A video I posted on YouTube which showcases a wonderful ESFJ received the following comment.

I test as an ESFJ. However, I can also be an ISFJ depending up on the situation. Anyone else feel like this?

Because this idea comes up so often I wanted to address it. So here goes the short answer and the “more than you asked for” response.

The Short Answer
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessment inventory sorts your responses so that the end result is one preference or the other. Think ON or OFF – like a light switch you are either this/ or you are that. This means that for each of the four preferences you are either Extraverted or Intraverted, Sensing or Intuitive, Thinking or Feeling, Judging or Perceiving. (BTW the official MBTI tool has been tested for reliability and validity whereas the quizzes you can find free online may not be reliable.)

Of course we all use all of aspects in these pairs. We simply have a preference for one of each pair. Your environment, interests or life experience may call on you to develop the other side of the preference pair but that doesn’t mean that you switch from being one type to another. That is you don’t go from being ESFJ one day to ISFJ another, You are still ESFJ – only one with more versatility.

If you are still with me and want to know why this matters read on…

More Answer Than You Asked For
In the 4 letter code that describes your type eg ESFJ the 4 preferences work together like the ingredients in a recipe.

Just as flour, sugar, eggs and butter mix together to produce cookies, cupcakes, or tarts. Once these are mixed and baked you can’t go back and switch from one raw ingredient to another.

What the 4 letter code does is identify the order of the use of the functions. For instance the dominant function for the ESFJ is Extraverted Feeling. Feeling indicates that people with this preference make decisions based on values and the effect on the people. When Sensing is Extraverted as it is with ESFJ the focus is on the outer world – deciding if something is acceptable or will work for others.

Contrast that with ISFJ who has a dominant function of Introverted Sensing. Those with a preference for Sensing prefer to take in information using tangible experiences and data. When Sensing is Introverted as it is with ISFJ the person will first review past experiences and what detailed information will allow them to accumulate all the known data.

You can see that there is a different kind of energy between and ESFJ and ISFJ . They will focus their time, energy resources in different ways that go well beyond sometimes being a little more Introverted than Extroverted.

Fascinating stuff if I do say so myself!!!

Category : MBTI Facts | Video | Blog

Over the last month the situation in Darfur has been on my mind. This war torn part of Sudan in has seen many refugees escape to camps in neighbouring Chad. The women are caught in a vicious cycle of violence best described as torture. They have virtually no rights and those who keep them from speaking on their own behalf are often living in the same camps. This video below is one of many that highlights their blight.

This month I have been participating in a fund-raising effort that centers on dancing for 15 minutes a day. I really liked the idea of doing something and having it be an uplifting activity that might translate into something uplifting for the women.

One thing that struck me and has stayed with me are the number of reports that describe what is happening to these nameless women. Of course it is pointed out that it is simply too dangerous for them to be named but I can’t help thinking about the other implications of that. Who are we without our name? Is this nameless lumping of these individuals under the generic grouping “women” further robbing them of something essential and personal.

When I danced I gave these women names and faces. Sometimes dancing for Aisha and sometimes for Fareeda or another of her sisters. Thinking of the plight of these women every day for a month left a lasting impression of sadness and anger at the injustice of this situation … yet joy at being part of some small action.

I occasionally hear that people don’t appreciate being labeled as one personality type or another but I have never heard of anyone happy being called the wrong name. Imagine the only reference to your identity being the label woman of Canada or Englishman or American woman.

Recognition of our individuality, our uniqueness always trumps any insight that might be gleaned by looking at common traits of any group. First and foremost we are the only of us – ever and that is what matters.

Category : Personal | Video | Blog

Life Coach Yost posted a great piece on INTJ humour which was too good not to pass on. This post features the Intel commercial below which is funny in itself. What I enjoyed about Yost’s post, MBTI geek that I am, is the way Lauren, a self- disclosed INTJ talks about the video clip. There is nothing like hearing things first hand.

I did a workshop for an intact team that had a predominance of INTJ’s and they were very silent during the session. During a break one of the participants assured me that they were hilarious but that with my ENFP sensibilities I just might not “get it.”

Category : MBTI Facts | Uncategorized | Video | Blog

Can we learn from others?

My response is YES as long as we translate their process to adapt to our own strengths, natural motivation and preferences.

I wrote a previous blog post in response to an email question I received but my answer wasn’t what Sandra was asking. Below is my second response. My painting process has developed through some self-observation, through trying to work with my Enneagram Six tendency for self-doubt and it may be a portrait of an ENFP in action. I trust that Sandra, who asks the question below will find one piece in this ramble to “translate” into how she can paint “Ideas” her way.

After reading your blog post, I understand what you were talking about although that wasn’t what I was asking. I understand you are saying you could use an idea rather than an object as subject matter. But I was asking specifically about your process of getting that idea onto canvas. For example, if you were going to paint “hatred” would you sketch it out, work it out first, think about it or would you just stand in front of a blank canvas and “feel” or intuit your way through it? In other words, how do you translate concept into visual.

