December Workshops

REMINDER: Join me for one or all of these workshops.

Mastering the CORE of Self-Leadership

December 3-5, 2012 in Huntington Beach, CA

See all the details here.

Teamwork from the CORE Master Class

December 6-7, 2012 in Huntington Beach, CA
See all the details here.

Berens CORE™ Approach Certification Program

December 3-7, 2012 in Huntington Beach, CA

See all the details here.

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Welcome

I have a passion for understanding individual differences whether these differences come from our innate natural predispositions or in response to the environments we find ourselves in. I look forward to sharing and discussing these ideas with you.

I have started off with two articles—Type as a Tool to Promote Ego Development and Five Lenses of Coaching. This blog is a work in progress as I add more articles and more categories. Please visit often and sign on to make comments. I hope you find useful insights and ideas.

Warm regards,

Linda

2013

Sunday, November 18, 2012 @ 12:11 PM  posted by Linda

People have been asking me what I am doing in 2013 and what is the workshop schedule. I'm really pleased to say that we have some exciting things coming up. Before we go to 2013, let me thank you for your support and enthusiasm in 2012 and also to remind you that the early registration deadline for the December workshop was extended to November 21. I hope some of you can join me in Huntington Beach at that time.

Now, what's coming up? Here are just a few of the things we plan.

New Website

Our goal is to have the new, improved version of this website up and running by December 1. This website will incorporate the best of www.integraltype.com and www.interstrength.com and will give you one single place to go to. We will put forwarding links so people will automatically be sent to www.lindaberens.com. If you have specific pages that you've linked to on your own website, let us know before Dec. 1 and we'll see what we can do on our side to make it easy for you. New features will include a Community of Practice as well as the integration of workshop registration. We are looking forward to having you join our community in a very active way and celebrating a new name and new associates.

Workshop Schedule

We are offering more workshops including some Master Classes following the Mastering the CORE of Self-Leadership workshops. The dates are listed below. We are asking practitioners/change agents to complete a survey to let us know which Master Classes they are most interested in. Then we will add the specifics to the schedule in early December. Read the descriptions below, then complete the survey here.

The Interstrength and the Integral Type Certification Programs have been rolled into a year long blended learning program. You can read about that program here. Below are the dates.

  • February 25-27 Mastering the CORE of Self-Leadership  (Orange County, CA)
  • February 28-March 1 Master Class (Orange County, CA)
  • May 6-8 Mastering the CORE of Self-Leadership  (Orange County, CA)
  • May 9-10 Master Class (Orange County, CA)
  • July 8-10 Mastering the CORE of Self-Leadership  (Miami, FL, just prior to the APTi Conference)
  • July 14-15 Master Class (Pending based on interest, Miami, FL, just after the APTi Conference)
  • August 12-14 Mastering the CORE of Self-Leadership  (Orange County, CA)
  • August 15-16 Master Class (Orange County, CA)
  • December 9-11 Mastering the CORE of Self-Leadership  (Orange County, CA)
  • December 12-13 Master Class (Orange County, CA)

Master Class Descriptions

Read through these descriptions and then go to the survey to let us know what interests you the most. Each workshop takes you deeper into your understanding of yourself, the theory, and the various stressors related to each CORE lens.

Teamwork from the CORE

Looking for a way to make your work with teams even more effective? Then this workshop is for you.  Teamwork from the CORE gets at the five essentials of team dynamics and shows the natural patterns that emerge when groups of individuals need to align for a common purpose.  You will learn to help your clients leverage the collective talents within their team by applying their knowledge of Interaction Styles, Temperament, and Cognitive Dynamics either as separate models or using them all together.

Conflict at the CORE

Want to find a way to help your clients better manage conflict? This workshop will help coaching and consulting professionals help their clients with conflict situations by using a powerful conflict model based in Interaction Styles as well as the Temperament and Cognitive Dynamics sources of conflict. This workshop will also qualify you to use some practical conflict assessment tools with your clients. And, you will be able to better manage conflict in your own life as well.

