Episode 24: Fuel for Growth: Personality
with Keith & Sara

In this episode, Keith & Sara pick up where we left off with Dr. John Golden to dig deeper into understanding our own personality and explore utilizing personality assessments can fuel our growth.

Keith & Sara have been helping people become better versions of themselves for over 50 years (combined) and have found the impact of understanding both how you are like other people and how you are different to be a powerful element of continued growth. 

Episode transcript

Keith: Hi, everybody, and welcome to the Growing as Grown-Ups podcast. Sara and I are actually sitting in the same room together for the first time ever on this. We're having fun. We wanted to try this one time. If you're watching us on video, you may see the sides of both of our heads a lot as we look at each other and actually carry on a real conversation face-to-face, but, Sara, I'm kind of excited about this little series we're going to try and pull off over the summer and we're going to kick it off a little bit with personality, sort of extending the conversation that you had with John Golden last time we were together. So any sort of entrant thoughts before we jump in?  

Sara: Yeah, I mean, I think this is a fun, new twist on what we've been doing, The first set of conversations, the first set of episodes we did were conversations with leaders where they shared their stories. Then we had on some experts to talk about some areas of leadership that they felt were really important, and now our hope is that we can use these next four or five episodes to really talk about the things that we believe are key foundational elements, or building blocks of the way that we approach growth. Right, because our podcast is Growing as Grown-Ups and so really getting tactical with people about ways that they can keep growing, using the things that we know over our years of experience really help. So that's where we're going and as you said, we are going to pick up where we left off last week with John Golden and I think a great way to start -- I asked him this question, so I'm going to ask you -- why is personality something that is useful in development and growth? Why is it something that when you built this curriculum years ago, you made sure to include a personality assessment?  

Keith: Yeah, I mean, we've talked about it in and out of so many of these podcasts that we've done but, you know, the Growing as Grown-Ups name was not coincidental, right? It was on purpose as it turns out and the thing is, is that we know that the thing that grows us in the way that matters most. I mean, there are a number of things that grow us. There are skill sets that we can develop. There are abilities that we have that we can kind of leverage in certain ways, there are good matches in our career or with the partner we choose or different things like that that make a difference, but we believe one of the things that grows us the very most is that our lens keeps changing. We did -- I don't know remember what podcast it was, but we talked with me, I was the guest, but we really went through kind of the leader levels model a little bit and it's about lens change and what lens change is about is seeing ourselves, others, and the world differently than we saw ourselves prior to that moment or that time period and the thing that facilitates growth in that way more than anything else is the idea of challenge and contradiction, right? We defined that during that episode but if you guys missed it,  challenge and contradiction is really when you bump up against something that your current lens does not make perfect sense of, it's like there is some confusion in it or I don't know what to do with it, so that's what we mean by the contradiction and I think the thing that's interesting about personality is that a lot of times the challenge and contradiction we bump up against hurts, you know? Right?  

Sara: That's right, I do know.  

Keith: Yeah, I mean, that's right. It's painful. Oh, my gosh and you guys have heard Sara talk about this on the podcast because you've got kind of this instantaneous middle -- two middle-school kid kind of family, and it's like, wow. I mean, Brian, I'm sorry if you're listen to this, but, "Is this what I signed up for?" Right? Or I mean, a way different story but when my dad got sick, it's like, oh, my gosh, this is painful and it's hard and by the way, those challenges are not the kind of things we sign up for, right? We endure them and if we endure them well, we grow from them. So they have value and I think that that is a deep-seated, multi-thousand-year long truth, right? That it's when we bump up against hard stuff, it goes all the way back to Aristotle, but certainly through almost biblical times and early philosophers in all of this kind of stuff, it just shows up and shows up and shows up.  
Sara: Okay, so pull it back to personality.  

Keith: Oh, personality. OK, so what --  

Sara: You're going to Aristotle, let's come back to personality.  

Keith: So what happens with personality is personality and specifically on the heels of Golden's podcast that we did the last -- in the last episode, it gives us a way to introduce challenge and contradiction into our world that's actually kind of fun if we don't take it too seriously. I mean, if we -- and there are parts of it we should take seriously or more seriously than others but I think we'll talk about this a little bit later in the podcast but there are really light-hearted things that we can engage in that the life change and growth may not come from, but a tiny bit of refinement, a little bit of one's change can come from it. So --  

Sara: Tiny challenge, tiny growth!  

Keith: Tiny challenge, tiny growth and back to the formula, right? And so I think the thing that's important for people to realize is that there are so many opportunities to take really good stuff and over the last five years, what you and I have seen is that a lot of assessments have moved from you have to find a professional who's certified to be able to give you the assessment and debrief the assessment with you, to assessments being able for any of us to go online, purchase the assessment like Golden is doing now, get our feedback in a way that is written to us as a consumer and go, "Wow, is that really me? Is that how I show up? Boy, that is my opportunity for growth, isn't it?" It's whatever that feedback is that connects with you in a way that is like, "I don't know if that's exactly the way I saw it before." Now, you've introduced challenge and contradiction and, man, and you can just pace these things out over the course of a year or just go back and reread things that you've already taken and say, is this still true about me or the same -- Anyway, you know, I can go on. Are you aware of that?  

