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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Who Am I? Beyond Introversion and Extraversion--Embrace Your Natural Working Style

You have gold inside...

how do you bring it out so you sparkle and shine?

Who Am I? How Do I Succeed in Relationships and Life?

Want to get MORE out of life? Then get busy figuring who you are--what you value; how you pay attention; what grabs your attention; how you make decisions; what moves you; what gets your blood boiling. 

We all have naturally occurring--completely healthy--preferred ways of dealing with life. When you identify and use your personal preferences as your home base for navigating life and relationships you'll get the most satisfaction out of life.  

As you learn to trust and embrace your natural inclinations you'll get better at:

  • Managing stress, time and life.
  • Choosing a more satisfying life and career.
  • Consciously and deliberately choosing to act differently when it serves you.

Your 100% Healthy, Normal Way to Deal with the World

The MBTI, or 'Myers-Briggs' is an incredibly straightforward system that can help you clarify which of 16 healthy, normal ways to deal with the world you personally prefer. 

The MBTI helps you organize what you already know about yourself and others so you can more effectively communicate and deal with life.

The 16 types are comprised of 4 combinations of 4 preferences. You fall into one type based on your natural preferences for:

  • Living more of an inner life (introversion) or outer life (extraversion); 
  • Using sensing or intuition more often for collecting information (perceiving); 
  • Using thinking or feeling more often for coming to conclusions (judging); 
  • Using judging or perceiving more often in the outer world (the face you show others). 

The Four Preferences: What You Prefer Using MORE, not Solely

When you trust and work from your natural preferences you hold the key to foraging a satisfying and successful life. 

Since we're naturally inclined to spend more time doing what we prefer or enjoy--embracing and working out of our natural preferences ultimately results in getting more skilled dealing with the world in ways we find satisfying. 

And as we learn to consciously and deliberately work in non-preferred ways we can get better at doing things that don't come naturally too.

You may get confused identifying your natural style because you witness yourself using both introversion and extraversion; sensing and intuiting; thinking and feeling; and judging and perceiving. 

The key to figuring out who you really are is to understand we all do everything some time, but we prefer spending MORE time introverting or extraverting and using our preferred functions MORE than our non-preferred functions--as detailed below. 

Introversion vs Extraversion: Defines which world you favor--the inner world or outer world--and therefore where you'll spend more time--in your head or interacting with the people and world around you. 

If you prefer introversion, you'll spend more time inside your head and less in the outer world; if you prefer extraversion, you'll spend more time interacting in the outer world and less in your head.
We all introvert and we all extravert. Our preferences simply determine where we prefer to spend more time.

Learning Styles Differ

Want a quick way to determine if you're an introvert or extravert? Look at your learning style. 

The extravert's style is to just jump in and learn as they go. 

  • Are you more likely to just jump in and learn as you go? 
  • Do you start doing something or talking about a subject before you've collected your thoughts? 
  • Might you start pulling weeds in the garden to figure out where you want to place new plants? 
  • Do you just start playing with a new computer program to see how it works?

Consider: You're an extravert.

The introvert's style is to think, think, think, think, then do....and probably think some more.

  • Are you more likely to think a long time about something before taking action or talking to others about what you think? 
  • Do you need time to ponder an issue before sharing your thoughts with others? 
  • Do you like to present perfectly articulated ideas? 
  • Are you more inclined to find out how something works before beginning to use it?  

Consider: You're an introvert.

Extravert and Introvert Differing Styles: The 'So What'
Extraverts are more likely to bounce ideas off others to figure out what they think. Introverts are more independent and less likely to rely on others to work through what they think.

Extraverts whose favorite world IS the outer world will appear more relaxed to others than Introverts whose preferred 'home' is in their head. Introverts will appear less accessible and more reserved.

Extraverts want to change the world through interacting with it; Introverts want to understand the world through pondering it.

Extraverts are energized by interacting with people and things in the outer world; Introverts are energized by the inner world.

Sensing vs iNtuition: Defines your preference for how you prefer to pay attention and collect information--through the 5 senses or through listening for the underneath or unseen. 

