Yesterday at work I was trying to find info about a student, so I hopped on Facebook (the foremost authority of all things Student). I feel no qualms in using Fbook for work during my Self-Imposed Pre-Easter Embargo, as long as I do no peeking for personal use. (and I did no peeking. not even a little.) Somewhere on the page I saw a snippet about Myers-Briggs, and my little self-assessment-loving internal ears perked up.
With my Res Life background and 6 years spent living & working in dorms, I sometimes take for granted that everyone must know as much about personality tests and icebreaker games and alcohol poisoning FAQs as I do.
For those of you who don’t: Myers-Briggs is a personality assessment used by schools, employers, motivational speakers, and nerds like me all over the world. It divides people into 16 categories based on 4 dichotomies:
Extraversion or Introversion
Sensing or iNtuition
Thinking or Feeling
Judgment or Perception
You’re placed in one of these 16 categories, based on a series of questions about your typical habits, behaviors and preferences. Myself, I’m an ENFP. (And I AM, by the way, an ENFP.) In college I fluctuated between INFJ and INFP, but for the last few years I’ve been 100% ENFP. I think the Extraversion has something to do with being onstage in front of strangers every weekend for the last 3+ years. (Thanks, Jeff Jenkins.)
I enjoy reading Myers-Briggs stuff, for the pure fascination that ENFP describes me so well—for better and for worse. Wikipedia says:
ENFPs are initiators of change, keenly perceptive of possibilities. They energize and stimulate others through their contagious enthusiasm. They prefer the start-up phase of a project or relationship and are tireless in the pursuit of new-found interests. ENFPs are able to anticipate the needs of others and to offer them needed help and appreciation. They bring zest, joy, liveliness, and fun to all aspects of their lives. They are at their best in fluid situations that allow them to express their creativity and use their charisma. They tend to idealize people, and can be disappointed when reality fails to fulfill their expectations. They are easily frustrated if a project requires a great deal of follow-up or attention to detail. (thanks, wikipedia.)
But then I started thinking, why does this matter so much to me? Isn’t it a little selfish to devote a whole blog post to “my” personality and “my” myers-briggs and “my” love of knowing more about myself bla bla bla…?
Well, it is a little selfish, I suppose, but I’m learning that this S-word isn’t always an automatic wrong. Some very healthy, giving, honest, progressive choices are self-preserving and also selfish. And the self-y parts of me that love this kind of self-discovery love it for some unselfish reasons. Like what it could mean for how I treat other people. How I work. How I create. It’s good stuff to learn.
For instance, an overwhelming majority of my friends are ENFP…but it helps to understand that not all of us are, so I am aware that we won’t always think, expect, feel, or react the same way.
My coworkers did a MB test before I was hired, and they still have the results on file. I was able to see that one person with whom I always seemed to clash in meetings just happens to be my POLAR OPPOSITE. Once I saw him as ISTJ, I was better able to understand why we never seemed to be on the same page. It sounds so simple, but it made such a big difference for me.
Yesterday I found a M-B evaluation that I’d never seen before: the “role variant” system, which gives a title to each of the types. ENFP = Champion.
Kinda love that. Makes me think of Kanye.
Tell me what it takes to be number one…
Champions are extrospective, cooperative, informative, and expressive. Champions have a strong desire to make their thoughts known to the world. When Champions speak or write, they are often hoping to use their convictions to motivate others to participate in advocacy or they hope to reveal a hidden truth about the human experience. Champions are greatly concerned with ethics and justice and have a strong desire to speak about current issues and events. They are the most inspiring and animated of the role variants. (thanks again, wikipedia.)
(Go take a MB test online! Comment your results! Let’s compare quirks!)