What does independence look like for different personalities?
Hello my lovelies and welcome to the Moving Toward Better podcast. I’m your host, Karen Bemmes. I’m a business, relationship and life coach, and my superpower is helping you find your superpowers and use them to create a life and business you love that works for you. It won’t look like everyone else’s life, because you’re not like everyone else. With Independence Day coming up in the US next week, we're talking about what independence looks like for different personalities, and while that may seem straightforward and simple, I assure you that it isn’t. Why? Because while independence starts with feeling like you can be who you are without fear, in this day and age, that can be a challenge. I’m not going to get into the politics of that today, because that conversation is big and deep. What I am going to do is to share what I know about personalities and how they view independence and how they react when their independence is threatened.
Merriam Webster defines independence as the quality or state of being independent. Not super helpful, but when we look at the word independent, things get a bit more interesting:
1: not dependent: such as
(1): not subject to control by others : SELF-GOVERNING
(2): not affiliated with a larger controlling unit
(1): not requiring or relying on something else
(2): not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct
(1): not requiring or relying on others (as for care or livelihood)
(2): being enough to free one from the necessity of working for a living
a person of independent means
: showing a desire for freedom
Now, some people use the terms freedom and independence as synonyms, but in my humble opinion, the two are not the same. For example, you can be freed from prison but not be independent from the legal system, at least in the US, because that freedom is often tied to staying in contact with a parole officer. A college student may be free to live as they choose on campus but they are not independent from the family that pays their tuition. So today, we’re going to focus on independence and what that looks like for each personality type.
The D personality loves their independence. They don’t want to be dependent on anyone or anything if they can help it. In business, they may be the ones who start a company and try to do everything on their own because they love being in control, but as success comes, they can thwart their own success by continuing to try to do it all on their own because they feel like they’ll have to slow down too much to teach someone everything they know. The irony of that is by taking a breath and hiring someone, the short term slow down that they experience can lead to a huge leap down the road, especially if they hire someone who can keep up with their energy and/or attend to the details that they would rather not even think about. Then they are free to be the visionary they love being and do all the things that they like doing most. So for all you driven people out there, consider how much more independent you can be by handing over the reins of your slow and steady business processes so you can gallop ahead and make more contacts, more business, more money and more success. Sounds exciting and challenging, doesn’t it?
In personal relationships, Driven people, especially women, need independence or it will not be pretty. Nearly every D woman I know needs to be able to follow a career path in addition to being a wife or mother. This doesn’t mean they don’t love their children, because they do, fiercely, but solely being a mother and/or wife isn’t enough. Every D woman I have ever known needs something of their own. In most cases it’s a career of some kind, but I have also known Driven women who find the same type of challenge in volunteer work. They are often the ones who will take on a large project that no one else wants to touch because fear is something to be conquered for them.
The challenge FOR them in their independence is to make sure that they stay connected to those they love because it’s so easy for them to dive headlong into a project and forget about their people completely. As one woman told me, work is fun. The best way for Driven women to stay independent without alienating those they love is to have firm boundaries, which they tend to excel with. Have a definite starting and quitting time for work. Make sure that you consult their family members about spending time with them and don’t assume that what’s convenient for you is convenient for them. Considering their choices will always bode well for building relationships. Ignoring them tears them down. The same goes for activities with their loved ones. Let them make some of the decisions even though you are very good at it. My guess is that if you have children at least one of them enjoys making decisions as much as you do. Sharing that privilege encourages their independence and avoids building resentment. That’s a definite win-win.
For the I personality, independence through working with others is perfect for you. That may sound counterintuitive to other personality types, but the I personality feels best when they are part of a team but have the independence to have fun and make the job easier for everyone. The I personality is a natural collaborator, so independence isn’t a solo affair for them. They truly embody the phrase “the more the merrier”. In business, they create the best businesses when they have a team working with them taking care of the details so they can be the visionaries they love to be. And let me tell you, these people can dream big.
It works the same in personal relationships. Inspired personalities need people to complete their visions. They adore their people and love to make everything fun. They truly don’t understand the need to be alone in their independence because they always feel better when they’re around others. It’s difficult to understand for other personality types, but it’s just the way the I personality is wired.
The challenge in their independence is the fact that they don’t have procedures in place because they tend to fly by the seat of their pants. They do a lot of things halfway because they don’t have the detail and task orientation it takes to finish and/or follow through, and even if they do, most of it is in their head. They are as naturally independent as Driven personality, but less likely to get things done because they, more than any other personality, get distracted by shiny objects. If something isn’t working in their life, whether it’s taking care of their home, raising their children or running their business, they’ll switch to the latest “thing” to see if that works better, but because they’re so easily distracted, they sometimes don’t give things long enough to take hold before they try something new. They need someone who can see their impulsiveness for what it is and help them harness their enormous energy into something that does work for them is essential, especially if that person can help them put the details to work or even remember that there are details at all. Cherish those people, even when they’re driving you nuts, because they are the ones who will help you succeed and find the independence you truly crave.