Sara: I do, I do. It's part of your personality.  

Keith: All right, so -- thank you, what a great tie in! And your part of your personality is keeping us on track. So keep us on track.  

Sara: Yeah, I love everything you said and I think it's true and personality assessments are not challenged in the way that we typically define it but, understanding your personality is a way for you to kind of expand what challenge is, right? And I think a couple podcast guests that we had on have really fun stories and we were listening back and going back through the previous episodes and you know some of the ones we pulled out were just really great stories and we have two different leaders that we both, we think are just great leaders who have very different personalities but --.  

Keith: Very different personalities.  

Sara: But one of them, both of them have experienced challenge that comes from if I'm just doing the thing that comes naturally to me, and that's the way we think about personality in terms of how we use the Golden is, it's kind of this natural preference for how you have -- how you engage with the world and you may or may not be able to put words to it, which is part of the value of having the assessment, but when you just kind of go with that natural tendency, your natural preferences, eventually you're going to bump into some challenges and so we have a quote from our guests that we had early on -- which one you want to do first?  

Keith: I want to do the more fun one, first.  

Sara: You want to do fun? Okay.  

Keith: Alright, so Mike Lauderdale.  

Sara: Episode seven.  

Keith: Yeah, and I -- it's just such -- so here's the thing, folks, that we said this in the preview of this interview with Mike: people follow Mike. I mean, he is like a highly effective leader, but I think no offense to any other guests, he is the most fun, fun-spirited.  

Sara: Yeah, you can't help but smile when you're around him.  

Keith: Right. So, why don't we hit pause on our conversation for just I mean, like literally just two minutes or something, and let them listen to this segment from Mike's interview. We'll be right back.    


Mike: So this is so much easier, maybe a little small bouncy ball that you would get. If you bounce it. You know, that's my natural desire. I just want to bounce off the wall and have a good time, "bounce me again! bounce me again!". But then you have to learn how do you control the bounce to actually say, OK, and we hit the ball and I wanted to hit that spot on the wall and I just keep doing it over and over. Until you do, you can but know that you still have the ability to bounce all over the wall, but you're training yourself to bounce in one direction.  


Keith: All right, Sara, so "bounce me again, bounce me again."  

Sara: "Bounce me again!"  

Keith: I know, I know, and so if you guys understand. So Mike is what is known in sort of the Myers-Briggs or the Golden vernacular as an "extroverted, intuitive-feeling adapter or perceiver, depending on if Golden/Myers-Briggs, respectively, so.  

Sara: All inspiration, all vision, all "let's bring people together and encourage them"...  

Keith: In a huge orientation towards fun, what's fun, right? I mean, that's -- it's a huge value that a lot of NFs hold and the thing that I love about this quote and I -- please jump in and just interrupt me, take over, however you want to handle this -- but the recognition that he has, that his preference, his desire is just to be all over the place all the time, like, "wouldn't that be fun just to go from this thing to this thing to this thing," but because I have a growth goal, because I want to be better and more effective, because I want to connect in ways that are important to others, I need at times to actually direct my bouncing, right? And how cool would it be if at times when I chose, I could hit the same spot on the wall over and over and over again, right? And that, I just love that image of starting out because it talks about, "Yeah, we have our natural tendencies." John Golden actually bumped into this a little bit and I didn't -- I don't know if I wrote this down, but it was about uniqueness and the same sameness and how we have to understand how we are like other people before we can fully embrace how we're unique, right? And so the personality theory speaks into it in that way but for Mike, the growth goal was really to not always be just the way that he felt like -- even he acknowledges more built to be, but how do I direct it, in a way?  

Sara: I think Mike is a great example of something I tell people all the time when I hear them. I hear it a lot around the Enneagram these days, but I hear it also around personality types and people use it as a label to define them. "I am a (blank). Oh, but I'm a type one, that's why I feel that way. That's why I did that thing." Right? It's really easy for me to use that and I always tell people, "You have a personality, your personality doesn't have you." Right? And Mike came to the realization that he can't just be controlled by his desire to bounce all over the place and be happy and energetic and inspirational. He had to take ownership of that and say, "That served me well a lot of times, but I need to be disciplined and intentional to make sure that I'm growing into the person that I want to be on purpose and not limited by the way, I'm naturally wired," and so I think that is a fun story that -- there's more to it in Mike's interview, if you didn't get a chance to hear it, it's just a podcast that'll make you smile because he has so much energy. But he talks more about that in the interview, the other person --  

Keith: Time out, because I don't want I don't want folks to miss something you said and it was that we have a personality, our personality does not have us and this is so true when we can get our arms around this because so many people allow, "Well, that's just the way I am kind of deal with it. That's the way I'm built," and especially leaders sometimes have a tendency to ask, the way we talked about it at different times is almost like they're asking others to meet them where they are but people can do this with more than just personality. They can do it with their intelligence. Like, folks, you have an intelligence. Your intelligence does not have you, right? You have a body, your body does not have you. It's like, all of these things that we have part of growing well is understanding that the soul, this being this whatever we are, is not had by these other things, it has these other things.  

