It’s common to group Kolbe with personality tests. It’s an easy “box” to feel comfortable putting Kolbe in. However, Kolbe is not a personality test. It does not take into consideration your desires, motivation, attitudes, preferences, or emotions. It takes into account conation. Conation is volition, striving, or trying. As Kathy Kolbe says, “Instincts are a subconscious force that cannot be measured, however, we CAN measure the EFFORT we can see, observe and report due to instincts.” Simply, Kolbe measures how you get things done when you are striving.

In Kolbe, we have something called purposeful action. It’s when you conative instincts appear. If you are relaxing or having fun, you won’t see your conative instincts appear. They only appear when you are working at getting something done or striving.

My sons put together gingerbread houses recently. While I was watching the boys with their kits, I asked both of them if they were having fun or really trying to make this gingerbread house into a masterpiece. They each said a little of both, and I agree. The interesting part was their focus. Noah said it was not as much fun to build the structure of the house, but the design part was fun for him. Tyler was very into the structure and the design, but he did not do it all at once. As a matter of fact, he came back to the house four times to finish it. Then, just when I thought it was complete and chilled in the freezer, he said he is nowhere near done. The gingerbread house took up much of the kitchen table for more than 8 hours.

Had I not known how they work, I would be barking (and that is a gentle term) to clean the place up after 2 hours, wondering why we needed to have the creative process around for so long. But I didn’t, I let the creativity flow in their time frame, and it worked! As a matter of fact, it worked so well that when Tyler was finished, he swept, vacuumed, and cleaned the kitchen table and all of the tools he used. I did not say ONE WORD…..until he was finished and then I TICKLED HIM AND SMOOCHED ON HIM TIL HE COULDN’T STAND IT!

One of the reasons I am giddy about what I am doing is because Kolbe measures a part of the brain that does not change over time. Personalities can change. Though, with how popular and accessible personality tests are, it’s not a surprise Kolbe would be grouped in. Just remember, Kolbe measures part of your mind, but not your personality. I appreciate that youth and adults can count on this part of them and expect the gifts to shine through while striving.