July 2 2015

A Melancholy Makes Decisions 03:12 pm

Once we discover that our temperament has something to do with where we are in life, we often panic and want things to change.  I got this letter from a reader –

“Please help!!!! I am a MelPhleg (Melancholy Phlegmatic  or High C, High S in DiSC) with a number of Choleric traits underlying my personality.  I am currently an Occupational Therapist and miserable.  I feel like I am drowning in paperwork and sit on my butt all day.  This is not a good recipe for a “doer”.  I have been thinking about a career change.  I am thinking about being a photographer in the military.  Of course I am analyzing this to death.  I am reading all information I can get my fingers on, seeing a career counselor now, and plan on talking to a recruiter in the near future.

I was wondering if you have any additional advise for me and my situation?”

My answer – First off, s-l-o-w down.  You are going to blow a gasket!  A Melancholy Phlegmatic (High C, High S) is a detailed person who doesn’t feel the need to force their style on others.  The Melancholy has the need to analyze and the Phlegmatic has the tendency to worry which is probably causing some of this anxiety.  If you determine in your (choose your term – heart, innermost self) that you need to change then you’ve already begun some of the steps.

Don’t let your anxiety push you to a decision too quickly but don’t let your Choleric pieces (Driver) push you into a decision you are unsure of.  Finally, and somewhat in contradiction to what I just wrote, there IS NO perfect career/life answer and the thing that is our passion today becomes a job tomorrow.  Whatever you choose to do, make sure you maintain activites that bring balance to your life overall.  Best wishes and let me know if you have further questions.

Why Am I Taking the DiSC? 02:53 pm

There’s a scene from the Big Bang Theory where Penny asks Sheldon to teach her physics.  He begins with “It’s a warm summer night in ancient Greece . . .” so I figured I’d start there too.

The ancient Greeks thought that a person’s personality was influenced by “humours” which were a variety of different fluids in the body.  A Choleric was driven, a Sanguine was outgoing, a Melancholy was critical and a Phlegmatic was calm.

We still see that each individual has an inborn temperament type which has been codified in many ways; one of which is the DiSC test.  This test or survey asks how you react to a variety of situations in life and by your answers determines which is your primary temperament type and which is your backup or secondary type.  95% of individuals are a blend of two types though a few people are a blend of three types.

So your company or maybe a company you want to work for has said you will take a DiSC test and you are freaked out.  Too often there is not enough explanation of what the test does and how the results are used and, honestly, the results can sometimes be mis-used.

To start, the D in DiSC is the driven Choleric, the i (which stands for “influencing of others”) is the outgoing Sanguine, the S is the calm, steady Phlegmatic and the C is the conscientious, analytical Melancholy.

So what’s if for and how will it be used and how can you be assured how the results will be used?

Typically the DiSC is used in team building or possibly in hiring decisions.  If a workgroup is having issues then the DiSC may help uncover trends in behavior that are due to temperament.  If a sales role is being filled then HR may utilize the DiSC to look for hard-driving Choleric (D) types.

What many people that use the DiSC don’t realize is that temperament is only one aspect of overall personality.  In other words, inborn temperament is the foundation but temperament plus all life experience equals personality.

So at a foundational level the DiSC is inherently harmless BUT how the results are used may NOT be harmless.

In my next post I’ll deal with how you can utilize the results in your own self-development, how people “game” the test, and how to avoid being pigeon-holed by the results.

Questions? Just add them in the comments or email me at halwarfield(at)gmail(dot)com.

June 26 2015

And A Child Shall Lead 07:42 pm

Now my mail includes temperament questions about children!  Here is the question:

“My wife and I realize that we have a Choleric child.  She is 7, first born, very bright (school comes easy)  She is also prone to erratic behavior, fits of anger, outbursts and the like.  She tries to dominate by manipulating your actions through hers.  We now know not to spank a Choleric child, but how do you discipline one?  Thanks for any help.”

My answer: First understand that NO ONE is a pure Choleric or any of the other four types.  At 7 it may be difficult to see her secondary type but it’s there.  Is she detailed in her school work or drawing or organizing her toys?  If so, her secondary might be Melancholy.  is she outgoing and talkative?  Her secondary type might be Sanguine.

A Choleric is a task-oriented, goal focused individual who doesn’t care much how they achieve those goals.  Rather than trying to control, I suggest searching out “energy outlets” that are goal oriented.  I’ve not been involved personally but some sort of martial arts where discipline and control are stressed might be a partial solution.

