I’m a big advocate of being yourself in business, accepting who you are (warts and all) and using your unique strengths to your advantage.
So, if I’m all for being your unique-self, why am I suggesting you complete a test that labels you and lumps you in a box?
It might seem a little at odds, but learning more about your personality and your personality types can help you see yourself in a new light.
It isn’t about comparing yourself to others. It’s a way to understand why you act, behave and feel a certain way in different situations.
Once you have this understanding, you can start to accept who you are, stop trying to be something you’re not, and begin working with the strengths of your personality.
Knowing your personality can help you adapt the way you run and market your business to better suit YOU.
My Moment of Realisation
During my first year of freelancing, I threw myself into networking. I was going to 2 or 3 local events a week if I could find them.
Every other spare hour of the day I spent lurking in Facebook groups, adding value to conversations in the hopes it would lead to work.
I gained some fantastic clients from all that hustle, but I felt exhausted.
I’m well aware of the signs of burnout, so I cut back on the networking and started trying to assess why I felt so drained by this.
During my research, I took a personality test. My result was INFJ (The Advocate, on 16 personalities), which describes me to a T.
I was surprised by the 82% introvert result, and being true to my personality, I had to learn more.
I’d heard the terms introvert and extrovert over the years, but I didn’t understand them. The more I read about introversion, the more everything clicked into place.
My hesitancy in unknown situations, how I process my thoughts and find it difficult to think of answers on the spot, how spending time around large groups zapped my energy, why I much prefer being on my own or hanging out with one or two close friends.
All of these things were traits of introverts. The realisation that I’m not alone and that others felt the same way was huge.
Since then, I’ve thrown myself into learning more and more about being an introvert and INFJ. And how I can use my strengths as an introvert, but also feel more prepared for those situations that need a more extroverted nature.
What is a Personality Test?
A personality test requires you to answer a series of questions to assess your tendencies for behaviour, motivations and emotions.
They each give you a general overview with some of the typical traits you would find for those with a similar personality type.
The accuracy and validity of these tests have been debated by phycologists over the years. I suggest you take what you can from them, but avoid using your result as a roadmap for your behaviour.
There are five popular personality tests that have been created by human observers or personality psychologists over the last century.
The Enneagram is said to be one of the oldest forms of personality typing. It looks at motivations and emotions rather than behaviour.
Each type has been mapped on a nine-pointed geometric diagram.
Everyone has one single type determined by the number. You can also have a Wing, which will be one of the types next to your dominant type on the diagram (e.g. 6 could have a wing of 5 or 7).
My most common result from a range of tests is 5. The Investigator/ Thinker, with 6. The Loyalist/ Questioner as a wing. However, I find it hard to pinpoint as I’ve had many different results, even using the same online tests.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) & Jung Typology
These tests centre on four areas (otherwise known as dichotomies), initially theorised by phycologist Carl G. Jung and later adapted by researcher Isabel Briggs Myers.
The theory suggests that people can be characterised by their preferences in attitude, perception, judging and processing.
Attitude: Extrovert (E) vs Introvert (I)
This focuses on your energy. The more you source energy from people and the external world, the closer you fall on the extrovert end of the spectrum. The more you source your energy internal and from solitude, the closer you are to introvert on the spectrum.
Perception: Sensing (S) vs Intuition (N)
This area represents how we perceive information. Someone who leans more towards the sensing end of the scale will prefer reliable information based on facts. Initiatives are more likely to rely on their experiences or imagination.
Judging: Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F)
This looks at how we make decisions. Someone closer to the thinking end of the spectrum will make decisions based on logic. People at the other end of the spectrum base their decisions on feelings and emotions.
Processing: Judging (J) – Perceiving (P)
The final area reflects how we process information. Someone closer to the judging end of the scale is more organised, systematic and more likely to plan. Those closer to the perceiving end are more likely to be spontaneous and improvise.
There are 16 combinations of personality types, and each has a four-letter acronym. Some websites have given each of these personalities a name.
