Why Understanding My Own Personality Made All The Difference
There were many years I wrestled over my “true identity.”
I have what some find to be a peculiar personality- I’m analytical, outspoken, kind-hearted, loving, loyal, and blunt.
I’ve been told that in some ways I seem to be a walking contradiction.
Honestly, I always felt a bit like a fish out of water.
I was just… different… but I couldn’t pinpoint why, and so my natural human tendency to default to the negative told me that surely there was something wrong and that I should change in order to fix it.
The truth is: no two people are the same.
There are a defined amount of “personality type” categories, but an indefinable amount of personality variations.
Important we understand the puzzle pieces that can be assembled in a zillion different ways to come up with each unique personality because through understanding them, we have a greater knowledge and connection with ourselves and potential of deeper & more meaningful connections with others.
In hindsight, it would have been better for me to have not gone on so long in my younger days trying to change my personality to suit others and “fit in” but instead work to understand my personality so I could unlock my strengths and more smoothly navigate life in a sea of other complex people.
…but it never serves us to live in hindsight; all we have is this moment and the ones to come and it’s never too late to gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
We’ll start with just a dash of history to set the stage…
Carl Jung introduced the concept of personality types in the early 1900’s.
He identified four basic functions that are still used by a popular personality test (MBTI) today:
…and found them to exist in both extroverted (E) and introverted (I) people.
The MBTI test was created in the 1940s to help Jung’s theories be put into action.
Since then dozens (or more) of different tests have been developed to show “this” or “that” about a personality.
In my Basic Psychology textbook from college, there are approximately 500 personality attributes identified.
…and that was just “basic psychology.”
Clearly, this is deeper than just one test.
Still, the question remains….
The answer: lots of people, and I’d like to convince you that you should as well through being way too authentic for my own good.
A better question is “Why should we care?”
That’s what I’m here to explain from my own experience.
There are lots of ways understanding the ins and outs of my own personality have helped me live a better life.
I allowed myself to be used for a long time.
It’s that kind-heartedness I have… I honestly want to help people (obviously… by my chosen profession!) and have a deep desire to serve.
That, plus my empathic tendencies make me an easy mark for a narcissist.
I’ve been open about this topic regarding my first marriage (to a narcissist) and friendships with people who were not healthy to be around; I’ve even attracted unapologetically narcissistic employers.
Understanding the facets of my own personality is an incredible gift in this area.
It has given me the ability to choose relationships from a more informed standpoint; from experience and through observing the behavior and patterns of other people I am less vulnerable to falling into negative relationship traps.
Understanding my personality and the markers of personality traits in others have allowed me to say no to employment opportunities to avoid working with people who would not be a good match for me.
Understanding my personality empowered me to successfully choose a good match in a spouse. (My husband is the sweetest!)
Also, understanding my personality type helps me to know when I need more or less of something in a relationship; this informs my ability to voice my need or make the decision to disconnect.
Oh, gosh – where to start?
Having a deeper understanding of my own personality has helped me cultivate and develop a fulfilling career.
Whenever a new client comes to GILD, I begin their coaching partnership journey with a deep dive into who they are at the core; depending on their program we may also include a personality test for them but regardless, the deep dive into who that individual really is at their core begins.
The reason is without that information, nothing else we can do will be successful because it would all be created from a place of lack of information.
Understanding your personality type is absolutely paramount to launching a successful career.
I recently coached a woman in her mid 30’s who was absolutely miserable.
She had a degree in education with a focus on music & planned to be a music teacher.
After her first year of student teaching, she realized she couldn’t stand the students.
That’s pretty much a non-starter for being a teacher.
Being able to be around the students without becoming irritated is sort-of a major requirement for success.
If she’d have slowed down before that time to dive into her personality and unlock the keys to her fulfillment she wouldn’t have a degree that has nothing to do with her professional direction – and she may have a degree that would help her excel more in a career that would better utilize her strengths.
Like many people in her age group, she made poorly informed decisions and is at a certain point where she is at an income range that is hard to give up if she wants to “start over.”
Understanding your personality seems a bit more important after learning about that sad life story.
The years I spent working to be like other people were miserable ones.
I didn’t like myself at all.
It’s because I didn’t understand myself at all so even within my own skin I was uncomfortable and confused.
Now that I “get it” I’m happier.
I realize that I’m extroverted with introverted tendencies, that I love people but don’t desperately need many of them in my life to find fulfillment, and that standing out from the crowd means I’m awesome… not an outcast.
That’s a much better mental space to inhabit than being on a constant quest for personality traits that won’t stick because they’re inauthentic.
This is the root of why one of the core values of GILD is “authenticity.”
Earlier today I had a session with a client who is dealing with learning who she is and determining what is next in her life.
We’re working through that together.
Toward the end of our session, she asked, “Are you ever going to write a book?”
“No, I’m writing a blog. If I tell myself I’m writing a book, I’ll psych myself out,” I responded, “but you can be sure those individual blogs will come together in book form at some point. Thinking about it in the larger picture is intimidating for me.”
“Wow- thanks for being so honest,” she said.
Of course, I’m honest… because if I’m not being honest, I’m not being true to the part of my personality that gets a little daunted by big projects… projects like starting my own company from scratch all by myself.
But lookie here… I did it.
And one day that book will be available in your local bookstore, or Amazon, or whatever.
How do I do it? Which test is best?
There are so many personality tests out there – trust me, I’ve taken or administered a great number of them!
That means there may be certain things about you that show up at work but not when you’re at play, or that don’t show up at home but they do show up when you’re socializing.
Being able to identify personality types helps us develop our communication skills and exercise influence, develop relationships and achieve success across the board.
After working with many of them for years, GILD Coaching’s team of experts dug into some of the top personality tests and combined their methodologies to create a master test to connect them and give you a more complete view of your life.
The reason is that all of them have positive attributes, but as stand-alone tests they don’t accomplish much.
We asked the big question:
“What if all the personality tests out there could talk to each other and then give a plan so ordinary people can take action based on their results?”
Pretty cool concept, right?
That’s why we made it…
GILD’s proprietary personality assessment is called 360 Me and you can learn more about it by clicking here.
Here’s what we did:
- Created a mash-up so the top 6 testing methodologies can communicate
- Added more advanced neurological markers
- Incorporated a professional styles assessment (really helps in the workplace!)
- Developed an Introversion/Extroversion scale so people wouldn’t label themselves as one or the other; they’ll have an understanding of what their particular spot on the scale means for them & their needs
- Created a system that combines all of the personality traits, markers, styles, and places on the spectrum for custom follow-up action items so each person who participates can make the most out of the test for him or herself.
We thought there was really no point in the tests if they don’t include information for practical application.
Far too many people were taking different tests and having this response:
“Yep! That pegged me all right!”
Then they toss it in the trash and go on.
What’s the point?
360 Me can be used on its own for individuals & groups, and is a standard part of the Career Doctor coaching program; learn more about both by clicking this link.
Personality awareness lets us be open to what matters & achieve a deeper connection.
Unlocking the truth behind your personality can help you overcome roadblocks standing in your way and discover new avenues of potential success.
Understanding yourself is important because it opens new possibilities.
It also helps other people make more sense to us – because the more we know about our own personality type, the more we understand about personality types in general and can understand other people’s tendencies and how they interact with our own.
A great way to gain a deeper understanding of yourself is through coaching.
My own life is much, much richer because of the coaches I’ve invested in who have helped me unlock greater potential than I ever realized existed.