Sara: We're going to do a whole other episode specifically on this topic of learning to take ownership and responsibility for all these things that maybe early in life we tend to feel like we are victims to or influenced by.  

Keith: Yeah, and, you know, I bet you can -- I know I can -- I can look back early in my life and I can see the 15-year-old version of Keith or the 22-year-old version of Keith or even at times when it got me in trouble, the 35-year-old version of Keith, that got in trouble because I was allowing my personality to have me. "Well, you don't understand. I'm just spontaneous!" Right? And spontaneous can get you fired, right? It's like and it's so what are your larger goals? Like, and this relates back to the original question about how does this help us grow? Well, when we understand these tendencies that we have and we're going to -- this will lead in perfectly to this next little segment we want to share with them again -- but when we allow ourselves to just do what's natural to us, a lot of times it's fighting the thing that is actually more important to us than just doing what's natural, right? And I think Jason's interview is really a great example of that.  

Sara: Yeah. So Jason Young was episode 21 and he was talking -- his area of specialty is on hospitality and leading volunteers but I think he's been one of my favorite guests because his leadership advice was so applicable outside of volunteer experiences that I was just continually amazed by what he was saying but, if you listen to his podcast, you notice there was such a theme of empathy and being mindful and aware of how you were impacting people, which is a very, in our personality lingo, a very "feeler" orientation, but I had the insight of knowing Jason's personality type is naturally the opposite of that. He is a thinker and so I just started thinking, I'm like, "Jason, how did you end up being a person whose platform is all about thinking about the impact you're having on people and having empathy?" and he talks about how he kind of learned the hard way that being this "outspoken, share my opinion, tell people what to do" personality, which is more the way he's naturally wired -- this NT kind of natural leader, "speak your mind, always have an opinion" -- that it isn't working for him, and so he tells a little bit about that in the podcast interview, that I think is just a great way to show how he has taken that responsibility over his personality and said, "This is causing a lot of challenges for me that I don't want and it's working against my goals. What do I do about it?" So, let's play Jason's clip.  


Jason: Back up years ago, I thought, because I have an opinion, that opinion always has to be expressed and what I learned is that that is not helpful, and you're like, "Well, golly, how long did it take you to learn that?" Probably too long, but I think as leaders, what I didn't pay attention to, Sara, is I spent more time talking than I did listening and what I realized is that other people treated me the same way and I didn't like it and why  I couldn't put two and two together is just beyond me. And I think the more I, I don't know, grew, I really worked hard and kind of on my own emotional intelligence and just navigating some of those spaces and it really occurred to me that I talk more than I listen, so I need to grow in that. And every time I think of something, an opinion or a perspective or insight, I actually don't always have to share it because what it eventually did is it alienated people or you might not get invited to meetings or you become--people see you as a know-it-all or arrogant. I'm like, "Why would they do that? Oh, well, you're right. I would too if I did that." So I think that is a thing as a leader I learned is to listen more than talk. I don't always have to share everything. Ask questions. I can always wish I had said something, but if I said it, I can't take it back and so it's just navigating. Maybe it comes down—maybe the denominator about all those things is making wiser decisions as a leader and remembering that every single one of those decisions, it does have an emotional impact on somebody else.  


Keith: Sara, the thing that I love about Jason's quote is he never has to use the word "NT" or "intuitive thinker" to be an NT, even in the way he's processing this information and, you know, I think the thing is, is, again, like with Mike, what Jason is displaying as someone who has grown well and has matured well and does have influence, is that when he had this awareness that I talk too much, that I state my opinion too quickly, that I always state my opinion and that it wasn't moving people, that it was actually getting them to tune him out and in worse cases, especially when you have direct reports, a lot of times for NTs, people feel run over or hurt or like they are not being paid attention to and that can be exactly the opposite of what you want from people that work for you, which is dis-motivating, unmotivating. That gives them no motivation, right? To do what they need to do, so, again, what a perfect example of how having this kind of thing named, which would be in a growth objective section of his report, sometimes sit back and let others speak before you speak, is what's in his report, right? At least in his Golden Report.  But I bet it shows up over a number of things that he winds up taking.  

Sara: Yeah, and I'm guessing he probably he went through our experience and had the Golden after that, so it's like he had the challenge but maybe didn't realize at that point it was the nature of his personality but then he got his Golden assessment, could see, "Oh, this is why I was doing this." To Golden's point last episode was understanding your personality, getting that feedback, is a way for you to understand why you're doing the things you're doing. It doesn't change what you're doing, it just gives you insight into that.  

