Archive | March, 2017

“Just the Facts, Ma’m”!

22 Mar

Are you a person who easily memorizes stats from the newspaper? Do you find yourself drawn to getting factual answers to problems? If so, you probably are like a reporter with his notepad: Who? What? When? How? Where?
These are the questions most Americans want answered. Actually 75% of the American population are Sensing types, who want their information detailed, accurate, and as simple as possible. If you are this type of individual, you will also be RIGHT THERE, grounded in the present moment. When you enter a new venue, you will probably notice everything about it — the colors of your surroundings, any accompanying sounds, the people, their mode of dress, all the details of the interior decoration, and so on. Sensing individuals are aware of everything which comes through the five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling. They are also the people who gather all the data for any project.
The opposite type of person is labeled “N” in Myers Briggs terminology. This person is an Intuitive (NOTE: N is used for this function because I has already been taken as shorthand for Introvert.) Intuitives do not so much look for answers to the five common questions listed above. Instead they seek to answer the question, Why? The person who is Intuitive is looking to understand the MEANING of the phenomena. Human beings are animals who seek meaning, so these 25% of the population are entrusted with a very important task. They are also at times termed “visionaries,” because they seem to be able to predict the future. Actually their best predictions come from their ability to see patterns in the data, which they then project into the future. For example, an Intuitive might find great meaning in “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.” S/he might see how this pattern is replicated throughout world history. It wouldn’t be the most comfortable assumption to make, but one could tease out the flaws in Western civilization with such a pattern.
True to type, Intuitive individuals do not so much live in the present as “100 miles down the road” in the future. One may not feel present in the presence of an Intuitive!
Sometimes music captures the essence of psychological themes. In the case of the Sensing types versus the Intuitive types, we might think of “You Fill up my Senses,” a lovely song by John Denver, in contrast to “Anticipation,” another exquisite melody with appropriate Intuitive lyrics by Carly Simon.
I’d love to hear from you with questions or comments. Myers Briggs material is so affirmative of persons in their essential being and so helpful in working out the kinks in relationships!

What Gives YOU Energy? Introverts vs. Extroverts

17 Mar

What gives (or takes away) your energy? Personality type has some important insights into this question. Let’s ask some simple questions first.
1. Do you find that being around a group of people is energizing?
2. Do you need to be part of a team, or even to lead a team?
3. Do you enjoy “running your ideas” by several people, either in a group or one after the other?
4. Do you find it boring to sit by yourself and “reflect” on the past day or week?
5. Do you find that being in a crowd actually gives you energy?
6. Do you enjoy talking and even being the story teller in a group?

If you answered YES to several of these questions, you may well be an Extrovert. Extroverts get their energy from people and situations external to themselves — gatherings, parties, events they attend, anything they become aware of in their surroundings.
Extroverts make up 75% of the U.S. population and are prized for their “lingo” in sales, catchy presentation style at meetings, and their “friendliness.” Extroverts may or may not play all their cards, but what they wish to share is widely known. With an Extrovert, “what you see is what you get” — that is, if they are thinking individuals, that is what you notice about them. On the other hand, if they are more on the feeling spectrum, you will see that also. These folks are usually not deep thinkers, but they have an innate ability to get their ideas out there.
Here’s an interesting scenario I often present to my clients when they come in to debrief their MBTI results. An Introvert is married to an Extrovert. They are invited to a get-together on a Friday evening. The Introvert (soon to be discussed) is hesitant to commit to the gathering but goes along because his/her partner expresses a real desire to take part in the event. Their counselor suggests that they go in separate cars. Why? you ask. Because this is the scenario that evening. (And note that this is a best case outlook for the evening.) Each arrives separately around 7:30 PM. The Extrovert quickly finds a group which s/he joins and begins actively to share with. The time advances to 10:00 pm, and we find the Extrovert at the center of a rather large group sharing one of a number of favorite stories. In another hour the party begins to break up, but the Extrovert finds it hard to “let go.” His last companions make their way to say good-bye to the host, so s/he realizes it is time to return home.
At home s/he encounters the Introvert already in bed. But there’s more to it than that! The Introvert probably drifted over to one individual or a small group of one to three persons and listened to their conversation after having introduced him/herself. The Introvert enjoyed being with this person or small group, but after a while realized how tired s/he was. Thus, s/he probably made a decision to leave the party at about 9 pm and returned directly home to relax and reflect on the day/week. Then s/he may have read or listened to music and prepared for bed.
The Extrovert may not have realized all this (we all think everyone else is just like us!) and probably wanted to talk some more about the news s/he picked up at the get-together. What a surprise to find the partner already asleep!
A little more about the Introvert: Introverts make up only 25% of the U.S. population. They are usually quiet, reflective types whose ideas and emotional depth are often ignored. Group leaders should thus make it a practice to “tease out” those folks who do not regularly jump into a conversation. Leaders must be willing to wait a while for Introverts to respond, however. I’s demonstrate a characteristic pause before answering a question. In the work arena, Introverts would prefer a career where there is only SOME interaction with people. They would have difficulty being a customer service representative, for example, but would love many types of theoretical work, serving in libraries, laboratories, or working out of their homes and only occasionally visiting the office.
One thing you must remember in looking at this aspect (or any aspect) of personality type is that there are many degrees of Extroversion or Introversion, and this determines your preferences for social interaction and career choice.
More to come! Please feel free to email me with your questions.

