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Last Updated on August 1, 2018

What are MBTI Types and How Can They Affect Your Career Choices?

What are MBTI Types and How Can They Affect Your Career Choices?

Imagine being able to know the strengths, weaknesses and defining characteristics of your personality within 15 minutes.

And even better:

What if there was a way to determine your ideal career path quickly …

… work you will accel at and thoroughly enjoy doing?

You’d probably be ready to invest in those 15 minutes right now.

Well, that’s the promise and potential of MBTI personality types. Let’s explore what MBTI types are and which careers best suit each profile.

A VERY brief history of MBTI types

In his life-long study of human personality, psychiatrist Carl Jung put an intriguing personality theory in his monumental Psychological Types in 1921.

Captivated by Jung’s ideas, the mother-daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers published the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) questionnaire in 1943.

Myers and Briggs invented a way to translate Jung’s theories into a practical tool that individuals can use to understand their particular personality type.

Now, over 20 million individuals take the MBTI assessment each year.

How to discover your MBTI type

The easiest and fastest way to determine your MBTI type is to take the assessment online.

Take the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment here . (It costs $49.95)

This official version has 93 questions and takes approximately 15 minutes.

Looking for a free version?

No problem. You’ve got several options:

These free versions may not be as accurate as the official version, but they’ll certainly help you hone in your MBTI type.

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What are MBTI types?

To understand what MBTI Types are, we have to first take a quick look at Jung’s original personality theory.

For Jung, there were two personality attitudes called extroversion and introversion. (Yes, those concepts came from Jung’s work.)

And there were four functions, or modes of orientation: thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition.

Jung then divided these four functions into rational or judging functions and irrational or perceiving functions.

Feeling and intuition are irrational while thinking and sensating are rational.

We’ll take a closer into each of these terms, but for now, the MBTI types are  a combination of these attitudes and functions:[1]

    In the MBTI model, your type is a combination of four of the above variables from each box. For example, ISTJ or ENFP.

    There are 16 variations, and so there are 16 MBTI types.

    Now, let’s look at each of these four pairs so this personality theory can help better understand ourselves and our career choices.

    The direction of your energy: Extraversion vs. Introversion

    For Jung, introversion and extroversion were attitudes. They are the ways we direct our energy and attention.

    Extroverts focused their attention on the outside world. Introverts directed their energy toward their inner world.

    Current research suggests that the brain of introverts and extroverts are fundamentally different. Author Susan Cain writes in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,

    “Whatever the underlying cause, there’s a host of evidence that introverts are more sensitive than extroverts to various kinds of stimulation, from coffee to a loud bang to the dull roar of a networking event—and that introverts and extroverts often need very different levels of stimulation to function at their best.”

    According to research by the Center for Application of Psychological Type, the ratio of introverts to extroverts is pretty close to 50/50.[2]

    Quick test: Are you an introvert or extrovert? (Hint: It’s not what you think)

    We tend to think of introversion and extraversion in terms of sociability.

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    If someone is a “social butterfly” or always engaging people at a party, we assume they are extroverts.

    But that’s not necessarily so. The key indicator of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert is how you feel after the party.

    An extrovert will be invigorated and ready to go out again. An introvert will likely be exhausted and ready to rejuvenate in a cave?

    Which experience most resonates with you?

    Breaking down the four functions in personality types

    The four functions are thinking, feeling, sensing and intuiting.

    Thinking and feeling form one pair of opposites; sensing and intuiting is the other pair.

    How we make decision: Thinking vs. Feeling

    Thinking and feeling describe how you process information to make decisions.

    Do you weight your decisions mainly based on objective facts and principles?

    Do you analyze the pros and cons?

    Do you trust logic over your feelings?

    If so, then you’re probably a thinking type.

    Or, do primarily factor in how others will feel and what they care about when making decisions?

    Do you make your final call based on values and how your decisions will affect others?

    If this approach resonates with you, then you’re likely a feeling type.

    How we perceive reality: Sensing vs. Intuition

    Sensing and intuition in MBTI types are psychological preferences about how we assimilate information from our environment.

    Sensing types emphasize information derived from our five senses.

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    Intuiting types focus on patterns and possibilities, looking for meaning in the patterns or models they discover.

    How we live: Judging vs. Perceiving

    Finally, the fourth dimension in MBTI types is judging and perceiving.

    How would others evaluate your lifestyle? Or, what is your overall orientation to the external world?

    Are you more structured and definitive? That is, you’re a judging type.

    Or, if you’re more adaptive and flexible in your lifestyle, you’re more likely a perceiving type.