Keith: Right and then you get to evaluate against the bigger "you" that you want to be or if you want to think about it this way, the influence that you want to have. The difference that you want to make. What are the motivating bigger you words that you would put on that? Because when you weigh that kind of truer north, that I would like to move more in this values oriented direction of having an impact, making a difference, etc., you can then use this kind of a report to challenge your more natural tendencies to figure out "is this really serving me well?" Right? With Mike: "Is bouncing everywhere serving me well?" With Jason: "Is always expressing an opinion..." That, by the way, was probably almost always really close to the right opinion. Yeah, a lot of times NTs just have a knack for seeing directions so clearly that it is the way we should be going, even if every detail was not accounted for, but is that always serving with the influence that you're wanting to have with others? So, I mean, that's to me was the most important thing about Jason's interview and I think in a way that leads us in pretty nicely into the idea of effectiveness, right? Because, I mean, you know, when we think about personality and its relationship to how effective we're being, I mean, how do you tend to think about that or do you just want me to keep going? I felt like I was talking for too long.  

Sara: All I can -- I think about it in terms of the times that I have felt least effective. I can now pinpoint it's because I was not working in an area where I got to leverage any of my strengths. It was -  

Keith: That is convicting!  

Sara: It was I mean, I can think of this job that I had before I met you where it was like crisis, after crisis, after crisis, after crisis, all reactive, never getting closure, never feeling like I could get ahead or check anything off the list in. You know me well enough to know I love a checklist. I love that sense of completion of accomplishment and I hated it and finally I realize now, having gotten more insight into my personality, I didn't feel effective because I felt like I was always working out of my weaknesses. I was always having to do -- it's like we use the analogy and I think I probably used it in a different podcast, but -- working in your preferences is like writing with your dominant hand. Working outside of your preferences is like writing with your non-dominant hand, where it takes more energy, more focus, more concentration. It's messier, it's harder to do well and so if I want to be effective, I want to as much as I can be able to leverage my strengths, but to the point of the two guests that we just highlighted, you don't get to only work in your strengths, right? Because then you're going to you're going to bump into things that that don't work and don't lead towards your purposes. You have to learn how to grow in those other areas and so to be able to name my natural preference is to be very diligent and organized and "checklist-y" is great, but I can't force that on you because that's not how you work and so I've got to learn to kind of leverage your adaptability in just different areas like that and I think to me, being able to identify that -- and one thing that's really fun about a personality assessment in terms of creating self-awareness is I don't always see the things that are my strengths as strengths, because they just come naturally to me. It's just easy for me. I don't have to work at it, so I don't think that it's that big of a deal. But having a report call out and say, "Hey, here's something that you add to your leadership roles..." or "Here's how you contribute to your environment..." makes me go, "Oh, really? Not everybody is like that? Oh. Maybe I should do more of that."  

Keith: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, that's such a perfect expression. I mean, I'm still processing this John Golden quote that when we understand how we're like other people, through this kind of personality theory categorization where people sometimes feel put in boxes, what you actually begin to understand more clearly is how uniquely equipped you are because we're not all built the same and I -- you took an approach that was very much about "how do I get back into my strengths in order to be effective?" and I think the quotes that we, the little clips that we have, they're both short of folks that operated in that world, they were really recognizing how to tie what they were good at to the thing that was required of them, right? And how did they create alignment around that? But again, it's the -- it's gaining, and not only gaining, I actually loved listening to you just talk about you because it is so clear in the way you just talked about it that it's not -- you didn't read and memorize a report, right? It's connected with you in a way that is now internalized. It is you own it. It is a different lens through which you see that because somebody probably could have named a lot of those characteristics in you when you were 21 years old, but you were just being that thing.  Yeah. How do you want to get into these other two clips?  

Sara: So we have two other fun clips that really captured some of the points we wanted to make and we'll just pick one to go first.  

Keith: Yeah, let's do Jeff. He's on top of my pile.  

Sara: All right. So Jeff Henderson, he was episode number 5. You interviewed him and he gives such a beautiful description of how to grow and become more effective, both by knowing what you're good at and knowing what you're not good at and so he came to a point where he realized what is hard for him, and rather than making it his goal to just become a person who's good at this thing, he uses his strengths to kind of reframe that problem, and now it's something that matters to him in a new way, and he's able to lean into it in a new way. So, let's just let Jeff tell his story and then we'll talk about it in a second. So here we go, Jeff Henderson.  


