215: Expanding Self-awareness Using the Top Personality Frameworks with Anne Bogel

By October 11, 2017Podcasts

 

 

Anne Bogel provides a whirlwind tour across leading personality frameworks, providing tips on how to apply these insights along the way.

You’ll Learn:

  1. How the Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, Five Love Languages, highly sensitive people enlighten you in their own ways
  2. How to use personality types to better your relationships
  3. Dangers of abusing personality frameworks

About Anne

Anne is a resident blogger, bookworm, and big-question-asker at Modern Mrs. Darcy. She wrote Reading People, where she shares her own experience with the personality frameworks she loves the most, the ones that have made the biggest difference in her own life. She walks you through 7 different frameworks, explaining the basics in a way you can actually understand, sharing personal stories about how what she learned made a difference in her life, and showing people how it could make a difference in theirs, as well.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Anne Bogel Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Anne, thanks for joining us here on the How To Be Awesome At Your Job podcast.

Anne Bogel
It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I’m excited to dig into your book Reading People and have a chat about it. But I understand that your history with writing started well before this book. You were actually victorious in a young authors’ competition. Tell us the story about the competition and what your story in it was about.

Anne Bogel
Oh, you know, I really wish I still had that story bound in 1980’s plaid contact paper, it would be a beautiful thing. I’m pretty sure that involved a dove that got hit by a car, and I’m also pretty sure I might have borrowed or completely plagiarized the story from a show in Nickelodeon.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, wow.

Anne Bogel
I made it super sappy though to put my own spin on it.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, you probably have a photographic memory of what was happening on Nickelodeon such that a paraphrase would probably be operating as opposed to full-blown plagiarism. Although I do recall, as children, it seemed like kids just sort of naturally tended to plagiarize segments. Like I remember whenever there was a genie or wishes involved they would just recapitulate the rules from Aladdin, I was like, “Why do those have to be the rules for the genie every time? What’s up with that?”

Anne Bogel
In the tradition of second-graders everywhere, you tell other people’s stories when you can’t think of your own.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Fair enough. Well, you’ve been telling a story when it comes to Reading People, and I love personality stuff myself. I don’t want to bias you, you could absolutely slam any personality, typology, assessment or framework you like. I am a certified Myers-Briggs practitioner but you can tell me what you hate about it, that’s fine. So I want to hear though, for you, of all the things you could’ve written about why did you choose personality issues?

Anne Bogel
Well, first of all, I’m a total personality geek. I have never met, hmm, I was going to say I have never met an assessment I didn’t like. I might be pushing it a bit far. But I’m always game to explore a new framework. I just find them so valuable myself and I’ve seen the way that changing the way you understand yourself can really change your day-to-day life, and that’s so powerful. And so often it’s so simple to do. And I was really inspired by the possibility of being able to take that information and make it accessible to a broader audience.

Because when I get to talking to people about personality, and I have been for years on my blog and just in person over coffee with friends, something I hear all the time is, “I just don’t understand how it’s supposed to work.” And none of the frameworks are that hard to understand well enough that you can really put them into practice, and that’s what I really tried to do in Reading People to make those frameworks accessible so that you could read a chapter and put it into practice in your life instead of you have to become certified as a Myers-Briggs professional to change your life.

Pete Mockaitis
Right. That’s a fair point. It doesn’t take weeks of training or certification or learning to put it into effect and see an impact. So what I’d love to hear then, what kinds of insights or influences in kind of real-world benefits have you had from having learned and applied the insights from these frameworks?

Anne Bogel
Oh, so many. So I first learned about Myers-Briggs as a student where the implications are numerous. I’m married. I have children. I have a job. I have neighbors. Any of those. A bit what I’ve been thinking about lately as a writer with a deadline, not for Reading People but for an ongoing basis, is understanding my propensity to put things off because I am a P, and just knowing that this is true about myself, and it’s fine to feel that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s not okay to take action, and that’s huge for me on an ongoing basis.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, fantastic. So you’re talking about just sort of a relief in terms of you’re not like bad or broken or sort of damaged in some way. It’s just like, “Oh, this is just kind of how my brain operates, and that’s okay.”

