Finding Ourselves in Orange

Post by: Katie Brazeal, 6 & ISTP As defined by Webster, a personality is "the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or group; especially: the totality of an individual's behavioral and emotional characteristics."

God gave each of us unique personalities and character traits. They are such a blessing. Through our personalities, we interact with creation and with God Himself. Even still, our personalities, if misunderstood, can also be our biggest downfall. Everyone has a different view of the world and a different opinion on how things should be done. This stems from our dominant preferences and values. Not grasping these differences can leave us worn out and frustrated. However, beginning to see beauty in the individual can open our eyes to a whole new world.

The second weekend in October, Dennis took all sixteen fellows out to the Pent Farm in Orange, Virginia, to find ourselves.

John Cunningham, no stranger to the Fellows Program, joined us on Saturday morning to work through the Enneagram with us. The Enneagram, a traditionally verbal assessment rooted in the spirituality of the desert fathers, is a personality indicator derived from the seven deadly sins with the addition of deceit and fear. It breaks down into nine different personality types. All nine are found in every person, but every person has a default number. Even still, two people of the same number can look entirely different; it depends on how the qualities associated with that number manifest themselves in the individual.

  1. The Reformer
  2. The Helper
  3. The Motivator
  4. The Romantic
  5. The Thinker
  6. The Skeptic
  7. The Enthusiast
  8. The Leader
  9. The Peacemaker

We discovered that all nine are beautifully represented within our Fellows’ class.

In addition to John, we had another special guest for the weekend: Beth Martin. Beth is the Associate Director of Career Education and Counseling at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and she joined us primarily to work through the MBTI assessment. But on Friday night, she did an activity with us that helped us discover some of our priorities in life.

She gave each of us 100 cards to start with. Each card was printed with a value. Examples included: achieving excellence, being safe, controlling my own life, owning a fine home, using my mind, etc. We were first asked to create three piles with the 100 cards: most valued, medium valued, least valued. From there, we discarded the bottom two piles and solely worked with the “most valued.” We were asked to choose a top ten from this category, and eventually, we narrowed that down to a top three. Through this narrowing down process, we were divided into pairs and asked to talk our partner through the ranking of our values: why we have them, what they mean, where they came from, etc. In the end, all sixteen of us shared our top three with the group. It was very interesting to hear the values people hold and why they feel that way. While a lot of us shared the same goals, it was informative to see how and where people varied.

On Saturday afternoon, Beth gave us the full MBTI run down along with the test results from an assessment we had taken individually prior to the retreat. There was a lot of anticipation preceding this time, but we were strongly encouraged not to put too much stock into “our letters” alone.

There are 16 possible personalities through this assessment. Each personality is a combination of four of the following letters:

E- Extrovert; I- Introvert

S- Sensing; N- Intuition

T-Thinking; F-Feeling

J-Judging; P- Preserving

While learning your own personality preferences and the preferences of others does shed much new light on situations and interactions, the four letters with which you associate should not form a box that you must crawl into and stay in the rest of your life. Your letters are meant to be a freeing association by which you understand yourself better and see areas of great potential. All personalities are useful and necessary. Learning to embrace your talents is a good first step to success.

Coming to recognize some of the unique characteristics of your own and others' personalities can be a wonderful tool to building better relationships... something the Fellows program is helping to teach each of us to do!

A peek into the weekend through pictures: