This month, I’m doing a series on the four personality types of the DISC Profile. Last week, we discussed the Determined “D” type (you can read about it here) and this week we’re going to talk about Interactive “I’s”.
(I received some of the following information from the book Different Children, Different Needs by Charles F. Boyd as well as from a life coaching course I took with the Christian Coaching Institute.)
We All Are Awesome, and We All Can Grow
It’s important to remember that all personality types are equally good and all have strengths and weaknesses. It’s also interesting to note that there is a lot of agreement that personality types are more or less in-born and thought to be influenced by our genes. Yes, our environment certainly greatly influences the way we express our personality (or we may even suppress aspects of our personality or go to extremes if we didn’t grow up in a thriving environment).
But it’s also very possible (thankfully) to heal and learn and develop our personalities— with God’s help– so we can become more and more of our best selves. But our basic preferences in life don’t really change that much; and that’s okay, because we all are really well-designed just the way we are.
For example, I am an introvert. Though I used to think I was an extrovert (what was I thinking? I guess it’s easy to get these things mixed up), I’ve always needed lots of quiet time to feel energized and I usually feel uncomfortable being the center of attention for extended periods of time. Though I have grown much more confident in many social situations, it was comforting to learn that it’s okay to feel this way… I’ll always need quiet time to relax and feel good, and may not ever absolutely love the spotlight, and that’s fine with me.
Now let’s talk about the personality type that is represented by the “I” in DISC.
“I’s” can be described as interactive with and influencing of other people. They are a fun-loving, spontaneous, and talkative type. I’s love to be with people–they get their energy from them and generally thrive in social situations. They’ll often be the ones doing the most talking in a group, and they don’t mind being the center of attention. I’s influence people less by telling them what to do, and more by being their “winsome” selves.
My Husband, For Example
My husband, though predominantly a “D”, also seems to have lots of “I” in him. He has lots of friends that he likes to get together with regularly, and he loves to tell everyone funny stories about this or that, often throwing some silly twists in to make people laugh. He is generally accepting of others, and makes them feel welcome. He is also quite optimistic about life and he doesn’t like to think too much about the serious stuff in life. I love it that he likes to spend time playing on the floor with my nearly two-year-old, and he actually seems to enjoy the toys more than my son does, sometimes.
My Son, For Example
A child who is an “I” is similar. They get their energy from people, so need to be with them regularly. Of course, this doesn’t mean that an “I” doesn’t benefit from quiet time, as well. I’s may just have a harder time being quiet for long periods of time, and really need social outlets. My son seems to also be a high I (as well as a high D–see last week’s post.) Most of the time, he’s happy to give strangers a smile as we pass them on the street, and he gets extremely excited when he sees his friends and their moms pull up in our driveway.
Though Clayton now plays by himself much longer than he ever used to (since he’s currently an only child), he still has a tendency to want quite a bit of attention when at home. I’ve read that the really social types can be draining on their mom–because I happen to be his social outlet a lot of most days. Though I do try to get out every day or invite people over so that Clayton gets his social time, I decided recently to put him in daycare three times a week (I know–crazy–a stay at home mom with a kid in daycare).
He seems to enjoy it so much there, and I’m getting the quiet time I need to work on quiet, focused stuff, like life coaching. By the way, if you are a stay-at-home mom with an only child who is an “I” and you don’t want to, or can’t afford to, put him/her in childcare, please don’t worry. There are many ways to help your “I” child get the social time with you and others that he or she needs. This just worked well for me.
Amazing Strengths… and Also those Weaknesses
All types of personalities have strengths and weaknesses, and so does the sociable, fun-loving “I”. For example, it’s great to have “I’s” in our circle of friends and family who enliven our get-togethers with their interesting stories and make us laugh, but it can be tempting for them at times to monopolize conversations, forgetting to ask others questions about their lives and let others share the spotlight.
Also, their love for fun is truly valuable and keeps life from getting dull (isn’t it cool that God made some people who will keep life from getting dull?) but “I’s” also need to learn, at times, to address the more serious issues in life, as well as the duller things–such as keeping their rooms somewhat clean (just don’t look at mine, either, k?). Also, their gift for making friends can also lead to a tendency for “I’s” to be tempted to give into peer pressure to avoid rejection.
But like I said, we all have strengths and weaknesses, and the good news is that with God’s help we can capitalize on our strengths and strengthen our weaknesses to some degree. I’s can become better listeners, more able to address the serious things in life, and be more able to resist peer pressure well and take a stand. These are some great things we can begin teaching our “I” kids, while at the same time enjoying their antics and having lots of fun with them.
I’m not naturally an “I”, so I am thankful for the I’s in my life that have brought me more laughter (including the ability to laugh at myself more easily), more fun (since I have a tendency to focus on serious things a lot of the time), and more social time (which stretches me in a good way). Hopefully, I’ll continue to learn from them, as well as perhaps help them benefit from my “S/C” tendencies as well (more on those personality types in the next two weeks).
**If you’d like some help figuring out your personality type, as well as coaching in capitalizing on your strengths and working on your weaknesses, I offer sets of 4 coaching sessions in which you can choose what areas you’d like to grow in and we’ll go from there. You can find a description here.
How about you? Do you see any “I” tendencies in yourself or others? What other strengths and weaknesses do you think “I’s” have? How can you capitalize on your “I” strengths and perhaps work on your weaknesses? How do you think you can get along better with the “I’s” in your life?