Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality

One year, during our week of inservice and team-building before the school year started, we had an expert on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator give us a test and help us learn to work with people of differing temperaments. Great in theory, but in practice it was the most stressful day for me. I felt boxed in and unheard. My strengths felt diminished and each type was presented in an extreme scenario, making me feel that I didn’t fit anywhere. From that day, I’ve always been squeamish about the MBTI.

20480007_10155076767049825_9027085380737922879_nI love taking those silly personality tests, though and am always interested to see which vacation I should go on or which literary character I’m most like. I connect with StrengthsFinder and the Love Languages and find those types invaluable in my relationships. But I wouldn’t call myself a personality junkie – I’ve stayed firmly away from Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram sounded a little too woo-woo for me.

Until…. I read Anne Bogel’s Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything. Anne is a well-read personality junkie but she doesn’t espouse one particular type over any others. She highlights the significance of each and the ways that each personality framework can help in different areas of our lives. In Anne’s signature gentle manner, she dismantles each framework into easily understandable language and uses.

Part memoir, part how-to, Reading People reminded me of the importance of knowing myself. Because Anne so brilliantly breaks down each framework, she made it easy for me to “type” myself without the need for an online test. Some frameworks need the tests (think StrengthsFinder) but most can be done by gut instinct and reading. Because of Anne’s descriptions, I was able to come to a better understanding of my Myers-Briggs type and found the descriptors accurate and freeing.

Anne gave me permission to throw out those semi-accurate tests and really delve into personality on my own. This helped me understand the various typings so much more than if I had blindly let the results define me. Over and over, Anne reminds her reader that personality tests are not meant to box people into stereotypes that don’t fit. They’re meant to open up the world and help us see ourselves and those around us more clearly.

If you are a personality framework fan or if you have always wanted to explore these tests more but just didn’t know where to begin, I’d highly recommend Reading People!

20622024_10155076767089825_5788559411035682335_nFor Fun… Anne created a Reading Personality Quiz, linking readings styles to personality frameworks. I took it twice (of course) and got Explorer and English Professor, which are both accurate.

Reading People releases on September 19! If you preorder a copy before then, send your receipt to for a free download of the audio version and access to Anne’s Reading Personality Class, which explores the types from her personality quiz in more depth.

Do you like personality frameworks? What’s your favorite or the one you’ve most connected with? Did you take the Reading Personality Quiz – what were your results?

As a member of the Reading People launch team, I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher. All views are my own.

Review: Raising an Original by Julie Lyles Carr + Giveaway

Anyone who knows our girls knows they are two completely different humans. Their personalities, senses of humor, curiosity, and social skills aren’t exactly opposite, but they certainly are unique. Anyone who has interacted with children knows that they are each their own person. The other day, I was chatting with a dad about nature vs. nurture. Yes, we try to nurture our kids well, but a lot of my parenting is adjusted to their specific natures.

_140_245_book-2059-coverJulie Lyles Carr certainly has first-hand experience seeing the individual natures of kids. She and her husband have eight of their own and her book, Raising an Original is filled with anecdotes and advice about listening to the unique spirit of each child and parenting accordingly.

The strengths of Raising an Original come from Carr’s stories. She writes in an inviting and engaging way, affirming my own questions and struggles as a mom. Her encouraging words and big-picture reminders are what moms of any stage need.

Where the book lost some of its power for me was in the middle. Carr includes an “assessment” to help categorize children. She breaks each personality into four types: The Director, The Inspirer, The Steadfast, and The Curator. I thought the book would build off of this assessment, but it doesn’t. It feels like it is just put in the middle without much reference leading up or following. Carr also uses a lot of caveats when describing each type, reminding the reader again and again that we all have parts of each. It seemed to weaken the typing.

Carr also paraphrases the Bible a bit too loosely for my taste. She often refers to ancient characters in modern references – calling systemic injustices “extramarital affairs” and “professions.” It felt like she was watering down stories to fit into her own mixed-metaphor telling.

Overall, I think I would have liked this book a lot more if Carr had stuck with her strength: Encouraging moms along their journey. As it was, this book felt a bit muddled.

How do you feel about personality tests for kids? What are your best resources for recognizing the individuality of kids?

GIVEAWAY! I am giving away my copy of Raising an Original. Leave a comment about raising your own original and I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, December 16, 2016. (United States addresses only.)

I review for BookLook Bloggers
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Don’t Box Me In

I love the idea of personality tests. At their best, I learn vocabulary that helps me understand my nature. At their worst, I feel put in a box, unable to achieve beyond what my personality dictates.

Nothing drives me crazier than someone noting, Oh! Your an ETXR? That’s why you love hosting parties! or I’m surprised you enjoy this – usually KDFTs like to stay home. Even the introvert-extrovert labels drive me crazy. I love people and value welcoming others into my home. I’m equally protective of my daily quiet time and crave more alone time than I can get.

Hosting with an Introvert

At this stage in their development, Bea and Elle seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. Bea loves it when we have people over and is always talking about her “ten friends” visiting. If we’re out running errands too long or if too many people are in our home, Elle is tense until the house quiets and she can explore on her own. We laugh and call them our classic introverts and extroverts.

When we were reading the crucifixion story in the Bible with Bea, she wondered why Jesus was sad as he hung on the cross, after all he had two friends with him. He shouldn’t be lonely! But, later that day, when we were talking about things we wanted to do, Bea said she just wanted privacy – she loves her alone time.

It’s easy for me to want to box the girls into personality types. I have this idea that it will make my job easier. If I understood exactly why they tick and how to connect with them, life will run smoothly. In some ways, that does work.

I recently read The 5 Love Languages of Children. Recognizing that Bea’s love language is most likely physical touch has changed our relationship. If I can fill her “love tank” with snuggles and hugs and side-by-side physical interaction before a transition, we usually avoid meltdowns. Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell are quick to point out, however, that it’s difficult to identify a love language in a child before the age of 5. And even then, we all need all the languages – some are just more prominent.

Like so many things with life and parenting, I’m learning to hold my knowledge loosely. I watch the girls and am constantly trying to see what works and what doesn’t; what they respond do quickly and what doesn’t seem natural. But I also know that my findings can change in an instant. That what worked one minute may not work the next – not because of a personality trait but because we’re people. Complex, undefinable people.

How do you feel about personality tests? Are they insightful or do you feel constricted?