Yes, I recorded this one twice. The first version didn’t feel like the fun, ad-lib style conversation I’d wanted to have on the topic, so I did record a do-over.
Here’s the podcast that I want you to have, and below it is the trial version (almost 40 minutes worth) with even more personality stuff for you to ponder. I’ll also include some helpful links below, just in case you want to learn your style…
Heavy Breathing Just before Midnight Podcast Episode 5: Authentic Personalities
Here’s the first round of the Personality Podcast:
Podcast 5 Plus: Personality Possibilities
Which did you like better?
Quick Study Sheet:
Choleric = Bossy
Melancholy = Brainy
Phlegmatic = Bee-Able
Sanguine = Busy Body
The descriptions above were determined at a mastermind meeting a while back when we were contemplating writing a childrens book on the topic of personalities. Hmmm, maybe we’ll revisit that thought!
Hi, Sandy Maki here with heavy breathing just before midnight, or sometimes a little bit before, but not too far before since apparently later is when inspiration hits versus earlier.
So today’s topic is going to be personalities. I had actually recorded another talk on personalities a little bit earlier today that I was going to release because I frame a lot of things around personality types and styles of behavior. Just this past weekend, I was helping a friend of mine move and I was joking with a couple of the other people that were helping that this is what it is like to move a melancholy, and I do not use melancholy in any sort of derogatory way, it is just in the personality study that I have learned from, there are 4 personality quadrants which are labeled for the sake of identification: choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic, and sanguine, and it is a really empowering thing to be able to identify where some of our quirks come from, where some of our driving behaviors come from, because then we can look outside of just the person’s behaviors and mannerisms and we can see that this behavior pattern in somebody that is close to us or that we are working with, whether it is a friend, family member, or a client, we can identify where these things come from and we can separate ourselves from taking anything personally because when we know it is their default behavior style that has such a different energy to it than anything else, so today’s topic, which I had tried to record earlier, is about personalities, and I did the segment, tried to publish it, but did not feel authentically me, so I am going to release that as bonus material for anybody who wants to get a little bit more of an in-depth look at personalities, but for now I just want to give you some quick summaries kind of off the cuff so you can have a little bit more of a framework for personalities, because I am sure it will come up quite a bit in our conversations. So the personality study that I am a student of is a study that characterizes people into 4 different quadrants, those quadrants being the choleric, melancholy, phlegmatic, and sanguine. There are a lot of different personality studies out there and they are all relevant in their own way. The one that this particular information comes from was established in about 460 b.c. by Hippocrates of Cos who was a Greek philosopher, and his original thought was that a person’s dominant characteristics come from the majority of the types of fluids they have in their body, so if you do any checking on Wikipedia or anything like that, you will probably run across that study, so this is a really longstanding way of looking at people’s behavior patterns and it is about maybe default behavior patterns because we canal alter our behavior depending on the environment that we are in, the situation, and even the people in our lives, we alter some of our personality based on our surroundings and getting along with those that are closest to us, which is perfectly fine, that is perfectly okay. Taking a look at the personalities is a great thing to do for understanding your view with the world, how other people in your life view their worlds, and then when we take it a step further into entrepreneurship and business it helps us to understand the people that we are doing business with. It helps us to understand how to market to people, what drives people, what is the motivation for buying decisions, how can we best present and communicate our information so that other people will receive it well, so there is just a whole boatload of reasons why it is important to pay attention to this.
Personalities and the studies of people and personalities have been on my radar for quite some time now. I really have to say though that the most impactful piece of this for me is when I could look at my children and when I could understand what was driving them and motivating them and how they were different than me and how they were similar to me all at the same time. I think as parents, especially sometimes, you know we each have our own parenting style and we try to help prepare our children as best we can for the lives that they are going to lead and they don’t come with a guidebook of course, so all the tools that we have to do this are what we personally know, and our personal knowledge, and we could look at the world and we could say that this is the way that it is and everybody is going to interpret the world in the same way I see the world, and when you understand personalities, you learn that is just not the case, something can happen, and it is perceived in 4 completely different way, so the personality study really hit home for me when it came to understanding my children because I do have a daughter who is very much like me and very similar in personality characteristics, and my son is a complete and polar opposite of me, so now that I know what I do know as a result of studying this for quite a while to gain a better sense of perspective about the whole thing. Since I have studies this and sense I have become aware that I can pay attention to what he is doing, it has really allowed me to interpret things in a whole new way, so hopefully a little bit of what I share with you about personalities will be helpful to you in your life, and then will just take it from there.