If you prefer sensing you'll spend more time paying attention to 'the actual' of what you presently experience through your senses--what you hear, taste, see, touch and smell--rather than exploring the possibilities of what 'could be' through your intuition.

If you prefer intuition you'll spend more time paying attention to the exploration of hunches, theories and concepts for 'future possibilities' than current specific realities. You are comfortable living in your imagination and letting ideas present themselves 'out of nowhere'.

We all use sensing and we all use intuition. Our preference for sensing or intuition will point toward which process we are inclined to use more.

Sensors and Intuitors Differing Styles: The 'So What'

Sensors trust their experience; Intuitors trust their gut. For sensors if they haven't experienced it, it isn't true. Intuitors collect the facts for sensors to prove what they already know to be true from their intuition.
Sensors, who are present focused, ask questions about what is; intuitors, who are future oriented, ask questions about what could be. In a job interview a sensor asks for specifics, 'tell me about your previous experience' while an intuitor asks hypothetical, 'if you were to join our team what challenges do you anticipate facing?
Sensors are linear, precise, and methodical thinkers--preferring to start at the beginning and work their way through step-by-step; Intuitors are associative, inspirational, imaginative thinkers--sometimes starting in the middle and taking leaps of thought.

Thinking vs Feeling: Defines your preferences for coming to conclusions--through a logical, impersonal analysis or through considering the human values and needs of a situation.

If you prefer thinking, you'll spend more time coming to conclusions and making decisions in a dispassionate, principle-based manner that values 'truth over tact' rather than a passionate, human values-based manner. 

If you prefer feeling, you'll spend more time coming to conclusions in a passionate, human values-based manner in which 'tact is valued over truth' rather than a dispassionate, impersonal manner.

We all make decisions based on feeling and thinking. Our preference for feeling or thinking will determine which one we are inclined to use more.

Feelers and Thinkers Differing Styles--The 'So What'

Thinkers are more brief and business-like in their communications; Feelers are warmer and softer in their communications.

Thinkers' speech is unadorned and monotone; Feelers use adverbs and adjectives to provide emphasis and passion to their language.

Thinkers value fairness (what is right for 1 person is right for all) and principles; Feelers value harmony, compassion, and treating people individually (believing in extenuating circumstances).

Judger vs Perceiver: Defines your preferred way of being in the outer world--when you're extraverting (introverts and extraverts alike)--and thus how you'll appear to others--as 'open' or 'closed'.   

Judgers and Perceivers Differing Styles: The Face You Show to Others

When relating to others in the outer world, Judgers present as people who plan life in a decisive, orderly manner, while Perceivers present as curious and adaptable people who take a more open and flexible approach to life. 

When extraverting: Judgers move toward closure (ie coming to conclusions) and Perceivers move toward collecting more information (ie staying open). When introverting: Judgers 'open up' to consider more information and Perceivers 'close down' to come to conclusions.

When you understand your own preferred ways for dealing with the world, it can help you understand the best way to navigate your life so you are more satisfied and successful in a career that let's you work from your preferences. 

The chart below shows you how two of the four preferences can translate into career choices. 


Technical Skills
Science & Technology
Impersonal analysis
of concrete facts
Prefers using
Personal warmth applied to immediate situations
Prefers using
Creativity to meet 
human needs
Solving Problems
Real Estate Broker
Manufacturing & Production
Handling precision machines & materials
Financial Management
Physical Therapy
Occupational Therapy
K-12 Teacher
Social Worker
Selling Tangible Products
Service Industry
Retail Sales
Real Estate Broker
College Professor
Selling Intangibles
Marketing &
Social Media Strategist
Public Speaking
Scientific Research
Research and Development
Military Leader
Computer Scientist

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

3 Simple Steps to Rid Your Life of Drama and Emotional Clutter

Letting Go of Other People's Stuff

Being a person who values freedom and a sense of flow, I decided I'd work on letting go of things that clutter my mind and attention.