Leading from the CORE

What if you could help leaders bring out the best in themselves and those they lead? Take this workshop to identify the relationship between different aspects of leadership and personality models—Style, Talents, Stressors, Problem Solving, Decision Making, Visioning and more. Helping leaders develop the capacity to think in multiple perspectives so they can better deal with the challenges of today’s complex world. Help leaders transcend their own biases for different problem solving, decision making and visioning approaches.

We plan on offering more advanced Intensives later in the year as well as some web-based workshops so stay tuned! Let us know what you want by completing the survey. Thank you in advance for taking the time to do the survey.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

 

Insights from the Storm

Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 02:11 PM  posted by Linda

On October 28, 2012 my colleagues and I left New York City just ahead of the hurricane. The tension was palpable, but all went smoothly. We arrived in Boston with plenty of time to catch the chartered bus to the Theory U/Presencing workshop at the Wequasett Resort on Cape Cod for 5 days. At dinner, during introductions we learned that some participants left their homes and loved ones in areas where the hurricane was headed. Yet they were at the workshop giving their attention to what was present for all of us. With the winds increasing, we were assured that the resort was used to this kind of weather. They were prepared with ample food, water, and generators. Some of the attendees were really anxious and others were calm. I was among the calm, but concerned. As devastating as hurricanes are, you can prepare, whereas, the tornadoes I experienced in Kansas left little time to prepare and the earthquakes at home in California just happen with no warning. So we went to bed and awoke to more wind. We walked up to the meeting rooms for the opening mindfulness practice with the wind howling and a view of a very turbulent ocean. The wind got stronger, yet mid morning we were able to take a nature walk (if we chose). The wind took my breath away, but it was worth the walk.

Since most of the participants were involved in social and ecological change projects and we had just been given some data about how humans are using the resources on the planet at about 1.5 times as fast as they can be replenished, we commented on the electric feel of the energy and how it seemed to be symbolic of some coming destruction many of us in the workshop are concerned about. I have never felt such energy in a storm. It was frightening and at the same time enthralling. By mid day a tree had broken off and there were other landscaping damages, but we felt safe inside. By dinner, the resort had lost power in many buildings and some people faced the likelihood of no electricity in their rooms. We stayed for the movie we were going to discuss the next day and were told that the resort had put flashlights in all our rooms. We were given flashlights to light our way back to our rooms and told to stay on the road rather than on the paths under trees. When we left, it was calm, with just a mild breeze. With a sigh of relief, we went to our room and lucky for us, we had lights. The resort had indeed taken good care of us.

The next day the water was calm and it was almost as if the wind had never been there except for the shells washed up onto the walkway and a few damaged plants. I think we were all thankful that we escaped danger and at the same time we tracked the storm and checked in with those whose homes and loved ones had been at risk. They were relieved to report minor damage compared to what some areas had. And many of us commented on the change in the energy outside and when the sun came out, we took it as a sign that what we were there to learn would have a good result in our work in the world.

So what were the insights?
First insight: People are amazing. It seems there are always people who have a worse situation than our own. In spite of such extreme circumstances going on for some of the participants, they were able to focus and contribute. And in some ways, the storm brought this group of about 70 people from around the world together and I understand from comments made by the facilitators that there was something different about this group in the way they surfaced issues in the social field of the group as a microcosm of what is going on in the world around us.

I also noticed that issues some of them surfaced used to be of major concern to me and no longer are. I guess I was surprised that some of the inequities in the treatment of women and of people of color were strongly felt still. It was a good reminder that the changes that I was passionate about in the 70’s still need attention even though progress seems to have been made.

Second insight: Life conditions make a big difference. The people who raised some of the issues were younger than I am and thus in a different stage of life and they were from different subcultures in the U.S. and elsewhere. These differences transcend personality type differences, yet seem to be influenced by them.