    The 16 MBTI personality types

    Here’s the bottom line:

    These four sets of preferences combine in particular ways to form our personalities.

    Now that we’re familiar with these MBTI personality preferences, let’s look at how they combine.

    There are 16 MBTI types. Scan the list of attributes and determine which one best describes your personality.

    If you already know your MBTI type, zoom in on that description and reconnect with your innate qualities.

    Extroverted MBTI types and their strengths

    • ENTJ – Leader, imaginative, assertive, bold, outspoken, problem solver, well-informed.
    • ENTP – Curious, intellectual, resourceful, creative, outspoken, assertive, generating ideas.
    • ENFJ – Charismatic, inspiring, sensitive, externally focused, skilled with people, humanistic, serves others.
    • ENFP – Sociable, enthusiastic, creative, idealistic, skilled with people, values-driven, flexible, open-minded, optimistic, great communicator.
    • ESFJ – Helpful, caring, popular, sociable, conscientious, dutiful, compelled to serve others, follows through on commitments.
    • ESFP – Energetic, enthusiastic, people-oriented, spontaneous, fun-loving, serving others, practical, playful, tactful, flexible.
    • ESTJ – Organized, particular, managing, practical, vision-oriented, loyal, hard-working, efficient, outgoing, analytic, systematic.
    • ESTP – Energetic, perceptive, spontaneous, outgoing, realistic, curious, action-oriented, pragmatic problem solver, curious.

    Introverted MBTI types and their strengths

    • INTP – Innovative, logical, curious, original, creative thinker, analytical, laid-back, precise, reserved, flexible.
    • INTJ – Imaginative, analytical, strategic, determined, original, long-term thinker, independent, logical, reserved, innovative.
    • INFP – Altruistic, kind, articulate, quiet, values-driven, reflective, loyal, seeks to understand others, sensitive, creative, idealistic, perceptive.
    • INFJ – Inspiring, quiet, original, sensitive, results-driven, intuitive, persistent, insight, good listener, idealistic, organized, dependable.
    • ISFP – Charming, ready, adaptable, sensitive, kind, faithful, flexible, open-minded, good listener, friendly, loyal, gentle, helpful.
    • ISFJ – Warm, dedicated, kind, conscientious, quiet, stable, practical, responsible, eager to serve, highly organized.
    • ISTP – Self-reliant, efficient, conflict-ready, reserved, mechanically-inclined, risk-taking, detached, analytical, handy.
    • ISTJ – Quiet, serious, practical, thorough, responsible, fact-oriented, reliable, focused, organized, hard-working, responsible, sincere.

    Finding careers that best suits your mbtI type

    You might be wondering:

    Can these MBTI types actually help me determine the right career path?

    Indeed, they can.

    Every career or profession gears itself toward a specific set of attributes and qualities. And each MBTI type possesses particular characteristics and qualities.

    In many ways, finding or advancing in your career can start with selecting a career path that best matches your MBTI type.

    So let’s look at careers that best match each personality type:

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    • ENTJ – Executive, attorney, architect, engineer, market researcher, analyst, management consultant, scientist, venture capitalist, entrepreneur, computer consultant, business manager, university professor.
    • ENTP – Psychologist, entrepreneur, consultant, photographer, real estate developer, creative director, engineer, scientist, sales representative, actor, marketer, computer programmer, political consultant.
    • ENFJ – Consultant, psychologist, advertising executive, facilitator, social worker, teacher, clergy, counselor, sales manager, public relations specialist, manager, events coordinator, politician, writer, diplomat, human resources manager.
    • ENFP – Entrepreneur, actor, teacher, consultant, psychologist, advertising director, counselor, writer, restaurateur, TV reporter, journalist, scientist, engineer, computer programmer, artist, politician, event planner.
    • ESFJ – Nurse, child care administrator, office manager, counselor, sales representative, teacher, physician, social worker, accountant, admin assistant, bookkeeper, healthcare worker, public relations executive, loan officer.
    • ESFP – Artist, fashion designer, interior decorator, photographer, sales representative, actor, athlete, consultant, social worker, child care, general care physician, environmental scientist, professions in hospitality and food service.
    • ESTJ – Executive, detective, business administrator, insurance sales agent, military leader, pharmacist, athlete, police officer, sales representative, attorney, judge, coach, teacher, judge, financial officer, project manager.
    • ESTP – Entrepreneur, facilitator, entertainment agent, marketing executive, sports coach, banker, computer technician, investor, sales representative, detective, police officer, paramedic, athlete.
    • INTP – Architect, engineer, scientist, chemist, photographer, strategic planner, computer programmer, financial analyst, real estate developer, software designer, college professor, economist, systems analyst, technical writer, mechanic.
    • INTJ – Engineer, scientist, teacher, dentist, investment banker, business manager, corporate strategic, military leader, computer programmer, medical physician, organizational leader, business administrator, financial advisor.
    • INFP – Writer, editor, psychologist, graphic designer, counselor, physical therapist, professional coach, social worker, musicians, clergy, psychiatrist, teacher, artist, animator, librarian.
    • INFJ – Writer, interior designer, pediatrician, school counselor, therapist, social worker, organization development consultant, child care, customer service manager, psychologist, musician, photographer, dentist.
    • ISFP – Musician, artist, childcare, fashion designer, social worker, physical therapist, teacher, veterinarian, forest ranger, pediatrician, psychologist, counselor, massage therapist, store manager, coach, nurse.
    • ISFJ – Financial advisor, accountant, designer, bookkeeper, dentist, school teacher, librarian, franchise owner, customer service representative, paralegal, forest ranger, firefighter, office manager, administrative assistant.
    • ISTP – Detective, computer programmer, civil engineer, systems analyst, police officer, economist, farmer, pilot, mechanic, entrepreneur, athlete, construction, data analyst, rancher, electronic technician, building contractor.
    • ISTJ – Office manager, probation officer, logistician, accountant, auditor, chief financial officer, government employee, web developer, administrator, executive, attorney, computer programmer, judge, police officer, air traffic controller.

