Know Who You Are
Oh hey there, reader! Welcome to this blog post! What brings you here today? Are you on your own right now and looking to connect with the outside world? Have you been with the outside world all day and now you’re wanting to escape just a little? Are you unwinding from work? Avoiding work? Looking to be entertained? Hoping to be informed? Are you surrounded by people and activity? Wrapped in solitude?
We all do so many of the same things — we read blog posts and interact with clients and friends and family and shop at the grocery store and work and exercise and rest. The rhythms of our days are made up of social time and solitary time, loud time and quiet time, active time and peaceful time. To look at the general schedules of our lives, you may not see many significant differences, but looking at the effect those schedules are having on us will often tell a very different story.
Have you ever wondered why you can spend an entire day with clients you love and yet feel like you want to crawl in a hole afterwards? Does it make you feel like you’re inauthentic, or that you lack something everyone else seems to possess?
Or do you ever spend just a couple hours working on your own and feel like if you don’t get out of the house or office and talk to someone, something inside you is going to snap? Does that make you worry that there’s something wrong with your work ethic?
We hear it over and over and over again — Don’t compare yourself to others. It steals your joy, it undermines your influence, it inhibits your ability to grow. And yet we do it, over and over and over again. In the age of social media it’s harder than ever to avoid comparison because we’re constantly bombarded with the work and lives of others. But even if we are satisfied with our own work, sometimes there’s a deeper fear: that even if our work stands up to others, there’s something inadequate about US, that there are certain ways of facing life that others have figured out and we haven’t.
This is why I love understanding personality types, because when we understand how we’re wired, it helps us understand more clearly how we fit in to the world around us. It helps us understand that we are not all meant to love the same things or feel inspired by the same things or be excellent at the same things. It allows us to appreciate the many nuances and intricacies of the people around us, and it allows us to appreciate the nuances and intricacies of our own selves, rather than trying to conform to a perceived ideal. And I believe that there is freedom in recognizing who we were created to be.
Understanding how we’re wired does NOT give us license to be obnoxious about who we are, or provide a justification for behavior that’s selfish or mean or lazy. It’s wrong to use our natural wiring as an excuse not to try, or as an excuse to feel superior. Knowing how we’re wired allows us to see where we’re strong AND where we have areas to grow. Understanding how we’re wired is also not about putting people in boxes, because the tendencies of our wiring are only the beginning of the rich story of who we each are.
Understanding temperament should be a liberating process, not a limiting one. It should free us to live in our strengths and equip us to grow in our weaknesses.
In this series on temperament and personality, we’ll be making use of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and a good starting point for this discussion is to take the quick and kinda fun test over at 16personalities.com.
Some helpful tips for taking the test:
- Answer the questions as you are, not as you wish to be (or wish to be seen). Even if you don’t like the answer, this can only be helpful if we’re starting from a place of honesty!
- Avoid neutral answers as much as possible.
- If you’re stumped on how to answer a question, try looking at it from the opposite direction. For example, some of the questions ask something along the lines of whether you value truth or people’s feelings more highly. Rather than giving a neutral answer if you can’t decide between the two, think about them in terms of how you feel when they’re lacking (instead of which you value when they’re present). Ask yourself: “When I leave a discussion or debate, do I feel more unsettled if people had their feelings hurt, or do I feel more unsettled if the ‘right’ decision wasn’t made?” Sometimes you have to ask yourself the question in a different way to realize which you value more.
- It’s okay to ask someone close to you for their input if you’re having trouble answering one! As a general rule you should be answering the questions for yourself, but occasionally it can be helpful to have someone close to you explain how they would answer for you and why.
- And after all that…Don’t overthink it! Your gut response is usually the best one to go with.
Once you’ve taken the test, come back and leave a comment here and let us know your type! Share if you think it sounds right or wrong, or if there are things that particularly resonate (or don’t!) with you. Then keep your results handy, because over the next few posts we’re going to be looking at what each component of those results mean, and how they work together. We’ll look at how they can affect personal and workplace interactions, how they affect decision making and planning, and even how they can affect your branding (and you’ll also learn what the story is with all of these adorable stick figure dudes). I think it’s going to be informational and fun, and I hope you’ll come back to learn more!
Click that heart if you enjoyed this article, and follow along to learn more about your personality type and what it means!
A modified version of this post originally appeared at blog.showit.co