side note: the Nutshell Guide on Gretchen Ruben’s website explains each tendency in amazing detail).

All this time, I’ve been a Rebel striving to be an Upholder. Sure, I have some Upholder traits: I’m a self-starter, I can stick to a schedule, and I always meet my work deadlines and client calls. But ONLY if I enjoy the work and feel like it’s my choice when, how and whether I do it. If I box myself in to a rigid schedule with tight to-dos, I’ll throw it out the window and start baking a cake or planning a future adventure. And if I have too many social plans, I often feel pulled to cancel everything.

Rebels often opt to act out of love, belief in a bigger cause, or a sense of mission. Tick, tick and tick!

Rebels are also restless. They may float from job to job, city to city, relationship to relationship. And as I reflect, I see how that framed my unplanned three-year wandering around the world. I move on when it feels good to go (or bad to stay). Hence, I’ve never lived in one place for more than two years.

I’ve worked for myself for over 12 years – as a freelancer. I mean, could that be any more apt?!

I like to have lots of different projects and hobbies on the go at once. Right now, it’s learning Greek, photography, and new NLP techniques to bring to my coaching clients. Oh, and I’m also following a “do the splits in 30 days” app. Because…ya know…rebel!

And despite being in an honest, secure and loving relationship with Dimitri, I need some independence. He does too, so it’s easy for us to meet this need.

Heck yes, REBEL!


What’s YOUR tendency?

If you don’t know yours, take the quiz. It’s super short – just a few questions.

You’ll then find a bunch of resources on each tendency, to get a better feel for how you operate – and how to play well with others.


It’s what you do with it, dahl!

And then the question is, how can we use our tendency to thrive?

I’ve been reflecting on this all day.

If I’m a rebel, why do I force myself to stick to a schedule that I know I’ll break?

Why do I set unrealistic expectations that leave me feeling restricted and unhappy?

What would happen if I dropped all that and lived like a true Rebel?

So I plan to do something different. For the next few months, I’m going to embrace my rebellious nature.

Gone is my schedule (aside from booking my client calls and other appointments). I’ll move through my day with a spontaneous spirit.

I’ll let my abstract “out-of-the-box” thinking flourish – and drop any pressure to create in a conforming way. I believe this will help a LOT as I finish my mindset book, and get it ready to release to the world.

And I’ll continue to be guided by my values. Rebels need to feel they have chosen to do something. So if I’m resisting an important task or obligation, I’ll say “I want to pay my bills/stay organised/connect with people/create valuable things. I choose this.”


How about you?

What are some ways you might lean in to your tendency? How might your day or life be different if you aligned with your nature – instead of battling against it?

I’d love to hear how you go!

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