I’m fascinated by personality types and tests. I like the ones like the Myers-Briggs (I’m an INFJ), where we are constantly growing to encompass all of the types. I like that one because it’s fluid, and there’s a continuum of growth and change, we’re not just filed into one little spot.
I also like the Enneagram, which holds that the basic personality type does not ever change. That we can become healthier or unhealthier versions of our type, but that we are what we are. When I first took the Enneagram, I miss-tested as a two. That’s very common for women of my true type – the Enneagram type 3 – because we might see our roles as caregivers as the one we “should” fulfill.
When I tested as a 3, I was angry. Angry and disgusted and sure that the test was wrong. My fury was what tipped me off that, in fact, the test was probably correct. I realized that the description was hitting too close to home.
I’ve since settled into the fact that I’m a type 3, and I’ve learned how to use it to my advantage. I’ve learned to see when I’m getting in my own way. The key to being a three is to set the right goals.
I’ve come to realize that I’m like a programed missile. If I target something, nothing will stand in my way until I hit that target. This can be dangerous – when I target the wrong thing. Or it can be amazing when I target the right thing. I need to see the path between me and the goal very clearly – to avoid any collateral damage. I need to know why I’m going after the thing I want, or I might be pointing the wrong direction entirely.
If I target weight loss, without watching for barns I might have to blast through, I might undereat, I might work out too hard. (I have, in the past, given myself adrenal fatigue for this very reason). If I target financial stability, I might miss opportunities because I’m too risk-averse. On the flipside, if my goal is overall physical health, I tend to achieve weight loss at the same time as other benefits.
If my goal is to love my work, I’m more open to opportunities that still offer financial stability, and that offer work that I enjoy. I’ve hurt myself in the past, bashing my rhinoceros missile-snout into walls to get to a goal that wasn’t really worth all of that bother.
The other part of this is that I sometimes need to do course corrections. I need to assess where I am against the backdrop of my larger hopes and dreams. I need to see if I’m still targeting the right goals at all, or whether it’s time to pick something different. I like to do these big course corrections annually. I call them New Year’s Resolutions, but that’s just so other people can understand what I’m yammering on about. They aren’t really resolutions. They are grand-plan revisions and checking in.
There will likely be a series of posts about this process for me, because it will take me a while. It is a process of journaling, of listing, and of digging deep into the heart of what I want and where I want to be headed.
The goals end up being how I prioritize my world for the coming year. It’s how I choose between A and B. It’s how I pick my path. They are my roadmap, my compass, and the X marks the spot. Because I know myself, I will I need to word them carefully, chose the steps toward achieving them wisely. This takes time, and patience.
While everyone else worries and hurries about Christmas (I make candy, so it takes a single weekend to accomplish), I will chew on my goals for 2013.
Do you know your personality type? Have you learned any tricks for managing that part of yourself?