I have more than one way in. I suppose I do all of what you suggested but I vary the order depending on the circumstance. I go by what feels right in the moment. This can be influenced by the weather, the amount of sleep I’ve had the people who are around, the materials I have on hand etc. Forcing things doesn’t work for me.

Often something I read or write or learn about sparks an idea. The shapes and colours may come full blown or I may work them out ahead of time. The times I try to work them out on canvas are either a roaring success or a big flop. It might work to go straight to canvas at the end of a long day of painting when I am open and warmed up.

* For Inner Landscapes 1 I had a clear outcome in mind – which was to capture the essence of each of the 16 Reiss desires so that people could add the image to the description of the desire and enhance their understanding. I wanted them to look and be able to say “YES That’s me.” or “NO way.”
* For my Inner Landscapes 2 show I also wanted people to engage with the MBTI in order to deepen their understanding and anchor it in their memory. I had coaching clients come to the gallery and sketch their interpretation of a concept such as Introversion and I used those sketches as a jumping off spot for about 1/3 of the 33 paintings – then I filled in the other components with my interpretation which evolved from what the clients started.





* For some things like Introversion- I then ask myself what would the opposite of something I have done -feel like, look like. How would I paint Extroversion to have the opposite energy? This is something that I do quite often – eg 2 paintings-1 of the word MORE called “too Much is Not Enough” and One of the word LESS called “Less is More” – humour is big for me and it is often there but not explicit. I change colour, texture etc. to show the difference
* I often ask a question something like ” I know I want to paint about X so what do I want to say?” and then let things percolate for a few days until something comes to me –
* Then I might try some ideas out in a series of one minute sketches – I like to go from sketch to painting pretty quickly while the feeling state is alive for me. Everything I do is part of a coherent whole eg standing, using a big brush and big gestures for a painting about a concept like freedom that calls for that way of painting. Painting intimacy might be suited to a different size brush, different palette and a different physical posture – perhaps sitting and doing more considered and careful brushwork

* I often have a big back story going on for me while I paint. This video above shows an example of 2 paintings that I did for a show to be curated by Moses Znaimer on the Last Taboo (which is aging acc to Moses). You can see that I was in the country and that being in nature influenced my thinking and my images. What I wanted to paint didn’t get fully expressed so I just found myself exploring Twitter to see what people in general thought about aging. One thing led to another and I ended up doing a twitter background created from 2 other paintings. The canvas panel from the printed jpegs of the Twitter search is blanket stitched on because to me that was a funny juxtaposition of some hand craft I learned as a kid which could be considered something old fashioned and the new element of Social media. There are a hundred little thoughts and connections and reasons why things are the way they are in these paintings that I can’t express – I tried in a blog post and got 1/4 of what I was thinking – having to explain it takes some of the fun and magic out of the process for me – I love the PROCESS – the end result needs to be OKAY in other words I want to be somewhat proud of the art but it isn’t the exciting thing for me – the process of expressing something is where the charge is. If people have a reaction that is a bonus – I am even more pumped if they have a completely different story going on for them than the one I made up. It’s all about engagement for me.

Sixteen MBTI types

Sixteen MBTI types

* For the 16 MBTI type paintings I had certain things that I wanted to express – In one of the 16 type paintings I used a series of blocks expressing order and the colour of those arranged in a pyramid shape to represent hierarchy for the ESTJ. I used the red colour for the SP types because they are so physical and because different temperament tools use red or orange for those types

* I have thoughts, ideas, theories and then once I start to paint I surrender to the process of making marks and putting paint on paper or canvas. The physicality of the process is so pleasurable – put paint on take paint off, go with the happy accidents and try to be bold and open to what wants to happen at the same time. There is a real paradox in the painting process.
* Sometimes the initial gesture is about my idea and then the painting takes on a life of its own. I surrender to the textures and shapes as they emerge on the canvas so that the end result is a surprise. At this point in my development as an artist, I trust that I know when to bail or when to keep on until I have a semblance of something worthwhile.

Category : creativity | Personal | Video | Blog

Last week Denise Wakeman send a personalized video to a select group of mentees. .. me included. We are nearing the end of a year long program with the Blog Squad and Denise was giving us a fourth quarter pep talk.

I am telling you this for two reasons: one is to give you an example of the gifts of the Denise’s MBTI preferences and the other is to give you a couple of great ideas for your own business success.

A  message from an ISTJ  in three clear concise points:

Denise has a self-identified preference for ISTJ. True to the gifts of the dominant Introverted Sensing function of her type Denise distilled ten months worth of discussion into three simple points. She gave encouragement to engage in three daily activities all directed toward an end goal that has been our focus of attention – that of  building online visibility. These activities were specific and Denise included the details of “how to” do each one. They were all things that we had discussed in previous phone calls and teleseminars and they were all things that we could measure.

One of these items was to post to our blogs consistently. Denise also suggested using a schedule so that we planned our posts perhaps having a few different categories of posts that we offered on a regular basis. For example tips on one day, stories and lighter fare on another day etc.