Discipline has to MAKE SENSE to a Choleric or they will just scorn it and you.  Most likely an activity-based discipline like cleaning or picking up sticks in the  yard or something like that; don’t make them take a “time out”; that will just make the pot boil.

Let me know if I can answer further.  Best wishes.

Introverts versus Extroverts – Stop Already! 02:50 pm

Here’s an excellent article explaining that being introverted or extroverted or an ambivert is only PART of the story of who we are.

Quit It With The Comparisons

June 24 2015

Hate Your Temperament Type? 01:44 pm

Each of us has, at some time, wished we had the traits of another person.  I wish I was as (cool/smart/beautiful/add your own) as so-and-so.  Why are we so dissatisified with the cards we were dealt?  I’m not sure I have the answer but it’s a good lead in to this question from a reader:

“I do hate my personality.  I’m a health care professional. I have always been the quiet, shy guy.  Good at my career but avoid going to far out of the box therefore give up a lot of career opportunities.  I wish I could be comfortably outgoing.  Is there any way at 47 years old that I could change that?  At my age I still don’t like my personality, it holds me back in more ways than one.”

My response:  It does no good to hate your personality any more than you can hate your eye color.  Your temperament is something you received from birth and heritage.  Personally I am extremely introverted but I’ve had to learn (some by being forced and some by making myself) to function well in an extroverted world.  And I fail at that as often as I succeed but the trick is to never quit trying.

Remember that your temperament is only one aspect of personality.  You CAN make behavioral changes that will offset natural shyness.  Join a small group, get some counseling, find an equally introverted friend and challenge each other to be more outgoing.

I know it’s a struggle but keep after it and let me know if I can help in any way.

June 22 2015

Are Melancholies Doomed? 06:38 pm

Readers can always leave me questions here in the comments or via email at warfieldh(at)gmail(dot)com.  Here’s an example:

“If I’m a MEL (that is, a Melancholy temperament type) I’m doomed!  I couldn’t see ONE positive trait and in this day and age it’s harder than ever to remain thick skinned.  A friend of mine down at the pub noticed this was my personality type and now I feel worthless.”

My reply:  One of the Melancholy’s weaknesses is being critical; especially SELF-critical.  You are neither ‘doomed’ nor ‘worthless’.  First off relax — there is not one temperament that is better or worse than another.  A Melancholy is strongest in being organized and analytical.  Melancolies make excellent doctors or engineers or any profession where a highly detailed and organized person is needed.  They are the tpes that can keep a group or job or project organized and on track.  It is true that the Melancholy, when they go too far, can be seen as crritical.  This is a trait that you’ll need to work on.  First, even if you feel that you are absolutely right in something you are thinking or going to say, take the time to consider how your comments may affect the other person or persons.  No matter how ‘right’ you feel, it most often does no good to open up verbally on the other person.

You need also to determine your secondary temperament because no one is totally Melancholy.  Are you also a Driver (Choleric)?  Or outgoing and verbal (Sanguine)?  Or is there a part of you that is “laid back” (Phlegmatic)?  It helps to know your secondary type because it affects your overall personality in many ways.

Finally, try to determine why you feel this way about yourself – it’s often more than just temperament but also other inputs from friends and family.  What self-talk runs through your head?

June 18 2015

Anger and Temperament 04:55 pm

I don’t get angry often but I think being Phlegmatic has  something to do with it.  But I get questions from other temperament types that deal more with anger:

“Thank you so much for your writing.  I have takent the temperament (personality) test from one of Florence  Littauer’s books, How to Get Along With Difficult People”, and came out a strong Melancholy followed closely by Choleric with almost no Sanguine or Phlegmatic  traits.  As a typical Melancholy might, I’ve always tried to understand who and why I am and how to get  along better with others, since I do NOT!  Your article was very enlightening and helpful.  Now if I can just aply what I’ve learned I might cope better.”

And I answered, “The Melancholy/Choleric combination is a very detailed person with a strong drive toaccomplish whatever is ahead of them.  Unfortunately, that blend also has the otential to combine the strongest negative traits – criticism and anger.  A Melancholy/Choleric MUST realize that they are not  always right (even when it seems SO clear to YOU that your are!) and that other’s ways of  doing things are okay (even when they seem careless or mis-directed to YOU).  You will  work better with other Cholerics who respect your level of detail.  You would do well  to cultivate a few Phlegmatic friends who will accept you as you are — and give them the space in your life to (gently) offer you their input on your ideas.