Anne Bogel
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s also been really good to know that this is how I tend to feel, which is, “I hate to have decisions made.” Like I really am hesitant to close loops on lots of things and that’s my natural tendency and that’s fine but that isn’t my body telling me like, “You’re not ready,” or, “You shouldn’t do that.” It’s just the way I’m going to feel, and that really frees me to go ahead and do the right thing because I don’t think, “Oh, like that’s a big warning sign from my subconscious,” or it’s not my intuition speaking. That’s just my personality, and it’s fine and I can move forward and thank it for its help.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, yes. That is a relief. And so what I’d love to dig into a little bit there, so you covered seven personality frameworks. And, boy, I’m sure we could talk for hours about them but maybe if you could give us the one to two minute rundown for each of them. What was the framework? What is kind of cool about it? And what is sort of a powerful insight that emerged from it?

Anne Bogel
Well, first I looked at introverts and extroverts which, as you know, is a subset of Myers-Briggs in many ways but I thought could stand on its own two feet. And what I really learned and what I want other people to take away from Reading People is that introverts and extroverts isn’t just about being social or shy. It’s about how you manage your energy. That’s big for a lot of people to understand. I took a look at highly-sensitive people. Is this a framework you’re familiar with, Pete?

Pete Mockaitis
Highly-sensitive people. It’s ringing a bell but I don’t have much depth. Tell me more.

Anne Bogel
This is life-changing for a lot of people, and it was for me when I first encountered it. This is a term coined by Elaine Aron. She’s a psychologist, I believe. And what she did was she discovered through her research that 15% to 20% of the population, and this applies to your Labrador and your panda bear too, not just human beings, have very finely-tuned nervous systems.

So if you’ve had to wear taupe socks because the seams in your socks never sit quite right, or if the network news makes you feel like you were just going to die trying to shoulder the weight of all the world’s sorrows on you, or if lights and sounds in like a really loud skating rink make you feel like you’re losing your mind, it’s quite possible that you are a highly-sensitive person.

And this isn’t good or bad necessarily but it does mean that your nervous system, like your nervous system not just your mind, is more finely-attuned than the rest of the general population and it changes the way you interact with the world. And this is life-changing for a lot of people to realize why they feel like they’re losing their minds if three people are talking to them at the same time, or why they can’t watch action movies.

Pete Mockaitis
So fascinating. And so then so we can actually see differences in their nerve cells like under a microscope or biochemically different to this 15% to 20% of folks who are highly-sensitive.

Anne Bogel
Yes, literally biologically different.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s wild. Okay. Awesome. Thank you. Continue.

Anne Bogel
The next one I looked at is The 5 Love Languages from Gary Chapman where he talks about how we each express love in different ways, and if we want the people in our lives, who we love, to feel loved by us we need to speak that love in a language they can understand. A language like quality time or physical touch or acts of service.

Pete Mockaitis
Absolutely. And we had a chat earlier on the podcast with Dr. Paul White who talked about appreciation languages kind of bringing that into the world of work with the appropriate modifications. It’s funny, physical touch, everyone is uncomfortable with, but like a high five or a fist bump really does do a lot for some folks in the workplace.

Anne Bogel
Yes, that’s exactly what those languages of appreciation really are, is it’s Steve Chapman taken into the workplace.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Cool. What else?

Anne Bogel
I looked at Keirsey’s temperaments from David Keirsey. Some people know his book or know his work from the book Please Understand Me II. Have you read Shakespeare, how we all have melancholy and choleric and pragmatic, how we have bile and phlegm?

Pete Mockaitis
Right. Yes.

Anne Bogel
Keirsey is the updated version. So according to Keirsey we’re all artisans or guardians, or he has four types. And it’s not exactly the same as Myers-Briggs but it’s very similar. So he assigns four two-letter descriptions based on four of the 16 Myers-Briggs traits, and he uses the terms in slightly different ways but he worked with Briggs and Myers and the systems are more alike than different.

