Monthly Archives: April 2016

Sixteen Months of Type — ISTJ

This is the fourth post in our 16 Months of Type series and we focus here on ISTJ. To remind you, we are using material in our booklet Introduction to Type® and Reintegration as the jumping off point for each piece and then connecting this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs). Read on!

ISTJ, Introversion, Sensing, Thinking and Judging
When facing an LCE, ISTJs typically want an approach that is realistic, step-by-step and logical and makes sense within traditional frameworks they understand well. If your preferences are for ISTJ, you most likely require time alone to research and reflect on what is happening. Wherever possible, investigating connections between your current situation and what you already know can help fuel the desire to solve new problems. In order to move forward most effectively, ISTJs tend to prefer a plan that approaches change carefully and incrementally; rushing or pursuing change for change’s sake feels uncomfortable and can be a great source of stress. ISTJs need others to respect their need for a measured policy.

When ISTJ preferences are overdone, there can be a tendency toward delaying action to avoid change and an undervaluing of new data or methods in favor of what’s customary because it’s customary rather than due to its inherent superiority. In addition, people who prefer ISTJ may be unable to envision positive outcomes and therefore imagine a worst-case scenario because they are facing a situation with which they have no prior experience. Furthermore when stressed, their tendency to turn inward, which usually serves them well, may cause them to fail to share their concerns with others. In such cases their private thoughts may get the better of them, allowing their worries to multiply unchecked.

ISTJs typically need an experienced companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey. By sharing his/her knowledge in plain language and in specific, commonsense terms, the support of such a mentor can ease confusion. These companions can provide the benefit of their experience, offering useful examples of related and relevant situations that can give the ISTJ a better sense of what to expect. They can furnish an outline of what has worked for others in similar circumstances and what milestones to look for to feel more certain that they are on the right track. Someone who has “been there” can remind them that transitions are hard for everyone and that everyone handles change a little differently. Experienced companions can also remind ISTJs that when things settle into a “new normal,” their typical style of carefully thinking things through can be of great help in crafting useful, new, fresh traditions, standards, and procedures.

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer ISTJ, they may fail to see the big picture, get mired in details, and cling to notions from the past that are no longer relevant, and without realizing it, frustrate those around them. Left to their own devices, ISTJs may also fail to recognize that their pace and the pace of others during change may be different. Thus they may shy away from temporary compromises in speed and accuracy believing that the only good solution is one that can be made permanent. A seasoned companion can encourage them check in with others to benefit from their experience and to learn how they are seeing things. With this help and additional information, ISTJs can then employ their keen data gathering and data analysis skills. Thus prepared, they can more confidently determine where compromises may need to be made and if their private worries are warranted or are more related to a fear of the unknown than to objective facts.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 75
If you prefer ISTJ (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.

  1. How can you find ways to enrich your experience by connecting with others and reaching out to share stories, time, and strategies?
  2. How can you find ways to see this transition as an opportunity to expand your perspective in order to approach things more optimistically and enthusiastically?
  3. How can you assess the impact of your behavior on those significant to you?
  4. How can you build flexibility into your goals and plans to take advantage of learning opportunities as they appear?


Lines in italics adapted from pp. 18-19 Hirsh, E., Hirsh, K. W., & Peak, J. (2011). Introduction to type® and reintegration: A framework for managing the transition home. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.