Questions?  Write me at halwarfield(at)outlook(dot)com.

June 15 2015

Introvert versus Extrovert – Q/A 02:49 pm

I’m using some of my coaching emails to continue explaining some of the differences between temperament types.  A wife writes:

“My husband is a PhlegMel (in other words, a strong Phlegmatic with a Melancholy secondary) and I am a SanChol (or a Sanguine with a Choleric Secondary).  How can I best relate to my husband without shutting him down or trampling on his feelings? Thanks for your input!”

I answered: As a Sanguine Choleric you are an outgoing, warm “driver”.  Driver in the sense that you want to move forward and push ahead towards your goals and ambitions.  Your sanguine primary gives you an “edge” in that the warm and outgoing part of your nature keeps you from seeming overbearing as you move towards the things you want.

As a Phlegmatic Melancholy your husband is more likely to be an “inner” person – laid back, easy going but not the outgoing person you are.  Phlegmatics can feel threathened by the more outgoing temperament types.

Her are some suggestions: first realize that you are NOT going to change his underlying type and he is NOT going to change yours.  As a Phlegmatic myself who is married to a Sanguine, I have to find time to “retreat and recharge” from her energetic and outgoing nature.  She has come to realize that the things she values in me (stability, ability to “take” her moods, etc) are not necessarily what she needs in interpersonal relationships.  To that end, she is more open to visit with friends, co-worders and family to meet her need for socialability.  

That doesn’t let me (or your husband) off the hook – to get more “out of him” he HAS to feel that your are a SAFE person to be around; safe in terms of allowing him to feel his own feelings and express them in his own way.  If you are impatient as a SanChol can easily be – he will feel it’s not okay to be himself.  I could go on but will leave it here for now.

June 9 2015

Changing Your Self-Image – Q&A 03:22 pm

From time to time I get questions on the blog – here is one:  “How long will it take to change one’s self-image and do you have any useful tips for it?”

Our self-image is our “inner picture” of ourselves.  In other words, who do YOU think the real YOU is?  That inner picture is formed by years of “self talk” describing you to yourself.  Do you hear inners thoughts of success or failure?  Strong or weak?  Also how you interpret what others think of you – parents, friends, co-workers.

It will take you as long to change your self-image as it takes to change this inner self talk and BELIEVE it.  Some ideas on how?  Do something challenging that you wouldn’t normally think of as “you”; anything that challenges you to see yourself differently.  Be brave enough to ask friends how they perceive you – is it different than how you perceive yourself?  If you have family and friends that negatively impact how your feel about yourself then put some emotional distance between them and yourself; associate with more positive individuals.  Remember the quote from Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.  What can you do to improve your average?

June 5 2015

Introverted Doesn’t Mean Uninteresting 02:25 pm

An article in The Atlantic Online discussed Caring for Your Introvert – evidently we need caring for!  This “wave” of study on introversion seems to support that we’re “normal” (whatever normal is!).  In your experience have you, as an introvert, felt mis-understood by extroverts?

July 2 2015

A Melancholy Makes Decisions 03:12 pm

Once we discover that our temperament has something to do with where we are in life, we often panic and want things to change.  I got this letter from a reader –

“Please help!!!! I am a MelPhleg (Melancholy Phlegmatic  or High C, High S in DiSC) with a number of Choleric traits underlying my personality.  I am currently an Occupational Therapist and miserable.  I feel like I am drowning in paperwork and sit on my butt all day.  This is not a good recipe for a “doer”.  I have been thinking about a career change.  I am thinking about being a photographer in the military.  Of course I am analyzing this to death.  I am reading all information I can get my fingers on, seeing a career counselor now, and plan on talking to a recruiter in the near future.

I was wondering if you have any additional advise for me and my situation?”

My answer – First off, s-l-o-w down.  You are going to blow a gasket!  A Melancholy Phlegmatic (High C, High S) is a detailed person who doesn’t feel the need to force their style on others.  The Melancholy has the need to analyze and the Phlegmatic has the tendency to worry which is probably causing some of this anxiety.  If you determine in your (choose your term – heart, innermost self) that you need to change then you’ve already begun some of the steps.

Don’t let your anxiety push you to a decision too quickly but don’t let your Choleric pieces (Driver) push you into a decision you are unsure of.  Finally, and somewhat in contradiction to what I just wrote, there IS NO perfect career/life answer and the thing that is our passion today becomes a job tomorrow.  Whatever you choose to do, make sure you maintain activites that bring balance to your life overall.  Best wishes and let me know if you have further questions.