    How to capitalize on MBTI types in your career

    So here’s the deal:

    Each MBTI type has a specific combination of qualities, attributes, and strength unique to that type.

    Numerous research studies show that the best way to excel in your career and professional development is to play to your natural strengths .

    Learning about the specific qualities and strengths of your MBTI type is one to discover these strengths.

    But it’s not the only way. You can complement the understanding you gain from MBTI with other scientifically-validated models like:

    1. Values in Action Character Strength Survey developed by psychologist Martin Seligman (free)
    2. CliftonStrengths Assessment by Gallop (paid)

    Also, here are ten ways to find your personal strengths .

    So to capitalize on your MBTI type in your career:

    1. Learn about your natural strengths
    2. Select a career path that allows you to play to your strengths
    3. Continually find ways to cultivate and grow professionally with your strengths
    4. Become a badass in your career

    Even if you don’t know your strengths or MBTI type, there’s a good chance that you naturally gravitated toward a field that’s in alignment with your profile. (If not, you’re probably unhappy in your career.)

    How to use your MBTI type to improve other areas of your life

    And does this process only apply to your work? Of course not.

    Knowing your personality is part of self-knowledge. And this internal intelligence can inform every area of your life including:

    • Relationships – how you relate to others
    • How you relate to money and personal finance
    • What hobbies and activities to enjoy
    • How you grow as an individual

    The dictum “know thyself” applies to every area of our life experience. This instruction can provide us with personal meaning and enrichment.

    Putting your MBTI type to work for you

    Once you know your MBTI type, it’s significantly easier to find a career that will be a more natural fit for your personality.

    So here are the necessary steps:

    1. Take the MBTI assessment to determine your personality type
    2. Learn about your MBTI type (there are tons of resources online)
    3. Review the careers that align well with each MBTI type
    4. Chose a job that plays to your strengths or pivot within your existing career, if necessary

    Finally, determine ways to develop your natural aptitudes to excel in your career and find more enrichment in your work.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1]Business Insider: The Best Jobs For Every Personality Type
    [2]Center for Application of Psychological Type: How Frequent Is My Type

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    Scott Jeffrey

    Business Coach, Writer, and Mind Voyager

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    Last Updated on December 3, 2018

    How to Live up to Your Full Potential and Succeed in Life

    How to Live up to Your Full Potential and Succeed in Life

    Have you ever heard the phrase “He had so much potential, it’s a shame he wasted it.” In our culture, not living up to your full potential is frowned upon, but why?

    In this article, we will look into the factors that influence a person’s potential and the ways to help you live up to your full potential for a successful life.

    What Determines a Person’s Potential?

    A person’s potential is determined by several factors: Physical Security, Emotional Security, Environment and Mindset.

    Physical Security

    Before we can even strive to fulfill our potential, our basic physical needs must be met. Without adequate food, water and shelter, our days must be spent acquiring these basic needs in order to survive.

    You can think of it this way, the person with the potential to become the most brilliant computer programmer ever could be living right now with a nomadic tribe in sub-Saharan Africa. But because they must spend their days meeting these basic physical needs, that potential will remain untapped.

    Emotional Security

    Humans are social animals, we don’t do well in isolation. Studies have shown that forming intimate bonds with others is incredibly important for our mental health. These bonds start to develop in infancy, babies rely on this bond with a parent or caretaker to fulfill their needs, and if the bond is missing for some reason it can have lifelong psychological consequences.

