Being successful requires more than passion, perspective, and perseverance — it requires personality. Furthermore, it requires knowing your personality and how to capitalize on it, navigating and maximizing your strengths, and growing in areas of difficulty. So how can you figure out what your personality is and how to capitalize on it? You can start by taking one of the most widely used and trusted personality tests, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test.
The Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator Test is an exam that measures how people typically perceive the world and make decisions. The exam poses 94 forced choice questions, which explore your natural tendencies regarding your perception of the world and how you engage in it. Upon completion of the exam you are given four letters, which reveal your type, or personality.
Extrovert/Introvert (E /I): Extroverts are energized by being around people and introverts are energized by taking time to be alone.
iNtuitive/Sensate (N/S): Intuitives prefer meaning and insight where are sensates prefer detail, sequence, and concreteness.
Feeling/Thinking (F/T): Feelers are all about motives and the personal experience and ramifications of actions while thinkers prefer a more objective truth and are naturals at deductive reasoning.
Perceiving/Judging (P/J): Perceiving individuals prefer flexibility and are stimulated by new ideas while judgers prefer more structure as well as setting and completing goals in order to have closure.
So what do the four letters really mean in terms of personal and professional success? Well, as an INFJ (Introvert, Intuitive, Feeler, Judger) who has taken the test three times since undergrad for both educational and professional reasons and has consistently been an INFJ, I can tell you that knowing my preferences in terms of how I view the world and make decisions has helped me pursue opportunities, relationships, and passions that allow me to flourish.
The work I do as a clinical counselor allows me to capitalize on the esteem I have for feelings, motives, and personal experiences in the work I do with clients. Likewise, as a clinician, I work with clients around goal setting, adjusting, and achieving. That works really well for my judging tendencies. I find it very rewarding when I work with clients and their personal insight increases, because as an intuitive, I really value the role and power of insightfulness. As it pertains to navigating professional networking opportunities, I often choose to attend events that occur during happy hour. This is purposeful as large numbers of people drain me and with most happy hours being two hours on average, I can prepare myself to “be on” for two hours, because after two hours I know I can go home, meet with a smaller group of colleagues for dinner, or catch up with one or two girlfriends and recharge. As an Introvert less people is more energy. However as a professional, sometimes more people means more knowledge and opportunities to grow and further my career.
Being an INFJ impacts how I relate with people. While it would make sense to just hang out with all of my friends in large gatherings, I am constantly having brunch or dinner with one or two people at a time. As it pertains to dating, while I may never tell a guy he is the only person I am currently dating, the likelihood of him being one of several guys I am dating is slim to none. Dating a different guy each night doesn’t work for me. As a supervisor of graduate interns at my university, I have my interns take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test so I can assess team dynamics as well as what I may need to do that is not my natural preference in order to best relate and support my supervisees.
Even my passions are driven by my personality. Advocacy for human rights, especially the rights of women and girls, the poor and cultural discrimination is very important to me. It is my preference for meaning, insight, and personal experience that drives me to support the organizations I care about, to volunteer to speak at conferences, and to organize events that address these issues. Speaking engagements are always more draining for me, while planning, participating in, and evaluating an event excites me.
Understanding who I am with the help of this test in particular has done nothing but allow me to make choices that fit who I am. When I am where I fit I thrive. My hope is that you will consider completing the assessment to help you do the same. My hope is that this assessment will help you further understand and happily embrace the person you are and perhaps help you think creatively and critically how such knowledge will propel you in the fulfillment of your purpose.