Why Am I Taking the DiSC? 02:53 pm

There’s a scene from the Big Bang Theory where Penny asks Sheldon to teach her physics.  He begins with “It’s a warm summer night in ancient Greece . . .” so I figured I’d start there too.

The ancient Greeks thought that a person’s personality was influenced by “humours” which were a variety of different fluids in the body.  A Choleric was driven, a Sanguine was outgoing, a Melancholy was critical and a Phlegmatic was calm.

We still see that each individual has an inborn temperament type which has been codified in many ways; one of which is the DiSC test.  This test or survey asks how you react to a variety of situations in life and by your answers determines which is your primary temperament type and which is your backup or secondary type.  95% of individuals are a blend of two types though a few people are a blend of three types.

So your company or maybe a company you want to work for has said you will take a DiSC test and you are freaked out.  Too often there is not enough explanation of what the test does and how the results are used and, honestly, the results can sometimes be mis-used.

To start, the D in DiSC is the driven Choleric, the i (which stands for “influencing of others”) is the outgoing Sanguine, the S is the calm, steady Phlegmatic and the C is the conscientious, analytical Melancholy.

So what’s if for and how will it be used and how can you be assured how the results will be used?

Typically the DiSC is used in team building or possibly in hiring decisions.  If a workgroup is having issues then the DiSC may help uncover trends in behavior that are due to temperament.  If a sales role is being filled then HR may utilize the DiSC to look for hard-driving Choleric (D) types.

What many people that use the DiSC don’t realize is that temperament is only one aspect of overall personality.  In other words, inborn temperament is the foundation but temperament plus all life experience equals personality.

So at a foundational level the DiSC is inherently harmless BUT how the results are used may NOT be harmless.

In my next post I’ll deal with how you can utilize the results in your own self-development, how people “game” the test, and how to avoid being pigeon-holed by the results.

Questions? Just add them in the comments or email me at halwarfield(at)gmail(dot)com.

June 26 2015

And A Child Shall Lead 07:42 pm

Now my mail includes temperament questions about children!  Here is the question:

“My wife and I realize that we have a Choleric child.  She is 7, first born, very bright (school comes easy)  She is also prone to erratic behavior, fits of anger, outbursts and the like.  She tries to dominate by manipulating your actions through hers.  We now know not to spank a Choleric child, but how do you discipline one?  Thanks for any help.”

My answer: First understand that NO ONE is a pure Choleric or any of the other four types.  At 7 it may be difficult to see her secondary type but it’s there.  Is she detailed in her school work or drawing or organizing her toys?  If so, her secondary might be Melancholy.  is she outgoing and talkative?  Her secondary type might be Sanguine.

A Choleric is a task-oriented, goal focused individual who doesn’t care much how they achieve those goals.  Rather than trying to control, I suggest searching out “energy outlets” that are goal oriented.  I’ve not been involved personally but some sort of martial arts where discipline and control are stressed might be a partial solution.

Discipline has to MAKE SENSE to a Choleric or they will just scorn it and you.  Most likely an activity-based discipline like cleaning or picking up sticks in the  yard or something like that; don’t make them take a “time out”; that will just make the pot boil.

Let me know if I can answer further.  Best wishes.

Introverts versus Extroverts – Stop Already! 02:50 pm

Here’s an excellent article explaining that being introverted or extroverted or an ambivert is only PART of the story of who we are.

Quit It With The Comparisons

June 24 2015

Hate Your Temperament Type? 01:44 pm

Each of us has, at some time, wished we had the traits of another person.  I wish I was as (cool/smart/beautiful/add your own) as so-and-so.  Why are we so dissatisified with the cards we were dealt?  I’m not sure I have the answer but it’s a good lead in to this question from a reader:

“I do hate my personality.  I’m a health care professional. I have always been the quiet, shy guy.  Good at my career but avoid going to far out of the box therefore give up a lot of career opportunities.  I wish I could be comfortably outgoing.  Is there any way at 47 years old that I could change that?  At my age I still don’t like my personality, it holds me back in more ways than one.”

My response:  It does no good to hate your personality any more than you can hate your eye color.  Your temperament is something you received from birth and heritage.  Personally I am extremely introverted but I’ve had to learn (some by being forced and some by making myself) to function well in an extroverted world.  And I fail at that as often as I succeed but the trick is to never quit trying.

Remember that your temperament is only one aspect of personality.  You CAN make behavioral changes that will offset natural shyness.  Join a small group, get some counseling, find an equally introverted friend and challenge each other to be more outgoing.

I know it’s a struggle but keep after it and let me know if I can help in any way.

June 22 2015

Are Melancholies Doomed? 06:38 pm

Readers can always leave me questions here in the comments or via email at warfieldh(at)gmail(dot)com.  Here’s an example:

“If I’m a MEL (that is, a Melancholy temperament type) I’m doomed!  I couldn’t see ONE positive trait and in this day and age it’s harder than ever to remain thick skinned.  A friend of mine down at the pub noticed this was my personality type and now I feel worthless.”

My reply:  One of the Melancholy’s weaknesses is being critical; especially SELF-critical.  You are neither ‘doomed’ nor ‘worthless’.  First off relax — there is not one temperament that is better or worse than another.  A Melancholy is strongest in being organized and analytical.  Melancolies make excellent doctors or engineers or any profession where a highly detailed and organized person is needed.  They are the tpes that can keep a group or job or project organized and on track.  It is true that the Melancholy, when they go too far, can be seen as crritical.  This is a trait that you’ll need to work on.  First, even if you feel that you are absolutely right in something you are thinking or going to say, take the time to consider how your comments may affect the other person or persons.  No matter how ‘right’ you feel, it most often does no good to open up verbally on the other person.

You need also to determine your secondary temperament because no one is totally Melancholy.  Are you also a Driver (Choleric)?  Or outgoing and verbal (Sanguine)?  Or is there a part of you that is “laid back” (Phlegmatic)?  It helps to know your secondary type because it affects your overall personality in many ways.

Finally, try to determine why you feel this way about yourself – it’s often more than just temperament but also other inputs from friends and family.  What self-talk runs through your head?

June 18 2015

Anger and Temperament 04:55 pm

I don’t get angry often but I think being Phlegmatic has  something to do with it.  But I get questions from other temperament types that deal more with anger:

“Thank you so much for your writing.  I have takent the temperament (personality) test from one of Florence  Littauer’s books, How to Get Along With Difficult People”, and came out a strong Melancholy followed closely by Choleric with almost no Sanguine or Phlegmatic  traits.  As a typical Melancholy might, I’ve always tried to understand who and why I am and how to get  along better with others, since I do NOT!  Your article was very enlightening and helpful.  Now if I can just aply what I’ve learned I might cope better.”

And I answered, “The Melancholy/Choleric combination is a very detailed person with a strong drive toaccomplish whatever is ahead of them.  Unfortunately, that blend also has the otential to combine the strongest negative traits – criticism and anger.  A Melancholy/Choleric MUST realize that they are not  always right (even when it seems SO clear to YOU that your are!) and that other’s ways of  doing things are okay (even when they seem careless or mis-directed to YOU).  You will  work better with other Cholerics who respect your level of detail.  You would do well  to cultivate a few Phlegmatic friends who will accept you as you are — and give them the space in your life to (gently) offer you their input on your ideas.

Questions?  Write me at halwarfield(at)outlook(dot)com.

June 15 2015

Introvert versus Extrovert – Q/A 02:49 pm

I’m using some of my coaching emails to continue explaining some of the differences between temperament types.  A wife writes:

“My husband is a PhlegMel (in other words, a strong Phlegmatic with a Melancholy secondary) and I am a SanChol (or a Sanguine with a Choleric Secondary).  How can I best relate to my husband without shutting him down or trampling on his feelings? Thanks for your input!”

I answered: As a Sanguine Choleric you are an outgoing, warm “driver”.  Driver in the sense that you want to move forward and push ahead towards your goals and ambitions.  Your sanguine primary gives you an “edge” in that the warm and outgoing part of your nature keeps you from seeming overbearing as you move towards the things you want.

As a Phlegmatic Melancholy your husband is more likely to be an “inner” person – laid back, easy going but not the outgoing person you are.  Phlegmatics can feel threathened by the more outgoing temperament types.

Her are some suggestions: first realize that you are NOT going to change his underlying type and he is NOT going to change yours.  As a Phlegmatic myself who is married to a Sanguine, I have to find time to “retreat and recharge” from her energetic and outgoing nature.  She has come to realize that the things she values in me (stability, ability to “take” her moods, etc) are not necessarily what she needs in interpersonal relationships.  To that end, she is more open to visit with friends, co-worders and family to meet her need for socialability.  

