wholehearted living

7 Personality Tests to Help You Live Your Truest Story

It’s likely that I was showing off for boys, which makes it 100 times more embarrassing.

It was elementary school recess, and my friends and I were seeing who could kick their leg highest, cheerleader style. I was sure I had this competition in the bag, so I gave it a good wind-up and kicked with everything I had.

Only problem was—I lost my footing with my supporting leg and landed flat on my side, knocking the wind out of me and doing major damage to my pride in the process. 😉

If I somehow found myself in this situation today (since I have so many leg-kicking competitions), I’m sure I’d be more able to laugh it off, to make fun of myself and move on.

That’s because I know myself now.

Sure, I know I’m a little accident-prone, but I also know my food and movie preferences, my Myers-Briggs personality type, how I perform under stress, and what makes me tick. I know that people re-make themselves on average every 10 years and that the person I am right now won’t be the same a decade from now. (It’s one of the beautiful and brutal facts of life.)

10-year-old me? She didn’t know any of that stuff. (Which is probably why she didn’t want to show her face at school for days after the leg-kicking incident!)

Be You

This reminds me of Gretchen Rubin’s #1 personal commandment in The Happiness Project—Be Gretchen.

Be Erica. Be Samantha. Be Jill. Be Ryan. Be Andrea. Be you. 

(Leg kicks and all.)

Life is more comfortable when you know yourself.

Benefits of Knowing Your Personality

1. You know that feeling of relief you get when you take a personality test and read a page on the internet that describes you to a T? There’s relief in feeling understood.

2. Knowing your personality helps you manage day-to-day routines, keep a handle on your energy levels, and identify when you’re out of sorts and what you can do about it.

3. Self-awareness can help you release feelings of inadequacy and trade them in for more self-acceptance, which means you get to live with less guilt because you’ve given yourself permission to work within who you are. (This is a big deal!)

7 Personality Tests to Help You Live Your Truest Story

1. Myers-Briggs Test Indicator

This is the quintessential personality test. Check here for more background on the test and what the different letters mean, take the test here, and check here for a brief summary of all 16 personalities. The description of me (an INFJ) is eerily on point, and not surprisingly, my husband and I have no letters in common. (Makes for a dynamic marriage!)

2. The Five Love Languages

Learning how you best receive love, as well as how other people in your life receive love, is HUGE! This was eye opening during our newlywed years, when we were trying to figure out how to really connect. And as our children grow, it’s been fascinating to test out what languages they most respond to. Online quiz here.

Book: The Five Love Languages
Book: The Five Love Languages of Children

3. The Big Five

Created by psychologist David Nettle, this assessment evaluates you based on five factors: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. This one only takes about 10 minutes to take, but it’s surprisingly revealing. (FYI, I score high on all but extroversion.) 😉 Take a version of it here.

Book: Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are

4. The Enneagram

I’ve heard some lofty stuff about this centuries-old study of nine types of people. They say it takes some sustained introspection to decide which of the nine you are, but once you do, a whole world opens up, teaching you where you shine, where you struggle, and how you likely interact with the other people (other numbers) in your life.

This podcast episode, Confront Your Junk, is a great place to start if you’re interested.

Book: The Enneagram Made Easy

5. Sanity Score

According to this NY Times blog post, Sanity Score is a “simple online quiz designed to assess aspects of your mental health, including your risk for depression, anxiety and other emotional disorders.” You do have to create an account, but it’s free.

I LOVE this concept for women who are wondering if they’re experiencing depression or anxiety but aren’t quite ready to book a psychiatrist. This is a great information-gathering first step (that you can take in your pajamas!). Learn more on the Sanity Score website.

6. The People Code 

Also known as the Color Code, they say this model is motive-based, instead of behavior-based. Instead of exploring what you do, it explores why you do it. (We all know I love a good why!) The personalities are divided as follows: red (power wielders), blue (do-gooders), white (peacekeepers), and yellow (fun lovers). My husband and I did this when we were dating (twelve years ago!); maybe it’s time to pull it out again! Find a quiz here.

Book: The People Code: It’s All About Your Innate Motive

7. The Four Tendencies of Habit Formation

If you’ve followed me for long, you know how revolutionary Gretchen Rubin’s framework was for me last year. By learning how I best form new habits, I’ve been able to work WITH my personality to add some great health habits into my life. (I’m a “questioner,” by the way.) Learn more and take the quiz here!

Book: Better Than Before

“You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” Brené Brown


To join our community of women who are on a continual quest to know ourselves and live by our values, sign up here for my monthly newsletter, and receive a free copy of my 10 Questions to Discover Your WHY.

Oh and just for fun, if you know your Myers-Briggs personality, share it in the comments! 

18 Comments

  • Reply
    Daikuro @ SimplicityBlogger.com
    January 30, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    I have done the Enneagram, Myers Briggs and the Love Languages. Another test I have done that you have not mentioned is the Dosha test. I am excited to try the other tests as I know that it will let me discover who I am. It is always interesting to know bits about yourself.

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      January 30, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Oooh, I’ve never heard of the Dosha test, Daikuro! Thanks. Off to look it up!

