Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Embracing Your Personality Type (I'm an ENFP - what are you?)

 I was in 7th grade the first time I took a personality/career assessment test.

Our teacher built it up to be a big deal. She threw out phrases like "discovering what you're good at" (applying make-up, obviously) and "fields that you'll excel". There was something almost mystical about the whole thing, like looking into a crystal ball to catch a glimpse of your future.

Then again, everything seems dramatic when you're 12.

The last time my hair was natural. And by "natural" I'm referencing COLOR because hello perm. Also of note: teal mascara, fabric scrap homemade scrunchie #DIY4LIFE

We were instructed to not compare results - these were individual ratings that were neither better than or less than. As if. Come lunch time, it was all we could talk about.

While my friends scored high in responsible things like analytical skills, focus and drive, or problem solving, mine came back with phrases like "open-minded" and "enthusiastic". A bunch of adjectives that smelled of consolation prizes for not getting any real talents.

There was also something in the problem areas (my interpretation) about resistance/dislike of authority, however we all KNOW assessments can't be completely accurate.



It also showed a high score in "creativity" which, for someone who wanted nothing more than to be a quiet intellectual that people took seriously, was practically a death sentence.



That one there is from 8th grade. Now blond and clearly blending in with the other girls and their conservative, well behaved-ness. Why can't I be the one hiding? The one uncomfortable because she has a sense of propriety and would never wear {yet another} do-it-yourself headband thing under crimped hair? Math was always my worst subject, but the likelihood there was also a song being belted out Broadway style at this exact moment = 103%.

By the time high school rolled around, it's was the 90's, which meant there were now computers on campus. You could plunk yourself down in front of a screen in the Work Development building just off the library, answer a bunch of questions, and your aptitude profile report would print up in a matter of seconds. Mine was always the same, no matter how many times I retook it.


Recently while we were purging (still!) some bins of memorabilia, my old school yearbooks were unearthed. Three things I quickly learned:

1. there are a lot of people I don't remember

2. they referenced experiences we had together and inside jokes I don't remember

3. high school language is much saltier than I remember

As one of the boys caught a glimpse at some of the more...appropriate inscriptions, he looked confused as he read through them. "So you were pretty much just the same?"


Can it be true that the last 22 years spent growing up, trying to navigate life, living with a husband, attempting to raise 5 responsible, kind children...and I'm still the EXACT SAME PERSON?

In a word: mostly.

Although I have learned how to use my "strengths" of communication and playfulness for good instead of evil.

{Susie - this literally made me laugh out loud. It's not mean if it's hilarious, right?}

I took the test again just for kicks and...same as always.  (here's a summary).


Although at 39, seeing your gifts (AND shortcomings) on paper somehow feels much less like a label or something to overcome and more like permission. Validation. Celebration.


Where the younger me struggled to obey the inner voice that was always pleading to HOLD BACK and TONE IT DOWN, the older me knows that would be a shame. At least sometimes.


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After years of listening to friends with different temperaments and strengths talk about their experience navigating adolescence, it became obvious that even the most "ideal" traits came with their own baggage. The quiet ones? Accused of being snobby. The smart ones? Intimidating to boys. Those motivated, focused and driven ones that captured my envy? Perceived as uptight and no fun.

Who knew?

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For any of you struggling with your inherent gifts and abilities, take heart.

What you have to offer matters.

What you can give to the world makes a difference.

Instead of spending massive amounts of time and effort trying to become what you aren't, what if you took that energy and spent it shining up what you already have until it sparkles?


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I'd love to hear what YOUR personality is. What you love about it. What drives you nuts.
Any other ENFPs out there?


(Never taken a test before? You can do that here, or google "Myers-Briggs Personality Test")


37 comments:

  1. We love you for your eccentricities and craziness! I am a "balanced extrovert." Go figure.

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    1. Is there such a thing?? The word balanced is throwing me off. Or maybe we're the same and although *can* be social and outgoing, also have a healthy need to hide and take a break from the outside world too :)

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    2. Yeah--I don't know what that means either. I think the test *might* be a little "off."

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    3. I am impressed by you after reading here about your personal story and on Embracing Your Personality Type. And being as a dissertation tutor or writer at UK’s best consultancy http://www.dissertationhelp.uk/, I am believing and always told my students who are come to take dissertation writing help from me that Instead of spending massive amounts of time and effort trying to become what we are not, we would spent our energy in what we already have until it sparkles.