Third insight: Patterns and themes of Outlook show up in all kinds of systems. I was quite struck by the differences in headlines on the 5 newspapers on the break room table on Tuesday. I read the headlines, then the name of the paper and said, “That tone or word choice makes sense!” The headline seemed to reflect different outlooks on the same event based different the life conditions (the actual impact of the storm) as well as what might be seen as a theme of the news organization itself. I’ve listed the headlines with the upper case and lower case presentation of them.

USA Today:  Anxiety grips East as megastorm hits
My sense of USA Today is that as a paper it represents a broad focus and the words here are more abstract in nature. I wonder what types are drawn to read USA today?

The Boston Globe:  Sandy lashes far and wide
I don’t know anything about this paper, but the Boston area seems to be the locus of a lot of groundbreaking, far-reaching work—at least in my world of systems thinking and organizational change. So I wonder if this isn’t suggestive of the really far-reaching consequences of the storm.

The Wall Street Journal:  Sandy Slams Coast, Charges Inland
My sense of Wall Street is just that forceful. And to the degree that the energy around Wall Street is rather extreme “In-Charge,” I’m wondering if this headline represents that forge ahead, determined energy.

The New York Times:  STORM PICKS UP SPEED AND DISRUPTS MILLIONS OF LIVES
It seems like The New York Times had a focus on the people and probably is very in tune with the disruption that was coming. Their headline the next day focused on the people as well.

Cape Cod Times:  A Sandy Mess
It seems to me that the headline reflects what the Cape Cod experience of the hurricane was. A big mess to clean up. Local paper, local focus.

This is in part, what I mean with the O in CORE. We all have different Outlooks that can’t be explained entirely by our patterns of Cognition, Roots, or Expression. If we ignore the Outlook, we can miss some important information about that person's uniqueness and experience, yet there may not be any one simple answer to what informs that outlook.

What do you think?
 

Avoiding the Damaging Effects of Labeling

Thursday, September 20, 2012 @ 09:09 AM  posted by Linda

In a LinkedIn discussion group on whether the MBTI® instrument is outdated and irrelevant, the conversation emerged to the point of discussing labeling that happens with most personality tools. The tendency to label others and label themselves as in “I’m a xxxxx, therefore I can’t do….” At the end the person who posted lamented that he had yet to find an organization that fosters deep understanding and went for the short, quick labeling. I decided to share my reply to that post:

I think there several things to consider. 

1) We have to vet the tools and the materials for language that holds the models lightly and avoids the labeling effect and select as much as possible ones that do not.

2) We have to watch our own language as we use the tools and materials to keep from labeling. For example…"someone with preferences for" or "Those with a Catalyst temperament tend to….: Avoid absolutes and definites. We are human complex systems so there is nothing that is absolutely predictive.

3) Constantly manage the tendency of our clients to use them as labels. Part of our job is in the contracting up front about how the materials are to be used, how much can be accomplished in how much time, and setting it up so there are champions who get extra training in how to manage the languaging. Most of the workshop participants or the coaching clients will be looking for naming things to better manage them so will keep using them as labels. Some won't want to name anything and will resist any part of the tool. You can help by addressing the issue up front and enroll them in being the 'language police'. If that wording doesn't work find another way to call it out that is fun. 

Our job is to help the tools be used effectively and goes beyond just using the tool for identification or information. The need to include all of theses kinds of topics in a certification program has led to my creating a much longer one and to set up an ongoing community of practice. You can't learn/master all of that is needed to effectively use a tool in a 3-4 day program.

And yes, it is hard to find an organization that fosters deep understanding. I think there are a few emerging through the efforts of the Conscious Capitalism InstituteHolacracy communities and other organizations like the Presencing Institute.

I hope we can all use these valuable lenses with wisdom.

The Core of Diamond Brilliance

Monday, September 17, 2012 @ 09:09 AM  posted by Linda

Today the diamond in my engagement ring captured my attention. After nearly 50 years, it is still brilliant in its simple twisted tiffany style setting. As I stared at it, I thought how its beauty comes from how all the facets reflect the light.

