What labels are you wearing?

Optimist Pessimist Realist OpportunistBy now, many of you will have already completed a number of psychometric tests during your studies and career. So what are you?

  • ENTJ, ISFP or any other Myers-Briggs personality type?
  • Implementer, Team worker, Shaper or any of the other Belbin Team Roles?
  • Pragmatist, Activist, Reflector or Theorist?
  • Democrat or autocrat?
  • Manager or Leader?

And even without psychometrics, you’ve probably defined yourself in certain ways:

  • Father, Mother, Husband, Wife, Partner
  • Introvert or extrovert
  • Rebel or conformist
  • Conservative, Labour or Liberal

I saw the photo above in a friend’s Facebook post this morning and it reminded me of how so often we define ourselves by the labels that we pin upon us. Psychometrics can be useful; they can provide a description of how you behave. And at the same time, having completed numerous profiles myself I wonder how many of them either revealed something that you didn’t already know about yourself or fundamentally changed your life? Or did they just give you an excuse to justify the way that you are?

“Of course I do things that way. I’m an ENTJ don’t you know”

“I won’t learn anything unless it’s hands on, fast and furious”

“Me? Stand in front of an audience and present? That isn’t what introverts do!”

As you think through the way that you live your life and interact with the world, what opportunities might you be missing out on by continuing to live according to your label? What if you decided to listen more? To sit and reflect? To listen to your team for once? To deliver a short presentation? To support that local cause even though it wouldn’t be what you would normally do?

This month, think about the labels that you’re wearing right now. How are they shaping the way that you behave? Your relationships? Your career? Your personal development? Where you focus your attention?

And as an experiment, try doing something different within the next 30 days that is counter to your label. You may just be surprised at the results that you get!

And whilst you’re at it: Live and Love Your Life!