1. Why am I in this?

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    Every now and then I ask myself why have I devoted so much time and effort to the study and applications of personality type information. It is almost an obsession. It is definitely a life work. So here is my story. I grew up in the 1950’s in a small farming community in Kansas, population 1100. 134 in my high school and 28 in my graduating class. 27 graduated. Like most young girls, I was going to be a nurse, then I took a one semester psychology class and knew I wanted to be a psychologist. I was fascinated with why people do what they do and my friends often confided in me. But really, mostly I felt like a misfit, as many teenagers do. I got good grades, was a president or an officer in every school organization except Future Farmers. I played in the band and was the head drummer for 6 years, starting in sixth grade. Yet I never seemed to find ‘my people.’ In 1962 I went off to college and it was harder than I thought it would be. I lost a scholarship, but gained a husband. We married after he graduated and we moved to...
  2. Not about you?

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    I just read a very interesting New York Times Op Ed piece by David Brooks called, It’s Not About You. Given the time of year with graduation speeches he has identified the developmental tasks that are facing young people as they graduate and enter the workforce. His message is that these tasks are contradictory to the preparation received by graduates’ educations as well as the messages sent in graduation speeches. I found two of his statements very interesting. The first one ends in a very powerful statement (emphasis is mine): Today’s graduates are also told to find their passion and then pursue their dreams. The implication is that they should find themselves first and then go off and live their quest. But, of course, very few people at age 22 or 24 can take an inward journey and come out having discovered a developed self. He goes on to say Most people don’t form a self and then lead a life. They are called by a problem, and the self is constructed gradually by their calling. I think the developed self is constructed all our lives, from birth forward. It is influenced by our inborn natures as well as the...
  3. Wisdom and Mindfulness in the Information Age

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    Two weeks ago I attended the Wisdom2.0 conference, which is about “Exploring Living with Awareness, Wisdom, and Compassion in the Technology Age.” I thought it was a great conference and highly recommend it for next year. The theme seemed to be about how much we are constantly wired and digitally connected so how do we stay centered and connected to ourselves and our relationships. Last night I attended a follow up, sponsored by ProjectFresh. Leaving the session last night I had the thought that in both instances I didn’t quite get what I was looking for in the sense of ‘things to do.’ However, on reflection I realized that it isn’t about ‘doing,’ but about how we choose to ‘be.’ I fully enjoyed all the panels and presentations in both events. It was the words of panelist Alex Lightman that sparked me to find an answer to some of the questions I had. He said that the most frequent decisions humans make is where to put your gaze. In other words, where to put your attention. He said that there is an illusion of information overload. If we define information as a ‘difference that makes a difference,’ the rest is...
  4. Digital Nation Thoughts

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    Recently I watched Digital Nation on the PBS show Frontline. The show apparently first aired last year, but it and more are on line. This morning at 5 am I found myself thinking about the research and the questions that were raised so I went on line. There I explored even more than was in the program! An hour later…I was writing this blog and still going back to the website. If you are interested, I recommend you start with this page, then explore. I am not a digital native—one who has been using digital media since very early childhood. I am a digital immigrant! Interesting concept. Given stereotypes about my temperament (Theorist-INTP), you would think I’d be fully on board. Well, I am, but it is overload and I’m not yet competent at it. It seems that just like my French—I’ll never be a native speaker, and it may not be possible to rewire my brain that way. If I were in a University setting or a student again, I’d be all over the research on this. I wonder what type differences show up with different responses to all the digital stimulation, constant connectedness, and the brain. The program...
  5. What’s Wrong with the World? BLM

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    As I read the newspaper and hear about the inflammatory rhetoric, I am reminded of why I find personality type models so valuable. Back in the late 1980’s Sue Cooper, a close friend and colleagues, created a catchword for why our work is important. She said that we all suffer from BLM Syndrome—Be Like Me. Since that time I mention this in every workshop I do and it was incorporated it into The Guide for Facilitating the Self-Discovery Process. I’ve shared it with many other professionals as well as the graduates of the Interstrength® workshops. I say something like the following: I’ve been called in to work with you because there is a world-wide epidemic called BLM Syndrome—Be Like Me. We all go around unconsciously expecting others to behave and think like we do. When they don’t, we judge them as wrong, lazy, crazy, or even evil. This disorder is incurable, but we can alleviate the symptoms with what we will explore today. The symptoms will go away, but under stress they can come back. But like all good diagnoses, once we can name it we can get it back under control. There is a related disorder called BLT—Be Like...
  6. Transformative and Transactional Leadership

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    Today’s Los Angeles Times had an op-ed piece entitled “How Obama Lost His Voice and How Can He Get It Back?” I don’t usually read this section of the paper, but a sentence caught my attention. “Abandoning the "transformational" model of his presidential campaign, Obama has tried to govern as a "transactional" leader.”   This blog is not about Obama, but about some thoughts on Leadership. I hadn’t thought about James MacGregor Burns’ concepts since my doctoral program. After all, Burns coined these terms over 30 years ago. They could be briefly summarized as transformational leadership is about changing the ‘world’ and transactional leadership is about maintaining what is. It occurred to me that there might be some relationship to type or to temperament in these terms.   Burns’ wrote his 1978 book, Leadership, as a political scientist and a historian. This book sits on my bookshelf so I opened it up. I don’t think the simple definition above does justice to his concepts so I won’t really comment on those until I reread the book.   On the surface, one might say that transactional leadership would go with the Stabilizer temperament with logistical intelligence or the Improviser temperament with...
  7. Trees, Type and Me

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    I love the header photo of this blog. For some reason, I have a thing about trees. If you've seen the Understanding Yourself and Others books you'll notice that all the cover images are of leaves and trees. I love looking at trees, especially in a natural setting. I love the textures, the different colors and the sounds when the wind blows through them. One of my workshop participants gave me a book on the healing power of trees. There does seem to be something healing about trees. When flying over Portland, Oregon and looking out the plane window, I commented to my colleague on how I loved the trees. She responded that I wasn't being very good to myself living in Southern California in a tract home with few trees. That was over 15 years ago and I still live in the same setting, but outside my window in my home office, I do have some trees to look at. So the trees in the photo are my dream of the kind of setting I'd like to live in. Maybe I will some day if my path takes me there. In the meantime, I treasure the visits I make...
  8. Change: Lessons from the Body

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    You can’t force a change without a lot of pain. The system will work very hard to maintain itself I came back from training in New Zealand and Australia with a pain in the ball of my foot. Given that this is a major problem for a trainer, I’ve been seeking all kinds of help. A massage therapist said the pain may be a result of tight muscles in the legs. So he did some work on key pressure points that brought some relief for a while. I was a bit sore, but nothing compared to when I decided I’d try a local reflexology shop to speed things up. I love reflexology, but this person worked over and over on my back muscles instead of doing the expected reflexology. I think she must have been determined to get all the tension out before I left! I was so full of toxins the next few days I couldn’t think. Finally the toxins worked their way out.I still have the pain in the ball of my foot and I lost a couple days of good clear thinking time at work. Now what does this have to do with change? First off, my...