What Myers-Briggs Can’t Tell You about Your Strengths

Posted June 3rd, 2010 by Carroll King Schuller

Some people use personality profiles to gain insights that will help them choose or change careers, but are these tests really helpful?

In the midst of a time of great searching and struggle, reading the results and understanding them can be very frustrating.

The experience feels something like this: Let me get this straight–I ticked through a hundred check boxes, commented on the color of my umbrella, and now you’re telling me I’m a INTJ?  Say what??

You can see the results but you don’t feel them.  They don’t seem to connect. 

That’s because these tests should NOT be substitutes for approaches to identifying your strengths.  They can be supplements, but they should never be substitutes.

Use a holistic approach to assessing your interests and strengths.

I often ask clients to make a list of everything that makes them happy.  Not just happy but—hold the bus—flat-out euphoric.  A general sense of well-being.  A floating feeling.  Tingling.  Joy.

Look for those moments when you’re excited about something.  When you feel like you’re in the zone.

  • What makes you feel that way?
  • Discussing finances with a friend and helping them solve a problem?
  • Walking into a room and being intrigued, fascinated, enthralled by its design?
  • Reading something new?

Once you have the list,  start asking questions about how you spend your time.  How you wish you could spend your time.

Drill down, further than you are comfortable.

Put pen to paper and write a definition of yourself.  This is a powerful act.

If the definition comes from you—rather than from an expert or a personality assessment–it has meaning.  It sticks.

Don’t Go It Alone.

Having a partner in this process is important.  Sometimes it’s hard to know what questions to ask, much less actually force yourself to answer the really tough ones.

If you would like to explore the interpretation of your Myers-Briggs type and how that understanding can benefit you in your career and life, contact professional life coach Carroll King Schuller.  Call 804.288.0099 today for an introductory coaching session.

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