Then I thought, 'It is the facets that make it beautiful and just as we humans have many facets that make us beautiful and brilliant.'

And then I thought, 'What makes a diamond a diamond? It is the capacity to have all these facets revealed.' That is what is at the core of diamond brilliance.

Sometimes, we have our lovely brilliance hidden and not yet revealed. Our ‘facets’ need to be made visible and available. That is one reason we humans have such a fascination with personality tests and models. They help us reveal our facets. Some of these help us discover the core—that capacity for having all these many facets revealed. That is one reason I’m calling the approach I teach, the Berens CORE™ Approach. It helps us get at the core of who we are, gives us lenses to understand own innate brilliance, yet accounts for some of the aspects of our brilliance that come from our responses to internal driving forces in relationship to life conditions.
 

Holding Type Lightly

Sunday, September 2, 2012 @ 08:09 AM  posted by Linda
“Holding the models lightly” is a phrase used by many in the circles I run in these days. I really like the phrase and have been using it. I thought I’d share it with you all since you might find it useful too.

My last blog was about the use of typology models getting in the way of development. If we hold the models lightly, then there is less likelihood of that happening. So in addition to the brief recommendation I gave in the last blog, I think we need to hold the models lightly.

What does it mean? When we hold the models lightly we recognize that they are models—just models, not the ‘truth.’ From Dictionary.com I found this definition of a model:

“a simplified representation or description of a system or complex entity, esp one designed to facilitate calculations and predictions” (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved, September 01, 2012 from Dictionary.com website

When we hold a model lightly we keep in mind that it is a simplified representation of a complex entity. We are human complex systems and no one model will full describe us. Some models work well for most people, but there are always people for whom they don’t fit and for all of us, there are always more influences on our development and behavior than just our type preferences.

Why is it important? When we treat a typology model as if it is ‘the truth,’ we can easily over stereotype and then misunderstand others and ourselves. We can be inaccurate in our applications of the typology to the point of creating a story that doesn’t match who we are. For example, one of my workshop participants, who I’ll call Joe, was an avid type enthusiast who had been using type for over 20 years. During our work together Joe came to realize that his best-fit type is ENTP, not ENFP as he had been thinking for 20 years. In the workshop on temperament, he frequently reported out the Catalyst group results, but the other members of the group disagreed with him. It looked like Joe was a poor listener so that led to some relationship issues in the workshop. Finally, it occurred to me that ENTP might be a better fit so I suggested he explore that type pattern. Low and behold he told me the following history.

Joe’s first exposures to type were based on some frequently used MBTI® instrument related descriptors of the dichotomies. When he reported ENTP on the MBTI® instrument, he rejected the Thinking preference because the stereotypes of ‘T’ were that they weren’t friendly people and he saw himself being a nice, friendly person. Therefore he concluded that his preferences were for ENFP. Of course in the type model, these two types share the same dominant process of extraverted iNtuiting, so in some ways they are similar. However, this early introduction led him astray because the dichotomy definitions were held tightly, not lightly, and the presentation of type did not factor in other aspects of the full type patterns. When he added temperament to his understandings, he just assumed the Catalyst temperament was his best fit because he had identified as ENFP.

As most people tend to do, he listened with the models as filters rather than to what was being said. Therefore, he didn’t really attend to what was being said in the activities, but rather referenced his internal models (held a bit too tightly) to make sense of what people said rather than the actual information he was hearing. Since he referenced what he heard against his own version of what he thought the temperament pattern was like there were errors in his models, which led him to misinterpret what he heard.

Joe told me some time after the workshop that this insight was transformative and I look forward to hearing more from him as he now continues his development in a more centered way.

It is a tendency for all of us to interpret what we hear according to the lenses we hold. Most of these lenses operate outside our awareness. Paradoxically, having lenses that help us value the individual differences and reduce negative judgments can also get in the way when we hold the models behind these lenses too tightly. We need to practice listening with an open heart and an open mind.

