Personality Priorities

If you find any of the common personality typologies – such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Social Styles, Enneagram, and so on – useful, you might appreciate the insights offered by the Personality Priorities. One of the best things about it, is assessment takes less than 1 minute. All you do is pick your least favorite pair of words from this list:

  • Criticism and Ridicule
  • Hassles and Rejection
  • Pain and Stress
  • Unimportance and Meaninglessness

Done? Take your time. Some people find it easy to choose quickly, while others will narrow down the choices more carefully.

Here’s a very brief excerpt on the 4 styles. Keep in mind that few people are 100% any one style, but rather a blend. Can you pick out yourself? Family members? Friends or coworkers?

If you most want to avoid: Criticism and Ridicule Hassles and Rejection Pain and Stress Unimportance and Meaninglessness
Then your style is: Control Pleasing Comfort Superiority
And you try hard to… Control self or environment (others) Please others Feel comfortable Be very competent, the best
Your strongest talents: Leader, Organized, Productive Friendly, Considerate, Non-Aggressive Easy-Going, Peacemaker, Undemanding Knowledgeable, Precise, Idealistic
When stressed, you over-use your strengths and feel… Anger Anxiety Weary Depression
And the price you pay is… More social distance Loss of sense of self Reduced productivity Feeling over-burdened
Reaction of others (+ … –): To rely on you … or feel challenged by you To feel pleased … or exasperated To feel at-ease … or annoyed To feel respected … or inferior

With only 4 categories, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that each type consists of fairly broad goals and traits that influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Yet they are surprisingly distinct. Many of my clients report that the Personality Priorities is a rich source of self-knowledge.

Personality Priorities

Personality Priorities: Can you guess which animal represents each style?

I’ve had to leave a fair bit of detail out, including the sections on the best Stress Busters for each type. These are the ways to move from using the weakness side of your style back to the strength behaviors. Also, knowing how different pairings interact in long-term love relationships can help you predict and defuse potential conflicts.

By taking note of the Personality Priority of those around us, we can more compassionately flex toward their styles, or at least see their behavior as valid for them, and not pathological.

I’ve seen all the styles among the clients I work with, and most of the pairings in my couple counseling. When we’ve included this system as part of the counseling process, clients report it’s helped them tap into the creativity and strength of their own style, fall less often into overusing their stressed coping, and be more accepting and appreciative of their partner’s style.