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Use Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Insights to Take Better Care of Yourself

7 August 2012

Allison read a list of ways to take better care of ourselves using MBTI preference insights created by a group of course participants. Our clients often know exactly what they need to do for themselves and this time was no exception.

Tags: allison read, balance, happiness, mbti

Last week I taught our Choosing Balance and Leadership course to 25 senior executives who were struggling with how to bring balance into their lives AND be effective leaders within their organizations. We covered a variety of topics I’ve blogged about in the past including how to manage your energy, not your time; the importance of sleep; tools for mindfulness and meditation; learning to be optimistic, remembering how to do nothing, stopping vacation sabotage; the power of vulnerability; ways to make your dreams come true, and more.

All of the participants took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator before attending my class so that meant we could really dive into some of the deeper MBTI insights. We often use the MBTI to help people figure out how to adapt their preferences to meet the type needs of others and become better communicators. It’s important to understand the differences you encounter in the world and be able to recognize when it’s time to flex your type to get a better outcome.

However, before you begin adapting your type for different situations and people, it’s incredibly important to meet the needs of your type on a daily basis. Many of us choose to behave differently than what we prefer both at work and home because the situation calls for an adjustment. This is appropriate and necessary as we seek to be well-rounded people in the world. However, if we have to do the opposite of what we prefer for long periods of time, it can often lead to an energy drain that leaves us worn out, ineffective and even physically ill. Therefore, every day you should try to spend a little time (or a lot if you’re feeling especially drained) doing things you naturally prefer. But it’s often difficult to remember what we like since we’re so busy doing what we think must do. I asked my course participants to come up with a list of ideas for how to honor their different MBTI preferences and then recorded those ideas on flip charts around the room. As usual, I was impressed and delighted by their suggestions and so were their classmates. Here’s a sampling of what they came up with. I hope you’ll try a few and let me know if you notice an improvement in your energy level. Also, if you’ve got additional suggestions for ways to honor your preferences, please give me that feedback too.

Extravert Introvert
Start or join a book club                              Have a 30-minute block at start of day with door shut
Set up a group to walk at lunch together Get away from desk at lunch so I’m not interrupted
Get a personal trainer Block off time in a.m. and p.m. to do what I need to do
Brainstorm issues with people who enjoy talking too Do not over commit to volunteer activities
Sensing iNtuition
Improve organization of office files Update my “bucket” list
Get a notebook just for lists Spend time visualizing a future state when I’m in the middle of a task I don’t like and need a break
Color code my life Talk to someone who is comfortable talking about possibilities even if the possibilities are far fetched
Find a crafty hobby where I can work with my hands Write all my ideas in a journal but don’t worry if the list is organized a certain way
Thinking Feeling
Watch American Idol and assign scores Praise people, write thank you notes
Write my critical thoughts in a journal so I can get them out of my system Walk away from conflicts that don’t require my attention
Find someone who appreciates my logical, impersonal, constructively critical way of looking at the world                     Stop watching sarcastic comedians who are hurtful to others
Find someone to “pre-talk” issues with before reacting Consider giving feedback to some negative friends or finding ways to get those negative friends out of my life. Find friends who enjoy harmony.
Judging Perceiving
Make decisions as quickly as possible Hang out with people who enjoy spontaneity and change
Get house de-cluttered and concentrate on completing home fix-it projects Give myself unstructured weekends with no plans
Combine a family calendar with meal plan and generate grocery lists for next month Give myself permission to NOT make a decision
Develop plan for retirement Begin day with an hour of unplanned time in my office so I can do whatever comes to me


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