That doesn’t let me (or your husband) off the hook – to get more “out of him” he HAS to feel that your are a SAFE person to be around; safe in terms of allowing him to feel his own feelings and express them in his own way.  If you are impatient as a SanChol can easily be – he will feel it’s not okay to be himself.  I could go on but will leave it here for now.

June 9 2015

Changing Your Self-Image – Q&A 03:22 pm

From time to time I get questions on the blog – here is one:  “How long will it take to change one’s self-image and do you have any useful tips for it?”

Our self-image is our “inner picture” of ourselves.  In other words, who do YOU think the real YOU is?  That inner picture is formed by years of “self talk” describing you to yourself.  Do you hear inners thoughts of success or failure?  Strong or weak?  Also how you interpret what others think of you – parents, friends, co-workers.

It will take you as long to change your self-image as it takes to change this inner self talk and BELIEVE it.  Some ideas on how?  Do something challenging that you wouldn’t normally think of as “you”; anything that challenges you to see yourself differently.  Be brave enough to ask friends how they perceive you – is it different than how you perceive yourself?  If you have family and friends that negatively impact how your feel about yourself then put some emotional distance between them and yourself; associate with more positive individuals.  Remember the quote from Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.  What can you do to improve your average?

June 5 2015

Introverted Doesn’t Mean Uninteresting 02:25 pm

An article in The Atlantic Online discussed Caring for Your Introvert – evidently we need caring for!  This “wave” of study on introversion seems to support that we’re “normal” (whatever normal is!).  In your experience have you, as an introvert, felt mis-understood by extroverts?

July 2 2015

A Melancholy Makes Decisions 03:12 pm

Once we discover that our temperament has something to do with where we are in life, we often panic and want things to change.  I got this letter from a reader –

“Please help!!!! I am a MelPhleg (Melancholy Phlegmatic  or High C, High S in DiSC) with a number of Choleric traits underlying my personality.  I am currently an Occupational Therapist and miserable.  I feel like I am drowning in paperwork and sit on my butt all day.  This is not a good recipe for a “doer”.  I have been thinking about a career change.  I am thinking about being a photographer in the military.  Of course I am analyzing this to death.  I am reading all information I can get my fingers on, seeing a career counselor now, and plan on talking to a recruiter in the near future.

I was wondering if you have any additional advise for me and my situation?”

My answer – First off, s-l-o-w down.  You are going to blow a gasket!  A Melancholy Phlegmatic (High C, High S) is a detailed person who doesn’t feel the need to force their style on others.  The Melancholy has the need to analyze and the Phlegmatic has the tendency to worry which is probably causing some of this anxiety.  If you determine in your (choose your term – heart, innermost self) that you need to change then you’ve already begun some of the steps.

Don’t let your anxiety push you to a decision too quickly but don’t let your Choleric pieces (Driver) push you into a decision you are unsure of.  Finally, and somewhat in contradiction to what I just wrote, there IS NO perfect career/life answer and the thing that is our passion today becomes a job tomorrow.  Whatever you choose to do, make sure you maintain activites that bring balance to your life overall.  Best wishes and let me know if you have further questions.

Why Am I Taking the DiSC? 02:53 pm

There’s a scene from the Big Bang Theory where Penny asks Sheldon to teach her physics.  He begins with “It’s a warm summer night in ancient Greece . . .” so I figured I’d start there too.

The ancient Greeks thought that a person’s personality was influenced by “humours” which were a variety of different fluids in the body.  A Choleric was driven, a Sanguine was outgoing, a Melancholy was critical and a Phlegmatic was calm.

We still see that each individual has an inborn temperament type which has been codified in many ways; one of which is the DiSC test.  This test or survey asks how you react to a variety of situations in life and by your answers determines which is your primary temperament type and which is your backup or secondary type.  95% of individuals are a blend of two types though a few people are a blend of three types.

So your company or maybe a company you want to work for has said you will take a DiSC test and you are freaked out.  Too often there is not enough explanation of what the test does and how the results are used and, honestly, the results can sometimes be mis-used.

To start, the D in DiSC is the driven Choleric, the i (which stands for “influencing of others”) is the outgoing Sanguine, the S is the calm, steady Phlegmatic and the C is the conscientious, analytical Melancholy.

So what’s if for and how will it be used and how can you be assured how the results will be used?

Typically the DiSC is used in team building or possibly in hiring decisions.  If a workgroup is having issues then the DiSC may help uncover trends in behavior that are due to temperament.  If a sales role is being filled then HR may utilize the DiSC to look for hard-driving Choleric (D) types.

