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MBTI: Learning About Preferences

This week I have taken the chance to pursue a dream I have had for many years, to certify myself to administer the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I was even lucky enough that it was offered close to my hometown, so I could bring my daughter for an extended fall break with our family, while I am back to school, if only for a few days.

For those not familiar with the MBTI, it is a tool to indicate our preferences for how we perceive (interpret, experience) our world (Sensing vs Intuition), how we judge (manage, process) it (Thinking vs Feeling), and our attitudes for our energy source (Extroversion vs Introversion) and managing the outside world (Judging vs Perceiving).

I first took the MBTI at Stanford about 20 years ago and began to use it to solve problems in interactions. Throughout many opportunities, both personally and professionally, I have used my knowledge of the assessment tool in order to prepare an important presentation, improve relationships (both at home and at work), building teams (particularly to balance the dichotomies), and managing products.

It has also been a tool for self-exploration and acceptance, as I found that my first assessment (ENTJ) was who I thought I should and wanted to be, rather than who I really was. Over the past twenty years since that first test, I have come closer to my best assessment (INTP), but am still exploring and learning where I don't fully agree.

As part of knowing what I prefer (and don't), it has helped me to understand what situations cause me stress, what work I prefer to do, and also how to adapt my behavior when it can be particularly annoying to others. Most often this means toning down my visionary dreams to concrete real steps for others. It also gives me a basis for discussion with my husband for why I really need to be by myself for a while each evening, and I am not avoiding him.

Provided the next two days go well, I will be fully certified to administer the assessment, which requires an interactive and interpretive activity, either for teams or individuals. My primary application for this will be as part of my daily work with CEVT, but, time-permitting, would like to start to work with both individuals and teams as part of organizational improvement, conflict resolution, and personal development. More news on that to come soon....

P.S. And in case you are wondering about the picture of the boots, it is there because:

1) My preference for P somehow led to that I missed to pack my dress shoes for the training

2) My preference for N led me to bend the rules a little, and also develop the image of my boots as a metaphor for me: someone who is sturdy, functional, comfortable, a bit out of place, and able to go or do about anything.

3) My preference for I led me to figure I would probably be hanging on my own in the corner anyway

4) My preference for T said that boots are really quite practical for walking around town anyway and it is silly to waste good money on new shoes.

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