We have been traveling along an unsustainable path for quite a while, but now we find ourselves racing out of control towards a looming precipice. The recent appointments by President-Elect Trump are an all-out assault on the environment, education, civil rights, LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights and his erratic tweets demonstrate why the Oxford English Dictionary selected “post-truth” as the word of the year.
Only 27% of eligible voters actually voted for Trump, so even if none of the people who voted for him will speak out against these appointments and dangerous proposals (and I think some of them will), there is an overwhelming majority of people who do not support his agenda and are desperately looking for the most effective way to oppose this horrifying trajectory. If you are one of these people, you many want to begin your search by identifying your strengths.
Allison Cook, from the Story of Stuff Project says, “No matter who you are, you have a particular role to play. Not just people with the signs who are angry. We need people to design strategies, write checks, develop new materials, etc. People weren’t seeing themselves as activists and with potential to make change. The quiz seeks to change that mindset.”
This 7-question Changemaker personality quiz is part of an effort to help people to see themselves as integral parts of how change is made. The six potential personalities are: Resister, Networker, Nurturer, Investigator, Communicator, and Builder.
Through this quiz, I discovered (or rather affirmed) that I am a “Networker.” Networkers:
This is definitely true for me as I have spent the last week meeting with friends discussing the possibility of forming an “activist pod” or enlisting in the #lovearmy, and facilitating an Active Hope workshop which is designed for people seeking connection and community.
Another way to identify your strengths is through the Myers-Briggs test. One of my best friends, Carla Rabb DeRosa, credits this test with helping her find her mission in life. She says, “Like many people, I always saw myself as odd or an outsider. With the Myers-Briggs I learned that even though my personality type was statistically more unique than others, the traits that make up my personality were not necessarily problems or shortcomings. In actuality they were very much my strengths and represented hardwiring that I was blessed with. This changed the game for me. No longer did I try to tone down my talkativeness and quiet my enthusiasm. I realized that these are the things that are my strengths! The Myers-Briggs helps us learn who we are so that we can activate our individual spiritual missions.”
I have taken the free test many times and always come up as an ENFJ which is described as, “Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.”
I think my family would argue about my ability to respond to criticism, but otherwise, I feel like this helps to explain why I am drawn to leading groups and teaching workshops (and writing blogs) which help people reach their potential as agents of positive change.
A third type of test is the Enneagram. The Enneagram can be seen as a set of nine distinct personality types. Many people have characteristics in all nine of the types, but usually one of them stands out as being the most true for you. This is called your basic personality type. A free test can be found here. The descriptions often contain shadow sides as well, which are always good to know. However, for the purposes of looking at our strengths, I want to focus on what these traits looks like at their best.
This is my score, which further clarifies my innate gifts:
Type 1, The Reformer: 17
Type 2, The Helper: 26
Type 3, The Achiever: 9
Type 4, The Individualist: 7
Type 5, The Investigator: 6
Type 6, The Loyalist: 12
Type 7, The Enthusiast: 24
Type 8, The Challenger: 23
Type 9, The Peacemaker: 20
The Helper is unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others. The Enthusiast focuses their talents on worthwhile goals, and the Challenger uses their strength to improve others’ lives. Fortunately, the Peacemaker characteristic wasn’t far behind, because I also strive to bring people together and heal conflicts.
In Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken writes that the Earth is a living system and that the vast number of organizations all around the globe that are working for social justice, the environment, and indigenous people’s rights, comprise the Earth’s immune system.
What are your innate super powers and how will you use them to help protect the earth from the challenges we face?