Moving to the S personality, they are not one to crave independence except in specific life situations. A Supportive personality is just that, supportive, but they want you to trust them and appreciate their contribution. They don’t want you to make a big deal out of it, but they want to know that what they’re doing is helping you because that’s who they are.
In personal relationships, they are natural nurturers and nurturers need people to nurture. They are the moms who struggle the most when their children begin to create independent lives, in some cases that means as early as weaning from breastfeeding. I actually had an S mom say one time that their child didn’t need them anymore when they stopped breastfeeding, and I was like “What?! That child will need you for years to come, and this is just a tiny step.” I’m not sure they believed me, but it’s true. The Supportive mama will worry about their family moving too far away, and most S women will end up living very close to where they are raised unless someone or something else like a spouse’s job requires them to move away.
The challenge FOR them in their independence is their need to be connected to “their people”, whoever those people might be. They are the ones who are incredibly proud of their children’s accomplishments while at the same time they are trying to mend their own broken hearts because every accomplishment means their child is a step closer to their own independence. It’s complicated and yes, they truly can feel that pride and that heartbreak at the same time.
With the C personality, they want independence to do their work the way they see fit. Because they have such high standards for their own performance, they take on tasks with an efficiency and depth no other personality type can match. Their struggle is knowing when to let go of the project or task and say good enough is good enough because good enough isn’t good enough for them. They want things perfect, but the wise Cautious personality knows that most things in life are not perfect, even if they want them to be. It doesn’t mean that they don’t still long for perfection in everything, but they accept, at least on a conscious level, that perfection is something that doesn’t exist in most situations. For the C personality, they need someone to give them a deadline that gives them ample time to do their work, but also gives them a clear stopping point. That way they can plan their work and work their plan. Otherwise they may go down the rabbit hole of working on one small part of a project that isn’t pertinent to the finished product and find themselves overwhelmed when people keep asking when they’ll be finished with something.
In personal relationships rules are important to the C personality, so if a set of rules is established, even if they are only mentioned, the C personality will want them to be followed. They are not rule benders and their independence comes from creating rules that make them feel comfortable. As parents, they are the ones that always follow through, so the people in their lives can count on them to be the same, always.
The challenge for them in their independence is that they often prefer being alone to interacting with anyone, including those they love most. That is especially true when they have a todo list or a project to complete, and they almost always have a todo list or a project to complete. The way for them to overcome that is to find some things that they love to do that others find fun. For example, I know a C woman who loves professional baseball. She knows so much about the players of her favorite team that some players have thought she was a stalker, but when they get to know her, they realize she is a true fan of the game and has been for years. She knows their stats because she loves details. She also gets to know some of their families and stays in touch even after they leave. Her husband enjoys going to the games with her, but while she’s focused on the game, he’s getting to know the people around him, and they both have a great time.
Do you see yourself here? Maybe you see yourself in more than one of these descriptions. That wouldn’t be a surprise because most of us are a blend of more than one personality type, and that’s what makes people so exciting in my mind. The best way to find out your personality mix is to take your own assessment. It’s the first step to finding out how truly amazing you are. My favorite part of the assessment result is the part that shows you how people can misinterpret you if they don’t understand you because when I read that, so much of my life made sense.
If you want that in your life, and who wouldn’t, get yourself an assessment asap. Check out the show notes or go to the Moving Toward Better homepage and click the Take an Assessment button. Then if you want to take your life beyond a simple understanding of yourself and others, you have two great choices. You can book a one on one session to get a deep dive into ways to boost your success in every area of your life or you can sign up for the Moving Toward Better DISCover Better Retreat in September. That’s where we take everything about your personality and super charge it in ways you can’t even imagine. If you sign up for the upgraded ticket, your personal assessment and follow up is included with your ticket purchase.
At the retreat, we'll teach you how to make every area of your life and business work in tandem WITH your personality rather than against it. Trust me, when you do that, you’ll live better than you ever dreamed you could. It’s a weekend to get away from the grind and absolutely crush it when you get back. You'll learn strategies you can implement instantly to make positive changes in your life and business. You'll have fun and learn how to support those you love in ways that are meaningful to them and you. You'll learn how to get the best from yourself and others by genuinely speaking "their language" without denying or burying yours. Tickets are limited, so reserve your spot today at https://www.movingtowardbetter.com/2022-september-retreat .
It’s going to be a great time to recharge and return to your life feeling amazing and better equipped to deal with everything in your world, so sign up today.
Finally, if you know someone this episode can help, please share with them. We all deserve to have independence in our lives in ways that are meaningful for us. Also, remember to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you’re listening to so you know when a new episode drops.
It is truly my mission to help people upgrade their life, feel better in their own skin and create a life that they love, whatever that means for them, so until next time, keep moving toward better with your unique and amazing personality. Love you all, and I’ll see you soon.
Links mentioned in this show:
Moving Toward Better Website
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Intro and Outro music licensed from Melody Loops.