Jeff: I'm naturally an encourager and you know this. So conflict will always be a weak spot for me. And I just don't do it well. I probably do better than I think. It's just so excruciating to me because I would much rather encourage and tell people that because I look at life a little bit more, maybe too optimistic at times. And but if I'm not careful, I can encourage someone down the wrong road. It's hard for me to be able to challenge people. And here's the fear is a big Aha Moment for leadership for me. I didn't know that if you gave people feedback and was critical feedback and they didn't do this job particularly well, they would actually like that. I didn't know that that was actually a real thing. I just thought they were kidding. And not everyone does. But so many people would say, “Oh, that's a gift, because I didn't know that.” But now that I know that it's going to help me get better. And so I had to make the shift and I'm making it every single day. And it's not like I've turned the corner and I'm cool with conflict. But I saw conflict differently by seeing it as if I see something that someone on our team is doing that's not pushing us forward and not helping them, if I shy away from that, I'm being disloyal to them. And when I saw that as being disloyal to them, it really kicked in the true care and empathy I have for people to go, oh, I'm going to move toward that now, because now I see it as a way to care for them versus a way to criticize them. But I'm telling you, I will always walk with a limp as it relates to conflict.


Sara: Keith, wasn't that so fun? He said that --  

Keith: I love that whole thing.  

Sara: I know, that even just the way he talks about walking with a limp, right? He knows it's always going to be hard for him because it's just natural -- not his natural tendency and, I don't know Jeff's personality, but I'm guessing we're wired pretty similarly in that --  

Keith: He's an NF...  

Sara: Yeah, I don't like conflict, but this advice of learning to see, giving feedback or speaking hard truths to someone as a way to actually care for them. So using his feeling orientation as a way to address something that otherwise felt uncaring, right? To reframe that is such a powerful way and I give this advice to people all the time when I'm teaching personality because feelers tend to have a harder time giving critical feedback if they have to fire somebody or if they have to tell somebody they're not doing a job, well.  

Keith: It feels so uncaring.  

Sara: It feels awful. I'll stay up all night worrying about it beforehand, I'll stay up all night afterwards. "Did I do it well?" But to say the best thing I could do, I think about it even with my husband or my friends, the most loving and caring thing I can do for you is to be truthful. Right? It makes it so much more compelling and it's just what Jeff said is when he was able to shift it to saying "giving feedback is a sign of loyalty" then, gosh, how could I not?  

Keith: Yeah, loyalty and compassion, right? And I saw conflict differently by seeing it as something that someone on our team is doing this, not pushing forward and not helping them and sort of shy away from that as being disloyal. Wow, right? And then I think my favorite part of the of that little clip is: "But I'm telling you, I will always walk with a limp when it relates to conflicts." So it's never like, "Oh my gosh, this now is the easiest thing in the world for me," and, you know, you've told this in stories before, personally, but the idea is not to become someone you're not, right? The idea is to become a more perfect -- you've heard us say this on this podcast -- the idea is to become a more perfected version of yourself and I love the way Jeff captures the spirit of that, right? That there is a -- that if I'm an NF, or like you an SF, I don't need to become a "hard-edged, the-truth-always-matters-just-deal-with-it, you'll-get-over-it" kind of person. You can -- but recasting again in terms of your effectiveness, the thing that matters more to you, what's the bigger value? The bigger value for Jeff was loyalty and care and concern for other people.  

Sara: All right, so flip that around, though. Let's go back to Jason Young, who's wired differently. How did Jason in his NT mind come to believe so powerfully that empathy is the key?  

Keith: Oh, my gosh, you can almost -- you can almost see it. He wanted to -- he realized he was being ineffective, right? It wasn't really about -- it's like I'm not getting where we need to go when I always state my opinion. There was almost a logic behind it and yet because we know of all the other things in Jason's interview is that doesn't mean he's without compassion, it just means that he's built to be a little bit more logic effectiveness. How are we going to accomplish our goals a little bit more, that kind of NT edge that is driving toward accomplishment in some ways, but --  

Sara: And the most meaningful, effective way to get there is to inspire people to want to go there with you.  

Keith: Yeah. Oh, my gosh. All right. So good. That's so good.  

Sara: Right and that kind of ties -- tees us up for our last quote we want to share and this is just a fun image that I love. I was interviewing my friend Christi Gordi in episode 4, and she talks about this, again, not on purpose, talking about personality, but this idea of she had to come to terms with who she is. She had to own who she is and own who she's not and as she was trying to work towards being effective and solve problems and she was getting advice, you'll hear her talk about how her awareness of her strengths and her personality played into that. So let's hear from Christi.


Christi: The challenge when you're in a hard time is that everyone has advice for you, and you want to take that advice. You need that advice. You need that help. But if you have someone that tackles a problem like a linebacker and you are a ninja acrobat, like you don't have the brawn and aggression, then you often, if you don't know yourself, which let's admit it, most of us are going to constantly be on this journey of learning ourself. But if you don't know that that difference about yourself and own it, then you will try to tackle that problem like they wanted you to. And that works for them. And it will crush you, right? Potentially for good. Right? And then you have to try to figure out, “OK, that's not my skill and this isn't because I'm a failure. I might be a failure at being a linebacker, but I'm not a failure at this problem.” I can still overcome this problem, but I have to own who I am and find other people who can teach me how to be the best version. And sometimes there isn't another mentor who's wired with that same combination in your life and you just have to test and fail. How do I be the female, feeler, founder, creative and tackle this really hard problem that other people would handle in a much different way?  


