The Sandwich Model: A Tasty New Way of Exploring Your Personality
How is personality related to a sandwich? I am glad you asked.
One of the advantages of the Myers and Briggs personality model is how no matter which way you slice it, it provides insights about your needs, motivations and behaviors. And in this case, we are slicing it up like a sandwich.
Are you hungry for more? Good, because this sandwich is made with your favourite bread and filled with the most delicious thing - you!
Turning your personality into a sandwich
Write your four-letter personality type on a piece of paper in front of you. Now draw a vertical line after the first letter, and another before the last letter. And you now have your sandwich. The outer letters are your “bread” and the inner letters are your “filling.”
So your bread will be made of either EP, EJ, IP or IJ. And your filling will be either SF, ST, NT, or NF. But what does that tell you about you?
Because the bread is wrapped around all that yummy goodness, it focuses on the world around you, indicating the environment you thrive in, the place you feel most like yourself.
The filling, all that juicy stuff in the middle, reveals how your mind works. In essence, it provides insights into all the squishy goodness inside your mind. And all four styles are very different.
Ready to take your first bite?
Your Bread: The environment that best suits you
Ever been in a workplace where every day felt like you were pushing against the grain? Or were feeling drained from having to fight to be yourself every day?
This doesn't just apply to workplaces, this is also very relevant in our schools and learning environments. It’s that feeling of being stuck in math class when you are a literary genius, or having to take an art class when you would rather play with computers.
As humans we all have a range of needs. And our personality helps to reveal some of those needs. So let’s take a look at what the “bread” in your sandwich reveals about what kind of environment you thrive in.
The Dashing EP
Extraverts are focused on what is happening around them, always scanning the horizon for what captures their attention. Perceivers need freedom to go wherever they want, without restraint, when they want to. So Extraverted Perceivers need an environment that is low on structure and high on energy.
They need an environment that allows them to bounce around. And to others, it may even feel like EP’s are dashing around like a ball in a pinball machine. And if the environment slows them down, they get a bit grumpy.
So they need an environment that is stimulating, allows them to move anytime they want, and has lots of people to interact with. That can look like desks on wheels, lots of coffee or walking meetings, picking up the phone or dropping by others' desks, standing desks, interaction zones, colourful interiors, and people who love to stop and chat. EP’s do need some structure, structure that supports their goals and objectives, but they don't want to have to provide that for themselves.
If you are an EP, how does your environment stack up? Does it allow you freedom of movement? Do you feel supported or limited by the structure around you?
The Grounded IJ
Introverts on the other hand are focused on what’s interesting to them. They want to deep dive on a single topic, rather than cast the net wide around them. And Judgers are looking for structure, they feel a sense of ease when there are clear expectations and systems that help them feel stable and grounded.
They need an environment that’s quiet, calm, with minimal distractions and where any meetings are planned in advance. IJ’s want an environment that doesn't rush or pressure them. It allows them to take their time, manage their energy and not interrupt their thinking.
So they work best in environments where there are less people, less desks, and where people are allowed to wear noise cancelling headphones. They prefer to sit with their back to the wall so they can see any distractions coming. Ideally, they have their own office where they can shut the door. They may even prefer more minimalist environments, with lower lighting, white walls and plants that create a sense of calm instead of chaos.
If you are an IJ, do you feel grounded in your current space? In what way do you feel exposed or unprotected? What can you do to feel more grounded?
The Organized EJ
Extraverted Judgers are focused on what is happening around them and ensuring the environment has suitable structure in place to support whatever work needs to be done by them, or others.
The EJ is looking for an environment that is organised around clearly communication systems and outcomes. They need to know there is the system, what it is, their place in it, and that it is reliable. And if it isn’t one, they will step in to create a system.
At work this will include things like an organizational chart that outlines how the hierarchy works, who reports to who. They will seek an office that is laid out in a way that aligns with the work that needs to be done. They will object to changing systems for a new project. They also want to know exactly what they are meant to be doing, and how their performance will be reviewed.
EJ still wants social interaction at work, but it is more focused around the work that needs to be done. But they are more likely to adhere to social rules around interruptions or meetings, knowing when to email and when to call.
If you are an EJ, what parts of your workplace feel organized? And which parts feel disorganized? What would you like to take control of?
The Floating IP
As people who are focused on what is interesting to them, combined with the desire to be free to follow that interest, IPs are seeking an environment that won’t limit their thoughts or actions.
The IP is looking for an environment that is noninvasive, allows for contemplation and reflection, ideally by themselves and others. IP’s don't want to feel weighed down by what is going on around them. They want to be able to float, to think what they want to think and to do what they want to do. And they don't want to limit anyone’s ability to do the same.
