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Sixteen Months of Type — ESTP

This is the fourteenth post in our 16 Months of Type series and we focus here on ESTP. To remind you, we are using our material on managing life transitions with psychological type from Building Your Career Transition Strategy 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!

ESTP, Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving When facing an LCE, ESTPs typically want an approach that is straightforward and to the point. If your preferences are for ESTP, you tend to need a utilitarian plan that has the strong potential for immediate efficiency gains in order to feel motivated to run with it. ESTPs typically have a good grasp of the present circumstances and the practical challenges associated with them. This can be especially useful when tackling, or helping others to tackle, changing conditions. ESTPs also tend to be able to act decisively where others might be hindered by convention; setting aside established policies and procedures in order to respond flexibly to situational demands. They can be energetic risk takers once they feel they have an accurate assessment of the current context. This solid grasp of concrete facts helps them meet and manage difficulties as they move forward. The often bold ESTP style may at times meet with resistance from those who are more cautious, and they may need to practice patience with those who are more circumspect and traditional.

When ESTP preferences are overdone, people who prefer ESTP may rely too heavily on improvisation and action as their primary means of handling difficulties. This can be problematic if it comes at the expense of investigating future implications — in their drive for spontaneity and the opportunity to make a difference right away, ESTPs may underestimate the need for formal, long-range planning. Similarly, with their desire to be able act autonomously and in the moment, people who prefer ESTP may neglect to include the concerns of others in their calculations or shy away from options that require long-term commitments. The ESTPs’ typical knack of knowing when to respond, adapt, and even change course to meet demands, is a tremendous gift when it is balanced with prudence and forethought. By taking time to reflect, any strategy the ESTP champions will be strengthened and improved. Furthermore, this added step may well help them to foresee and thus avoid obstacles in the first place, reducing the likelihood of a crisis erupting or hurt feelings occurring when they spring into action.

ESTPs typically seek a no-nonsense companion to mentor, guide and support them on their transition journey. Such a companion can help them look at the facts, determine priorities, and connect those facts to the most logical and practical approaches to the challenges at hand. Straight talk about strategies that have worked for others in similar situations as well as simple, clear, actionable advice based on experience gives a solid foundation upon which ESTPs can improvise, tailor, and rearrange things to best handle the new landscapes LCEs have produced. ESTPs usually want the opportunity to ask a lot of questions as well as have the chance to try out new ways of thinking and doing in order to test their merits. A good companion will honor and respect this curiosity as well as encourage them to apply it to an exploration of feelings – both theirs and those of the others involved – in order to get a more complete picture of what’s happening and what’s truly important.

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer ESTP, they may forge ahead too quickly, not realizing that their energetic, fast-paced approach is taking them off track instead of carrying them toward their goal. ESTPs may need to be reminded to apply their excellent problem-solving skills and inquisitive nature to uncovering other options and points of view. To make this process less laborious, ESTPs may want to include others — engaging in lively debate, acting out potential scenarios, seeking examples from those who’ve been there, etc., which can assist them in reflecting on how to craft a better solution. Having this sort of stimulating interaction also helps ESTPs cope with the more mundane parts of managing transitions. While pausing to get the details right may at times seem dull or tedious to those who prefer ESTP, this phase is often very important to others and can be crucial to the success of any effort. A straight talking companion can bluntly but caringly hold them accountable, inspiring them to take their time, to consider and incorporate the needs and feelings of others, and use their elegant and pragmatic tactical skills to find new ways of doing things that are more productive and advantageous for all involved.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 84
If you prefer ESTP (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 time to check-in with yourself and discover what matters most – in terms of the bottom line as well as in people terms?
  2. How can you explore the larger meaning of your experiences in order to discover new ways of proceeding that might help you to manage your transition more successfully?
  3. How can you assess the impact of your actions on those you care about?
  4. How can you create plans, schedules, or routines to help you manage your new way of living more easily?
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