FAQs about Personality Type!

12 Mar

1. Except for “wanna-be’s” the Myers Briggs is one of the most reliable personality type tests. Wanna-be’s are people who don’t answer the questions truthfully but “hope” they turn out to be similar to a partner or friend, for example. So in fact they are answering the questions as if they were a much different personality type. Remedy: They probably need to re-take the Indicator based on better self-knowledge.
2. Words of caution: The MBTI does not “tell all.” It’s based on self-chosen preferences — ways of perceiving and behaving — and doesn’t take into account an individual’s personal history within his/her family and in her niche in society.
3. The MBTI is “tried and true” over time. That is, individuals’ personality type does not change over time. You will probably agree that an individual establishes him or herself during about the first 35 years of life. Thus there is career direction to be determined in the first half of life; possibly an intimate relationship to be established; possibly a “home base” to settle into. In just the same way, psychologically we are establishing who we are. We may be aware of key preferences early in life, and they may guide us along career paths and relationship patterns. Or we may recognize these much later.
4. After mid-life is when we usually develop the opposites! The opposite preferences are deep in the unconscious, but we can draw on them to become a more whole, or complete, person. We will never be able to have the ease of use of all the preferences, but it is nice to feel more comfortable using opposite, previously neglected ways of being.
5. Certain personality types comprise a much smaller percentage of the population than others. Much research has been done which has yielded percentages of each of the eight factors in Western society. Certain types comprise between one and five percent of the population.
6. When you meet someone of your exact type, you automatically feel connected! Between exact types, especially those in the minority, there is very soon after an “introduction,” a sense of being mutually understood. Pretty amazing, but if you follow this series of articles, you may actually experience this neat connection!
7. There is great attraction between persons of exactly opposite personality types. These individuals are drawn to one another because each represents an unrealized potential of the other. It is often the case that opposites attract, but they may not form a stable relationship over time. Developing a viable relationship depends on the innumerable factors hinted at in FAQ #2 above, especially personal values, strengths, weaknesses, and supports the individual has experienced in childhood and beyond.
A Look Ahead: Our next posts will start examining the first pair of opposites, mentioned in our first article in the series. Stay tuned!

The Basics about the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

9 Mar

As a Certified Administrator of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, I like to introduce the instrument with some background information. First, a bit of history: The MBTI originated from the work of Carl Jung, the brilliant Swiss psychologist whose work was based on “individual psychology,” a person’s unique path to wholeness.
In the United States, this work was transformed into a personality type indicator by a mother-daughter team, Myers and Briggs. Three out of the four pairs of opposites which are gauged on the MBTI come directly from Jung’s work, while the fourth pair (called life style preference) was developed by Myers and Briggs.
Today I will give some very basic information about each of these pairs of opposites, to be followed up by four posts on each of the pairs. The first pair of opposites (Introversion versus Extroversion) has to do with where we get our energy. Introverts (I) get their energy from their own Inner World, and Extroverts get their energy from everything in the external world. Our source of energy is clearly key to how we function in our work and in our relationships.
The second pair of opposites (Sensing versus Intuition) has to do with how we perceive things. Sensing people (S) perceive the world through all the five senses (hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, tasting) and therefore perceive things factually. By contrast, Intuitive persons (N) use a “sixth sense” which is partially based on pattern recognition. Instead of asking the “S” questions, How, When, What, Who, Where ?, they ask the question, Why?

The third pair of opposites answers the question, “How do we value the world,” or “On what basis do we make our decisions?” These opposites are Thinking (T) and Feeling (F). Persons who prefer Thinking base their decisions on commonly held, or even universal, truths. They operate on principles with which others will readily agree. Feeling (F) persons espouse their own values and act upon these. For example, if a Feeling person holds the value of compassion or courage, he or she will most likely try to behave according to that value in their everyday lives.
The fourth pair of opposites refers to the life style preferences Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). Judging persons are not necessarily judgmental, but they do prefer having routines, goals, and closure to situations. They are in general more serious than their opposites, the P types. A Perceiving person is generally NOT planful; rather this individual may be spontaneous, playful, and responsive to events in the moment. Ps generally do not have goals but are tireless in pursuit of something they love doing.
At Beyond the Horizons Consulting, the MBTI is just one tool we use to help our clients in their personal and professional lives. However, it is a good first step is accepting who you are and in learning something about the 15 other types, some of whom may inhabit your world!