I remember many years ago, I was in college and had a friend want to do the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test on my. I agreed, but then became so frustrated trying to decide answers to give. I shared my frustration with her….and how I didn’t want to be categorized and do something so reductive.
I would end up taking the test multiple times over the years….officially and unofficially (as there are unofficial quizzes available online). Every single time, I come up INFP. I think once or twice I was E/I NFP. I am not sure if that is “officially” an option.
Then there was the time I heard a speaker talk about the DISC Personality Test. Are you familiar with this one? It’s (D)irect-(I)nfluential-(S)teady Relator-(C)autious and sometimes has animals, like Golden Retriever, Beaver, Otter, and Lion. Or colors like Blue, Gold, Red, and Green. Or….even Sanguine, Melancholic, Phlegmatic, and Choleric. These are pretty much the same 4 temperaments, just labeled differently. For whatever reason, DISC stuck with me as a way to understand. Turns out, I am an S–Steady-Relator.
About four years ago, I learned about Strengths Finder, which I talked about in this blog before. Strengths Finder is really powerful, figuring out your top 5 strengths and really operating from knowing and building on your strengths. My top 5 are Input, Empathy, Intellection, Connectedness, and Ideation.
As I reflect on these different ways of framing ourselves, I think of all the quick personality quizzes available on social media. How fun is it to find out which Harry Potter character are you….or which fruit tree are you most like. Okay, I don’t know if the fruit tree is a real one or not…I made that up as a little tongue-and-cheek for this post. But this brings me to my point for this blog post…
I’ve been listening to a podcast about the Enneagram. Quick side note, do you know the Enneagram? It’s another one that is pretty fun….with 9 different personality types. Folks usually say their number….but it also has another identifier. Type 1 is also the Perfectionist. type 9 is also the Peacemaker. Type 8 is also the Challenger. In the podcast, one of the hosts said that knowing your Enneagram is like knowing what color you are (not to be confused withe the DISC personality variation that assigns colors) If you are a blue, you could be navy or sapphire or cyan or a variety of other shades of blue. You are still an individual and different from many other blues out there….but you fall into a blue category.
I liked that way of looking at this. Maybe if I had had this viewpoint back when I originally was trying to take the Meyers-Briggs, I wouldn’t have been as resistant to finishing the test. Of course, I am sure that there is something in one of these that would explain my resistance. Over time, I became much more curious about my various types in the different venues of typing our personality characteristics. It can be helpful for self-awareness, as well as relating to others.
I’d love to hear your classifications in any of these….or share with me some others. I am currently digging in to the Enneagram and seeing what I can learn from it. If you are curious, I am a 5–Observer!