Last month I sent this text to a friend, 3 days before we left for our early summer vacation:
And I realized something in that moment I hadn’t realized in my thirtysomething previous years: I’m not a planner.
If you know me, this will seem really obvious. But to me it was a revelation, because I have always liked to make plans.
When I was in high school, I read every page of the promotional materials for at least 200 schools.
When I was in college, I loved sitting down with the course catalogs and mapping out my future. I put together course plans–for my freshman year straight through graduation–mapping out exactly what potential paths might look like, how many courses I’d be able to sample, how many majors I’d be able to squeeze in.
Did you catch that key word up there? It’s “potential.”
Because of my love for the dreamy kind of planning, I thought I was an INTJ for a long time (which is laughable, if you know me. Or if you’ve read this blog for 5 minutes).
But I am not a J. Like Emily Dickinson, I dwell in possibility. (My ipod has those words engraved on it. It was a gift. Hmm.) I love examining situations and plans and ideas from every conceivable angle. I’ve always loved test-driving dreams and plans and potential life paths in my head. I’m a P to the core, but I confused this impulse to explore possibilities with the impulse to plan.
I hope you don’t find this morning’s navel gazing too indulgent (especially because I feel like there’s been a lot of it lately).
But I always like to talk MBTI, and firmly believe in the power of understanding your personality. A little self-awareness helps you see your strengths and your weaknesses. It helps you understand what’s upsetting to you and what makes you hum. And it helps you understand what’s causing friction in your relationships. (That’s been a big one at my house, lately.)
Just for fun: if you know your Myers Briggs type, leave it in comments. Don’t know your type? Head here to take this short (and free) test.
P.S. I wrote a book about personality! In Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, I walk you through 7 different frameworks, explaining the basics in a way you can actually understand, sharing personal stories about how what I learned made a difference in my life, and showing you how it could make a difference in yours, as well.