I’m going to start using Myers-Briggs to vet potential dates!
I haven’t heard four letters thrown around so freely until I started at my current employer. I’ve taken the test a handful of times, on my own accord. But I’ve never had my employer be such a huge advocate for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). They encourage us to find ours, then they go deeper and teach you to communicate and learn from other types.
I enjoy professional development, probably more than most. I was really excited to sign up for this course and to solidify which four letters would be assigned to me.
Little did I know, they aren’t assigned to me, they represent my preferences.
I struggled with this. A LOT. No big surprise there! It was more struggle than I was comfortable with, it left me feeling defeated and somewhat annoyed. What I realized was the absolutist in me wanted to fall into an MB type so perfectly. I didn’t do well with being in the middle (re midzone) of two preferences. Instead of sitting in that space, I read more and signed up for the next course in the process to help me understand what was going on.
So, before I get into it all, just know there are a variety of ways you can go about finding your MBTI. Being 2019, most, if not all are online now. Then there is then a second step you can take after the initial step, which has an additional 53 questions (in my personal experience). The way my employer has it set up, there is a whole series offered to understand your MBTI. However, I think its guiding principles are structured around how it was intended to be offered to people.
I was so intrigued to learn that this test was conceived by a mother and daughter duo, Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs, in the 1940s. They took C. G. Jung’s theory on psychological types from the 1920s and interviewed family and friends to take Jung’s theory and make it applicable to everyone. Their website is a great resource to read up on it all: myersbriggs.org.
Your MBTI is based on your preferences, your basic preferences within four dichotomies:
1. Favorite world – Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world?
2. Information – Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning?
3. Decisions – Do you prefer to look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances?
4. Structure – Do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?
There are sixteen (16) different personality types within MBTI. Understanding your own is of the utmost importance, however, understanding those of your co-workers and family can also help you navigate many situations in life. Understanding the different types will allow us to accept and appreciate the differences from everyone in our lives.
All types are equal.
Dichotomies – a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different
Flexing – a term that describes what happens when a person either needs to access preferences that are not a part of their own type to complete a task or thrive in an environment (source)
Preference – a greater liking for one alternative over another or others
The first report (online assessment) I was given ENFJ. Then I did the self-select method in a training class and I came up with ESFP. Lastly, I received my last report (online assessment) and was shown ENFP.
Right off the bat, you can see the E and the F are pretty solid. Its the second and fourth letters I struggle with:
Sensing (S) — Intuition (I)
Judging (J) — Perceiving (P)
Originally I only struggled with the N & S, but then after the third attempt, I realized my fourth letter needed clarity as well.
I almost wish I took the first training course before I took the MBT test. Understanding the biases and ‘flexing’ while answering the questions is really helpful to understand why you receive the letters you do. Even though they’d never let this happen because you’d start overthinking everything. But I already did that 😉
Another thing I had to realize and emphasize was the notion that I judge what I perceive. That is another barrier to understanding my preference type, which is in fact that, a preference. Once we discussed the ‘out of preference’ results, I understood that individual development and long-standing individual behavioral habits also play into the scatteredness of my MBTI.
I started wondering if I was flexing too much. I also started questioning my learned behaviors and which were inherent to my person. I love how much thought I could put into this theory, it goes hand-in-hand with my process through self-discovery, mental health, and self-love. It was really interesting to understand myself and process how, when, and where these preferences may have started. Jung says you are born with natural preferences, but then life happens and you flex or adapt, which should not change your inherent preferences. It was also somewhat comforting to know that preferences can change when you work on individual development. This was a clarifying moment, especially with how hard this seemed to be for me.
What is your Myers-Briggs?
This makes me chuckle, it sounds like such a dating question. But, it’s so interesting. I’d love to know what my friends and family’s types are. It helps to understand and effectively communicate with those we love and spend time with. Also, I think developing this skill set will also enhance my ability to not take things personally, which I tend to do as well. I’m getting better, but it’s hard sometimes. I’m human…
Where my ENFPs at?!