How to Use Personality Tests to Propel Your Success - Jenna Kutcher

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How to Use Personality Tests to Propel Your Success

Jenna Kutcher 

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Over the years, I’ve learned to leverage the realizations I’ve made by taking different personality tests into understanding my strengths as they relate to ways to up my business strategy, improve my marriage, better my parenting style, nurture my friendships, and how to grow my own self-confidence.

The way I see it, there’s nothing more important than really digging into what makes you, you to improve everything from your self-talk to your relationships. 

If you’ve been looking for a way to connect with yourself, your team, or your loved ones on a deeper level, personality tests can seriously help with that. Plus, if you’ve been looking for a way to revisit that teenage obsession with quizzes, I promise this is the way to do it—and to actually get something really valuable from it, too.

Introvert vs. Extrovert

I’ll go ahead and guess here that most all of us have a pretty solid understanding of our personality types when it comes to being introverts and extroverts, right? Some of us like leading the room and showing up out loud, and some of us might be a little more comfortable working behind-the-scenes and showing up in quieter ways. Plus, there are a lot of us who have a little mix of both.

I think the key here is using your introvert or extrovert label to really hone in on the areas you shine at… not the ones you’re not so great at.

When you remove the stigma’s placed on these labels, it all comes down to what I believe is the main question to help you land on the discovery of if you’re more introverted or extroverted. Do people give you energy or take your energy? Do you recharge and refuel when you’re with people or is alone time something you crave to get quiet with yourself. 

When you do a little research and feel like you’ve figured out which camp you’re in, it can be entirely freeing and help you to create a life that supports where your fuel comes from. Knowing I’m more introverted has helped me a lot when it comes to realizing my boundaries, reflecting on my skill set, and honing in on what I really need help with—which has , in turn, helped me as a mama, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, AND a CEO. 

Here’s a quiz to help you discern if you’re an introvert of extrovert. It’s 21 questions and it confirmed that while I do have a few extroverted tendencies, I am more of an introvert! It asks questions like: would you prefer a weekend packed with social plans or a weekend with zero plans, would you rather listen to an interesting lecture or take part in a lively discussion, and so on! It’s a super quick and easy quiz! 

All of these things can show the reflection of your personality type, big-time. One personality type isn’t better than the other… plus, who says you even have to identify with just one of them? But, taking some time to discover where your personality fits can be a big help to you.

The Enneagram

This is something that I bring up all the time (as do many other Enneagram lovers) and I’ve made people take the test because I want to know their answers. A few years ago, we were on a trip with my best friends from college and their husbands and I made everyone take the test so we could all talk about it together. 

You’ve probably heard me refer to myself as a ‘3’, the Achiever. Maybe you’ve heard or seen others listing their types in Instagram bios like 2w7, meaning 2 wing 7, or any other combination of numbers that relate to their personal results of the Enneagram test. Maybe you’ve even taken the test before at some prodding from a colleague or friend, and you’ve got your type, but you don’t know the depth of what those results actually mean. 

Well, I turned to the Enneagram Institute to summarize it for you. They’re the experts in this space.

They say that there are 9 distinct personality types and as a child, tons of factors form your one dominant personality type. Genetics DO play a role in personality type, but environmental factors — nature vs. nurture, as they say — impact your dominant type, as well. I also found it interesting when I first started learning about the Enneagram and looking at the research behind it from the Enneagram institute that people do not change from one personality type to another.

Now, you’re probably like me and the thought of being locked into one personality type, one label of that type, for life, feels like being put into a box with no way out. But that’s not what the Enneagram is about. At the Enneagram Institute, they say that, “It is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself. This is your basic personality type.”

So while you may see elements of yourself in the descriptions of all nine types, it’ll become clear after reading your results that you do have a dominant, basic personality type. The 9 personality types according to the Enneagram are the: Reformer, Helper, Achiever, Individualist, Investigator, Loyalist, Enthusiast, Challenger, and Peacemaker.