How can we do it? Here are a few suggestions.

Use more than one lens. That will help increase the likelihood that you are holding models lightly since there are some look-alikes. If you know what the look-alikes are, then you can more easily help someone find the explanation for why they are drawn to another pattern. In the above example, a skilled facilitator might have taken Joe’s rejection of his reported to as an opportunity to explore more and encouraged Joe to look deeper. Often rejection of a reported type is an indication that the reported type on an instrument is not the best fit and other times, it can be an indicator of a misunderstanding of the type pattern. This facilitator would have pointed out to him that those with ENTP preference often look friendlier than some other types with T preferences because of other influencing factors. In the background, such a facilitator would know that the ENTP pattern goes with a ‘Get-Things-Going’ Interaction Style. With this style there is a drive to involve and be involved with an engaging energy that often looks like what is stereotypically attributed to a preference for Feeling.  Also, the ENTP pattern includes not only N and T, but also engaging extraverted Feeling to connect with others. In fact, one of the themes of the ENTP pattern as a whole is a desire to be diplomatic and consider others.

Reference patterns, not dichotomies. Realize that the typology lenses of Temperament, Interaction Style, and Whole Type are patterns, not sums of parts. Living systems are organized in patterns, not made of random parts put together. These patterns have a core driver that influences which processes or dichotomies serve the driver of the pattern the best. Therefore, patterns precede processes (aka dichotomies).

Encourage exploration with holistic, narrative descriptions. This is becoming increasingly more difficult because we have become a bullet point culture. Often the facilitator has to really push the client to read and reflect. Seek out descriptions that are not artificially composed, but are holistically written such as those in the Understanding Yourself and Others® series of books as well as others.

Recognize that there other aspects of who we are might be influencing the behaviors and meaning making rather than the type information. This is why I made Outlook an integral part of the CORE Approach. Our outlook influences our behavior and our outlook comes from many things including culture, ego development, relationships, stressful events, life conditions and more. In the end, this realization may be the biggest one to help us hold models lightly.

These are just a few of the things we can do to hold the models lightly. And maybe the simplest one of all is to start using the phrase as we work with our clients or share our type knowledge with others.

I look forward to any comments you may have.

Linda

Does Type Get in the Way of Development?

Sunday, June 10, 2012 @ 08:06 AM  posted by Linda

I have just attended the European Association for Psychological Type conference in Paris. The presentations I attended were stimulating and highlighted a need for a shift in how psychological type is traditionally presented—something I’ve been saying for a long time. About 50 percent of them focused on development, especially ‘vertical’ or transcendent development. One of the most talked about presentations was that of Steve Myers. His topic was “Can Psychological Type Be a Barrier to Individuation?” As I understand it, Individuation involves a growth process. Steve defines it on his website as "Individuation is a process that leads to a more mature, balanced, 'rounded' person."

Since writing the material on his website, he has further articulated what is involved in this growth process. Currently, Steve differentiates between Myers Briggs Theory and Psychological Type Theory as Jung meant it to be. He frequently quoted Jung’s writing on this topic so I want to share some of these with you.

[C]lassification is nothing but a childish parlour game…  My typology is… not in any sense to stick labels on people at first sight… [A]ny typological terminology superficially picked up… serves no other purpose than a totally useless desire to stick on labels.  C.G. Jung, Psychological Types, pp. xiv-xv 

The transcendent function… comes… from experiencing the conflict of opposites.  You can find a detailed exposition of this problem in my Psychological Types. C.G. Jung, 1939, Letters 1, p. 269 

Individuation is closely connected with the transcendent function, since this function creates individual lines of development, which could never be reached by keeping to the path prescribed by collective norms. C.G. Jung, Psychological Types, p. 449

The persona is always identical with a typical attitude dominated by a single psychological function, for example, by thinking, feeling or intuition.  This one-sidedness necessarily results in the relative repression of the other functions…  In consequence, the persona is an obstacle to the individual's development… C.G. Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, pp. 288-289

My understanding of Steve’s message is that when we focus the use of type on identification of one side of the dichotomies used in the MBTI® instrument we limit development. We become identified with those preferences and do not focus on holding the tension of the opposite side, which is what encourages development.