Here is the 5-minute version of personality studies. Like I said, there are a lot of different ones out there. The one that I will be talking about does have its origins in ancient Greece from Hippocrates and it does identify the 4 quadrants as choleric, melancholy, and phlegmatic, and sanguine. So the easiest way to explain this was actually shared by my business partner. He tells a great story, so I am going to borrow that here and share that with you. To look at the 4 personality types: If there were 4 people walking down the road and they came upon a house that was on fire, the first personality would say, “You! You go call the fire department! You! Find the bucket, get the water, see if anyone is in the house!” They would take control and start directing people around. The second personality would reach into their pocket protector and pull out the calculator where they would start to do the math: At 3,000 gallons per minute then we will be able to put the fire out in X amount of time, and they would have all of the precise calculations and then probably start analyzing the best route to get the water, and yeah, you know how that goes.
The third personality will look at the first two and say, “What can I do to help? Tell me what you need me to?” and you could point them into the direction of the burning house to check for people and they would just march right in. They are loyal, they will take direction, and they are looking for peaceful resolution to a problem, and they just want to help.
The fourth personality will look at the fire and say “Whoo hoo! Let’s get the marshmallows! There is a house that is on fire!” They are always looking for a good time and not afraid to have a little bit of fun. So those 4 personality types would correspond: The driver, the direct personality, the one who takes charge, and starts to direct people around, that is the choleric. The analytic, the person who would grab the calculator and start to make all the figures and analyze the best routes, that would be melancholy. We use the word melancholy not in terms of happy or sad, although the melancholy personality, the one who is analytic and has the great grasp of rhythm and members, a lot of the great artists and musicians are actually melancholy in their dominant personality, which allows them to have such a handle on those patterns that make music and different ways of seeing the world to make art, and a lot of artists and musicians are known for some of their best work during what we could coin as their blue period, because in terms of their emotional cycle, a melancholy is going to have a long, sloping kind of up and down, and when they go up, they are pretty well up and then it I a long ride down until they maybe do hit that blue period a little bit in their lives, and their most creative work comes from being in that space.
The third personality, the one that says “Tell me what you want me to do, I will help out any way that I can,” is the loyal phlegmatic, and the fourth personality, “Whoo hoo! Let’s get the marshmallows!” That is the one who is a sanguine. I would like to use the personality study not to classify or label people, but so we can understand people better and so we can create better ways of communicating and understanding. If things happen, and I could use my son as an example as he is the polar opposite of me, my personality dominant type is usual a choleric followed by sanguine if I am in a network, take-charge situation or maybe more of a melancholy phlegmatic if it is something a little bit more low-key; so my son, who is the exact opposite, is primarily phlegmatic, almost off the charts phlegmatic, with melancholy. So if our house was on fire, he would stop to tie his shoes, and he would not understand what the rush was about, so when we can look at the different personalities and we can understand that any situation is going to result in seeing this from so many different perspectives depending on what your dominant and secondary personality traits are, it just creates a really nice way for us to understand the world and not take offense to things that would normally offend us and just be patient with others and sometimes, you know, if you are in a situation and maybe something happens and it starts to engage your ego and you get a little bit frustrated, it creates some objectivity when you can back up from that situation and say, “I understand why they are taking it this way. I get it. I get that their processing is that they have to go through A and B and C and I get that I start at C and I go C to B to A,” so it creates this new avenue where we can begin to relate to each other in much, much more effective ways. So I want to hit on just a couple positive, really super positive traits for each of these personality traits, and then I do want to also mention some of those opportunities for growth because we as people do have all of these personality traits within us, typically a mix of the 4, and depending on which we kind of default to, that is going to be what our primary and secondary traits are. Under stressful situations, an interesting thing happens, because if we do have all of these, you know, pieces of 4 different personality types within us, typically under normal circumstances we are going to have our primary driver, and that is how we are just going to go through our life. If you are choleric, you are going to be direct, to the point, you are going to be blunt, taking charge, making things happen, and then your secondary characteristic will come into play, and then your third. When you are under stress or things in your life are even more challenging for you than they would normally be, what people do unconsciously a lot of the time is we try our default characteristic, and that does not work, then we deploy the secondary, and if that doesn’t work, we go to the third, and if our last-ditch effort to relieve the stress in our life or to change the situation, if our last ditch effort is the last smallest amount of personality trait that we have, that is where we kind of dig our heels in, because we have no other options. If this does not help me get out of whatever this is or succeed, then I don’t even know what else I would do. So when people are under extreme stress, you will actually see personality shifts, not because they are consciously making a decision to shift their personality, but because A and B and C have not worked, all I have left is D; I better make this happen. So keep that in mind and if you start to notice some of those things in people around you, you can really make a difference by understanding those and really helping them understand a little bit more about what is going on in themselves.
