Integrated Insight: Understand The Why Behind Your Actions



Have you ever noticed the repeat patterns of your behavior that occur when trying to make a meaningful change? In a previous blog post, I shared ten ways to overcome resistance on your change journey. One of those ways is understanding your blind spots and the why behind your actions. A proven method of doing this is by identifying your Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator (MBTI) and Enneagram types. Integrated together, these assessments raise our awareness behind our innate behaviors, underlying patterns, and biases. With these learnings we can more effectively – and consciously – manage ourselves and change the patterns that are holding us back.


MBTI® AND ENNEAGRAM OVERVIEW

The MBTI is a personality inventory based on the work of Carl G. Jung’s theory that people of the same type have the same basic motivations and view the world in fundamentally similar ways. This personality inventory measures individual preferences on four dichotomies:

  1. Extroversion or Introversion: Whether you relate more to the external or internal world.

  2. Sensing or Intuition: How you prefer to take in information.

  3. Thinking or Feeling: How you prefer to make evaluations and decisions.

  4. Judging or Perceiving: How you show up in the outer world; are you organized and seek closure or do you prefer to live more spontaneously and open.


The Enneagram, pronounced ANY-A-gram, maps out habitual patterns that are essential for greater self-awareness. It explains why we behave the way we do, and it points to specific directions for individual growth. Because it has so many levels, it’s remarkably accurate.

For starters, it has nine different types that are broken down into one of three distinct versions of your type that all of us share, directed toward self-preservation, social interaction, or one-to-one closeness. These twenty-seven subtypes highlight specific blind spots with ways to overcome them. Furthermore, there’s the “center” of the Enneagram, which corresponds to the three centers of the body: the heart, head, and gut. And the intricacy deepens more as our personalities are influenced by the type on either side of our specific number. This is known as our Wing type.

The Enneagram coupled with the MBTI, open new ways of working with our preferences and interacting with others. Variations of each type, for both assessments, stems from numerous factors such as maturity, parents’ types, birth order, cultural values and basic traits such as being introverted or extroverted.

INTEGRATED INSIGHT – EXAMPLE

As I progressed in my career, I found myself in an 18-month cyclical pattern. I went from being energized, engaged, and happy; to being worn out, feeling unappreciated, and frustrated. Through gaining knowledge about my types, it became apparent that my happiness was tied to external factors, such as pleasing and doing what others wanted.

  • From an MBTI perspective, I’m an INFJ. My dominant function is introverted intuition. At my best, I’m dedicated and conscientious to others and my values. I’m also organized, creative, and decisive. However, when stressed, I become overindulgent and take on the negative qualities of my inferior function, Sensing, known as being in the grip of your MBTI Type. From a work perspective, I became obsessed and worried about details; and then would lash out.

  • My Enneagram Type is a Self-Preservation Two with a Wing One. I love feeling needed and take pride in helping and pleasing others. My Wing One, keeps me organized, with an eye on perfection. With my focus on others, I couldn’t articulate my needs and wants in a comfortable or clear manner. I was worried what the other person would think. I was distracting myself from things I wanted, by doing for others. I prioritized their asks above mine.

With this heightened awareness, I now see when these patterns are surfacing. This allows me to stop, think, and reflect. As a result, I’m more present, patient, and do not need to react immediately to please another person. For example, when I really want to say “no, I don’t want to do that,” I can instead state in a clear and calm manner, “Actually, this is what would work better for me” or “I’m not sure, let me think it through and come back to you.” From a proactive perspective, I can also now clearly outline what I want and do not want from a career standpoint.

This is the beauty of knowing our MBTI and Enneagram types. Each of us has our own set of growth challenges and blind spots to overcome. What may seem insignificant to you may be significant for someone else. If you have a strong desire to improve your life but continue to hit the same roadblocks or just can’t get started, these assessments can help you. By witnessing your personality for what it is, you can make small, substantial changes that help you pivot, reduce anxieties, and improve your relationships and overall well-being.

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