    Environment

    Your environment is another important factor that shapes how you achieve your full potential.

    Just like the computer programmer in the previous example. You could have the potential to be the greatest composer since Beethoven, but if you had no access to music or you came from a family that didn’t value that skill set, it’s unlikely that you would fulfill your potential in that area.

    Mindset

    For most of us, we don’t have to worry about getting enough food, water or shelter. Both our physical and emotional needs have been met (to a large extent anyway). And any limits that our environment has imposed are minimal (especially with the availability of the internet).

    So for most of us, the main thing that is limiting us from reaching our full potential is our mindset. Our mindset is the story we carry around with us in our head. It starts to develop in childhood and can be with us our entire life.

    Your Mindset Is the Key

    The problem with most people’s mindset is that it’s negative and limiting. The good news is that you can change your mindset. Author Carol Dweck in her best selling book Mindset points out that there are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth.

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    A Fixed Mindset

    A fixed mindset is one where you have concrete beliefs about yourself. Someone with a fixed mindset came up with “their story” in childhood and it hasn’t changes much over the years. They may believe that they aren’t good at public speaking, math or writing just because they struggled with those subjects in school.

    So when something goes wrong, a common thought for someone with a fixed mindset is “What an idiot, I knew I wasn’t any good at that.” Or “Well that just confirmed what I already knew, I won’t be doing that again”. Having a fixed mindset just reinforces negative thoughts and attitudes, making it harder to reach your full potential.

    A Growth Mindset

    A growth mindset, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite. With a growth mindset, you believe anything is possible (but don’t confuse this with being delusional! As a 5’10” 54 year old I’m not going to play in the NBA!). It’s more of the way you think about and approach problems.

    Let’s go back to the issue of not being good at public speaking, when things go wrong, instead of telling yourself that you have never been good at public speaking and never will be. A person with a growth mindset will analyze what went wrong and come up with solutions to make it better next time.

    For instance, they may take a class on public speaking at their local community college, or join the Toastmaster’s organization. Whatever it is, they don’t look at failure as an insurmountable roadblock, rather a minor detour on the road to their destination.

    How to Live up to Your Full Potential and Succeed in Life

    1. Develop a goal

    When setting goals, it’s important to keep in mind three things:

    First, they should be specific and not vague. So instead of saying “I want to live up to my full potential in life”, a more specific goal would be “I want to become the best (salesman, artist, internet marketer) that I can be.” This is a much more specific goal.

    Second, your goal should be measurable. In other words, you should be able to measure your progress towards the goal. Again, it’s much easier to measure your progress to becoming the best artist you can be than it is trying to measure your progress at living up to your “full potential”.

    Finally, a goal must be written down. This takes the goal out of the realm of wishful thinking and makes it more real. It also can serve as motivation if you post your goal where you will see it. Put it on your desk, or next to your computer just to remind yourself to keep moving forward. In short, a goal that isn’t written down is just a wish.

    This article can help you about setting personal goals to become a great achiever:

    How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever

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    2. Understand that achieving your goal is often times a by-product of what you are doing

    Let’s say that your goal is to become the best writer you can be. You may want to measure your success by your ability to get published or in the case of blogging, how widely read your articles are.

    Instead of constantly worrying about reaching your goal to be the best, your time is much better spent just writing. As with anything, the more you do it, the better you’ll get.

    It’s the same with any goal, it’s important to set them, but achieving your goal of becoming the best salesperson is really just the by-product of you getting out there and selling!

    3. Don’t let popular opinion dissuade you

    Have you ever heard of the Bannister Effect? For years it was considered a law of nature that the human body was incapable of running a mile in less than 4 minutes. That was until May 6, 1954 when Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. He did what was long considered impossible, but it turned out that it was only impossible because people believed it was impossible.

    Roger Bannister didn’t let popular opinion stand in his way, and after he proved that the 4 minute mile was only a psychological barrier, others have continued to break records. Today the current record holder is Hicham El Guerrouj with a time of 3 minutes 43.13 seconds!

    4. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope

    Almost by definition, living up to your full potential requires you to step outside your comfort zone and expand your boundaries.

    Average people do average things, get average results and live average lives. Extraordinary people do extraordinary things, get extraordinary results and live extraordinary lives.

    You’ll only live your best life once you step out. Here’s how.

    5. Practice discipline

    Admittedly, this comes easier for some people than others, but it’s a skill that you can develop and will serve you well in all aspects of your life.