I am sharing this here because of the three tips Denise gave this  blogging schedule tactic will be the biggest challenge for my ENFP “in the momentness”.  As for the rest of the tips may I direct you to the source – to Denise and Patsi. If you are in business for yourself you really ought to know them.


Also if you are in business period-of any kind -taking a page from the gifts of Introverted Sensing will give your work habits a boost. The ISTJ is realistic about their work. They can estimate the time and resources required and manage them well so that they see the project through to completion.

The power and punch of a personalized video

I also wanted to mention the impact of Denise’s personalized video. What a great way to connect with clients, colleagues and potential business partners. I could see Denise’s sincerity. Her message was clear and compelling -especially for me since I use both Visual and Auditory cues in learning and this way of communicating gave both. It also was unexpected and showed a real commitment to our success that an email alone wouldn’t convey.

Thanks Denise – I’ll report back about the scheduling aspect of blog posting – it might take another video.

Category : Best practices | MBTI Facts | Video | Blog

A conversation this week on Facebook with Danielle Poirier has given me a jolt – in a good way – because it was a chance to remember what really matters to me. The bottom line is that Danielle has reminded me of the intrinsic wholeness in human beings and how the MBTI can be approached as viewing a living system. This perspective inspires and elevates the territory bringing “dare I say” soul into the discussion.

Danielle Poirier is a creative leader and an expert teacher in the world of psychological type. Her creation called the Magnificent 16 which is a compilation of “Paintings, drawings and pictures … woven together in animations that define the heart and soul of each personality type: its dominant function.”

How our conversation started was that Danielle was commenting on a video I did on an ESTP – Linda Lundstrom. She pointed out how this clip captured Extraverted Sensing in action. In contrast my approach in Inner Landscapes II focuses on looking at the four dichotomies of the preferences and not on looking as much at whole type.

What Danielle is getting at is that each MBTI type is more than a sum of the parts of it’s 4 letter code – an ESTP is more than E + S + T + P. This can give some valuable information but misses the beauty of the whole . By looking at the whole type we can see how the language, rhythms and music of the dominant function (in the case of the ESTP – Extraverted sensing) contributes to a unique and wonderful portrait.

This is not the first time I have had this conversation with alone within myself as well as with my colleagues at Context Consulting about the importance of remembering the whole and the limitations of a focusing on the parts.

My Facebook chat with Danielle opened a door to the excitement of taking a new look at type starting with the whole. This deeper dive into what it means to be human inspires and uplifts. As it says on Danielle’s bio.

It tells each one of us that we belong, that we have a purpose in being, that we have something unique and wonderful to contribute that is essential to the whole — whether the whole is a family, a classroom, a business, a neighbourhood or a nation.

Category : MBTI Facts | Uncategorized | Video | Blog

This ENFP has a big heart and it shows. In this video Jen talks about the importance of people and community in her life and work. Jen is active in the community and supporting issues important to her. I am sure that any work that engages Jen will be in alignment with her values.

The sub-text here is also typical of ENFP – clearing the bookshelf in her old room at home 13 years after leaving home.

Category : MBTI Facts | Video | Blog

The title of the post might be a tad misleading as this could be the 112th way to apply knowledge of type but it is more likely the 3011th way.

I use it in paintings that I call “Insight Portraits”.

Four years ago I convened an evening where I gathered what I dubbd my “Board of Directors” – six people plus a facilitator plus my husband. I was in a purely observer role. The intention of this dinner event was to help me integrate my art and my coaching (which iincludes using personality assessment tools such as the MBTI.) Part of making this a valuable process was in deciding who to ask to help. My goal was to get a cross-section of people from the art world and from the world of business – some I knew well and people who were recent acquaintances. I had an artist, 2 gallery owners, 3 consultants, a business owner and a senior executive.

At the end of the evening I gave each person an abstract painting that captured an aspect of them that I admired and which also was part of the reason why I asked for their counsel.

One of the consultants, upon seeing her personalized painting, advised that “This was it.” – a unique way to do a discovery process of current conditions and to capture and anchor it in a visual image. “Insight Portraits” were born.

These videos show two of the latest paintings. Knowing type is very helpful in that I can very quickly understand what might be important to include. These videos are a way of communicating with the client to see if the image is on a course that matches their intent.

This first video is for someone who I suspect is NT and the second is for a family of where 3 of the 4 siblings were most likely sensing. One painting is more abstract and the other more specific.

Category : creativity | Video | Blog

I couldn’t resist sharing this snippet. In the nature / nurture argument my response is always YES to both. However this clip could sway me to support that there are somethings simply hardwired in.

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Category : Perspectives | Video | Blog

Action may be this ESTP’s middle name. Get a glimpse into the creative process of dynamic, engaging Canadian Fashion icon, Linda Lundstrom. You will see a workspace designed for someone on the move – including a stand-up desk. Linda is as creative and innovative in her approach to manufacturing high quality products as she is in designing for real women. She runs on high octane and her energy and enthusiasm are contagious.

Category : MBTI Facts | Video | Blog