What many people that use the DiSC don’t realize is that temperament is only one aspect of overall personality.  In other words, inborn temperament is the foundation but temperament plus all life experience equals personality.

So at a foundational level the DiSC is inherently harmless BUT how the results are used may NOT be harmless.

In my next post I’ll deal with how you can utilize the results in your own self-development, how people “game” the test, and how to avoid being pigeon-holed by the results.

Questions? Just add them in the comments or email me at halwarfield(at)gmail(dot)com.

June 26 2015

And A Child Shall Lead 07:42 pm

Now my mail includes temperament questions about children!  Here is the question:

“My wife and I realize that we have a Choleric child.  She is 7, first born, very bright (school comes easy)  She is also prone to erratic behavior, fits of anger, outbursts and the like.  She tries to dominate by manipulating your actions through hers.  We now know not to spank a Choleric child, but how do you discipline one?  Thanks for any help.”

My answer: First understand that NO ONE is a pure Choleric or any of the other four types.  At 7 it may be difficult to see her secondary type but it’s there.  Is she detailed in her school work or drawing or organizing her toys?  If so, her secondary might be Melancholy.  is she outgoing and talkative?  Her secondary type might be Sanguine.

A Choleric is a task-oriented, goal focused individual who doesn’t care much how they achieve those goals.  Rather than trying to control, I suggest searching out “energy outlets” that are goal oriented.  I’ve not been involved personally but some sort of martial arts where discipline and control are stressed might be a partial solution.

Discipline has to MAKE SENSE to a Choleric or they will just scorn it and you.  Most likely an activity-based discipline like cleaning or picking up sticks in the  yard or something like that; don’t make them take a “time out”; that will just make the pot boil.

Let me know if I can answer further.  Best wishes.

Introverts versus Extroverts – Stop Already! 02:50 pm

Here’s an excellent article explaining that being introverted or extroverted or an ambivert is only PART of the story of who we are.

Quit It With The Comparisons

June 24 2015

Hate Your Temperament Type? 01:44 pm

Each of us has, at some time, wished we had the traits of another person.  I wish I was as (cool/smart/beautiful/add your own) as so-and-so.  Why are we so dissatisified with the cards we were dealt?  I’m not sure I have the answer but it’s a good lead in to this question from a reader:

“I do hate my personality.  I’m a health care professional. I have always been the quiet, shy guy.  Good at my career but avoid going to far out of the box therefore give up a lot of career opportunities.  I wish I could be comfortably outgoing.  Is there any way at 47 years old that I could change that?  At my age I still don’t like my personality, it holds me back in more ways than one.”

My response:  It does no good to hate your personality any more than you can hate your eye color.  Your temperament is something you received from birth and heritage.  Personally I am extremely introverted but I’ve had to learn (some by being forced and some by making myself) to function well in an extroverted world.  And I fail at that as often as I succeed but the trick is to never quit trying.

Remember that your temperament is only one aspect of personality.  You CAN make behavioral changes that will offset natural shyness.  Join a small group, get some counseling, find an equally introverted friend and challenge each other to be more outgoing.

I know it’s a struggle but keep after it and let me know if I can help in any way.

June 22 2015

Are Melancholies Doomed? 06:38 pm

Readers can always leave me questions here in the comments or via email at warfieldh(at)gmail(dot)com.  Here’s an example:

“If I’m a MEL (that is, a Melancholy temperament type) I’m doomed!  I couldn’t see ONE positive trait and in this day and age it’s harder than ever to remain thick skinned.  A friend of mine down at the pub noticed this was my personality type and now I feel worthless.”

My reply:  One of the Melancholy’s weaknesses is being critical; especially SELF-critical.  You are neither ‘doomed’ nor ‘worthless’.  First off relax — there is not one temperament that is better or worse than another.  A Melancholy is strongest in being organized and analytical.  Melancolies make excellent doctors or engineers or any profession where a highly detailed and organized person is needed.  They are the tpes that can keep a group or job or project organized and on track.  It is true that the Melancholy, when they go too far, can be seen as crritical.  This is a trait that you’ll need to work on.  First, even if you feel that you are absolutely right in something you are thinking or going to say, take the time to consider how your comments may affect the other person or persons.  No matter how ‘right’ you feel, it most often does no good to open up verbally on the other person.

You need also to determine your secondary temperament because no one is totally Melancholy.  Are you also a Driver (Choleric)?  Or outgoing and verbal (Sanguine)?  Or is there a part of you that is “laid back” (Phlegmatic)?  It helps to know your secondary type because it affects your overall personality in many ways.