Keith: OK, Sara, we both love Christi and folks, I know we covered this, but the work that she's doing in the world is really cool work so that what she's doing matters but, you know, if -- unless you dropped off during that last quote that we just played, Christie is not a linebacker.  

Sara: No, she's not.  

Keith: I mean, she is -- she's a little bit like Mike, in a way. She's just creative and connected to everything that's going on, all of the problems in the world but I love the way she said, "I'm not a linebacker; I'm an acrobat."  And so if I try to be a linebacker, I may fail at being a linebacker but this does not mean I can't solve the problem in front of me and, you know that, I mean, you said this before, "It is not" -- I mean, we were just talking about a moment ago, how did you say that were not -- that we don't need to become someone we're not, right? That not -- that there's not just one type of leader. Get going with that for a minute.  

Sara: Yeah, so I think there's stereotypes of what a leader looks like, right, and we could all describe right now if I said describe a leader and I think the damage that causes is that people like Christi, or people like Jeff Henderson, or people like me don't see ourselves matching that image but if we're trying to be that image, this strong, bold, decisive, strategic leader, we're always going to fail at it because that's not who we are, but recognizing that any personality can be a leader and can have influence, but the way that we're effective at that is being our own kind of leader, leading in the way that you are built and designed and wired to lead, not always trying to be somebody else.  

Keith: Yeah and yet not only being that way that you're sort of innately built, right? Because when we get our personality test back, it usually they almost all of them type us in some way but again, if we allow that type to define us or we don't ever grow in ways that are bigger than that type, we  

Sara: Become the uncontrolled bouncy ball.  

Keith: We do become the uncontrolled bouncy ball, or it means that leadership really is only for the handful of people who are kind of built for this sort of George Patton directive, run-them-over-to-take-the-hill kind of person. Henderson even said that in a different part of his interview where he said, "I'm not the Take-the-Hill kind of person. I want to -- And when I realized that that was OK, that I could still be effective." But in order to still be effective, we've got to deal with the things that our type, the things that we learn about us through this, does not do that well, right? I mean, I know that that is completely true for me, that if I just were me, it would be a train wreck and it's a train wreck half the time anyway, folks but there is -- but when I put in front of me that I want us to have an impact in facilitating the growth of others to become everything that they were meant to be, all of a sudden I can be more disciplined. I can have a different kind of follow through. There are times that I can even be directive. I think that's my least favorite thing to do, probably, is to be super clear and directive. I want to keep the options open, but if I do that leading up to a day with a client we're falling down, right?  

Sara: Yeah. So let's use this as the transition point then to talk about how do we actually use personality as a tool to help us grow? Because if we haven't convinced people by now that it does matter, then I'm done. I don't have any other compelling reasons to tell people why it does matter. But if people have bought in and if they've made it this far, they see that this could be a valuable way to help them grow, what do we actually do to grow using personality as this source of challenge and contradiction or this new mirror to which we can look into to see ourselves in a different way?  

Keith: Yeah. So the thing is, I think, and we're going to get to some resources at the very end of the podcast or just some ideas that you can turn to, but because this doesn't demand, because personality assessment, any kind of typing tool, any kind of online feedback instrument where you are getting feedback from a system based on the way that you chose to answer some questions, if it's a well-done assessment, you are bringing in an understanding of your natural tendencies. That the goal then is to not go, "Oh my gosh, I've always wondered why I was like that," or "I never thought I was like that. Maybe I should go be different," I mean, that -- what's that -- You talked to the women, I did not talk to her but what was the famous quote from this person that I'll just say this person that came through one of our programs.  

Sara: No, I know. I may have even told this to Dr. Golden last time, but she got her assessment and it came back as pegging her as an extrovert and she had always considered herself an introvert and she came up to me at a break just looking really overwhelmed and sad and said, "I just. I don't know what to do. I always thought I was an introvert, but now that I'm an extrovert, I don't have an excuse to not go to this party."  

Keith: "So I guess I have to go to the party this weekend."  

Sara: I just I wanted to say something else, but I, in my head I was thinking, "You're a grown woman. You don't go to the party if you don't want to go to the party," but she was so defined -- she had used introvert as something that controlled her path, that she didn't know what to do when that was gone.  