I have long said that the ‘functions’ of Sensing, iNuiting, Thinking, and Feeling are not types, but are instead processes. A process is an activity that we can engage in and use. It is not the driver of who we are, but the means to help us be who we are. An important aspect of who we are is the pattern of our personality that has been there from the beginning. I often say, ‘Patterns rule processes.’ We use the processes in service of the pattern, but more on that later.

As to Extraversion and Introversion, Steve provides another quote from Jung.

These contrary attitudes are in themselves no more than correlative mechanisms: a diastolic going out and seizing of the object and a systolic concentration and detachment of energy from the object seized. Every human being possesses both mechanisms as an expression of his natural life-rhythm…  A rhythmical alternation of both forms of psychic activity would perhaps correspond to the normal course of life. C.G. Jung, Psychological Types, p. 5

If you want to read more from Steve Myers, I suggest you go to his website, where he will start blogging soon. He is finishing his doctorate so has been focused on his research and hasn’t published what he shared at the conference yet. I always learn a lot from Steve.

So if an approach to type that uses the letters in the type code as if they are types thwarts growth, is there an approach to type that promotes it? Of course I think there is so stay tuned for the next post on the patterned nature of personality. Or sign up for the upcoming http://www.integraltype.com/events/integraltypecertificationworkshophttp://www.integraltype.com/events/integraltypecertificationworkshopIn the meantime, please add your thoughts.

Mindfulness Part 2: The CORE™ Method and the Brain

Saturday, February 25, 2012 @ 10:02 AM  posted by Linda

Thursday, I learned of some research that, to my mind, clearly supports how the CORE Method can evoke integrative processes in the brain and thereby strengthen neural integration and stimulate the growth of the middle pre-frontal structures in the brain. Neural integration is what is necessary for us to be more adaptable, balance our emotions, attune to others, have a greater sense of morality and empathy, regulate the body, eliminate fear, gain insights into oneself and more. So how did I make this link?

Mind, Relationships, and the Brain

I wasn’t able to attend the Wisdom2.0 conference this week, but I did catch some of the live streaming and am very grateful for being able to experience Dan Siegel’s talk on Mindfulness and the Brain. Dr. Siegel is a psychiatrist who studied “family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative.”  His current field of research is interpersonal neurobiology, a term he coined in The Developing Mind, 1999. It is an “interdisciplinary field, which seeks to understand the mind and mental health.” He also coined the term, Mindsight, which is what led me to see a connection between HOW we introduce type lenses and increasing our health and well-being.

Dr. Siegel said that when we see another person’s mind, honor differences, and promote linkages we have an integrative relationship. When relationships are integrative, it stimulates growth of integrative processes in the middle pre-frontal cortex. (a nearly exact quote). He contends that relationships and the brain interact to create ‘mind.’ The mind is not the same thing as the activity of the brain. Mind is not defined clearly in psychology or psychiatry. His definition is,“Mind is an embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information.” It emerges as a self-organizing emergent property of a complex system (a system capable of open and chaotic behavior). Mind is the internal subjective self, our feelings, thoughts, memories, dreams, hopes and more.

CORE Lenses and Method

It seems to me that the typologies of the CORE Method give us a map of the territory of the mind. Type doesn’t exist just in the brain or in our behaviors. It is also in the subjective sense of self—our minds.  Understanding type lenses helps us surface the meanings we tend to make of things and therefore our thoughts and feelings around those things. While we have evidence that the cognitive processes outlined by Jung show up in the brain in certain patterns and that temperament and Interaction Styles related behaviors show up in the body movements as well as the brain, until we can name the patterns and identify the organizing principles behind them we cannot be as mindful as we need to be to develop the integrative awareness required to operate in this complex world of today. And it will be harder to develop the compassion and empathy needed to keep us from going down the very destructive path we seem to be on at this time.

