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It’s true that no two people are exactly alike, but we do share some similarities.
While attending the first day of a 2-day workshop yesterday, I learned that I am indeed an INFJ, with Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judging characteristics being my preferences. I’ve taken online tests in the past, and they’ve always come up the same.
While some people believe that traits can change over time, most believe our innate characteristics are unchanging, and only vary in intensity depending on our life circumstances. The “real deal” Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) test that I took for this particular workshop drilled down even further, scaling the strength of my preferences (how extremely I prefer each of my core traits).
Surprisingly, I discovered that I am an extreme introvert. I’ve always known that I need–no, require–a copious amount of quiet time, especially after social events, but I had no idea that I would scale out as a 30 (on a scale of 0 to 30) with my introversion. I mean, I enjoy meeting new people and being social–perhaps just not as much as the classic extrovert.
My INFJ type, also known as “The Protector,” describes me quite perfectly. I am a nurturer and I value my independence a great deal. I live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities, and I’m constantly defining and redefining my priorities. I have unusual insights into people and situations, and I feel drawn to perpetual self-improvement. I despise conflict.
Yep, that sounds about right.
What wasn’t so surprising, though, was that the majority of attendees at this event were female Intuitive-Feelers. Since we tend to geek out on personal growth, I guess that makes sense.
That realization also helped me connect a lot of other dots in my life, like the kind of personality types I tend to keep close–friends, mentors and professional connections. We surround ourselves with people who are like us. Heck, even the friend I invited to join me at the conference is a fellow INFJ.
Like attracts like…except opposites also attract.
What I learned from this conference is that, in many ways, I’ve been doing myself a disservice by keeping my circle ultra-small. I was reminded that there is a great deal of value in surrounding myself with people who are NOT like me.
Each of the 16 unique MBTI® personality types have strengths and weaknesses, and one of the primary objectives of this workshop was to better understand how to enlist our strengths and delegate our weaknesses.
No one is great at everything; we all need support (whether we want to admit it or not). And as someone who values independence, this is not an easy thing to admit.
By better understanding my personality, preferences, strengths and weaknesses, I already feel more empowered and clear about what needs to happen next.