Keith: Yeah. So I think, you know, I think we've been making this point through most of the podcasts that one of the primary ways that we can use this to grow ourselves, is to just allow that feedback to be a source of challenge, contradiction, confirmation, but asking ourselves, "What do I hold to be more true about me because of this? Or what do I wish that I was different in? Or what do -- how is this working against the goals that I'm trying to create? All of these are good questions to be asking ourselves. I think a lot of times just creating the awareness and letting our day unfold, right, just all of a sudden we start seeing expressions of the thing that we read in the report. I mean, you know that one of the things that we encourage people to do who come through our programs is that we say, "Read one little set of descriptors from your personality report, it won't take you 30 seconds." We tell people to do it while they're brushing their teeth in the morning and then put the report down and let your day unfold and it is surprising how often you will see connecting points that then allow you to own in a new and more tangible way how the way your being is showing up with you -- with others, with the way that you're tackling problems in all of these areas. You know, I think, Sara, before we close this and I know we want to close it in the next 10 minutes or so, I want to talk about another way that is related to our own growth, but it's also related to how we are different than the people we may live with or work with. That when we begin to understand ourselves more deeply -- I experience this in leaders. Almost every really sharp leader I've ever coached has an in-depth understanding of the way they're built. They've been personality assessment-ed...through their organizations, and so they get it. They can use the vocabulary. But the deeper we understand ourselves and the more we can really own that, right, own it in a way that we're fluent in it, the way we can talk about it, even if it's using language like Mike, where you're just talking about bouncy balls. Right? It's still really descriptive. What you start to see as others are the same or different than you and the reality is, is any of us in our own little vacuum is not as good as we can be in in the collective and so we talk about this a lot as leveraging the diversity of perspective or leveraging personality diversity in a way that when we're talking about effectiveness, when we're talking about growth, when we're seeing what works for other people and what works for us, not only does it grow us and not only does it have the potential to grow others, but it usually makes us better when we are open to the person who is opposite us in some way. I mean, honestly, I don't know if we want to get into any, like, "here's-what-happens-here" kind of stuff, but you and I are not opposites, but we're really different on a couple of key characteristics that are measured in most personality reports and your kind of to-do-list discipline, bring-it-to-closure, let's-finish-it -- little bit of a perfectionistic …  

Sara: The spreadsheet that I built to plan out these podcasts?  

Keith: The spreadsheet for the podcast is a good example, right? But the -- and I don't even know how to say anything positive about myself in relationship to that because I value all of those things, but together, when we, I mean, what we found is not only when we respect what the other brings, pay attention to it, value it. The product that we wind up creating as an organization is better with both of those are three or four perspectives coming together, right? And folks, it's really hard to leverage the beauty and the potential that sits in the diversity of perspective, if we don't understand the diversity of perspective, right? So making this part of your learning, reading, discovery, self-discovery effort, it just it's what the most effective people do. That's the other reason by the way, I didn't think of this earlier, but that's the other reason that we put this in our programs is the most effective leaders have a deep, self-authored, self-aware understanding of what they do and don't bring in the things that they're working on, right? So -- did I exhaust that topic or no?  

Sara: It was good, but back to how.  

Keith: How?  

Sara: Take an assessment. Read it. And I think, you always say this, that it's kind of a "more-the-merrier", right? Obviously we like the Golden, we like the Enneagram, we like a number of different assessments that we feel are really true and valid and useful but you always kind of say just take anything, there's -- I'd searched this morning for free personality tests. 500 billion hits came up, I think.  

Keith: No kidding? All right, so Sara actually was sharing with me a little bit earlier today about, she said, "OK, well, I'm going to go to one that looks really silly --" tell them this really quick.  

Sara: I'm going to put you to the test because I want to say, how does somebody use something that's out there and free, how do I actually use this for growth? So I found a list of the five best free personality assessments.  

Keith: OK, the five best.  

Sara: The first one was the MBTI. Then the second one was Test Color and I thought, well, that sounds interesting and it was, who knows, 40 different color swatches and you just picked in order of your preference, the colors you like and then the colors told me my personality and then I read it and I thought, "Well, that sounds nice. Not sure it's me. Kind of 'horoscope-y' where everybody would feel good reading it, so let me take the opposite." So I did it again, picking my least favorite colors first. Got that report, and again, I thought, well, that kind of sounds like me, too. So then I called in Bethany, our co-worker, and had her read them and said, "Bethany. Which one of these do you think is me?" and she said, "Well, they both kind of sound like you," and then she picked the one that was the opposite of me and so I'm like, "OK, what do I do when I get an assessment that I don't know if it's valid, I don't know if it's useful, but here it is saying that I'm innovative, well-thought (whatever that means), careful and attuned to others"?  

Keith: Ok, there's some pieces in there.  

Sara: Yeah. So how do I use this?  

Keith: Well, I think as a -- I mean, OK, now you're like challenging, my "more the merrier" thing because I generally don't include horoscope-y kinds of things in the more the merrier.  

Sara: Well, tell me if this sounds like me, the qualities that characterize my personality. My emotional intelligence, my organization abilities, my insight and my creativity. They don't feel like I'm creative. That's why I like design thinking.  