Dan Siegel describes mindfulness as attention to the present moment, suspending any prejudgment. Our type preferences and temperamental predispositions give us prejudgments. It is easier to let these go when we are aware of what they are and they are ‘just’ our type biases.  So why is the ‘Method’ so important? It is not just about getting a type label so we can better master ourselves or communicate with others. It is about . . .

  • Holding the models lightly so we can step outside them when they are not useful.
  • Presenting the patterns as maps, not the territory so we can shift our perspectives into territories different than our own to truly ‘see’ another person.
  • Seeing the processes as dynamic, not as ‘fixed’ types so we can flex our behavior and better manage the polarities of human interaction.
  • Understanding that we grow and develop within our type so that we transcend the narrow view of our innate preferences and develop capacities in the non-preferences.
     

This is a mindful and integral approach to type. The goal is not the type models or even type identification. We don’t want an obsession with the models even though that often happens at first. We want the understanding of self and others to lead to more mindfulness in our relationships. The CORE Method is an integrative approach that helps develop integrative relationships by helping us truly see the minds of others, honor those differences by making space for them and shifting to take their perspectives—my definition of truly integrative relationships.

While I’ve shared here some of my insights and connections here, I recommend you watch the video. The raw video is posted now on the livestream.com website. It is the first 30 minutes of the video that was live streamed. (Hint: when it comes on, slide the audio slider over a tiny bit so you get right into the presentation. There is a long pause before it starts.)

Stay tuned for more about what I learned from Wisdome2.0 live streamed sessions. In the meantime, I’d love your thoughts and reactions.
 

Mindfulness Part 1: What’s Type Got to Do With It?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 @ 07:02 PM  posted by Linda

There is a fair amount of interest in Mindfulness these days. Large corporations such as Genentech have mindfulness programs. There are five LinkedIn groups with Mindfulness in their name and the largest one has over 5000 members. The Wisdom 2.0 Conference where mindfulness is explored in relation to technology was sold out in its second year and again this year at a larger venue. So what is mindfulness and why did I title a leadership workshop, Mindfully You: Leading from the CORE? This is the first in a series of posts exploring mindfulness and type. I hope you join me in the discussion.

Mindfulness is often equated with meditation. The dictionary defines it as keeping aware or being heedful. Mindfulness is not just meditation, but also a way of being open to the experience of the moment. Some describe it as awareness, others as being intentional about our choices.

There is a great deal of research linking mindfulness to stress reduction and lowering blood pressure to mention just a few of the benefits. Last year at Wisdom 2.0, I was struck by what seemed to be a rather specific definition of mindfulness that linked it to meditation and tuning in to one’s environment. It occurred to me that different types might experience mindfulness in different ways. I agree that meditation and increased awareness of one’s body and physical surroundings are good things. I just wonder if there aren’t other ways we need to become mindful.

When I took yoga classes we were taught different meditation practices each week. The goal was to try each of them and then use the ones that worked the best for us so I know there is allowance for individual differences in meditation practices.

It occurs to me that given that different personality types have different preferences for attending to different sources and kinds of information, we likely limit our awareness by automatically accessing and paying attention to one or two of these different kinds of information. Can we use our understanding of type differences to expand our awareness and become more mindful?

Just focusing for the moment on the Jungian model of psychological type, we can identify four perceiving processes:

  • extraverted Sensing—tuning in to the immediate tangible context and experiencing what is there right now
  • introverted Sensing—reviewing information from the past and the stored images and experiences we have had and comparing our current state with the past state
  • extraverted iNtuiting—inferring meanings and interpreting between-the-lines information that isn’t expressed and seeing possibilities and links to other contexts
  • introverted iNtuiting—imaging a likely future or different view that often presents itself as a whole

Many meditation practices ask us to focus on our breathing and when thoughts come up to just observe them and let them go. Others guide us through a body awareness so we tune into the tensions that we need to let go of and there are more methods than we can go into here.

