To lead yourself you must know yourself
How is your personality type impacting your choices?
Often in life we embark on a career, a marriage or any major project with an idea of what our goals and vision are, only to find out that they are not turning out the way we thought they would. Human nature is such that under such circumstances, the first reaction is to want to bail out of there. So, bailing out may be an option but to go where? Unless we thoroughly understand what our needs are, and how capable, or not, we are to meet them, we are likely to backtrack to the same spot and start over again, on the same path. Not ideal, I must warn you.
Before we even talk about passion or vision, which is the typical conversation around knowing ourselves, we must get down to basics; how we are wired. According to Isabel Briggs Myers (Myers Briggs Personality Types) and based on Carl Jung’s work, there are 4 major preferences which define our personality:
How we use our energy
How we gather information (read the world around us)
How we make decisions
How we relate to the outside world
This refers to our preference between being introvert and extrovert. We typically think of an introvert as the loner who likes to spend the evening by herself, at the library. Whereas the extrovert is the one typically at the center of it all, telling jokes all night long. Not so. Contrary to popular wisdom, both types can relate very well with others. The difference between the two is how they maintain their energy level.
As introverts we must plan to have downtime where we can shut the door, turn off the phone, put our feet up and re-energize, or do whatever allows us to turn inwardly. This is how we get our balance back. I know. I am one of them. Whereas if you are an extrovert, you must be careful not to find yourself isolated for long period of time. Research work in a lab, by yourself, may not be the best environment. After all, a petri dish is not known to be interactive. If that is your case, plan a lunch date with friends, join a running club after work, etc. Make sure you get what you need to face another day.
HOW WE GATHER INFORMATION
Depending on how we are wired, we prefer to rely on facts, data and realities to understand our environment. Either that or we trust our own intuition and reflect on theories and future possibilities. This is the difference between traveling with a map and a GPS when visiting a new city as opposed to exploring randomly, following our inspiration to find our way around. Both approaches will get us “somewhere”. However, it is important to know which one suits us best (and choose our traveling buddy accordingly!)
HOW WE MAKE DECISIONS
Typically, if we prefer logical, objective analysis where our rational mind prevails, we tend to do things for reasons and not naturally see the point in doing them for anything else such as fun, love, change, etc. On the other hand, if our values are more people-centered, and that includes ourselves, we will more likely consider the impact of our decisions on others. The reality is that we must be motivated by something meaningful to our personality type. Be it numbers or people, both elements must be considered in decision making. As business women, we still need to make the right decision. There is no escaping that. So, understanding what drives our decision helps us be aware of our blind spots. Very useful.
HOW WE RELATE TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD
If you are the type whose spice jars are stored in alphabetical order, you are probably the organized, orderly person who likes closure. You have an issue, you deal with it and move on. What you like is to check things off your list. Done. Whereas if your spices are partially in jars, partially in bags, but definitely none in alphabetical order, you tend to be of a more flexible and adaptable type. The last thing you want is closure since closure means there are no more options. To you, having options is the interesting part. So when the first type works with the latter….frustrations are bound to occur.
Finally, when everything is honky dory, we tend to be living in the world of our preferences. This is ideal but not always possible. So, when things are more challenging than fulfilling and the more effort we put into them the less results we seem to get, it may very well be that maybe, just maybe, we are not necessarily in the wrong chair, but simply just not sitting up right. Meaning it is not where you are, but how you are.
How liberating would that be? What if you did not have to change your whole life or quit your job? What if all you had to do was to come at it from a different angle? Does this sound familiar? Care to share your experience with us?