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A startup's Journey to "Why?"

A startup’s Journey to “Why?”

Myer's Briggs Type Indicator workbook
Myer's-Briggs Type Indicator Workbook

After two weeks in the Start-Up Institute at Central Wyoming College, a program that partners with the local entrepreneurial basecamp, Silicon Couloir, I’m starting to connect the dots on why I’m doing this.

On a basic level, I knew I wanted:

  • Freedom
  • The ability to influence more people for the better
  • The universal goal of business – to have more money

In the classic dichotomy of launching a startup, I’ve actually taken away all those things from myself as I leaped over the financial precipice that got me to this point. I’ve stripped everything down to such a basic level that it will take a lot of building to surpass my former life on any of those three bullet points.

I spent a good chunk of the first two weeks coming to know myself and my business. I thought I knew myself, but this takes it to another level.

My core values have emerged differently.

  • Inspiration
  • Positivity
  • Freedom

The freedom carried over into my business foundation. The positivity loosely aligns with the ability to influence for good. The inspiration is how Sheen will push others to have both of the others.

Core values are only one component, and we’ve also been pushed to know ourselves in other ways.

Lynne McAuliffe, dean at Central Wyoming College, came one day to acquaint us with our Myers-Briggs personality. While we know ourselves, seeing our personality types emerge as a group made a lot of sense. It gave me, and I’m sure others, a large stock of data with which to run.

The test was a large series of polarized questions that puts your personality into four categories:

  • Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E)
  • Intuition (N) or Sensing (S)
  • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

The result is a generalized personality type: Mine is ENTP. (That looks a lot like entrepreneur. Huh.)

One synopsis I found called an ENTP an inventor with the following qualities. Parentheses indicate my self-perception.

  • Are able to voice my thoughts with ease, speed and ingenuity. (Writer. Often wrote 1-page reports in college during 10-minute class breaks that got As, annoying the heck out of other personality types.)
  • Are keenly alert to my environment and am quite good at tackling problems. (Depends on my level of focus.)
  • Good at thinking through ideas strategically, while being able to judge their value and overall usefulness. (Yep. I know when I can contribute and otherwise don’t stick my head in. Leads to some situations where people think I’m cold-hearted just because I’m uber honest and straightforward.)
  • Usually quite skilled at understanding the true intentions of others. (Only if I think about it. Often intentionally oblivious.)
  • Routine tasks and methods of work will bore them to death. (Filling out a “Hello, my name is:” sticker is stifling.)
  • They enjoy trying new ways of tackling the same old issues just to see what comes up. (Personal motto: Never do the same thing twice.)
  • Can be hindered by starting, and not finishing, too many new things. (“Squirrel!” I’m very easily amused, which often fractures my attention.)

Not bad in the accuracy department, little test. It is valuable to recognize these in myself.

Side note: I administered a Myers-Briggs test to my wife when I got home from class to verify that opposites do, indeed, attract. We’re happily married after 11 years, and she’s almost the 100 percent polar opposite of me.

Beyond seeing our personalities on paper and figuring out how they apply to our nascent businesses, we’ve spent time figuring out why we’re doing what we’re doing and visualizing our companies’ ideal futures.The net effect is understanding the foundation of our businesses. ”

I had a classmate tell me this week that he was almost turned off by the Start-Up Institute because the whole first week was self-discovery. He has come around though, and realizes, like me and others I’ve talked to, the inherent value in understanding the foundation.

It will be fun to watch the rest build from here.

This article is the third in a series to be published about the Start-Up Institute the way Jackson native Mark Wilcox experiences it in April through June of 2016.