In anticipation of taking your 16 personalities test, might we recommend these 2 podcast episodes that refer specifically to this test and talk about the fluidity of personality as well as the intricacies of each characteristic:
How Personality Shapes Your Life
Are you a Feeler or a Thinker?
Now please meet your coaches:
Julie: ESTJ-A (Executive)
Alison: ISTJ-A (Logistician)
Laura: INFP-A (Mediator)
Below, we described each characteristic of our personality archetypes based on the following questions that you may also be interested in considering for your own archetypes: For each distinction, does the description provided resonate with you? What does it tell you about yourself that you were or were not aware of? How can you maximize training/racing/life given the particularities of the tools you have at your disposal? Is it more helpful to maximize your strengths or lean into the discomfort of your weaknesses or both?
JULIE: ESTJ-A (Executive)
Extroverted: I use my E to surround myself with others in a sport that can be individual, so I am not alone. As a coach, I am naturally chatting and helping others as I can. I am that athlete talking to everyone in transition, post-race, on the course. Place me in a large group of like-minded people; that is my jam.
Observant: My head is on a bobble; what is happening around me, and how does that affect me? Very helpful in races and in training to assess the situation.
Judging: This encapsulates my approach to most of life. I know what I want and when I want it, whether that be where to ride or what to eat. I like to plan Saturday’s ride on a Monday, and with that what I will be eating on Friday. Never will I “wing” a ride or a run, I don’t ever want to “see where this road goes” And surprises, no thank you!
“Judging individuals are decisive, thorough and highly organized. They value clarity, predictability and closure, preferring structure and planning to spontaneity”
Assertive: This goes hand in hand with E/O, not afraid to find out what is up, to ask why the race is delayed, why the workout has not started.
Control is not listed here but goes hand in hand. I am not a control freak, but I like to “drive” when, where, and how. I want to ensure it works for everyone. I am the planner, but I use O and T when in this role.
ALISON: ISTJ-A (Logistician)
Introvert: This doesn’t surprise me but it does surprise some people who know me. I can be social – and I enjoy being social (with people I already know!) – but I definitely need quiet in order to recharge. With training, this means that I lean pretty strongly toward doing my workouts on my own, rather than finding groups for running and cycling (I do love my masters swim group!). I think this works well for me most of the time, but I do end up missing out on that extra push that group workouts can offer. Also, six hour rides do get lonely, even for introverts!
Observant & Thinking: These two traits feel very tied together to me. Practical and actionable + logic and reason = how I operate. It makes sense, then, that I gravitate toward training strategies and workouts that are proven, grounded, and tied directly toward specific outcomes.
Judging: My husband says that I can be very spontaneous … on 7 days’ notice. And it’s hilarious because it’s totally, completely accurate. Being almost religious about following my training plan helps me to be really consistent, but it can also get me into trouble. I’m not great at listening to my body when it needs impromptu rest and (although I won’t admit it) I practically start twitching when life throws a monkey-wrench into my perfectly laid out plan for the upcoming days or weeks.
Assertive: This one is pretty interesting. I can totally see it play out in how I set race goals: very practically, based on what I’ve accomplished in recent training, versus aspirationally. I’m more comfortable defining a stretch goal as the best outcome I can realistically expect, rather than as an “I can’t even imagine that” kind of goal.
Overall I think there are ways that my personality type serves me well in training and racing, but also some areas where it limits me. My biggest challenge in stretching to engage in different ways is that the areas where I’d be most served in doing that are also the areas where I most strongly identify with one trait over the other. Knowing that these traits are preferences rather than fixed mindsets, though, gives me the opportunity to evolve. Maybe I’ll surprise my husband one day and be spontaneous on only 24 hours’ notice! 😉
LAURA: INFP-A (Mediator)
Introvert: I am 90% introverted, which was a highly unsurprising finding. I absolutely adore alone time. I know that I am at risk of completely shutting out the world around me and residing only in my own dreamland. I also know that training with other people is an undeniable way to become a better athlete. So when I put these 2 things together, training partners keep me engaged with the world outside, motivate me, push me, and don’t actually talk that much since they’re either breathing hard or under water.
Intuitive: The definition of intuitive provided by the test is a good description for me: “ imaginative and open-minded, focusing on hidden meanings and distant possibilities.” I don’t get caught up in binaries such as success vs. failure or good vs. bad because there’s just too much juicy depth in the in-between and underneath. This gives me space to carve out my own measures of success and to see and feel the vast web of interconnections flowing between my athletic pursuits, my unending quest for growth and expansion, the ever-evolving universe, the enchantment of nature… what was I talking about? As you might guess, this can all be pretty distracting and often pulls me away from focusing on the simplicity of what is – which is its own kind of beauty. Therefore, I have to set up a lot of boundaries for myself in order to get done what I want to get done. And I also have to give myself time to be unfocused so that I can be imaginative and creative and most importantly: lost.
Feeling: Few things fire me up more than our culture’s over-reliance on logic to explain and define phenomena that have nothing to do with linearity. The interpretation of the creation myth of Adam and Eve is the one other example I can think of that maddens me to such an extremity, but that’s a story for another day. Feeling is an unobjectionable, often overlooked source of data that puts you in direct communication with your body. Feeling puts you in direct contact with the present moment, compared to thinking which is entirely abstract (in your head). I rely on this information for training, for racing, for recovery, for answers to my most pressing questions about what to do and where to go, for my relationship to the natural world, for grounding, for centering, for everything. Sure, thinking is important too. But it’s far less interesting.
Prospecting: My prospecting quality makes me flexible and adaptable when it comes to dealing with unexpected challenges. Rules and structure mainly make me feel trapped and dead inside (although I do recognize that they can be useful for operating in the “real” world – whatever that means). This trait benefits me because my natural inclination is to see obstacles as opportunities. I am at my best when plans change and structure breaks down. This is highly useful in endurance since the longer the timeline, the more likelihood of obstacles and therefore, more opportunities to respond to my environment rather than trying to control it, which I have absolutely no interest in.
Assertive: Assertive people are defined as stress-resistant, even-tempered, and self-assured, which are some of the first qualities you might notice about me. What this looks like for me is that I know who I am, and I’m not inclined to attach judgments to my “good” or “bad” qualities, which is related to my non-binary ways of perceiving. If I have what someone else might see as a “bad” workout or race, I can see it for what it is underneath the binary in order to celebrate it as its own thing, not compared to someone else’s standard of success, and to learn from the ways in which I may or may not want to repeat a set of outcomes.