So how do you figure out your type? You’ll take a 20-minute or so long test, and answer questions that will ask you to pick between two options. 

When you’re done, the test will have put you in 1 of the 9 different types. Like I’ve mentioned dozens of times, I am an Enneagram 3, otherwise known as the Achiever, and learning more about my enneagram type has helped me make big strides in understanding my healthy and unhealthy behaviors—and it gives you so much insight into why you might think the way you do.

The cool thing about it is that it gives you “wings” or secondary traits that connect you to the other types and I’ve definitely found myself leaning on other wings in this season where I feel like my identity is shifting a bit.

The Enneagram Institute says it best, “No type is inherently better or worse than any other. While all the personality types have unique assets and liabilities, some types are often considered to be more desirable than others in any given culture or group. Furthermore, for one reason or another, you may not be happy being a particular type… As you learn more about all the types, you will see that just as each has unique capacities, each has different limitations…. The ideal is to become your best self, not to imitate the assets of another type.”

Learning about your basic personality type through the Enneagram can help you become your best self while giving you tools to understand and connect with other types.

It’s been such a great way to unlock so much about myself, and you can use your enneagram results to help you manage relationships, find a better work style, and reflect on yourself. Way better and more in-depth than finding out what kind of latte you are, if you ask me.

Emotional Intelligence

The Emotional Intelligence assessment is structured a lot like the Enneagram test, but it focuses more on, you guessed it… emotions! It’s almost like an IQ test, but for the way you think and respond to things when it comes to your heart… not so much your head.

You’ll get an emotional intelligence score that helps you understand a little more about 4 major categories: your own self-awareness, self-management, your social awareness, and relationship management.

Emotional intelligence, or the ability to empathize, understand, and recognize behaviors, is a key marker for people in a lot of ways. Usually, a higher emotional intelligence score typically means that you’re healthier mentally, stronger in your relationships, and more confident in yourself. Plus, emotional intelligence can be improved on over time— if you’re low on emotional intelligence in a particular area, you can strengthen it.

When you take the score, you’ll be able to see a little more about what areas you might be really, really great at… and what areas you’re kind of lacking in. It’s all really based on the idea that your emotional intelligence defines way more of your life than you might think, which is really obvious when you actually start to think about it. 

My team actually worked with an Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Tieko Nejon, to not only take the EQ assessment, but fully analyze and understand what our personal assessments meant.

If I can be a little vulnerable here for a moment, I have to admit something that maybe you’ve done too when it comes to personality tests and the results we receive. It can so tempting to sift through each line item and description, seeking out the results and rankings that feel most complimentary… The results that validate our own sense of greatness and the things we’re strong at. But the real benefit of these tests, especially the Emotional Intelligence Assessment, is seeking out the areas where we are NOT strong and choosing to understand why that is and how to improve.

So for me, my lowest scoring category of emotional intelligence was a category called “reality testing and that describes “the capacity to remain objective by seeing things as they really are. This capacity involves recognizing when emotions or personal bias can cause one to be less objective.” When I learned this was my low area it made total sense to me. Based on where I wsa raised, where I live, and my current lifestyle, I can be out of touch with what others are navigating emotionally and struggle to understand their situations fully and with empathy. 

We also learned as a team that most of us consider ourselves “flexible” but when we got our assessments back, we realized that we aren’t all that flexible, we’re flexible when we’re in control of what the changes, pivots, or shifts look like, so now, as a team we prepare to be flexible and flex that muscle a bit more to strengthen and challenge ourselves. 

If there’s one test I want you to take above all others, it’s the Emotional Intelligence EQ Assessment. However, full EQ-i 2.0 assessment does come with a high price tag because it’s often paired with coaching, like through our practitioner Tieko Nejon, and it takes about 30 to 45 minutes or longer to complete the assessment itself. 

