I remember when I first learned about the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI); it was in a corporate setting. We were all tasked as a work team to individually complete what seemed like an endless list of questions (there's a loooooong and short version). The very first time I completed it, of the 16 personality type possibilities, my type was ENFJ. This was fascinating, as I had previously thought extroversion and introversion (which is represented by the first letter in this four-letter combo) was about being outgoing or shy. I learned that the E and the I represented your preference for getting or focusing your energy.
This realization changed the game for me in many ways. Prior to that time, I hadn't really given much thought to how I get or focus my energy. I suppose I was mildly aware of the term "energy" and what it meant for me, but nothing beyond a surface explanation.
I love the simple explanations for each category provided by the OPP:
I'm the first one to warn you not to come to any strong conclusions about who you are based on any assessment, however, I enjoy playing with many of them (the psychologist in me), especially if they have some staying power, which the MBTI has proven.
I've taken this assessment about a dozen times. As I mentioned above, it all started in the corporate setting. I've since taken it - long and short versions - in an academic setting, as a business builder and just on my own purely for fun to see if anything has changed.
The first time my type was ENFJ; my type now is INFP. The first and fourth letters in my combo shifted a bit.
The former represented results when I was hanging out in a corporate setting, the latter has been very consistent while working in all of the other settings I move and shake in.
It's interesting to note that I've always scored close to the middle in the bookend categories, the E and the I, and the J and the P, but just slightly on the one side or the other.
I've typically described myself, when asked about my MBTI type, as a trained extrovert and a natural introvert.
As time passes, the characteristics that describe the introvert and the perceiver ring more true for me, but the NF combo is constant and will, no doubt, remain strong.
In the last few years or so, I've heard more about the ambivert; defined as someone who expresses a mash up of both extrovert and introvert characteristics.
Hmmm, interesting, as many believe we can hang out in both camps depending on the situation and expectations.
I get it. I'm actually kind of digging the whole ambivert thing. I love the idea of flowing in and out of these two authentically.
Because I relate to the characteristics of both, I personally have challenges from time to time managing my own energy.
I LOVE, and when I say LOVE, I mean LOVE being by/with myself. I can tuck myself away from everyone in a heartbeat. Curl up with a book. Disappear into my "cool as hell" home office (my favorite place). Put on my headphones and get lost in a podcast, my favorite tunes, or some video clip faves. Go to the movies by myself. Delve into some yard work where I can play in the dirt. Break out he paint brushes and markers for some painting and drawing. The list seems endless.
The challenge comes after I've been alone for some time. I start longing to emerge, connect and conversate.
I can easily get lost in the connections, too. I simply tap into what I've learned to successfully navigate the world of connecting and collaborating, posing as an extrovert with grace and ease.
The challenge comes a bit quicker for me after being connected. I start longing to retreat and disconnect. In fact, internally, if I don't answer the call to retreat pretty quickly, some ugly conflict can break out inside. Energetically, I'm a mess.
This is really a dilemma for me, as I'm constantly working to create some sense of harmony between the two.
I strongly feel if I had my way, I'd spend most of my time at work and play by myself, but there's a part of me that tugs and pulls to be out and about, too, mingling with people but only for awhile.
It's so unfortunate that the dominant culture celebrates and rewards extrovert characteristics over and above introverted characteristics.
Both are required and valuable - we need a mixture of the higher level of internal activity of introverts and the ability to quickly scan the external world delivered by the extroverts. As Marti Olsen Laney, author of The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World explains in the chapter, "The Emerging Brainscape: Born to be Introverted?" Love this read, by the way!
Choosing to contribute as a biz builder has been the best decision I've made to remedy this dilemma in many ways.
Working in this structure means more freedom to decide with whom, where, and how long I choose to be with others versus basking in the joy of creating and exploring alone.
I definitely cozy up most often to the characteristics of the introvert clan, but these days I'm cool with being a card-carrying ambivert.
The whole energy management thing will remain a challenge for me, but I love challenges, so it's all good.
I just need to keep this top of mind when I'm feeling the longing while loitering on either side!
Aspiring Sage, Creative Maven, Fancier of Books, Guardian of Student Experiences, Inner Explorer, Lover of Living & Learning, Partisan of Play, Princess of Joy, Purveyor of Possibility, Vibrational Recalibrator.