As I think of my own development and the ways of becoming mindful, I can identify how different experiences helped me when it came to meditating as well as being more mindful in general. The first one came before I was type aware. Prepared childbirth required me to become hyper aware of what was going on in my body and consciously relaxing parts of it while tensing other parts. The practice I had to do for this served me long since in helping me balance my tendency of being so much in my head. I found that meditation practices that direct my attention to different areas of my body work well for me. Those that ask me to focus on an image or ‘nothingness’ don’t work for me. Is there a type preference? I think so. As an INTP, I prefer exraverted iNtuiting and can spend hours with random, seemingly unrelated thoughts going through my head. Sometimes I get so many ideas, I overwhelm myself. I need to calm my mind by focusing on the changing state of my body. This seems to me to be more of an introverted Sensing experience rather than an extraverted Sensing experience.

I’m curious if people of other types would say something different? What has helped you be mindful and how does that relate to your type preferences?

 

Not about you?

Monday, June 6, 2011 @ 12:06 PM  posted by Linda

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 experiences we have. Self-reflection can start early and contribute to better decision making and self-regulation at any age. I do think those graduates could benefit from knowing themselves well in terms of the information personality type models can give them—their core needs, talents, drives, beliefs, how they tend to interact, how they tend to think about things.

My colleague, Dario Nardi, has been teaching undergraduates at UCLA for over 12 years. In the context of the courses he teaches, he introduces them to temperament and the eight Jungian functions and sometimes Interaction Styles. In his courses he gives them group and individual assignments the personality lenses in the context of the specific course. By the time they graduate, they know a lot about themselves as well as the systems in which they operate. The self-reflection he encourages promotes development. I know, I've met some of his students and the students know. In a way, he is providing them with the education they need to be more flexible in the unstructured environments they will be entering. And they learn about themselves in the process. More powerful than taking an instrument. No wonder he won UCLA's Teacher of the Year Award this year.

My message for college graduates would be: It is about you, but not ALL about you. Know yourself and develop a practice of self-reflection. If you don't already have a sense of passion or a dream to fulfill, do work with that sense of self-reflection so you'll know when you find it. Some of us get it early, some later.

Personality, Communication, and Engagement

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 @ 05:05 PM  posted by Linda

Communication

Most of us know that individual differences exist, yet we often forget that when we are communicating. The most powerful communication is one where we are capable of taking the other person's perspective and truly listen to their intentions and deep motivations. Personality typologies can give us powerful models to help us meet others at their view of the world.

Temperament theory tells us what are core psychological needs are. If you are having trouble understanding someone else, think about what needs might be behind what they are saying:

Improviser: Freedom to act now and to have an impact

Stabilizer: Responsibility and a place to contribute

Theorist: Competency, mastery, and knowledge

Catalyst: Sense of unique identity and deep meaning and significance

Recognize those needs and you'll find ways to be more understanding and even speak to these needs.

Interaction Styles is a model that describes energy patterns, but behind the behind those patterns are drives with corresponding aims. If we recognize these drives and aims, we understand why someone is being forceful, looking tense, seeming slow to act, or even overly engaging.

In-Charge: Drive to accomplish in order to get an achievable result

Chart-the-Course: Drive to anticipate in order to get a desired result

Behind-the-Scenes: Drive to integrate and to get the best result possible

Get-Things-Going: Drive to involve and be involved and to get an embraced result

Engagement

Since all behavior communicates, good communication is essential to engagement. And we would have better employee engagement if we had good communication earmarked by perspective taking.

Besides communication, if workers are engaged in activities that suit their needs and drives, they work will feel good.

It isn't the whole picture, but is an important one and that is why I train growth agents and change agents in using these models. Check out the Integral Type Certification coming up in July!