And if you are a personality geek who’s had a really hard time wrapping your head around Myers-Briggs, because 16 combinations is a lot of possibilities, Keirsey is simplified enough that it really clicks with a lot of people for the first time. That was my own experience with Keirsey’s temperaments.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah, that’s cool. And it’s so funny, because if you dig into the Keirsey temperament sorter and those notions of having two sort of Myers-Briggs things going on for like intuition and thinking as one type, or for sensing and judging combined becomes another, it becomes intriguing how you can just sort of march that across many sort of four-part personality types such as true colors or on and on. So I think that’s a cool one to provide an entry point as kind of like a master skeleton key to many sort of four-part types that have similar routes here.

Anne Bogel
Yes, it is such a wonderful stepping stone. But even if you stopped with Keirsey understanding your temperament and the temperaments of those you love and live with and work with, you make such a huge difference in understanding how people are inclined to relate to each other.

Pete Mockaitis
Absolutely. Well, keep it coming. What else?

Anne Bogel
All right. Myers-Briggs is next. You know all about this.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I hope so. I hope so. Well, you tell me though. So once you go a little bit deeper on this one a touch in terms of what did you find amazing about the Myers-Briggs versus frustrating about the Myers-Briggs?

Anne Bogel
Well, the frustrating thing about the Myers-Briggs is how easy it is to get wrong because it’s a self-diagnostic tool, it is up to you as an individual to determine your own type. And so many people don’t understand what words means. It’s like in your everyday vocabulary we have a definition for sensing and we have a definition for judging and it is not the same that it is according to Briggs and Myers.

And that’s one of the reasons I talk about how if you really want to know your type you should seek out someone like yourself who is a trained professional but I hope my book is the next best thing by walking you through exactly what the terminology means and what we’re going for and what you can hope to understand from this information.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, certainly. And I became a huge fan of 16Personalities.com as well which is so interesting because in a way it’s totally like you might call a knock-off or an originally-created psychographic assessment that uses some similar terminology. But like the graphics are so good and the descriptions are so good and so on point, I will actually, with Myers-Briggs clients, say, “Okay, here is one description that we have and also take a look, for some follow-up reading, right over here.” And so it’s so good in terms of being able to get a pretty decent sense and navigate through some of the challenges of, “Ooh, am I more of this or am I more of that?” and it’s free which is pretty cool.

Anne Bogel
Yes, and that is a great point of entry for a lot of people that 16Personalities because it does give you a nice flavor for how different individuals really see the world differently based on their Myers-Briggs type. I love 16Personalities. However, it can also confuse a lot of people because no one 100% matches a somewhat generic type description online.

And that’s why, in the book, one of the frameworks I go into, it’s like a sub-framework I guess, I explore the Myers-Briggs cognitive functions because these cognitive processes, and I know that sounds like a super scary word but it just means the way your brain works, the software it’s running, they are really what the Myers-Briggs four-letter types are meant to explain. They were never meant to stand on their, “I am an I and P.” Like that means something very specific in Myers-Briggs speak and it refers to the order your brain accesses the cognitive functions it uses.

And there are eight of them and we all turn to four on a regular basis in a declining order of preference. And the order of the functions really determines your type. And at the point I said cognitive functions, I’m sure a lot of people went, “Oh, la, la, la, la, la,” but I break it down in a way that is really not as hard to understand as it could be, and really is what you need to know if you’re going to determine your Myers-Briggs type once and for all instead of look at 16Personalities and be like, “Well, I’m not sure.”

Pete Mockaitis
That’s absolutely true. And, well, if you’ve done the world a service when it comes to making it simple to understand, because I remember even getting the certification there was some times I’m like, “Okay, I got my dominant, I got my auxiliary, I got my tertiary, I got… what?” You know. So there are a few moments where you had that, “Okay, start from the top.” But you’re right, it’s so handy when you zero in on, “What is that? What does this terminology mean?” because it can feel abstract for a bit, so I’m right with you there. It seems like there is tremendous value but also requires a bit of investment to unlock it right there.