I find these online tests to be the most consistent compared to others. I am always INFJ with only slight variations in percentages.
The Big Five
This personality typing model looks closer at behaviour. There are five factors, each with sub-factors.
The names are not always agreed on, but you can remember them by the acronym OCEAN or CANOE.
Openness (Imagination, Artistic, Intellect, Emotionality, Liberalism & Adventurous)
This refers to an openness to ideas, use of imagination, appreciation for art and beauty, and openness to emotion. Someone low in openness is more traditional and data-driven. Someone high in openness is likely to be more insightful and imaginative.
Conscientiousness (Cautiousness, Self-efficiency, Orderliness, Achievement-seeking, Dutifulness & Self-disciplined)
This relates to self-discipline. Someone high in conscientiousness will be goal-driven, focused and thoughtful. Someone low in conscientiousness is more likely to be spontaneous.
Extraversion (Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Excitement Seeking & Cheerfulness)
Similarly to other tests, extraversion looks at energy. However, the big five also focuses on sociability and assertiveness. Someone high in extroversion will be more enthusiastic, sociable and commanding. Those low in extroversion are quiet, reserved and less assertive.
Agreeableness (Sympathy, Trust, Modest, Morality, Cooperation & Altruism)
This focuses on social harmony. Someone high in agreeableness tends to be optimistic, warm, friendly and considerate. Those low in agreeableness are more focused on their own interests and can be distant and uncooperative.
Neuroticism/ Natural Reactions (Vulnerability, Anxiety, Anger, Self-conciousness, Depression & Immoderation)
This refers to emotional stability and a persons ability to remain emotionally balanced. Someone low in neuroticism is more stable and less likely to experience negative feelings. Those high in neuroticism are more reactive to emotion and likely to feel negative emotions or find it challenging to deal with stress.
Phycologists more widely accept this test, but my online results have varied, so it’s hard to determine an accurate result. These are the two results that are closest.
DISC is the 3rd most popular personality test after MBTI and The Big Five, but it focuses more on our behaviour towards others and everyday things. It can help you determine how to react in certain situations and or adapt your behaviour to suit other personalities.
The test looks at four areas (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness) set into quadrants of a circle.
Dominance: Those who score higher tend to be more goal-driven, competitive and self-confident.
Influence: Those higher in influence tend to be motivated by social recognition, are action takers and sociable.
Steadiness: Those higher in steadiness tend to be supportive, motivated by appreciation and good listeners.
Conscientiousness: Those who score higher tend to challenge assumptions, are analytical and can be quiet and reserved.
My results for these online tests are very much the same and place me in the Steadiness quadrant but close to Conscientiousness. The Clarity test also supplies an archetype result of Planner.
The Four Tendencies
This personality typing framework was formed by Gretchen Ruben, author of The Happiness Project. Similarly to DISC, it looks at behaviour but focuses more on how we respond to inner and outer expectations.
Knowing your tendency can help you determine why you behave a certain way.
The four tendencies are:
Upholder: Who does what is expected of them by others and themselves.
Questioner: Who does what they think is best and needs justification from others.
Obliger: Who does what they have to and won’t let others down.
Rebel: Who does what they want in their own way.
Gretchen’s approach focuses on changing your circumstances and adapting how your work to suit your tenancy.
My result is Questioner. I’ve always been the type to question motivations. If something doesn’t make sense to me, I will seek out more information before I act.
To work with my tendency, I have structured questionnaires and always allow time to research before I begin working with someone new.
Take the test here: quiz.gretchenrubin.com/four-tendencies-quiz/
Will you take the tests?
These tests provide exciting insights into your personality. Knowing and understanding your results could help you adapt your business to better suit YOU.
Maybe your personality traits can explain why your struggle with specific tasks or why you’ve been holding yourself back from growing your business, doing marketing activities and being visible?
I’d love to know your results and if you found them useful. Tell me in the comments below.