So positive characteristics for each of the personalities, and I will start with the sanguine: The sanguine personality is outgoing, life of the party, typically they hit a room, they will be chatty when they get there, they want to engage, they want to have a great time with a lot of people. If you want to have a fun party, invite the sanguines because they will make it all about them, but they will also make it pretty exciting. Sanguines also have less of a need for personal space than the other personalities, especially in comparison to the melancholy, so if you are a sanguine, you need to make sure you are honoring people’s boundaries and what a normal personal bubble, personal distance space would be for you, you might want to double that, because that might be somebody else’s almost comfortable zone. Sanguines are often the popular ones. They like the enthusiasm and excitement. They like encouraging and uplifting others, and most of all it is about fun, so you want to make sure if you are living or working with a sanguine, and you notice that they are not as happy or bubbly or upbeat as they normally are, there is probably something going on whether it is in the environment or the way that they are thinking, that you can help them. When we help each other bring joy into our lives, we are actually helping to feed that part of the personality that helps make that happen.
So then lets talk about the phlegmatic personality. One of the best traits of the phlegmatic personality is that they are so loyal. Once someone that is phlegmatic is on your team or on your side, they will be loyal. They are the long-distance runners also, whereas other people, like the sanguine, might get a little busy, maybe they forget about things. The phlegmatic will not necessarily be the starter, but they will be the finisher. They are in it for the long haul. A word of caution, if there are people in your life that you know who are phlegmatic, they are very, very loyal but they also have a switch inside of them, and that switch would be the loyalty turn-off switch. If you have a relationship with a phlegmatic, whether it is a client relationship, an employer/employee, or a personal relationship, if something happens where the primary personality of the phlegmatic is called up in front of a crowd or attention is brought to them in a not-so-good way, meaning maybe they feel embarrassed or maybe they just don’t feel comfortable, there is a point of no return where that switch will flip, and where there was once a loyal part of the team, if you have embarrassed or if you have called them out on something, that switch, once it flips, they are done and there is really not much you can do to recover from that, so they are really, really peaceful until you get their back against a wall. Phlegmatics are excellent at staying calm and make great mediators. They do not have to rush to judgment like the choleric does. They like to make sure that everybody is having a good time, so they are very relaxed and comfortable peace-seekers. Very, very genuine as well. One of the major things that a phlegmatic needs versus the sanguine is that the sanguine needs people, needs excitement, needs activity. The phlegmatic really likes that peace and quiet time, so that is something definitely to honor in that personality.
