I am so excited for today's episode as it's all about Myers-Briggs and personality types with badass mom Sandra Etherington.
We chat about what Myers-Briggs and personality types are, how knowing our personality types can help us understand the world and how this can positively impact our role as parents.
Sandra also dives deep into the importance of working with a professional when learning about your personality type and how knowing our personality type earlier in life may prevent us from career hopping.
Buckle up moms because this episode is full of gold nugget information!
If you wish to learn more about Myers-Briggs/personality types or want to work with Sandra, please check her social media, website and podcast below!
Facebook: Family Personalities
Podcast: Family Personalities
As always, if you want to connect with me on Instagram: jeshessels
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Sandra was originally introduced to personality types through the Myers-Briggs model when she was working in the corporate world. It was used to foster better team work, as well as understand fellow teammates and team work better. It is a really powerful tool when used correctly.
When Sandra learned her own type, she was sucked in immediately. When she read her type description it was very accurate to who she was. Sandra felt vulnerable and exposed, but resonated deeply with the results. She became obsessed about the model and understanding it and how it gets to the core of understanding people so easily. She started using it to understand her children, parents and husband better. When Sandra had kids, she just naturally started to wonder what their personality types were.
Sandra looked into it for her own interests in the beginning. But after she started applying it with her kids and seeing how useful it was, she started talking about it to people and they started asking Sandra to help them determine what their kid’s types were. That’s when Sandra understood that she could bring this to people and help them. She went and obtained the proper certifications and training and dove right in. It became Sandra’s calling.
Through the Myers-Briggs personality typing, Sandra was able to understand why she was the way she was. She began understanding that there are different ways of being and this helped her to take things less personally. Sandra’s type is INFJ. And through this learning experience she came to realize and understand that people function differently than her. Sandra uses a process called feeling and she is constantly aware of how everyone else around her is feeling in the moment and what people need, what their vibe is, and how she can please them. This process is there no matter what for Sandra and when she says something or takes an action, it’s with all that in mind.
Sandra used to think that everyone operated this way. But people who use a process called thinking want to use a completely objective logic and they block out feelings and emotions. It’s uncomfortable for them to deal with those things. Sandra learned that when someone hurts her it may not have even popped into their consideration that it would hurt her.
Within the Myers-Briggs model there are 16 different personality types with 4 preference pairs.
Introversion or Extroversion (I or E)
Sensing or Intuition (S or N)
Thinking or Feeling (T or F)
Judging or Perceiving (J or P)
All 16 are different and equally awesome ways of functioning in the world. There’s no better personality type to be than another. However, there are personality types that are more in line with societal expectations. For example, there are more S’s then N’s, and there are a lot more J’s than P’s. Our society is run in a very S-J manner. If you look at all of our structure in society, it’s very step by step, regimented and planned out. Society is very systems driven and rules-based. But not everyone functions that way. And that’s ok because we need to have other types in the world.
Working with Families
Most of us have something we are trying to be that is different than who we naturally are. This makes the typing process more difficult. You may be answering the way you are trained to be but it isn’t the way you were naturally wired to be. This is actually super common.
Sandra is MBTI certified and certified in Myers-Briggs for kids, which allows her access to official assessments that are more in depth, but are still not perfect. It depends on how you are answering the questions, what mood you are in when you are taking the assessment, what way you were raised to be, as well as whether you are answering based off who you are at work vs. who you are otherwise. As someone who is professionally certified, Sandra is able to help tease out the intricacies of who someone is, even with all these factors at play.
Sandra does all her work remotely, typically doing calls and typing sessions over Skype or Zoom chat. The kids come on if they are old enough to participate in the process with the parents and only if they are wiling. Kids who are 7 years or older with a second-grade reading level or higher can take the assessment. Sandra doesn’t rely solely on the assessment but also uses other questions and techniques. With kids who are younger, their parents take a heavy role in sharing the behaviors that they see in their children.
Sandra typically works with a family for 8 to 10 sessions, with 1 session taking place each week. Her program varies because the typing process is variable. Sometimes, Sandra is able to type someone really quickly in one session, but other times it will take more. Families often come to Sandra initially out of curiosity. But there are some families that come to Sandra with specific issues they’d like help with.
Sandra is very much focused on the family dynamic right now in her career. She helps parents understand their kids better and helps everyone in the family understand why each individual is doing what they are doing. This brings a lot of clarity for families and helps solve many issues that a family may have within their particular household. This also helps parents base their parenting style on their child’s personality type, which will help them grow into happy and healthy humans because parents will better understand their needs.
Sandra is there to give information, offer a lot of tips, and help parents work out a plan to help them change things if they want to change things. That is ultimately up to the parent and there is no perfect way or one way to parent. | Sandra already had kids when she began pursuing this career. When she actually started working with families, Sandra’s kids were around ages 3 and 5. She already knew a lot about the Myers-Briggs model before kids, but after having them is when her interest truly spiked. She was doing research when her kids were very little and she guessed what type they were before the age of 2, and their type hasn’t changed. Her kids are now ages 5 and 7. Kids come out who they are but you can’t type a baby. But you can tell really early if you understand the personality types in children.
The Meat of the Model
A huge piece of what the Myers-Briggs model does is describe how a person takes in information from the world around them and how they make decisions. This defines who we are, but there is still more to all of us.
For those who claim the model is invalid or a scam, Sandra explains that these people simply don’t understand the model completely. To understand it at its core, you have to dive deep into what is underneath the 4 preference pairs. The cognitive functions and mental processes are the meat of the model and everything you can truly learn from it lies within that.
When you look at those layers, that’s when you see that all of us actually use both preferences. It’s the order in which we choose to use them that matters. For example, all of us are either left-handed or right-handed. But does that mean we don’t use the other hand? No. One hand is just more comfortable and more natural to use. It’s the same thing with the model. We all have preferences that are more comfortable and natural and the other one just tends to exhaust us more. People think it means you ONLY do one or the other, and that’s not the case.
This model is based in decades of science. Carl Young, a highly respected figure in the psychology world, had done decades of work with this model. As we speak, people are doing work to scientifically validate it further. Sandra also explains that many people simply use the assessment and that’s it. But so often it can be wrong. Having someone who fully understands the model and actually takes the time with you to go through the intricacies of it is much more beneficial and you are will come out with a more accurate result.
Family Personalities Podcast
Sandra has recently released a podcast with a friend of her. She is really excited to bring it to people and finds it a fun and creative outlet that keeps her mentally sane during this stay at home order. The podcast discusses personality type in the family, but they also dive into Enneagrams. Guests are brought in with different personality types so listeners can hear how different personalities perceive various things.
Sandra also includes fun segments in her podcast where she discusses why spouses or children may do certain things, and they also personality type people on the internet. It’s fun and informational.
The thing that Sandra perceived about herself as being her greatest weakness was actually her greatest strength – her sensitivity. Every time Sandra cried or got her feelings hurt, she felt as though she shouldn’t be crying and that she was too sensitive. You get that message from society a lot too. Sandra would fight against her feelings and try to be less sensitive. Sandra feels things very deeply and has a drive to express them outwardly, which is an extroverted process.
Sandra’s superpower is harmony, which gives her the ability to sense what others need and cater to them and help them. She is a natural nurturer and has a compassion for people. She enjoys being able to provide that for people. Sandra wouldn’t be that way if she wasn’t highly sensitive. She had to learn to embrace it and accept it as an important part of who she is.
Sandra wants other women to know that they are good the way they are. Your wiring might be different than what society wants you to be, but every cognitive function has a superpower and the world needs all of those superpowers. You are good and effective and strong just the way you are.