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  2. My daughter and I were just talking about this yesterday. I didn't take one till college, but I don't think I've "changed" in 25 years either. Good read. Thanks!

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    1. HAHA! It always seemed that changing would be good (and even unavoidable), but now I'm thinking that it can't be done. Ideally we gain a bit of experience, compassion, and understanding along the way, but switching from one type to another? Me thinks it may be impossible.

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  3. I took the test you linked in your post. I'm not quite understanding the ENFP? The test gave a bunch of results, but did not give an overall rating? Just curious.

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    1. Doh! The link was totally wrong. See? DETAILS DEFICIENT ;) It's been fixed in the post, but go here (and then report back!): https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

      It should give you a result, and then summary, followed by strengths/weaknesses, relationships, etc.

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    2. Thanks! I am ISFJ, and it seems pretty accurate!

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  4. First let me qualify something - I'm a leadership consultant and really can't stand the MB profile. For any number of reasons that don't matter here. But, I have taken it. And it's pretty accurate for the most part. I'm an INFJ. An introvert disguised as an extrovert (coach and public trainer?). I love people - until I don't. In high school I was the "smart one", the "nice one". I really wanted to be the "fun one". Adolescence sucks whatever box they stick you in :)

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    1. I agree it isn't foolproof, but just by saying that you're an INFJ provides a (rough) frame of reference of your thought process. My oldest (and only daughter) is an INFJ and DETESTS that people assume we have the same-ish personality. In her words, being upbeat and outgoing is possible- and sometimes even fun- but fizzles out after about 10 minutes :) It's also SO hard to remember how sensitive she is to...practically everything. A FANTASTIC trait aaaand also a heavy liability. That's where understanding other's motivations and limitations makes for a lot smoother interactions. Why am I even explaining - you're a coach! You know all this already!! :)

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  5. I usually get infj on those things but the interpretation never sits completely well with me. All I know for certain is I'm absolutely 100% introverted. And you, enfp poster child, I probably could have diagnosed sans test.

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    1. Perhaps it's like the Ennegram system where, if you're living in the "healthiest" state of functioning, you actually start to merge into another category? Since we have ALL the qualities within us(theoretically), maybe you overlap?? I could see that. I'm convinced my personality shifts daily to one side of the spectrum or the other based on my mood (read: hormone levels).

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  6. Just took the test. No surprises... I'm an ENFP-T. Did we ever doubt I would be? I'm fist-bumping you from Oz. (Why does that sound dirty?) x

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    1. That explains sooo much. HA! No doubt we'd drive each other mad...and have crap tons of {loud, irreverent} fun in the process!!

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  7. ISFP last time I took it. The I is always there. I don't remember what the other letters were. I should probably retake it, there are a lot of parts of ISFP that don't fit. Animal lover? Ha. Artist? Not really. A doer? Occasionally. But maybe I'm just not living up to my potential. The summary at the end sounds like me, but not really specifics. Maybe I'm just an extra special uniquie ISFP.

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    1. .. who apparently needs to proofread before posting.

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    2. Duh. Obviously a special spirit! Being sensitive to others' feelings and valuing harmony? Definitely. Overly competitive?? Not sure about that one. Maybe you're like Heather and have evolved quicker than the rest of us. There were probably instructions somewhere on how to attain such a feat...and I was too busy goofing off to bother listening... :)

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  8. Great post. I found I'm ESFJ, most of what it had to say does apply to me, but there are parts that are quite a bit off, but not many.
    They never had any of these kinds of tests when I was in school, back in the dark ages, but I do remember my kids taking them to "guide" them toward the right profession. My daughter took hers several times throughout middle and high school. It always told her she should be a funeral director, how random is that? She was totally appalled, I told her it's probably because she is so easy to talk to and understanding. I think her problem was the whole idea of dead people.
    I do have to say that this is definitely not who I was in high school though. It has me as a "popular" person, cheerleader type. Not at all in high school and not in nursing school either. As an adult though, I became much more of a leader and let myself be me and not worry about "the other kids" and what they think of me. Funny thing, I found that people generally like me just the way I am.