Melancholies. Let’s talk about melancholies. One of my favorite personality types for a number of reasons. One of which is that a melancholy personality are actually the ones who really likes spreadsheets, think that the entire world can be organized on an excel spreadsheet. This is really awesome unless you don’t like details or spreadsheets, which cholerics mostly don’t like details and spreadsheets, so I think we are really, really glad that there are people in this world who do. So melancholies are the analytic. They are great at paying attention to detail, explaining things, doing things in the right way. They don’t want to buck the system, although they might analyze the system. Excellent with numbers, charts, and grafts. Pretty sensitive and pretty intuitive to the needs of other people, and they are pretty articulate. Typically, a melancholy is going to pay close attention to spelling and grammar, and if things like that are off-base, whether it is in emails or websites, the melancholy is the personality that is going to go through your website and send you every single page where you have spelling errors and the proper way to correct them, so you know, that is a great and awesome gift to be giving the world. We need more of that. Of course, in my life, I come across a lot of people and a lot of different avenues, whether it is entrepreneurship, small business, and a lot of different things, and the ones that are closest to me, especially that fall into the melancholy category know that if you ever say, ooh come into this room and look at the white board and look at the diagram that I drew for you, they kind of know that that is not my favorite thing, but when we understand and when I understand that other people have different personality characteristics that are strong needs in them, then I know to kind of meet halfway and take the time to look at the diagram on the whiteboard and then in turn the melancholies know that I really do not need all of those details, so we come to a happy place instead of one where it was lopsided and we just don’t understand each other.
Last but not least, lets talk about the choleric personality and some of the plusses. The choleric personality is great at kind of taking charge, making quick decisions, not letting a lot of things kind of hold them up. They give quick and clear instructions; however, in the haste to give quick and clear instruction, sometimes they don’t take the time to make sure that everybody else understands. A choleric in their desire to get things done often kind of run over people in the process, because if a choleric says maybe “I would like you to file this report or make this phone call,” it does not mean sometime later, next week, when you feel like, it means “I wanted it done already.” So that is one of those maybe impatient, urgent kind of things that the choleric has a default characteristic that really no one of the other personalities have, so again, whether your are a choleric or you are any of the other personalities and you are in a situation with the choleric, the choleric needs to know to give clear instructions with clearly defined deadlines and make sure that it is being communicated properly, and then the other personalities, you know, the sanguine really needs to kind of pay attention to that. Phlegmatic is just going to be loyal and get it done, and then melancholy is going to need to know, you know, that we have to buffer the details and make sure that we kind of wrap this around getting the task done.
So there are lots of effective ways that these personalities can work together, and of course, if you don’t understand this and if maybe you do understand it but the person on the other side of the equation does not understand it, it can make for some not so awesome interactions. It is really, really cool and if you do more reading up on the subject, a book that I would recommend is Personality Plus by Florence Littauer, kind of a really common sense guide to the 4 personality types, as I have kind of talked about here, it is a great guide. If you do a little bit more reading and understanding of this, then as the situations come up in your life, you will be able to look at them and analyze it in a little bit more of an objective way. I probably a dozen times a week end up having a conversation with someone or I look at some situation and I say well, wow, where did that come from, or why did that happen, and then if I think about it and I say okay, so I understand that this person is coming from this perspective, and here is their default personality, whether they know it or not, this is where they take their cues for behavior from, this is completely why they are doing it and I get it, so I can make the decision of, you know, maybe I will change something on my end so that we can communicate better, or in some cases, depending on what is going on, maybe I will even bring that to attention, say, “I realize that you and I aren’t quite seeing the same thing on this, and here is where I am coming from, here is what is important to me, and I am guessing that this is where you are coming from, but why don’t you tell me a little bit more.” So it’s a great way to kind of wrap that whole discussion together.
I felt that it was important to give you this discussion of personalities tonight just a little bit because it does play such a huge part in everything we do, and I do not think that we are introduced to the personalities early enough or I guess maybe pay attention to it enough, or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I just missed personality understanding day in life until I was ready for it, which, you know, that happens sometimes too. Anyway, it was important to me so I felt that it was important to you, and I would encourage you to explore a little bit more about the personalities, maybe figure out where you fall into these quadrants, look at some of your awesome traits and look at some of your not-so-awesome traits, and see how you can blend them to make your world a better place. It is kind of funny. I had recorded the other personality segment earlier, and it did not feel quite right to me, and then my choleric personality as a default would say, “Oh, just go ahead and release it anyways because I’m not perfect and it is just what came to mind and it is what I had to say.” It was a little too haphazard for me, the way that I put it together, and it did not come across as positive as I would have liked it to, so choleric is also overly critical, and yes, I am working on that each and every day to make sure that I make my world a better place.
So on that note, until next time… Make it a good one!