How well do you know yourself? Do you know what motivates you? Do you know your strengths and your weaknesses?
Have you ever taken the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator personality inventory? If you haven’t, I urge you to take it. Understanding my personality type was one of the most important things I ever did. I understood my strengths and weaknesses as a lawyer and knew the kind of lawyer I needed on my team, especially when a big trial was coming up.
There are 16 personality types. If you click on the Meyers-Briggs above you will see the 16 types. You are either extroverted (E) or introverted (I). You are either sensing(S) or intuitive(N). You are either thinking (T) or feeling (F). Finally, you are either judging (J) or perceiving(P).
As expressed in The Unique Psychological World of Lawyers, the profile of lawyers is strikingly different than the general population. More lawyers are introverted and significantly more lawyers than the general population are thinkers.
I am an ENFP and in each of the four categories I am not even close to the other trait. I have read in a Purdue University report. MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR: GENERAL PROFILE -ENFP that only 5% of the general population share my personality type. I remember reading that only 3% of lawyers are ENFP’s. I look back now and believe being an ENFP helped me with my client development efforts. You can read about my personality type on the Meyers-Briggs webpage, in the Purdue report and in Portrait of an ENFP.
If you read these discussions you will find that the label given to ENFP’s is “Inspirer.” That might explain why I am passionate about coaching, mentoring and working with young lawyers. You can read more details. I like to describe myself this way:
- I am always excited at the beginning of a project and then I get bored
- I am a big picture thinker (hating details)
- I love helping people (which has led to being taken advantage of)
- I am the extreme eternal optimist (it never occurred to me that I might fail)
- I am long on ideas and short on follow through (that is why I must have a plan and a way to hold myself accountable)
- I struggle to make a final decision on anything
Why was learning my personality type so important? I learned that having someone else like me on my litigation trial team would be an incredible disaster.
I teamed with Larry Caudle, who is now with Kraftson Caudle on my last several cases. We were a great team. I am not sure what Larry’s personality type is, but I am positive he is not an ENFP. I was the big picture guy. Larry was outstanding at the details of our cases. I saw the glass overflowing because it was so full. Larry saw it as close to empty, meaning he saw the challenges we would face.
I hope my example gives you a powerful reason to discover your own personality type.