Posts Tagged ‘spiritual practice’

Using Your Personality Style as a Spiritual Practice

Saturday, August 11th, 2007
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Dear Jane,
I’m naturally high strung and picky. This can cause problems for me with people who are more easygoing. How do I not get caught up with judging them or even myself? Sometimes I want to avoid people with personalities that are so different from mine. But then I tell myself that this isn’t very spiritual of me.

Your personality includes your innate, unique characteristics as well as your coping strategies developed in childhood. Many people on a spiritual path believe that it is helpful to shed the trappings of the personality. I believe that this is like cutting off your right hand so that you will become more ambidextrous with your left hand. You don’t have to cut off parts of yourself to develop another part. You don’t need to lose our personality in order to become more spiritual. In fact, the more you understand about your personality style—what makes you tick—the less judgmental you will be and the more you can use this information to enhance your own and others’ lives.

For example, are you a person who seeks consistency or do you like frequent change? Do you enjoy one-on-one connection or group interaction? Are there certain types of people who grate on your nerves? When we discover what our particular personality style seeks and learn how others are different, we can become less reactive and find it easier to create Win-Win dynamics.

In my personal coaching work, I offer a Personality Style Assessment for my clients where they discover which of the four styles best describes them: Director, Promoter, Analyzer, or Supporter. For example, if you have a Promoter Personality Style, you will find yourself drawn to high-intensity relationships and environments, frequent change, opportunities for a lot of interpersonal dynamics, and situations where you can shine in the spotlight. You like to make quick decisions based on your gut feelings (often called “intuition” by Promoters). If you have a job that offers you none of these conditions, you may feel bored and restless or even think there’s something wrong with you for not being content. And if you are in a romantic relationship with someone who is different, someone who seeks consistency and quiet, you may find yourself impatient for them to up their “excitement quotient.”

On the other hand, if you have an Analyzer Personality Style, you like quieter environments where you can count on having enough time to problem solve well and thoroughly, sometimes to the point of procrastination. You probably shun the spotlight, preferring not to “strut your stuff.” Your idea of a “just shoot me” job is one that requires a lot of backslapping and high-pressure sales. You may distrust those who thrive in the interpersonal realm, judging them as phony.

So how does knowing this information help you to become a wiser, more spiritual being? Well, what if the Analyzer is the Promoter’s boss? Or the other way around? What if the two are in a romantic relationship? Is the answer that we should congregate only “with our own kind”? Obviously, that’s impossible and, besides, we’d be missing out on what the other styles have to offer.

When you understand the four styles, you will be able to get out of right/wrong mode and appreciate your “opposite’s” qualities (which is what you may initially have been drawn to) as well as your own. The more wisdom we have about Personality Styles, the more we can
maximize each other’s potential for success and happiness.

Exploring your personality style, individually, as a couple, or with your work group, will answer many profound questions, including:

• What is my personality style?
• What are the other three styles?
• Which styles get along?
• Which styles conflict and why?
• Which styles do I resist and why? What does teach me about myself?
• What are each style’s traits?
• How can I assess others’ styles quickly and accurately?
• What styles can help me grow?
• What kind of work tends to make me happy?
• What work environment—physical and emotional—do I need to thrive?
• What kinds of situations are most difficult for me to handle?
• What do I naturally tend to excel in?
• What conflicts does my style tend to create in personal relationships?
• How do others perceive me?
• How does my style tend to manage others or parent?
• How will this knowledge impact my relationships with others?
• How can this information free me from being run by my personality?

Learning about the Personality Styles is a way to see inside the unique treasure chest you are. This knowledge and wisdom will increase your own happiness and help you offer more compassion, intimacy, and harmony to everyone in your life. These meet at least some of the intentions of being on a spiritual path, don’t they?

Jane’s Coaching and Training

For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.

To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.

Contact Jane directly at to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit for more information and testimonials.

Jane Straus is also the author of the popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! See her TV interviews, read her articles, and order the book by visiting