Finally, try to determine why you feel this way about yourself – it’s often more than just temperament but also other inputs from friends and family.  What self-talk runs through your head?

June 18 2015

Anger and Temperament 04:55 pm

I don’t get angry often but I think being Phlegmatic has  something to do with it.  But I get questions from other temperament types that deal more with anger:

“Thank you so much for your writing.  I have takent the temperament (personality) test from one of Florence  Littauer’s books, How to Get Along With Difficult People”, and came out a strong Melancholy followed closely by Choleric with almost no Sanguine or Phlegmatic  traits.  As a typical Melancholy might, I’ve always tried to understand who and why I am and how to get  along better with others, since I do NOT!  Your article was very enlightening and helpful.  Now if I can just aply what I’ve learned I might cope better.”

And I answered, “The Melancholy/Choleric combination is a very detailed person with a strong drive toaccomplish whatever is ahead of them.  Unfortunately, that blend also has the otential to combine the strongest negative traits – criticism and anger.  A Melancholy/Choleric MUST realize that they are not  always right (even when it seems SO clear to YOU that your are!) and that other’s ways of  doing things are okay (even when they seem careless or mis-directed to YOU).  You will  work better with other Cholerics who respect your level of detail.  You would do well  to cultivate a few Phlegmatic friends who will accept you as you are — and give them the space in your life to (gently) offer you their input on your ideas.

Questions?  Write me at halwarfield(at)outlook(dot)com.

June 15 2015

Introvert versus Extrovert – Q/A 02:49 pm

I’m using some of my coaching emails to continue explaining some of the differences between temperament types.  A wife writes:

“My husband is a PhlegMel (in other words, a strong Phlegmatic with a Melancholy secondary) and I am a SanChol (or a Sanguine with a Choleric Secondary).  How can I best relate to my husband without shutting him down or trampling on his feelings? Thanks for your input!”

I answered: As a Sanguine Choleric you are an outgoing, warm “driver”.  Driver in the sense that you want to move forward and push ahead towards your goals and ambitions.  Your sanguine primary gives you an “edge” in that the warm and outgoing part of your nature keeps you from seeming overbearing as you move towards the things you want.

As a Phlegmatic Melancholy your husband is more likely to be an “inner” person – laid back, easy going but not the outgoing person you are.  Phlegmatics can feel threathened by the more outgoing temperament types.

Her are some suggestions: first realize that you are NOT going to change his underlying type and he is NOT going to change yours.  As a Phlegmatic myself who is married to a Sanguine, I have to find time to “retreat and recharge” from her energetic and outgoing nature.  She has come to realize that the things she values in me (stability, ability to “take” her moods, etc) are not necessarily what she needs in interpersonal relationships.  To that end, she is more open to visit with friends, co-worders and family to meet her need for socialability.  

That doesn’t let me (or your husband) off the hook – to get more “out of him” he HAS to feel that your are a SAFE person to be around; safe in terms of allowing him to feel his own feelings and express them in his own way.  If you are impatient as a SanChol can easily be – he will feel it’s not okay to be himself.  I could go on but will leave it here for now.

June 9 2015

Changing Your Self-Image – Q&A 03:22 pm

From time to time I get questions on the blog – here is one:  “How long will it take to change one’s self-image and do you have any useful tips for it?”

Our self-image is our “inner picture” of ourselves.  In other words, who do YOU think the real YOU is?  That inner picture is formed by years of “self talk” describing you to yourself.  Do you hear inners thoughts of success or failure?  Strong or weak?  Also how you interpret what others think of you – parents, friends, co-workers.

It will take you as long to change your self-image as it takes to change this inner self talk and BELIEVE it.  Some ideas on how?  Do something challenging that you wouldn’t normally think of as “you”; anything that challenges you to see yourself differently.  Be brave enough to ask friends how they perceive you – is it different than how you perceive yourself?  If you have family and friends that negatively impact how your feel about yourself then put some emotional distance between them and yourself; associate with more positive individuals.  Remember the quote from Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.  What can you do to improve your average?

June 5 2015

Introverted Doesn’t Mean Uninteresting 02:25 pm

An article in The Atlantic Online discussed Caring for Your Introvert – evidently we need caring for!  This “wave” of study on introversion seems to support that we’re “normal” (whatever normal is!).  In your experience have you, as an introvert, felt mis-understood by extroverts?