We all love a good personality test – you get to talk about yourself and then get told all about yourself in the most positive context possible. What’s not to like? But personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Enneagram aren’t just for fun – they can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses so you can do more of what you love and excel at, and less of what you don’t.
What is a Myers-Briggs type?
Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers first released their questionnaire and research in the mid 1950s. The questionnaire determines which of 4 dichotomies you lean toward that form one of 16 personality types, which are acronyms like ESFP or INTJ. This is how it breaks down:
E (Extroversion) or I (Introversion):
Most people are more introverted or extroverted.
Extroverted people are often very social, gain energy from social situations, and enjoy (and can handle) a lot of stimulation for long periods, such as loud, busy parties and busy city streets.
Introverted people are generally thinkers, they may need to be alone to recharge after social situations, and may find a lot of stimulation overwhelming and unenjoyable. They’ll often prefer an intimate get-together with friends over going out to a noisy bar.
S (Sensing) or N (Intuition):
These words describe how you take in new information. Someone who is more “sensing” will rely on external stimuli to come to a conclusion, while an intuitive person will rely on their gut feeling about something.
T (Thinking) or F (Feeling):
These words describe how you make decisions. Someone who is “thinking” will think logically and analytically about a problem before coming to a decision, while a “feeling” person will think about how the decision will make them feel and make a decision based on that.
J (Judging) or P (Perceiving):
These words describe how you interact with the outside world and your daily life. Someone who is “judging” loves a routine and, often, optimising it to get the best results. They’ll thrive with structure and find changes of plan jarring. A “perceiving” person finds it easy to go with the flow and take spontaneous action.
There are 16 different combinations of these letters that make up the 16 different personalities.
How can your Myers-Briggs type affect your business?
You can use your Myers-Briggs type to know what you can optimise, what you can delegate, and even where you can tweak things to make your workday easier and more pleasurable.
Here are some examples of ways you can use your personality type to optimise your business:
If you’re introverted, you may decide that you only have the capacity to be social for a few hours a day or even a week. So, instead of scheduling meetings all throughout the week whenever your clients ask for them (which often leaves you feeling drained and unable to focus for the rest of the day), you schedule them all on a Monday or Friday.
You may also want to design service packages where you work independently of your client whenever possible, without detracting from the client experience you want to offer, so you can get more done.
If you’re extroverted, you may find that meetings with your clients actually help you feel motivated while working alone on projects leaves you feeling bored. So, you may schedule meetings throughout the week to give you a boost in motivation to keep you productive, and you may consider providing intense VIP experiences that give you the opportunity to work closely with your clients for a day or two.
If you’re judging, it will be well worth your time trying to find the right daily structure for you that allows you to thrive in your work and feel your best. You’ll find knowing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing (and when) will give you the security you need to thrive.
However, if you’re perceiving, you may find that too much rigidity in your schedule is boring or stifling. While a routine generally helps everyone, you can consider having a fixed morning routine and then picking up tasks that excite you. You may find that blocking out days for tasks so you can do something a little different each day helps you thrive, as you’ll be able to go with the flow on those days, simply knowing what types of tasks you need to do that day.
Use your Myers-Briggs type to show you your strengths and weaknesses, and then set yourself up for success. If something is a weakness for you, consider outsourcing it or minimising how much you have to do of it in your business. This will not only improve your happiness, but it will also ensure someone who does have that strength completes the task for you.
What Myers-Briggs type am I?
To find your Myers-Briggs type, go to 16Personalities.com.
I am INTJ – which means I enjoy routines, time working solo, and I think things through from a logical perspective before coming to a decision. It’s a rare personality type but it is common amongst business leaders and authors. As you’ll know if you read my blog post 10 Morning Journal Prompts to Help You Start Your Day Right, I have a structured morning routine I follow every weekday, which helps me get in the right headspace for the day ahead.
This kind of schedule may feel constrictive to someone with F or P (or both) in their personality type, but for me and other TJs, routine and structure is the foundation for a productive day.
When you get to know yourself, you can make sure you’re setting yourself and your business up for success. It’s easy to hold on to doing things a certain way because “that’s just how it’s done” or “I have to do it”, but once you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie, you can let go of the shoulds and have tos and give yourself permission to do things the way that works for you.