As I considered what I was holding on to that created chaos and distress in my life, a clear pattern started emerging: 

'If I want to lead my life through my naturally calm and joyous spirit I'd gain the most benefit by focusing my attention on letting go of other's drama.' 

This year I'm practicing letting other's drama slip past me without letting it get a toe-hold from the get-go.  This is proving to be a very freeing experience. 

Below are the 3 simple steps I'm taking to minimize the effect other's drama has on my joyful spirit. By keeping it simple and staying conscious of what I allow in, I'm finding it easier to move past the drama each time it erupts.

Thanks to Marie Forleo for the 'walk away from drama' quote

Step 1: Consciously Acknowledge What You Want and What You Don't Want.

Sit, Rest, Work--Alone with Yourself--Joyfully

It's not always easy to sit, rest, work alone with yourself without letting the producers of drama splatter you with their over the top display of ill will and chaos. By consciously choosing to let the drama slide off you, you can better direct negativity away from you. 

Choose to stay focused on what you want--to live joyfully without drama. When drama appears--consciously acknowledge it's presence and actively choose not to engage with it or it's creators.

Step 2: Look Through the Wrong End of a Telescope 
When in the middle of someone else's drama, view the situation as if you were looking at it through the wrong end of a telescope to minimize the view. In your mind, put the drama into a balloon and watch it disappear into the horizon.

Thanks to Grant Soosalu for the breathing technique

Step 3: Choose Calm and Uplift

You are the master of your mind and spirit.  When you're surrounded by other people's drama, choose to breath uplift into your heart and breathe out calmness into your gut. 

If you discover other's drama has crept into your mind long after the event, gently repeat this uplift and calming breathing to regain your center.

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Hidden Life of Introverts and Extraverts: What Goes on Behind Your Eyes?

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Hidden Life of Introverts and Extraverts

When the topic of introverts and extraverts arises we often focus on how we interact with one another or how we appear in the outer world. But what about that part of us hidden in the rich world behind our eyes? 

As an extravert who enjoys interacting with the world around me I'm always surprised to see just how often I retreat into my inner sanctum to avoid being seen or heard. Like the introvert, I like to have a 'womb with a view' in which I can look out and observe but you can't see in.

Just the other day I watched myself methodically delete all political emails asking me to take an opinion poll although I definitely have opinions. Now you may think 'so what'-- this doesn't mean anything...many people would do the same. 

But I know the truth about what goes on behind my eyes--this extravert is hiding and withholding herself from the world. And this discovery got me thinking about what else this extravert is reluctant to put out in public. 

Confessions of an Extravert: 'What's the truth about what goes on behind my eyes? I'm hiding and withholding myself from the world. And even when I'm interacting with you in the outer world, I know one of the best places to hide is in plain view!'

The Reluctant Extravert

'A Reluctant Recluse' is not a term most of us would associate with being an Extravert--yet sometimes that is exactly what I observe in myself. Although I am clearly an extravert with a preference for spending more time in the outer world interacting with people and taking action, I have extended periods of time when I hide from the prying eyes of others and hole up by myself to collect my inner energy.

When I'm resting from the world:

  • I don't answer the phone or emails.
  • I spend the day with my own thoughts--sometimes writing a blog post.
  • I immerse myself in art projects. 
  • I go for walks with the dog alone.
  • I wave hello at other walkers rather than verbally acknowledging them (okay this is the extravert that needs to acknowledge other's presence).
  • I listen to what others have to say without revealing what I'm thinking.

As an ENFP (Extraverted iNtuitor Feeler Perceiver), I'm a primary iNtuitor who uses intuition in the outer world while saving feeling for my inner life. When I need time to sort through my feelings--that's when I secret away to my inner world to hold my own counsel--just like an introvert.

The Happily Ensconced Introvert

Ahhhh...and how about cracking open the secret life of introverts? (Sorry for the temporary intrusion....this won't hurt too much.)

The inner world IS the preferred world of the introvert where you can 'hold your own counsel', and carefully think through what you think so when you DO share your thoughts you present your ideas fully formed with none of that messy stuff the extraverts show. 

