For a long time, I have realized that I don’t see most things as black or white. Either everything in life is gray or I am a wishy-washy person.
That’s me. If someone presents a good argument on why the sky is green, I will nod my head and think yeh, that makes sense. To them, my nodding head might indicate agreement, to me it just means I could see where people can think that.
A few weeks ago, when I was talking with my Texas daughter, whom I haven’t seen since February, our conversation trailed down an unusual path. Conversations between people in the COVID world of staying home and having little to do can get pretty unusual, I have found.
My daughter is one of the people who got me interested in listening to podcasts, so I asked her what she is listening to currently. She wanted to know if I was familiar with the enneagram and launched into a discussion of what personality “Type” she is.
Meanwhile I opened my phone browser to see what this enneagram is all about.
The diagram that popped up on my screen looked pretty new age at first glance but I decided to check it out and listen to one of the podcasts, The Art of Growth. She told me to take a free online test to discover my type.
Someone does not work twenty plus years in education and get to be my age without having taken at least one or four personality tests. I remember attending a staff development meeting where we were all sent to the corner – the one where our color type was represented – so we could see who belonged where or something. I’m not sure after twenty something years, but I might have been green.
There was another “go to your corner” personality test. I can’t even remember what it was about. Out of about sixty staff members I was one of four in my corner of the room. I do remember that. Hmm. What does that tell you about me?”
School staff also spent some time studying Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence. The components of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. I realized that I was definitely weak in self-awareness. I still am. I don’t like analyzing myself but am now aware that I am unaware. That’s useful to know. I think.
I found the most beneficial assessment to be the one that accompanied the book Now Discover Your Strengths. I mentioned in a previous post that my number one strength according to this assessment was learner. I couldn’t have agreed more. That’s probably why I was in a corner with only three other people.
The StrengthsFinder (now Clifton Strengths) assessment identifies a person’s top five strengths out of thirty-four choices. My numbers four and five were harmony and adaptability.
One of the reasons that I found this to be the most useful assessment was that people were divided into more than thirty strengths. We needed a round room for the “go to your corner” exercises. We also read the descriptions and discussed our strengths with other people on our teaching team. Among other useful things, my team learned that while they hated reading the articles that our principal might ask us to read, I enjoyed doing that and could easily consolidate the information for them. While I might do the research and gather information, my friend Cindy better keep any paperwork. I would lose it unless is was on the computer. She was also the one that should help with my classroom spatial organization each fall if I wanted to have room to move around from child to child.
Personality typing assessments are not new to me. Nor do I like being categorized into groups. Or corners of the room.
I listened to a couple of the enneagram podcasts and thought, “Hmm, maybe not for me.” They speakers kept talking about people as numbers, which I found annoying. But, as I am a learner who looks at things from different angles, I decided to do more exploring.
I took an enneagram test to determine my type.
What I found surprised me.At first I was insulted by my type. Then I realized something. Parts of it made sense. Explanations of my type brought together my lack of self-awareness, my harmony, and my adaptability. It helped me understand why it’s so hard for me to make decisions, form opinions, or share them. Listening to podcasts with panels of people discussing my personality type made me realize I am not alone or a total odd duck. There is actually value in being able to see both sides of a situation clearly. And there is nothing wrong with me.
Well, maybe that last statement is a matter of opinion.
I haven’t even dug into my type deeply but I am gaining more understanding of my motivations and what I have begun doing to be more assertive.
Stay tuned to find out what enneagram type I am and why.
(Although people familiar with enneagram can probably guess my type from this post.)