Workshop 2: Understanding who I am: an MBTI workshop
(This reflection was originally written on March 20, 2013)
So much of understanding who I am as a professional is predicated on the idea of understanding myself, and where I fit in the larger scheme of things.
As part of trying to understand myself better, I had a go at the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator. A blind attempt at an online test wound up reporting I was:
ENFJ (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging).
Sometimes referred to as ‘The Giver’, ‘The Mentor’, or ‘The Pedagogue’. I tend to do some of my best work when I’m helping others, working on behalf of someone else, or helping edit or reword documents for others, so this role certainly resonated with me on some levels. Now, I don’t put a lot of stock personality tests, but I decided to conduct the same questionnaire public ally with a group of five of my friends and my partner. They answered the questions for me and came out with:
INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging).
So, despite my mistrust of personality tests, somewhere between my reported type and my true type there are some thematic constants that apparently reflect me.
I can’t quite articulate what about my choices reflects an inner preference towards extroversion, but identifies to others as preferring introversion. But, it makes me question if I was answering the questions truthfully, or with some preconceived notion of how I ‘should’ choose clouding my decisions. Certainly this test isn’t as rigorous as it could be, and these things exist on a spectrum where my choices and the choices my friends identified aren’t necessarily incompatible.
The point we ended up circling a lot in our discussion was the underlying idea of being the ‘center of attention’. They contested that I end up being the center of attention whether I like it or not, which caused me to examine that statement:
Whether I like it or not.
I guess I am guilty of liking the attention, which would err on the side of extroversion. Which is interesting, because apparently the Achilles-heel of my particular personality type is guilt–go figure.
I do indulge in attention grabbing behaviour sometimes, as I tend to get caught up in a conversation or an idea, and once I get momentum going it’s hard to rein it in. If this means taking a more active role than the people around me then so be it. I certainly aim to be enthusiastic about things I like, and strongly advocate for them. If attempting to drum up support in others means drawing attention to myself then I’m fine with that. Whether this stems from a basic preference towards extroversion and drawing energy from the attention, or is just symptomatic of how I interact with people I’m not sure. But this exercise certainly challenged me to consider the possibilities.