Keith: Yeah, I think it's half-and-half, right? I think your desire to be creative is in there. So here's the thing, Sara, is that the way that you can use this is exactly the way you're using it at this very moment? To say, "I don't feel that creative, why would it say I'm creative? Maybe I should pay attention to myself for a couple of days and figure out if I'm doing more." I love the fact that you took it to Bethany, right, and then you said, "What do you see in this?" Right, and by the way, with almost any of these assessments, if you've got a dear friend, a trusted co-worker, a spouse, someone in the family to share your report with them and get their take on how you show up, I think that's a really strong idea as well, right? But the thing that happens and you know, if you just took it this morning, we're not going to see lens change for hours later, but over the next couple of days, you're going on vacation next week, right? It's like, "Wow. I mean, I kind of discounted that personality measure but it's interesting. A couple of things showed up. I wonder if I really am..." Right? Fill in the blank, but the thing that I hope I can say clearly enough for people to get is when I say to myself, even -- not even out loud, "I wonder if I really am?" -- that represents challenge and contradiction, it represents a little bit of challenge that my current lens, because I use the word "I wonder if" isn't making perfect sense of. If you could just dismiss it outright, like if it said something about "You are highly organized" after I took the thing, I'd have said the same --  

Sara: Said that you were highly organized?  

Keith: Said that I was highly organized, I would dismiss it outright. I wouldn't spend any time, and maybe that's saying more about me than anything else, but it's like I wouldn't think for a second that, "Oh my gosh, this thing I don't know about this," but maybe there's something else in the report that gets me to say, "I wonder if there's an outside chance there's a piece of that in me or I wonder if that's a little bit true?" You've introduced this tiny bit of challenge and contradiction that what those questions demand is an inside-out answer, a more self-authored, more self-aware answer and so, how long did it take you to do the Test Color? Just one of them, not both of them?  

Sara: Like under five minutes.  

Keith: OK, so in under five minutes. Here, we've sat and talked about this for more than five minutes, right? So it's like this kind of thing. Plus the time that you spent talking to Bethany about it, right? I mean, all of this, what you've done, just going, "is there even a chance that this makes a difference?" has already made a difference.  

Sara: Yeah. All right, you sold me. I'm not going to recommend that people go take the Test Color other than it's fun to pick your favorite colors, but taking something like the Golden or the Enneagram, something that has a little more reliable and a respected in the field is a super valuable thing and unless there's another big point you want to make, I think this is a good way to end this episode because it's going to feed into where we're going next, which is about getting feedback and getting kind of other people's perceptions of how they experience you and we have come up with a really fun way that we actually use the personality assessment as the jumping-off point for that personality. So make sure you come back next week and we'll talk about another way you can really use your personality for growth. But any closing words?  

Keith: I mean, I think I'd like to just throw out a couple of things for someone who say, "Well, be a little bit more specific." Right? The Enneagram, folks, if you don't know it, I don't know what rock you've been living under, but it is, like, hot right now. It is in the millennial generation, I hear people my age talking about it. It's like everybody's talking the Enneagram.  

Sara: Type 1-9, if you hear people talking about what "type" they are.  

Keith: Yeah, they're 1-9. You ultimately assess what you are yourself. There are instruments that can help you move along that way. There are free versions of it that will get you started. But really what you're going to do is you're going to go read about the theory and see if what you think in relationship to yourself, but Ian Morgan Cron (C-R-O-N) is one of the leaders in this field. He has two assessments that he didn't even develop but he thinks they're the best out there and I think they're really good. Called the IEQ-9. The standard version of that is sixty bucks, so there's an expense related to it. They've got a really deep, more complete version of it that is about double that. You know, there are  

Sara: Principlesyou.  

Keith: "Y-O-U".com is Ray Dallio who some of you guys may have heard of and John Golden and Adam Grant and some others are sort of behind the creation of this instrument. It right now is completely free. It is Web-based feedback. It's hard to really print anything out, very thorough, but it's pretty thorough and with time will tell the effectiveness of that instrument, but I've taken it, Sara's taken it. There's a lot of good stuff in there that has got me either confirming or thinking about this in some ways. I've really been digging deep on the Enneagram lately and listening to podcasts and reading and there are people who have Instagram pages, some really strong experts. Is it Beatrix? I'm getting the name wrong. Yeah. Beatrice Chestnut. I'm sorry we didn't look that up. She's written a great book. She's got a great website. She's got a -- I think she's got a great Instagram page. Anyway, the point being, if you type in "free personality assessments", you're going to get five..  

Sara: Billion.  

Keith: Five BILLION hits, that's a little much to sort through but do what Sara did and go to the 5 best and take one of them. I so would encourage you to do this with the idea, and this is where we can end, is that anything you take -- the Enneagram, the most perfect, validated version -- we don't believe, I don't believe, you don't believe, is created to define you.  

Sara: For sure.  

Keith: It is -- but it can be used really effectively for you to refine your understanding of yourself and folks, that's the goal, I mean, we want you to keep growing as a grown-up. It's why we do this podcast. It's why we do what we do for a living as we, something inside of us that wants to see people grow and to kind of slide all the personality assessments off the table and say, "I'm not a personality test person, I know who I am," you're just missing out on great opportunities to allow research and theory to speak into your life, not to define you, but to refine your understanding of yourself, so if you have a great, snappy way to close this episode, do it. If not, that's goodbye for me.  

Sara: That's great. Let it refine, not define.  

Keith: See ya'll soon.  

Sara: See ya.