    Another way of thinking about discipline is just delayed gratification. How many times have you been on a diet, but there’s a piece of cheese cake in the refrigerator calling out your name!

    Having discipline is not a matter of not wanting the cheese cake, discipline is acknowledging your desire for the cheese cake but realizing that this craving is only temporary, and once it passes, you will be much happier that we didn’t succumb to a temporary urge.

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    The bottom line here is that while you may want to stop working at 5pm sharp, or watch the game on Saturday, but by developing the discipline to delay satisfaction you will be pushing your boundaries and reaping the rewards that come from that extra effort.

    6. Be confident

    Have you ever dealt with someone who was new at their job and lacked confidence? Maybe it was a salesperson who couldn’t answer basic questions about a product or just gave you flat out wrong information. Did you end up buying from that salesperson?

    My guess is no, I sure wouldn’t.

    Confidence comes with knowledge, discipline and experience. But how do you develop confidence if you are just starting out like our intrepid salesperson? While experience comes with time, knowledge can be acquired fairly quickly, especially if you have already mastered the art of self discipline!

    A good rule of thumb is to always start with knowledge. Learn as much as you can, take classes, get a mentor or just do research. If you are disciplined enough to develop the knowledge it will make getting the experience much easier.

    7. Accept that you will fail

    There is no such thing as an overnight success. Failure is a part of life and it happens to everyone. In fact, there is a whole body of thinking that failure is actually better than success!

    While most of us would agree that success is better than failure, when it does happen, here are some thing to keep in mind:

    Don’t take it personally. A failure in a job, career, business or marriage is just that. It is not reflection on you as a person. I had a friend who lost his entire fortune (over 20 million dollars) in a business deal. I called him shortly after and as expected he was very depressed. My only advice to him was to:

    “Never confuse your self worth with your net worth”.

    Move on, failures can be heartbreaking, embarrassing and demoralizing. Take the time needed to go through those feelings and process the emotions. Then, let it go, holding on to negative emotions keeps you stuck in a fixed mindset. Remember that your goal here is to live up to your full potential and succeed in life. Dwelling on past mistakes and failures is the surest way to derail your progress.

    Let failure be a learning opportunity. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason, it’s true! When I first started internet marketing, I started using Facebook ads for practically everything I did. Pretty soon I found that I was spending about $1,000 on ads that were generating about $200 in income, not a very good business model! I took that failure and redesigned my marketing efforts. I was able to both reduced my costs and increased my sales so that now for every $1,000 in advertising I am generating around $5,000 in income.

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    8. Learn to embrace uncomfortable situations

    Succeeding in life by living up to your full potential means embracing uncomfortable situations. Chris and Heidi Powell, well known personal trainers and hosts of the show Extreme Weight Loss use this technique with their clients. It works like this:

    They set a goal for their client that the client thinks is just out of reach. Then through encouragement and motivation, they help the client work though the uncomfortableness and pain to achieve the goal.

    This technique works for both physical and psychological challenges. Both our bodies and minds are capable of much more that we think they are.

    9. Set small goals to achieve big results

    When you are first setting goals, don’t be afraid to make them big! “I want to be the #1 salesperson in the company” or “I want to be a successful artist”. But once you have those goals set, you then need an action plan to get there. It’s in this action plan that you should set many small, easily attainable goals.

    For the salesperson, it might be to increase the number of sales they make by one a week in the next quarter, two a week for the 2nd quarter etc… For the artist, it might be to master a technique before the next art show, or produce X number of works to sell at the art show.

    Whatever the goals are, they need to get you closer to your ultimate goal while at the same time be attainable. Success builds on success, so achieving these small goals helps to motivate you to continue on to your bigger goals.

    10. Take time to recharge

    Everyone needs “down time”, trying to do everything yourself, all at once is a recipe for disaster.

    We talked a lot about being motivated and disciplined in this article; while they are essential to living up to your full potential and succeeding in life, having adequate down time is just as important.

    Any personal trainer will tell you that to get the most out of your workouts, you need to take 1 to 2 days off a week. This gives your body a chance to recover and actually get stronger.

    The same is true when we are trying to expand our boundaries and fulfill our potential. Making sure we have adequate down time prevents fatigue anxiety and poor decision making.

    Final Thoughts

    The success you’ll find from living life to your full potential is its own reward. One day, we all will look back on our lives and and think “I wish I would have done …”, “I had a chance to to be a … but I was to scared”, “I could have been a great … if I had put the time in.”

    I hope that in this article, we have given you both the motivation and tools to push yourself to your full potential in life, so that when you look back one day your regrets will be few.

    Featured photo credit: A L L E F . V I N I C I U S Δ via unsplash.com

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