FAMILY MATTERS: Identifying your personality

Ruth Adams, In Your Element
Ruth Adams, In Your Element
Have your say

ARE you a fiery trailblazer or a down-to-earth perfectionist? Do still waters run deep or are you like the wind, rushing everywhere at once?

It may seem strange but Ruth Adams says that a personality profile based on the four elements can be a big help in getting on with people in all situations – including with your partner and your family.

Sheffielder Ruth runs In Your Element, a training business that has worked with businesses, schools, charities and other organisations. She has also worked with individuals, couples and families to look at how people with different types of personalities can better understand themselves and their motivations and how they can work together.

She is so confident in her method that she believes it could even help divorce cases.

She said; “I celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary. My husband and I are total opposites. We struggled on for 40 years. When we did this profile and had a comparison with each other, we found we are actually a perfect team. What I was strong in, he was weak in and I just saw it as an irritation. When we had done that profile we started to work totally differently together.”

Ruth said she realised that it was actually good that he and her husband complemented each other by being good and bad at different things.

By contrast, her daughter, who is a high-flying journalist working in New York, is incredibly similar to her partner, who is also in a creative job. Neither of them copes well with life’s practicalities, so Ruth suggested that they sought some practical help, for instance with cleaning or getting groceries delivered.

“For a lot of people self-understanding is key. We don’t understand how we tick and when we get into a relationship we don’t understand the other person.”

The profile looks at which elements of someone’s personality are stronger and weaker and lists what the positives and negatives of those characteristics are.

Ruth said that after a profile has been created, she goes on to work with people to create a mission for what the family or other group want to achieve. They will create some goals and decide how they are going to make them happen.

Then, if things start to go wrong, they can look again at what they decided upon and why problems have cropped up. They can refocus on their mission and what they wanted to achieve in the first place.

She added: “We do it with kids in schools. It can actually make a huge difference.”

Ruth’s work has helped young people to decide on a future career by looking at their personality type and what sort of job they would be happy in, rather than what their parents might want.

She said that one parent she worked with realised that she was a fiery type and that her son was completely different to her and saw and reacted to things in a completely different way. She recognised that she was pushing him towards goals that would be good for her, not for him. She also realised that it didn’t matter that they were different to each other.

Ruth said: “We spend millions of pounds as a society on issues around age, gender and race relations. One thing that affects every one of us is a difference in personality. It would make a huge difference, although that’s not to say issues would disappear.”

She added: “Most people who get divorced regret it in the end and find that the second or third time round wasn’t any better. A profile could help them to recognise that in any relationship they’re going to be the same person.

“If we had a bit more understanding and spent a bit of time looking at ourselves, it would have a lot of positive results.”

For more information, go to, email or call 0794 6612480.