We all want to belong – no? One of the greatest clarifying moments in my career was when I learned I am an EnFP. I had came across what I now believe to be one of the most insightful and comprehensive explanations of understanding how we tick: the Myers Briggs Personality Sorter. It’s not the only professional temperment / learning style method out there – and I’ve delved into a few of them – but remains the most consistently on target.
The Myers Briggs test is a series of introspective questions that produces a self-report of what makes up the decisions and perceptions we make in the world. The end result of the test is 4 letters (one of 16 typologies). This is not a personality test, but rather a window into your learning, communicating, working and interacting tendencies.
While the typology can sound reminiscent of astrology, it’s instead based on individual behavioral preferences. Created by a mother-daughter team who took their inspiration from Karl Jung’s work on archetypes and human behavior, it’s solidly based in the study of human psychology. The test is crucial to this – but insights only come from answering the questions honestly and not “how you think you want to be perceived”. After all, there is no better or worse typology – it’s all just our approach. Myers Briggs brings out a sense of realization that brings strength in relationships that may have gone unnoticed before by humanizing the actions of others.
There’s a reason the essential book accompanying the Myers Briggs approach is called Please Understand Me. Not only has this method helped me understand my working style, thinking and learning tendencies – but it’s given me invaluable insight to those I love and with whom I work.
An easy example: This has helped me understand my “I” (Introvert) friends in a lens that I may not have seen before. As an unflappable “E” (Extrovert), I love mingling, groups, events and socializing. After being with a group – dinner out or business meeting – I find my energy uplifted and my mind buzzy with ideas and inspiration. My “I” friends, on the other hand, prefer one-to-ones, and might leave a group early because their energy is getting zapped and they need to recharge. No big deal! I know not to expect my “I” ‘s to come flocking to a cocktail party, but instead, we’ll make a fun coffee date to share personally.
Building a team in which the multiple personalities at play are able to complement and work together creates the strongest work possible. This behavioral interpretation has even been implemented into marriage counseling. A positive approach to understanding differences. So, if we work together – or play – and I ask you to take this test, it’s so I can get to know you better.
Is it too idealistic to think we might all get along? Coming from an ENFP, not really!
Regardless of where you find yourself in this world a compassion for others is a tool everyone should have within their tool belt. Happiness in relationships can start with open-minded awareness and respect for our myriad approaches to communication, conflict and pleasure.