What Mel Did
What Mel Did - A scent of self - Le Labo

A scent of self: Who do you think you are?

The writing prompt I set for Post-40 Bloggers this week is “The cavalry isn’t coming.”

I always try to set the weekly writing prompts for the magazine from a state of mind-less-ness. I find that by being too mindful in this area can sometimes yield inauthenticity and stilted subject matter.

My own take on the prompt this week is rooted in a deep belief that we should, wherever possible, look to ourselves for answers. Rely on ourselves to get the job done. On the occasions I have forgotten this, I have come a cropper – or been deeply embarrassed about help which was more rooted in smoke and mirrors.

This is not to say I do not recognise when help and support is necessary and needed. Actually, that’s not true. Sometimes I don’t recognise I need help. Like when I was seriously ill and was proposing to get myself from the hospital and settled at home. My twin sister had different ideas and took all that decision-making nonsense out of my hands – and thank the Lord she did. (Giving Disguised as Receiving).

All of that to say, I have a set of rules I live by; that I know how I think, what I think and, in most instances, know how I am likely (and unlikely) to react in a given situation.

Keep that in mind, then, when I tell you I was Faceted at work recently – and, no, that is not as orgasm-inducing as one might hope.

In the stable of Myers Briggs personality type tests, Facet 5 is designed to look at those aspects which are relatively stable and consistent and which make us who we are. With no right and wrong or good and bad answers, the test ultimately spits out a picture of a person, with indicators of how they are likely to react or behave in different situations in and out of the workplace.

The end report outlines these ideas, but it is up to the individual to work out how accurate they are and how relevant they are to their present situation.

I’ve undergone these types of tests officially maybe half a dozen times in my life and career. My results and resultant report are always 98.9% accurate.

A wordsmith, photographer and perfumista (aka someone who spends way too much time smelling things), I would say I have ‘A scent of self.’  (#Hah)

[Note to self: this would make a good title for your autobiography, Mel!]

In any case, this particular psychometric test distilled nearly 20 pages of data and hundreds of questions into this bite-sized overview of chez moi:

Melinda is an exuberant, out-going person with a genuine interest in people, coupled with a flexible, but focussed, goal orientation. More suited to leadership, you should expect her to communicate an exciting vision in a persuasive and inspiring way. Melinda challenges ideas and debates openly, whilst being very supportive of others’ efforts.

Translated through the years, this transmutes to my ability to play nicely in a team, my natural pension to lead that team… and that I can be a bit gobby.

In speaking with others about psychometric tests, it ran the gamut of curiosity, to a deep mistrust of such vehicles, to a dismissive: “I know who I am, there’s nothing such tests can teach me.”

Having said I tend to know what my results will show – no matter what flavour of test is currently in vogue – there is always something that leaps off the page at me. A piece of information I hadn’t hitherto considered.

On this occasion, it was the words:

Melinda should work with fun people.

And right there, I’m going to end this week’s reflection by letting another one of my character traits kick in – that of discretion.

Suffice it to say, I work and have worked with people who enjoy different positions on the scale of…, er, ‘fun-ness.’


Feature photograph from a lovely visit recently to perfume house Le Labo, London.