While in Belgium, I attended a day-long workshop to understand my personality with the goal of improving my life and job experiences. Here are my results:
- A – 57
- B – 42
- C – 38
- D – 45
- Introversion (Corridor)
- Sensing (Clear)
- Thinking (Very Clear)
- Judging (Clear)
Corridor is borderline to Very Clear which is most definitely. Here’s a photo of my score:
Therefore, my personality type is “ISTJ” or “Inspector”. Since I’m borderline by 1 point away from being extroverted, I could also fall within “ESTJ” or “Co-Ordinator” One point different on my test and I could have fallen within that category. Here are explanations of those personality types:
Inspectors are careful, thoughtful and systematic. Outwardly composed and matter-of-fact, they can be people of few words. However, they are dependable, loyal and precise, making sure that responsibilities are taken seriously and that work is completed steadily and systematically.
Co-Ordinators are systematic and delivery focused. They like to take charge and get results. Their style will generally be steady and organized and they are often described as tough, but efficient, leaders. Practical, rational and efficient they may neglect people’s feelings and not champion change.
The main difference between the two is in the first and last lines because of such different approaches when you are introverted or extroverted. What’s most interesting about my results is that I switch almost weekly between being introverted or extroverted. It’s something I never quite understood until seeing the results of this test and speaking directly with a psychologist about some real stories that related to my results.
Last weekend, I was in Brussels talking to strangers, buying people drinks and explaining about beer and telling stories about America. I was being sort of who people on this blog see me as and that’s an informing and direct communicator who has a plan or at least an idea of where he’d like to take things next. Here, I write very systematically and, at my work, I am very organized and goal oriented. However, this weekend in London, I was almost on the verge of a bit of depression which is an emotion I haven’t felt in nearly 2 years.
I go through waves of being E (extroverted) and I (introverted) with each week. There are some weeks where I simply don’t leave the house. I get things done so efficiently. I get so much work done, my house is spotless and my garden is looking great. I talk to friends via phone or Skype and cook every meal from home. I can do this for a solid month and I’m so happy, it’s almost crazy to think that I could be so consent with not seeing a single person or car for so much time. Then, I fly to San Francisco or Europe and jump into this world of parties and events and entertainment and it would seem that I am an attention hog or that I feed off the conversations and interactions with strangers. I say hello to strangers and start up conversations on the train and get high off of leading a meeting full of managers and experts at work. I am always swapping back and forth.
The issue I have with being so borderline E and I is that what I want to do with my time may completely swap within minutes. Like this weekend, I was at a club with my friend and, in an instant I didn’t want to be there anymore. I went from buying drinks and dancing with a group of women at a bachelorette party to wishing I was away from London, the city, people and literally sitting by my river with just my thoughts. The feeling continued to worsen and continues right now. I’m on a flight back to Boston and the thought that I’ll be by my river in a few hours is keeping me going. It’s driving me so hard that I’m blazing through security lines to reach this point where the muscle tightness in my spine can finally relax.
For example, just now a flight attendant comes by for the round of drinks and snacks. “No thanks.” I say. She offers a cola and again I say no to that and then to wine and them to pretzels. I don’t want anything. I just ate and drink and I smiled and was courteous. She was bothered and said, “you have to take something.” I don’t want anything. She doesn’t understand. I just want to be home. That’s the only thing on my mind.
So, I’m not just corridor, I’m extreme opposites depending on the week to week feelings. This happened severely in San Francisco because I ignored the feelings of wanting to be away from society and they compounded because I was driven by my career goals and lead me to ignore my needs like staying in shape. This brings me to my next indicators.
The last three indicators mostly overlap.
Let’s go over the definitions for each of my five qualities:
Extraversion: An extravert has a primary orientation outwards – they seek essential stimulation from the environment – the outer world of people and things.
Introversion: An introvert has a primary orientation inwards – they seek essential stimulation from the inner world – their thoughts and reflections.