Hence they prefer an environment that is free of drama, where they are able to focus on what needs to be done, not have to manage others or delegate tasks to people. It is less relevant whether the environment is colourful or plain, chaotic or organised. It simply needs to reflect who the IP is themselves, it needs to reflect their identity in order for them to feel at home within it. And above all, the work itself has to be meaningful, anything else will feel like a terrible burden, a ball and chain you drag around.
If you are an IP, what parts of your school or workplace feel like they are weighing you down? Does the environment reflect who you are at your core?
Not sure you’re in the right environment for your personality? You can explore your style in depth and learn more about matching your environment to your personality by taking our full length online course, Discover Your Personality.
Your Filling: How your mind works
Our filling is made up of how we make decisions and how we prefer to learn. When we combine these together, we get a good idea of what’s inside our sandwich.
Given we spend so much time with our mind, more than we spend with anyone else's, it is tricky to see how it actually works. It’s process isn't always obvious to us. But the fact we think differently to the people around us is. These four simple metaphors can be a very useful way for both understanding your own mind, as well as appreciating others.
ST: The Filing Cabinet
Sensors are curious about what’s real: information that is credible, reliable and can be directly experienced. Thinkers focus their decisions around the task at hand. So when we focus on what’s real and the task, there is a natural inclination to sort, categorize and store information, like a filing cabinet.
STs want to be able to access information exactly as they need it, so they create a system that allows them to do so. Those systems can be inside their heads or in the world around them, but either way, their focus is on filling the draws of their filing cabinet with all the information they need to complete the task at hand.
That can look like having a real filing cabinet, filled with index cards (just like libraries used to have). Or it can be multi coloured folders ordered by name, date and color. The more projects an ST gets involved in, the more draws that get added to their filing cabinet. The more they learn, the larger the filing cabinet.
If you are an ST, how do you categorize and sort information or things?
SF: The First Aid Kit
Feelers make their decisions based around the people in their life, their relationships. So when you combine a Sensor’s desire to focus on what’s real with caring for people, we discover people who are always looking to help in a practical way.
SFs want as many practical tools at their disposal to help people as possible. And when someone needs their help they simply open their first aid kit to see what tools and strategies they have at their disposal. Given their focus on helping people in a practical way, they aim to fill their first aid kit with as many different things as possible, from band-aids and bandages to knowing how to listen intently or how to bring a smile to someone’s face.
SFs are like bowerbirds, always collecting items for their first aid kit. And the more people they help, the more strategies they collect. It is one of their primary motivations for learning new things, how can this help someone in a real and meaningful way.
If you are an SF, how many tools are in your first aid kit?
NT: The 3D Molecule
Intuitives are curious about what is possible, so they tend to be more interested in the pattern behind the story. And when you combine that with making decisions based around the task to be completed, you discover a mind that is constantly turning a problem around and around.
Before the NT mind becomes the 3D molecule, it starts out like a rubik’s cube. They hold the problem in front of them, disconnected from their feelings or those of others. They turn it over, seeking to understand it from all sides. Then they’ll start to flip each of the segments around. They’re looking for the pattern, the algorithm by which this particular problem operates.
But because they are also looking for the patterns in multiple dimensions, their mind operates a little more like an ever expanding 3D molecule. That grows as more patterns, perspectives and problems are added.
If you are an NT, what problem are you currently turning around and around?
NF: The Ocean
NFs are curious about the patterns of people. Both the people in their lives and people in general. And when you combine an interest in what’s possible with making decisions around your relationships, you discover a mind that works a little like an ocean.
An ocean is never still, even when it looks completely calm. It is always in motion. Whether that is deep currents below or waves rolling along the surface. There is constant flow, whether it's rough or smooth, it never stops.
Their mind is constantly seeking to understand how to help people reach their potential, how can life be better for everyone? And the more people they meet, the more they understand people, the more nuanced the waves inside their mind become. No longer moving in a linear fashion, like waves crashing on the beach, but in multiple directions criss-crossing over each other in colourful, organic patterns.
If you are an NF, does your mind feel at peace when you are immersed in water?
Applying the Sandwich Model
The Sandwich Model is useful in a number of ways. By learning, working and living in an environment that aligns to your way of interacting with the world, you will feel more like you. Able to bring your best to the world around you.
And when you are able to make space for, and allow your mind to work in the way it wants to, you can better understand what you need both from your workplace as well as how you can contribute to the projects you are working on.
So grab your bread and your filling, and take a bite into your favorite sandwich! Enjoy!
Want to learn more?
The Sandwich Model gives us a deeper understanding by looking at how individual traits work together to create broader patterns of behavior. We hope you have enjoyed this introduction to the Sandwich Model, but there’s still more to explore! You can join me in our full length online course, Discover Your Personality, to see how the Sandwich Model can help you capitalize on your strengths, improve your communication, and facilitate change and growth. Click here to learn more.