Take a look at the chart showing the core competencies and sub-categories to determine if those are areas you’d like to dig deeper into to understand and improve your own emotional intelligence.

Here is an EQ Assessment there that’s similar to the one my team took. It will provide you an overview of your results for free and a complete report for a small charge. If you want to seek out a robust assessment and report, look for a practitioner who offers the EQ-i 2.0 assessment. 

Serious Self-Reflection

When you take a round of personality tests, whichever ones you choose, try your absolute hardest to take the results and sit with them for a while. Don’t just move on the second you see an area of weakness or a space you could improve. As long as you’ve answered honestly, there’s a pretty good chance that the test results are going to highlight everything from your biggest strengths to your deepest weaknesses… and that’s okay.

Instead of trying to run from what makes you the person you are, using things like personality tests can make you a lot more aware of those internal tangles that you might have not noticed before. They might show you coping mechanisms, signs you’re not doing so well, or bad habits you tend to get into. If anything, they might help highlight why you struggle in the ways you do, making you feel less alone and more open minded to acknowledge the areas that don’t come easily for you! 

The easy thing to do would be to use the weaknesses as an excuse. You might even run the risk of those weakness listed in your results becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s like reading your horoscope, seeing it’s a 2 star day, and deciding, well, what’s the point of trying to show up as my best self today? You don’t have to give those aspects of your results that power or control. Instead, YOU control how those results inform and power your next steps. 

On another level, your results can be really helpful for highlighting the things you’re a total rockstar at! Things like the Enneagram are super beneficial for understanding why you excel in certain tasks, know how to communicate the things that come natural to you and help for you to put your energy and focus in the places where you will shine. When you take those results to heart, you can spend more time diving into those areas of life that really light you up from the inside out. The ability to do that improves everything in your life, from the second your feet hit the floor in the morning to the second you crawl back in bed at night.

Take Action

First, open a Google Doc or a paper journal and note your results for a particular test at the top of a page. Record your unfiltered reflections on those results. Did you discover you might actually be an introvert, parading as an extrovert because you thought an extrovert made the better leader? Have you finally gotten to the core of your personality with the Enneagram but find yourself cringing at the weak points of your type? Why? The first thing you want to do is reflect on your results without judging yourself.

Second, turn to the experts for deeper study. I am not the expert in the Enneagram or Emotional
Intelligence or any other personality test. I’m a marketing expert who is also an eager student of these types of assessments and those who coach and teach on their principles. I love following Sarajane Case @enneagramandcoffee on Instagram. She also wrote The Honest Enneagram which is a super readable and digestible study of the Enneagram. 

Daniel Goleman is a go-to expert and author of several books on Emotional Intelligence. Our friend Tieko Nejon is also working on a new platform called Class with Tieko that will bring together training and lectures on emotional intelligence in an independent learning community. It hasn’t launched yet, it’s due anytime in winter 2021, but you can join the list now.

Finally, another journal prompt for you to help you turn your personality test results into greater success at work, in relationships, and life… Answer this: In the last 3 to 6 months, what activity, relationship, obligation, project, endeavor, or opportunity felt out of alignment?

We all know that gut feeling when something isn’t meshing with our hearts or our minds. So, did anything in the recent past give you that feeling? It could be an event you attended, a commitment you made or a client project you accepted. Now, analyze that out of alignment event or project in the context of your personality type. 

The action steps for this episode are about being honest and unfiltered with yourself and truly reflecting on what you’ve learned. THAT is when personality tests truly unlock your potential for sparkling, magical success.

The Big Picture

The thing is, we’re not meant to know everything about ourselves from the jump. Tools like the Enneagram and the Emotional Intelligence tests are those kinds of things that encourage us to pay attention to ourselves, our hearts, and our heads… and there’s nothing more valuable than that! So, go take all the quizzes your heart desires, follow ALL the personality accounts on Instagram you can find, and then let me know: what did you learn about yourself? I know it’ll be so, so worth it, my friend.


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