For introverts the inner world is your safe haven. Spending more time behind your eyes inside your head affords you the independence of thought you value without interference from others.

When I reached out to a few of my favorite introverted friends for a quote on what goes on behind their eyes, this is what I got back--after 24 hours of 'thinking on it':

Confessions of an Introvert: "What goes on behind my eyes? Hmmm. Interesting. I'll have to think about that. And think and think and think and think and think. At first blush, this comes to mind for your confession"---

Confessions of an Introvert: "What goes on behind my eyes? That's for me to know and you to NOT find out."

Confessions of an Introvert: "Perhaps you mean--What secret extrovert habits and/or desires do I, as an introvert, have?"

"Well …

… every once in a while, like maybe when the third day after a full moon falls on a Friday, I'll wish I were a hail-fellow-well-met type who loves being out with people doing stuff. Or I'll wish I had a big, close, messy, noisy family. But then I start to break out in hives and so go back to my book.

The Quiet Side of Life

Everyone needs times of quiet and solitude in their lives--not just introverts.

As Extraverts who prefer to live our lives in the outer world acting to change the world through interacting with, and influencing others--we need to retreat into the inner world for calm and quiet. Because we are 'energized' by engaging in the outer world withdrawing from it provides us the solitude necessary to reflect and refresh our life perspective.

As Introverts who prefer to live more of your lives in the inner world mulling over your thoughts and ideas privately, you can better understand the world around you when you have more time alone. As Introverts you are 're-energized' by retreating into your inner life. 

The truth is we all need time away from prying eyes where we can sit quietly with our own thoughts without interference from others. This is our secret and hidden life that affords us the privacy to engage in whatever type of thought play we wish to engage in.

And although you have a preference for introversion or extraversion, to live a balanced life you need to spend time in both worlds. Your preference for introversion or extraversion simply determine where you prefer to spend more time--in your head or interacting in the outer world--but it doesn't determine if you need time for solitude or interaction with others. We all need both.

Are you an introvert or extravert? 
What goes on behind your eyes?  
What do you do for quiet, solitude and independent thought? How do you balance your need for interaction with your need for solitude and quiet?

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Life Well Lived: Ralph Waldo Emerson

When your life is complete, will people say yours was a life well lived?

On my birthday I like to refresh and reset my commitment to life. When I turned 50 I decided to come up with my 'list of 50' for things to do or think about differently--one for each year.

This became an annual way of opening me up to think and act differently throughout the year--providing me with a road map to a renewed and unencumbered self.

It doesn't matter if I achieve everything on my list (spoken like a true ENFP). What matters is I open myself up to saying YES to better ways of thinking and being--and I find ways to view life as an adventure.

At the end of my life I want to be able to say I had a 'life well lived'.  What about you?

A Short List of 50

  • Take 50 hikes within 50 miles of home
  • Let go of 50 ways of thinking that no longer serve me
  • Learn 50 new things
  • Create 50 new Affirmation Hearts
  • Gift 50 people with 50 Affirmation Hearts
  • Study 50 inspiring people
  • List 50 people you admire
  • List 50 people you love
  • List 50 people who have made a difference in your life
  • Send 50 inspirational notes
  • Thank 50 people who have made a difference in your life
  • Study 50 quotes from 1 inspiring person

What's on your list of 50? How will you free yourself up this year?

A Life Well Lived: A Study of Wisdom from Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I started my quest this year I started with 'a life well lived' and discovered the term came from Ralph Waldo Emerson so studying 50 quotes from Emerson became my kicking off point.

Below I share a few items off my list of 50 and the Emerson quotes I choose to ponder to help me open up to change.

Let go of 50 ways of thinking no longer serving you

“You become what you think about all day long.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • What are you bitter about? Let it go
  • What old story are you holding on to about someone doing you wrong? Let it go
  • Who are people you think are holding you back. Let it go

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Learn 50 new things

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “Always do what you are afraid to do.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reach out to 50 people in Need

“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Refresh and Reset your Commitment to Life Daily

“Write it on your heart that  every day is the best day in the year.He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.You have done what you could.Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,with its hopes and invitations,to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson