The Big Idea
Understanding your personality allows us to be more productive and happier.
Questions I Answer
- How does taking a personality test help me be more productive?
- What’s my personality profile?
- What are the different kind of personalities?
Actions to Take
- Take the MBTI personality types test now and see which of the 16 personality types you fall into. Then use this information going forward to think about how you understand yourself, how you interact with others, how you set goals or procrastinate, and more.
- Use this information to understand yourself and your interactions others better at work, home and in your personal life.
Key Topics in the Show
5 ways of knowing your personality can help you understand yourself and others better.
How to appreciate different personality types and work with others’ strengths instead of having conflicts.
Using your personality type to find your career and passions.
About the MBTI test and how it can help you set goals, stop your procrastination, understand how you interact with others and more.
Welcome to Productivity Paradox from inkWELL Press, a podcast focused on finding success and happiness through the power of productivity. Each season, Tanya focuses on specific strategies to help you discover your own priorities and purpose. Season five is all about investing in you. You can also join Tanya for more interaction and support in her free Facebook group at inkwellpress.com/group. And now here’s your host, Tanya Dalton.
Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, owner of inkWELL Press, and this is episode 57. Today’s episode is brought to you by Trunk Club, and I’ll be sharing later in this episode how I use Trunk Club to make my life easier.
But first, I want to dive in to talking about understanding your personality type. And I feel like this is such an important thing for us to really know and acknowledge about ourselves because we all have preferences for how we work and how we get things done, and really understanding these preferences allows us to be our most effective and our most comfortable.
Really knowing what these boundaries of preference are can improve your productivity, so it’s important to know your preferences. When you know your personality better, you have some choices on whether to accept or push back on that trait.
In general, you can gather some information about your personality through some introspection, but we’re better at identifying how we feel during certain situations, then identifying specific traits. We can always understand our personality a little bit better by asking others, although that information is not always neutral or unbiased.
Let’s be honest, we are not neutral or unbiased, either when it comes to looking at ourselves. We’re often times so much harsher on ourselves than we are on others. So it really helps to take the time to test out and understand what your personality type is. And there’s really five ways that I believe knowing your personality can help you.
First of all, you can learn about all the different personality types, not just your own. Taking an assessment from a reputable source should also give you access to descriptions of other types of personalities and their preferences. Understanding not only your own personality but also the spectrum of other people’s preferences, might help explain the behaviors of other people in your life, which can help with things like communication style.
We all struggle from time to time to communicate well with others, and I think I’m not alone in saying we’ve all had those times where we’ve said something to someone and it was received in a way that we did not intend.
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An in-depth personality test can teach you more about your communication style and how you can communicate better with others. Perhaps instead of taking something personally from a person with a different personality style, if you know or understand the different personalities, it might help you determine if the other person’s behavior is based on something that you did, or if it’s just their way of expressing things.
When you begin to understand this, you can begin to predict how they’ll react in other situations, which really facilitates cooperation. And it works well in vice versa. Knowing your personality type can help you understand how others perceive you and what you’re saying. If your personality type shows that others can find you to be abrupt, you can actively work to soften your tone. You could say, “I know this may come across rude at times, but that’s not my intention. If I do that, please know to not take it personally.” So it really can help for you to understand the different personality types.
The second thing I think it helps with is you get confirmation that you’re not alone, and there’s so much power and strength in that. If you grew up around people or you work with others of types that are very different from yours, you might feel like your natural behaviors and tendencies are wrong. This can happen especially with children who have strong flexible preferences, who grew up in a family with strong organized preferences. These children might be told they are too scattered or flaky as they get older, and they might continue to think that, or that they’re odd, as they continue through life.
The personality type report assures that you’re not alone and that there are others out there. And not just others, but millions who think similarly to you because they have the same personality type. This can really help you gain some confidence.
Personality tests remind you some of the things that you might think are different or odd are really strengths, and they’re the ways that you work best, which can be a great confidence booster.
The third way that it can help is it can give you an objective framework for typing others in your life. This can make working with other people with an opposite personality trait work much smoother. If you can think of anyone you work with that nitpicks every new idea, or at first says why it won’t work, they may have a strong sensing part of their personality, and they’re not actually trying to shoot down your ideas. They just want to be reassured that the direction you’ve suggested has a solid foundation that they can trust.
You can recognize and be aware of how your personality type interacts with others, and it gives you an appreciation for the diversity of personality types on your team, and they can help you understand how to work best and even how each of your strengths can work together to build you into a solid foundation.
When you understand personality types, it can deescalate conflicts before they even arise. For example, if you tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to problems, you can adjust that behavior accordingly. So it really is great in creating that objective framework.
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The fourth way it helps is you can start to understand what activities drain and energize you. And this has a lot to do with your extrovert or introvert tendency. Maybe you find yourself depleted after working alone at your desk, but you find that going out with friends leaves you energized. Or maybe vice versa.
Really beginning to understand what activities do to your energy levels can really improve your happiness. It allows you to stay in touch with yourself and who you are at your core, which can be difficult at times but it’s so necessary for long term happiness.
Taking the time for self-discovery can help us get back in touch with who we are, and help us refocus on what’s most important in life, and it can really help with improving that decision-making. Decision-making is based on personality. Knowing if you’re more reliant on external factors or gut instinct can help you be aware if you’re not assessing enough factors, or if you’re completely over-analyzing, so you can really begin to understand who you are as a whole.
And the fifth thing that I believe you can really benefit from from personality typing is understanding your strengths. Go through the assessment results and find the traits that give you that spark of recognition of, “Oh, this is funny. I was just complimented on this trait last week,” or, “People are always saying this about me.” List those traits along with examples from your own life that relate to your natural talent or trait. And you can begin to work this into a strength statement that you can weave into job interviews, networking events, talks with your manager or your boss. So this can help lead you to having a reputation for excelling at things that you actually enjoy doing.
Your personality type can be extremely helpful in figuring out what you should be doing ideally with your life, and it can help put you in the right situations. Like, if you like taking risks or being independent, you might want to look into entrepreneurship. People who are very organized and orderly may pursue a career in accounting.
Here’s the difference. It helps you choose a career instead of just a job, because we want to play to the strengths, and we want to play to those weaknesses. We want to have some say in where we’re going, and understanding ourselves can really help.
Here’s what I do want you to keep in mind though when it comes to personality typing. Personality is just one of many factors that guides our behavior. We’re also influenced by our environment, our experiences, our individual goals. Even people who share the same personality type can have significant differences.
Personality types are really meant to inspire personal growth, and help you better understand yourself and your relationships with others. It’s not supposed to be taken as the full and complete truth of who you are.
So with that in mind, I do want to talk to you about one of the more popular personality tests, the MBTI. But before I do, I want to take a quick moment to talk to you about Trunk Club.
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If you aren’t familiar with Trunk Club, it’s like having your own personal stylist who handpicks outfits just for you based off your preferences, based off of what you have going on in your life, based off of you and who you are. And then, they create a complete collection that’s designed to work together and mix-and-match for your lifestyle. And because you use the same stylist again and again, you begin to develop a relationship with them, and they begin to understand your unique needs and your styles.
I’ve been using Trunk Club for some time now, and I love it. I really want to feel like I’m up-to-date on the latest trends, but I don’t really have time to go do the shopping. I jump on a call, or I chat directly with my stylist, and I tell her what I have going on. And then I choose the budget, and she pulls together the collection for me.
And what’s great is there’s no charge for the stylist if you purchase anything in your collection. Because it works through Nordstrom’s, returns and shipping is a breeze. I love that. Want to use my own personal stylist? You can connect with her. Just go to inkwellpress.com/trunkclub, and I’ll give you the introduction.
Okay. I want to go back to talking to you about personality types, and I really feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the biggest one out there, which is the MBTI, which stands for Myers-Brigg Type Indicator.
Now, the theory of psychological types was first introduced by Doctor Carl Jung, which led to the development of the MBTI tool in the 1940s. The indicator was first published in the 1960s. Now, Myers-Briggs Foundation says that in its essence, the theory of Myers-Brigg Type Indicator is that seemingly random variations in behavior are actually consistent. And this is due to the differences in perception and judgment, basically the different lenses we all see the world through.
So there’s perception, which is the way we become aware of things, the people, the happenings, and the ideas, and there’s judgment, the way we come to conclusions about what is perceived. And the differences in perception and judgment show corresponding differences in our interests, our reactions, our values, motivations, and our skills.
The use of the MBTI should be considered as a starting point for self-discovery, not the finish line. And it shouldn’t be used to judge or stereotype anyone. Instead, it shows an average experience of each type. At the minimum, the test help point out that people behave differently, largely because they view and interact with the world differently.
And this seems like a basic self-explanatory point, but we tend to assume that most people think and view the world like us. So it can be good to bring awareness to the fact that we all don’t think alike.
Now, the MBTI uses four parts to define people. You may have heard people describe themselves as an ESTJ, or an INFP, or like me, I’m an ENFJ. Each of those letters indicates where your personality falls within those four dichotomies.
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Let’s go through each one of these quickly. This is not meant to be a full and comprehensive explanation of who you are. If you take the test and I’ll provide a few links in the show notes to some resources to take the test for free, you’ll find that most do a great job of explaining what your personality type means. For the sake of examples, I’m going to talk about these in the terms of goal-setting, just to keep it consistent. Sound good? Okay.
The four parts of the MBTI. The first part is your favorite world. Is there more focus on the outer world, or the inner world? And this indicates extroversion or introversion. Extroverts, which is signified by the E, like busier spaces and working with others, especially on teams, while introverts who are designated with the I, like working in calm, quiet spaces, independently or in small groups.
So for goal-setting, if you’re an extrovert, goal-setting is done best by talking through it, especially in a group experience. Thinking out loud can be really helpful with their goal-setting, so they might want to consider enlisting a coach, or a partner, or a mentor, someone to have a conversation with.
If you’re an introvert, goal-setting might want to be done in a quiet, reflective manner, allowing time to think and reflect on the goals. If you have a boss or a partner that’s extroverted, make sure they understand that you need time to process goals, and make it clear you’ll meet and finalize your goals once you have this time.
The second parts of MBTI is information. So this basically asks the question, do you focus just on the information? Do you take it in, or do you go deeper into interpreting and adding meaning to it? So this is either sensing, which is designated by an S, or intuition, which is an N.
Sensers like working with concrete things like data, people, machines, while intuitives like working more abstractly with ideas, possibilities and theories. So when we’re talking about goal-setting, sensors tend to be practical and realistic, so they need simple, practical and attainable goals. There should be enough challenge to motivate and inspire, but not so much that the goal seems absurd.
Sensers need tangible evidence that the goal’s been achieved, and they need to know exactly what is going to be achieved before the goal is set. Intuitive, which is designated by the N, they generally find the nitty-gritty of goal-setting can be very dull, because they’re people who like to gather information more theoretically because intuitives tend to trust their gut instinct, so their goals need to be more inspirational and challenging, to find a broad idea that will lift their goals to a higher level. Goals that are too simple or clear are seen as obvious and something that doesn’t need to be planned. So the purpose of goal-setting for an intuitive is that it needs to go above and beyond what is already being done.
The third part of MBTI is decisions. When making decisions, do you first consider logic and consistency, or people and circumstances? This indicates whether you are a T, a thinker, or F, a feeler. Thinkers prefer work that lets them use their intelligence to excel, while feelers prefer work that reflect their values and work to help others.
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When we’re talking about goal-setting, thinkers approach decision-making in an objective and firm minded manner. A goal must be a result of an exhaustive thought process and figuring out what the best things you can achieve would be. So I’d you’re a thinker, you want to build in time for this thinking process.
Thinkers are driven by the what and the how of what can be accomplished, what good will come from it, versus the feelers, whose goals tend to reflect a concern for others. Feelers have to be careful not to set goals for other people, or to set goals just because someone else wants you to do something.
The fourth part of the MBTI framework is structure. When you’re dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to make decisions or stay open to new options and information? And this indicates whether you are J, judging, or P, perceiving.
Judgers like organization and structure within an orderly workspace, while perceivers prefer flexibility and freedom, and they don’t mind a little bit of chaos. So for goal-setting, judgers, because they’re very structured and scheduled, goal-setting feels very natural and they may not feel like they need a formal process for setting their goals. They would probably benefit from it, but they don’t feel like they need it quite as much. And their goals are best set when they are explicitly defined, so everyone involved can agree to them and begin tackling them.
If you’re a perceiver, the methodology for reaching goals is very different from a judger, because, well, perceivers are more flexible, they’re more spontaneous and adaptive. Goal-setting is a continual process for perceivers, as goals are always emerging. So you’ll want to make sure you keep yourself from procrastinating by enlisting an accountability partner and reviewing your goals on a regular basis if you are a perceiver.
Did you maybe recognize yourself in some of those parts? I know that knowing that I’m an INFJ and I read those descriptions of what each of those letters stands for and what it means, I see so much of myself in that. And if you notice some of these things about yourself, I want you to keep this in mind. All types are equal. There is no best types or worst types. It’s just a tool to help understand the differences between people. It doesn’t measure trait your ability or the character of who you are.
And I gave some examples with goal-setting, but understanding your personality goes so much further than that. I really want to encourage you to head over to inkwellpress.com/podcast, and click one of the links under episode 57, to go and take a personality test. They don’t take too long. Set aside a little bit of time to take the test, and then dive in and read a little bit about what those personality indicators say about you.
You might find that it really helps you understand not just who you are, but how you interact with others. I think understanding your personality type is such an investment in yourself, so take the time to give yourself that gift of understanding who you are.
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Now, next week in our episode, I’m going to be talking about defining your core values, and I’m really excited because I have a great download for next week to really help you figure out what the core values are that are unique to you.
In my mini episode of the weekender coming up in a few days, I’m going to be sharing my best kept secret for how I invest in myself, and I think you might be surprised by what I do. So I hope you’ll tune in for that.
If you like the exercises and activities that we talk about on the podcast, especially the free downloads, I would really encourage you to go to inkwellpress.com/podcastemail and sign up to get on our list, because with the next week’s episode with our free download, that will be sent automatically to you.
I try to make the newsletters as impactful as possible. We do challenges, we talk about the podcast episodes. I’d love for you to join the list because I think it’s a great way to keep yourself accountable every single week. All right. Until next time, happy planning.
Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox from inkWELL Press. To join Tanya’s free group, simply go to inkWELLpress.com/group.