Anne Bogel
That is true but it’s not as hard as it seems and, luckily, you don’t need to learn the details of how all eight functions operate. You just need to know yours. And something I didn’t realize until I really finally bit the bullet and dug into the cognitive functions, I did find they were not nearly as scary as I had expected them to be, was that I’ve heard people say, “Ever since I found out about Myers-Briggs, well, I’m an I/ENFP,” or, “I’m into J some days and something else other days.”

And when you learn about the cognitive functions you learn, “Nope, that is not how it works.” And it’s not like Myers-Briggs is necessarily the end-all-be-all of describing human temperament, but according to this framework built by Briggs and Myers you are one type. So if you really want to find out what that is you got to dive into your functions.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Thank you. And what’s next?

Anne Bogel
Next, we dive into the Clifton StrengthsFinder which is a tool that’s familiar to people in that a lot of times in a corporate setting. It’s used for team building. Sometimes it’s used when you’re hired. An organization my husband used to work at, everybody’s Strengths were posted on the wall. So I dive into how you can put that to work in your own life no matter what you do, like even if you don’t work in a corporate setting. Because according to the Clifton StrengthsFinder, work is just the stuff you have to get done whether it’s balancing the family budget or managing the kids at home or managing an SMP 500 corporation. It’s the work you have to do.

And so in the book I explore how everybody have different Strengths, and that’s really eye-opening for a lot of people to realize that there are 30-something Themes that can be developed, and the true areas of things that you are amazing at. That’s how they defined a Strength according to the Clifton StrengthsFinder. And just seeing that you are awesome at five things that that means there are 34 things you’re not quite so great at really frees you up to be grateful for what you can do but also really grateful for what other people can do and to help you see where you need help in your work and in your life.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And the finale?

Anne Bogel
It’s kind of a downer to some people. It’s the Enneagram which is enjoying, I think, a much-deserved renaissance these days. It’s getting a lot of attention. The Enneagram has been called a negative system because it is all about the area where you are weak. When this gets interpreted from a Catholic or Christian perspective, a lot of times your Enneagram type, they’ll say that it’s describing your besetting sin.

There are nine types according to the Enneagram and they all highlight a lack in your life, the key thing that you are afraid of, the things that motivate you deep down. And deep down, the things that motivate you, according to the Enneagram, are not fun and happy and shiny.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Understood. Well, I’d love to dig into a little bit of depth here because we had Beatrice Chestnut talking about the Enneagram way back in Episode 120 which was fun. And I had, I guess, not the greatest of introductions to Enneagram myself. I just sort of walked away. I remember the instructors said something like, “And you can spend your whole life trying to figure out which of these nine you are.” And I think, “Well, then how is that helpful me in the least?” And so, I don’t know, I wasn’t as impressed.

And, at least from what I heard in my introduction, it did not seem to have as much of a robust underlying data basis. But maybe, Anne, I am mistaken. Can you let us in on the sort of roots that speak to validity and reliability with an Enneagram?

Anne Bogel
Oh, the Enneagram goes way back. This thing is thousands of years old but it’s only in the past hundred years or so that we have seen the widespread use of the Enneagram symbol and have really come to understand it’s representing nine types of people. But there is a theory that the nine types are based in part on the seven besetting sins. So I’m saying that wrong.

Pete Mockaitis
Pardon me. Deadly sins.

Anne Bogel
The seven deadly sins.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Anne Bogel
So it goes way back. As for the empirical data, that’s interesting. You know, each of these personality frameworks appeals to people for different reasons and I think the people who really want to see the statistical analysis are not the ones who land in the Enneagram camp. But I know what you’re saying. It took me a long time to discover my type and that felt really frustrating for a long time. But once it clicks it becomes such a useful tool. I’ve never really heard anyone say, “I had this big epiphany. I figured out my Enneagram type and then I never thought about it again.”

It’s the kind of thing that you tend to always notice, sometimes in a bad way. Like, in myself, I’m a nine and I can recognize when I’m slipping into an unhealthy level of a nine-ness, which isn’t pleasant but it’s really, really good, and it’s something I have especially found effective at work and as a podcaster. A nine, having a bad day, cannot stir a conversation back to where it needs to go. But I know that about myself and I know my propensity to sit back when other people are trying to take a lead in a way that’s unhealthy but still it’s easier to do nothing.