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    1. Of course they do - you're wonderful!! It's so interesting that some people struggle with trying to be what others want them to be, and for some of us, it's trying to be anything other than what we are to try to please ourselves. Both tasks are impossible.

      P.S Your poor daughter...FUNERAL DIRECTOR?? I suppose it's a compliment, as you'd have to have a well developed gift of empathy, but surely she could be a nurse with that gift, just like her mama?

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  9. Mr Hunter just took the test and he's an ESTJ-A. What's the A? Awesome??I think I'm just a confused mess because I think I'm an ESFJ (but very close to ENFJ) but our friend says ENFP.

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    1. And now it says I'm an INFP-A. I think it's because a lot of the questions I clicked "neutral" as my answer. LOL!

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    2. No WONDER Camden got an INFP. The most neutral, go-with-the-flow person I know :)

      ESFJ: popular. Loyal. Good at connecting with others. Vulnerable to criticism. Seems accurate to me! (although you don't seem like an unusually overprotective parent... Hmmm...)

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  10. Very interesting...I had to take the test and ended up being an ISFJ. Not sure what those actually stand for except the I, but overall the assessment was fairly accurate. A little creepy really! LOL. Supposedly I'm likable though! Guess that's better than being a complete jerk! I am very home and family oriented and find my greatest happiness with those I love and have had the same best friend for 43 years.... Apparently, I play nice with people but it takes me a while to really classify them as friends. As an adult I like my own little world and am happy there. Interesting test. Thanks for sharing. I've always enjoyed your blog, your creativity, I can do it however I want attitude, and saying it like it is. I admire that in you and think your blog is a bit of fresh air. Keep sharing!

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    1. Being likable and playing well with others is a beautiful gift indeed!! No wonder...saying all those sweet things...XOXO

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  11. INTJ - although some think think this is a personality disorder:) particularly in a woman. lt leads you to research things like wrapping presents. So you can bend people to your will. As evil geniuses do.
    My daughter is ENFP and is absolutely fricken AWESOME. But incapable of picking up her clothes. She dispenses magnificent hugs and is wickedly funny.

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    1. Not a personality disorder at all. More like someone I'd want on my team if we had a group project at school!

      {although such a strategic thinker raising what sounds like my clone made me giggle - you poor thing!! Picking up after ourselves and cleaning as we go is an ENFP's kryptonite. And it gets NO BETTER with age}

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    2. Tammy Kay!!! I'm so excited to meet another INTJ! It's been said that female INTJs are as rare as unicorns! So excited I'm not the only one on earth. Oh the stories we could relate on. We're the assholes of personality types aren't we?

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  12. I got ISFP-t. I think I've changed a ton since adolescence. I think I used to be a lot more fun, outgoing and happy. For some reason, as I've aged, I've become lame. True story. I wish to be more like I was.

    on another note, I didn't realize we're the same age. I bet we would have been wild and zany together had we gone to the same school. Thanks for sharing your pictures!

    Carrie / insta: brighthappycreations

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    1. Looks like you've got both inside of your personality type, so maybe you've just changed hats with the season? Or maybe you're right and we SHOULD hang out a bit - although my children would beg to argue that you can be fun, outgoing AND lame all at the same time. HAHA!

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    1. That explains EVERYTHING. No wonder the Lord made sure we didn't live on the same street. Can you imagine? :)

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  14. ENFP and not even a little surprised lol

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  15. ISTJ, here. And a very strong one, at that: I almost fall off the chart in the upper left corner. Seriously. My test results were analyzed several years ago by a management professor (yep, in higher ed) who specializes in different personality types and their management styles, so her take on my results was very interesting. But yeah, if I was any more ISTJ, I'd fall off the page. It sort of drives my coworkers up the wall, but, boy, do I get things DONE!

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  16. ENFP-A as well. I started reading it and was nodding and saying things like yes this is totally including not wanting to be restrained by rules and details and hand over my heart I got bored reading halfway through but made it up to the part where it says I don't like to be defined. Oh yeah, that's me :)

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  17. ENFP! I took the test 20 years ago and was a strong ENFP. Years later Im E/I NF P/J. Ive moved center on a couple I think because of my job requires me to be organized and more detailed. Also I have settled down and am more introverted...I dont crave socializing as I did when I was younger. We ENFPs are unique..creative..energetic..and passionate.

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