Sensing: The sensing function takes in information ‘as it is’ – it is more literal and closer to the five senses of sight, sound, feel, taste and smell.
Thinking: The thinking function is comfortable sorting information to make a clear rationale – it seeks a logical and objective basis for making decisions.
Judging: A judging orientation means a preference for closing, getting results, making decisions, having a more planned and orderly lifestyle.
ST & J well they are easy to understand and make sense of and they align perfectly with my personality but not in a way that I’m proud of. The fact that I’m Clear or Very Clear in those three is a sign that these are for sure a true indicator of my personality.
Look at this blog as an example. I don’t plan blog posts and simply begin writing. 2,500 words comes as easily as breathing. The same goes for work documents and being concise in meetings and with decisions. It’s a nice quality to have but it means I rarely take much time to make a decision which can lead to errors and the Thinking trait is next. Because I sense so rationally, I think about things very literally and with logic. I come to quick decisions and toward an end goal. I want something so, I instantly make the decision of what needs to be done. The issue here is that I sense and decide so quickly that I rarely include others. It’s why most of the projects I’m on are singular projects where I am the sole person working on them. My boss realizes this quality and simply works with it. I get challenged to work with others more often and so far, the results have been surprisingly good.
Judging is easy to notice among my friends. I am always marking off check-lists. My girlfriends of the past and present sometimes hear my process for judging and understand how my mind works. Lately, Elizabeth caught on and finally responded with, “Whatever helps you rationalize the decision, honey.” It made me a bit angry but what can I say? She’s absolutely right. I make decisions and then rationalize them rarely changing my mind.
These qualities all add up to a very nice look into my lifestyle and choices. I moved to San Francisco and then to New Hampshire and decided within a split second. There was no decision point. It was just made. I broke up with Laura abruptly. It was a normal day and I come home and we break up. I didn’t really see that one coming even myself. One day I just decide to get chickens and pigs and often meander walking into random shops and spending far more than I should. I didn’t need a $120 wine glass but I bought one anyway. I’m not rich at all but, it seemed pretty cool so I got it. One issue that was highlighted in my talk with the psychologist administering the day long workshop is that people with my mix of personality are often considered cold or ruthless. I don’t feel that way but she asked, “If you needed to fire someone, would you delay it or just fire them and not think twice?” I’ve had to fire people and yeah, you just do it. I am the kind of person to pick up hitchhikers and save babies from burning buildings but, if someone has to be fired, that’s just how it goes. I fire them and go back to my day. I’m not looking to ruin someone’s life but, if you have to fire someone, just do it and that’s that. It doesn’t mean you’re a jerk, it’s that you don’t tie emotion in with what you have to get done.
I’m not all that careless. I am very careful and dedicated to performing well at my job and always supporting my friends and loved ones. The few people who are my real friends know I love and care about them and would do anything for them. I love entertaining people at parties and creating things. I’m inspired to always be creating something or tinkering or hacking a device. Cooking is my most favorite past time and travel is a fantastic hobby and one that I enjoy tremendously. I prefer to travel alone though. I like being alone with my thoughts at home and on the road.
In looking at my personality results, everything makes sense. This is both scary and very freeing. I feel like this weight of misunderstanding has been lifted. I’m the same person I was before taking the exam but, when I do actions, I understand what inspired them and why I made the choices.
I know this isn’t something I should blog about. However, when things happen in my life that make me understand a bit more and make me be a bit happier, I want to share. This is partly for myself because I like looking back on these moments and knowing which ones really changed my life and gave a fresh start to how I do things. Yes, it’s a bit personal to have it here but so few people read long posts like this that it’s no worry.
So, that’s it. We all have character traits we aren’t proud of. We also have things we’ve done that we aren’t proud of but, I’m happy where I am in life and understand that, next time I do a 2 week work trip, I should take some time out to just sit in a park relaxing. I pushed myself very hard on this trip and exhausted myself severely and am now just ready to go home to the river and the cabin.