  • Reply
    Christy
    January 31, 2017 at 8:15 am

    I’m also an INFJ and a questioner! That explains why I resonate with your writing so much, Erica. 🙂 Not only do I think I’m more comfortable when I know myself, I’m also more able to BE myself. Personally,
    I’m going through a time of transition with my career, and on my spreadsheet of possible new job ideas were both “personality fit” and “values fit” as criteria for any new job. Of course, I had to let my organizer side take over and color code each cell. 😉

    Thank you for your blog and for being willing to share your personal journey. I find it so inspiring!

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      January 31, 2017 at 9:02 am

      I love finding my people! I think I have a disproportionate amount of INFJs following, because I think we’re all drawn by similar thoughtful content. 🙂 🙂 I love this about us! 😉

      And it was so fun to hear about your process with your job transition. I could totally see myself doing the same thing. Thanks for following along, girl!

  • Reply
    Brittany
    January 31, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I’m an INFJ too! I have loved your blog for a long time and now I know why. You speak to my heart and get me. 🙂

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      January 31, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      I love finding my people! You’re my people! 😉 Thanks so much for reading, Brittany! Keep in touch!

  • Reply
    Brittney Crabtree
    February 17, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    I’m an INFJ as well!

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      February 17, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Oooh, I didn’t know this about you, Brittney! Now next time we get together I’ll pick your brain about how you manage this busyness of the mind we INFJs have going on!

  • Reply
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    […] yourself, you can leverage your strengths and quit trying to be someone you just aren’t. {7 Personality Tests to Help You Live Your Truest Story} Plus, self-discovery is […]

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  • Reply
    Sarah
    March 24, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Have you checked out 16personalities.com? I have taken the MBTI a few times, and have always resonated with my ENFJ personality type, but this particular website takes it to a whole new level. It even includes celebrities and fictional characters that share your personality type! A few of the famous INFJs listed: Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and Jon Snow from Game of Thrones.

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      March 24, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      Intriguing, Sarah! I’ll definitely check this site out.

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  • Reply
    Lynnette
    June 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I am a little obsessed with personality tests. I have taken so many different ones and, until recently, always read the description of my supposed type and thought, “That does not sound like me.” I did not have the “Ah-ha” moment that people describe when reading about their type. I am right on the border in many of the categories (of Meyers-Briggs, anyway), so many of the questions were difficult to answer. I think I was also answering them based on what I wanted to be like (and tried really hard to do) rather than my natural inclinations. When I answered based on my actual tendencies, I never liked the result because it didn’t describe the person that I was trying so hard to become. I desperately wanted to be a different type. Recently, however, I had a few realizations that took most of the confusion away. When I was able to stop thinking that I should be a certain way and accept who I actually was, things started to make sense. Plus, it felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I have come to accept that there is no ideal type. Everybody is wired differently for a good reason. We need the strengths of all types to make the world run smoothly. Knowing my strengths and weaknesses based on how my mind processes the world helps me to be aware my blind spots and gives me a basis for personal growth. (I am an ESTJ, in case you were wondering. I have always thought I was an introvert, but I have questioned that mightily in recent days because too much quiet and alone time makes me SO restless. I am 51% extroverted and 49% introverted, so it is a close call.)

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      June 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      This was fascinating, Lynnette! I might have to come back to this comment and quote you at some point! There’s so much power in finally coming to the conclusion that we were all made the way we are for a reason. Qualities aren’t often better than others—just different. Of course, being my overly curious self, I’d love to hear about which particular qualities you *wanted* to be but simply aren’t, but just pop in and answer if you happen to get some time. Sending love!!

      • Reply
        Lynnette
        June 21, 2017 at 9:34 pm

        I wanted to be more in touch with my emotions and those of others, more naturally compassionate, more creative, more open to change and uncertainty, more easy going and adaptable. Basically, I wanted to be the ideal woman. 🙂 My type is much more common in men and I thought it sounded too intense and uptight, maybe even overly blunt and unfeeling. I was terrified of being the poster child for any of those things. But the truth is that I am highly driven, which can be intense. And I do have to censor myself so I don’t hurt others feelings when I feel strongly about something. What I am learning, however, is that the results of a personality test only tell me what my tendencies are; they do not define me. I get to choose how to act and react. I can develop the parts of my personality that are weak so they do not cause me to do things I later regret. I am my own master. Knowing my personality type is only a starting point for personal growth. It helps me understand why I do certain things, but it does not put me in a box. I am infinitely more complex than a description on a page. 🙂

  • Reply
    Tineke
    June 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Such an awesome overview of personality tests!! We work a lot with couples and it’s so much fun to do them and start understanding each other better. For us the DISC has really helped, and we absolutely love the Strengthsfinder. The Strengthsfinder has made a huge difference in our own marriage.. Suddenly I realized why my hubby was shooting down my balloons with grand ideas ;-). I’m definetly going to get into the Enneagram one!

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      June 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      I KEEP meaning to look into Strengthsfinder! I hear all kinds of good things. Thanks for the recommendation, and best wishes in the meaningful work you do!

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