When I see myself doing that, I’m always thinking about what I’ve learned from the Enneagram, that just because it’s easy to get lazy in such a situation where you need to, like, assert your personal boundaries, it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. So just depending on your type, I’m sure you’re not a nine, nobody can determine your Enneagram type but you. But I’d be surprised to hear that about you. It can just provide a really useful way to self-check yourself. Of course it’s great for serious deep reflection also but just a little, it provides little questions to ask yourself. Like, for me, “Where am I being lazy about boundaries today?” It changes the way you see yourself in a way that’s really useful for a lot of people.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And so then you said only yourself can determine which type or number you fall on the Enneagram. And can you share, is there an assessment that is a good starting point, or you’re thinking, “You know, not so much for an Enneagram”?

Anne Bogel
Yes, there is. The Enneagram Institute has some good tools online. They used to have a free test that was readily available. And they just changed their website. I have not been able to find a link to the free test. But my favorite resource for determining your type is a book. It’s called The Essential Enneagram, and they provide a data-driven, you’ll like this, test based on statistical analysis for a lot of people who use the test to determine their types that walks you through some thought exercise to determine your type.

So, for example, when you start the assessment you’ll read descriptions of three types of people and you pick on that you resonate with the most, and then you do that a series of times, and that guides you into like three different types you could be, and you narrow it down from there. But then the authors give you statistical data that they say, “Okay, so if you identified yourself as a seven, 78% of the time that’ll be correct.” And then, ultimately, 11% people ended up being a four, and 9% people ended up being a two. So you know where you’re likely to go wrong, and you know how likely you were to have gotten your type right the first time.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Excellent. Thank you. Well, this is a lovely rundown of these and it’s fun. You gave me something new, the highly-sensitive people, that’s something I’m excited to really dig into and explore as that’s something I’ve just barely heard about but not at this level of robustness. So you gave some kind of benefits, some cool things, some pro tips when it comes to rocking and rolling with these. Can you share maybe any cautionary tales or notes like how much is too much? Are these tools abused and misused in ways we should be cautious?

Anne Bogel
Oh, absolutely. And if you are a personality junkie I’m sure you’ve heard, at some point, somebody drop a line that says, “Oh, I could never do that because I am a…” and you can fill in the blank with whatever, “I’m a certain Myers-Briggs type,” “I’m a certain Enneagram type,” “I have certain Strengths,” or, “I don’t have certain Strengths.” And these are just tools, like they’re meant to show you things that are true about yourself but they are not your truth, and your personality is not your destiny. It’s just a tool. Well, your personality is…

Pete Mockaitis
What if my personality is that I am a tool? I couldn’t resist. I couldn’t resist.

Anne Bogel
Jerk is not a personality type. Although sometimes it feels that way.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, that’d be discouraging.

Anne Bogel
I’d like to take that assessment.

Pete Mockaitis
You come back from the Clifton StrengthsFinder, it says, “Your top Strength is being a jerk.” Like, “Oh, that hurts.” So that’s not one of the Strengths, for the record, if anyone is listening and wondering. Okay. So there’s a caution there, it’s like, don’t allow yourself to be limited, like, “Oh, I could never do that based on the results of this.” So that’s a great pointer. And now, I’d love to hear maybe an inspirational note. You talked about how these are generally quite helpful in a number of dimensions. Could you maybe share a specific tale of yourself, or a reader, or someone you know who picked up a particular insight from one or more of these tools and walked away transformed in a really cool way?

Anne Bogel
Sure. I just got a message from a friend who’d read the book, someone who was fluent in personality language of all kinds. And she said, “I almost skipped the highly-sensitive person chapter because I knew what that was and I knew it wasn’t me. But I read it and I thought that,” like she loves action movies and light and noises, and she thought that’s what it meant to be highly-sensitive to be sensitive to those things.

