There’s an old saying from Shakespeare: “To Thine Own Self Be True.” But what if you’re not clear about who you really are or what you want to do with your life? How do you really get to know yourself? This series of posts I’ll show you some great tools for discovering who you are. Knowing who you are is a necessary starting point for finding a purpose that aligns with your true self.
One of my favorite self assessment tools is Myers Briggs, which was designed by the mother/daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers based on the works of Karl Jung. The assessment measures psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. Learning your Myers Briggs type can provide insight about what type of career you would enjoy as well as your strengths and weaknesses.
The Myers Briggs Assessment generates a four-letter type by determining your tendency in each of four cognitive areas:
- The two attitude functions: Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I)
- The two perceiving functions: Sensing (S) and Intuition (N)
- The two judging functions: Thinking (T) and Feeling (F)
- The two lifestyle functions: Judging (J) and Perception (P)
According to Jung, people use all eight of these cognitive functions depending on the situation. However, within each pair, individuals will generally be more dominant in one of the two. For example, someone could be a mix of introvert and extrovert, but may be dominantly introverted. In that case, they would be assigned an “I” for that pair. By figuring that out for each of the areas, and stringing the four answers together, each person will get a four letter “type” that explains their dominant characteristic for each cognitive area. Learn your type by taking this free version of the Myers Briggs Assessment.
16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types
There are 16 personality types in Myers Briggs (because there are 16 possible combinations of the letters):
For example, my score is INFP – Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceptive which means:
- I – Introversion is preferred over extroversion: INFPs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extroverts gain energy).
- N – Intuition preferred over sensing: INFPs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.
- F – Feeling preferred over thinking: INFPs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.
- P – Perception preferred over judgment: INFPs tend to withhold judgment and delay important decisions, preferring to “keep their options open” should circumstances change. (Source: Wikipedia)
Finding Your Purpose & Career Direction Using Myers-Briggs
On a site called Personality Page, you can also get insights and information about potential career options and preferences.
Here’s what that page says about my type: “The INFP is a special, sensitive individual who needs a career which is more than a job. The INFP needs to feel that everything they do in their lives is in accordance with their strongly-felt value systems, and is moving them and/or others in a positive, growth-oriented direction. They are driven to do something meaningful and purposeful with their lives. The INFP will be happiest in careers which allow them to live their daily lives in accordance with their values, and which work towards the greater good of humanity. It’s worth mentioning that nearly all of the truly great writers in the world have been INFPs. Possible Career Paths for the INFP: Writers, Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Musicians, Clergy”
When you look at my personality profile, it’s no surprise that my undergraduate degree was in psychology and that I have become an executive coach and business consultant. Did you find consistency when you took the assessment? Why or why not?
Finding Clarity and Purpose
No assessment is going to provide you with immediate clarity and sense of purpose. However, they will provide you with lots of “little insights” which will evolve into clarity and understanding. Finding clarity and purpose is an ongoing process. If you’re learning and growing everyday, you will continue to gain insights. Working with an experienced coach can also help develop this clarity.
Please share your specific scores below and how understanding your score can better help guide your direction.