So she read it and she said, “I just had no idea how emotions could be a factor in a highly-sensitive person’s scheme and that is so me, and explains so many things about my life that have made me difficult to live with sometimes and really hard on myself, and now I know. Like, now I can change because I see exactly what’s going on. And I actually have the power to change it, I just didn’t know what was driving that behavior.”

And I thought that was a great story. So she didn’t actually do anything. She read a chapter of the book and it opened her eyes, but that allowed her to change her daily rhythms in a way that really changed her life and her relationships.

Pete Mockaitis
Very cool. Well, Anne, tell me, is there anything else you want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?

Anne Bogel
Yeah, I would just say that you don’t need to learn all this stuff at once. Just pick a framework, dive in, you can really read a chapter, you can read up a little bit about yourself and change your life. Like learning a little bit about yourself is not always easy but it is easy to just take one little step and it’s totally worth it.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. All right. Well, for now, tell me a favorite quote.

Anne Bogel
“I dwell in possibility,” Emily Dickinson.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, lovely. And how about a favorite book?

Anne Bogel
How about the one I just finished, I love The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath. So excited to have another book out. This was a really, really interesting look on how to craft on purpose moments that matter for yourself or for others.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, thank you. And how about a favorite tool?

Anne Bogel
Oh, my Instant Pot.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, yes, I love the Instant Pot. Favorite recipe or item you find yourself going to again and again with the Instant Pot?

Anne Bogel
Well, this afternoon I cooked a whole chicken that had been in the bottom of my freezer for six months with the Instant Pot because the internet said I could but I was skeptical and it worked. So I used that chicken and like a homemade fake curry involving powder and paste and a can of cocoa milk and that chicken. So it’s easy and it’s always good and everybody eats it if there’s rice involved. I’m not a rice eater but I have kids and they love carbs.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, Anne, it is just so dirt simple, and what’s really cool is it’s hard to screw up in the sense of, “Oh, no, I undercooked it,” or, “Oh, no, I overcooked it.” It’s just sort of like, “Hey, it is wonderful just the way the recipe book says it would be.” And so I just think that’s so cool.

Anne Bogel
I love things that are hard to screw up.

Pete Mockaitis
Absolutely. And how about a favorite habit?

Anne Bogel
Walking the dog.

Pete Mockaitis
And tell me more.

Anne Bogel
Well, we have a puppy, and the puppy makes me get outside, get some fresh air even if it’s raining, not keep my butt in my chair all day. It’s useful and healthy sometimes for someone who works at a computer. It can also be misery if you never get up. It makes you walk. It makes you think. It makes you talk to the neighbors. I love having a puppy for that reason plus she’s quit chewing everything at this point so that matters too.

Pete Mockaitis
Perfect. And, tell me, is there a particular nugget that you share in either your books, or your podcast, or you’re talking to people, just something you say that makes people really nod their heads in agreement, resonate and say, “Anne, you’re a genius.”

Anne Bogel
Okay. Something I say a lot. How about, “It’s okay to stop reading a book you’re not enjoying”?

Pete Mockaitis
So I am feeling a bit of a release right now as you say that.

Anne Bogel
I’m glad to hear it.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, thank you. And, Anne, if folks want to learn more about you or get in touch, where would you point them?

Anne Bogel
They can find me online at AnneBogel.com. It’s Anne with an E, B as in books, O-G-E-L. I’ve also been blogging since 2011 at ModernMrsDarcy.com, and my books and reading podcast is What Should I Read Next? on iTunes.

Pete Mockaitis
Perfect. Anne, do you have a final challenge or call to action you’d issue to folks seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Anne Bogel
Yes, learn a little bit about yourself. It makes all the difference.

Pete Mockaitis
Perfect. Well, Anne, thank you so much for taking this time and sharing these perspectives. I’m excited for listeners who have heard of one or two of these frameworks to know about all of them and to see what kind of transformational insights will emerge from that.

Anne Bogel
Well, thank you for having me. I am, too.

Leave a Reply

The Gold Nugget

The Gold Nugget

After each episode I send out the #1 performance-boosting takeaway I glean from each podcast guest. Register now! it's totally FREE. And short. And fun.

You have Successfully Subscribed!