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Sixteen Months of Type – ESFJ

This is the thirteenth post in our 16 Months of Type series and we focus here on ESFJ. To remind you, we are using our material on managing life transitions with psychological type (formerly available through CPP as Introduction to Type® and Reintegration and soon to be available on CareerPlanner.com – stay tuned, more details coming soon!) as the jumping off point for each piece and then connecting this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs). Read on!

ESFJ, Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling and Judging When facing an LCE, ESFJs typically want an approach that is appreciative and collaborative. If your preferences are for ESFJ, you most likely seek external engagement and the opportunity to talk about your experiences. This sort of dialogue allows people who prefer ESFJ to contribute their point of view and learn whether others feel similarly. The ultimate goal in these interactions for the ESFJ is to be able to anticipate the needs of each individual and to move forward with a sense that everyone’s interests are aligned. In addition, those who prefer ESFJ generally have strong core beliefs about the value of particular approaches to managing transitions. Thus it is important for them to feel that the actions they take are the proper ones; consistent with their values as well as those of their peer group, society and culture. During times of challenge ESFJs are motivated to take care of people and their everyday welfare, and in turn, others are motivated by the ESFJs’ upbeat, can-do attitude and willingness to help.

When ESFJ preferences are overdone, people who prefer ESFJ may over-interpret the hesitancy of those who are less comfortable with emotional self-disclosure, seeing their reticence as a lack of caring or commitment. ESFJs might not see that others may sincerely need more time to process events and their reactions to these events, and, given that time, will usually feel comfortable sharing their personal stories. With their natural gift for building a sense of community and relationship, people who prefer ESFJ typically place a high value on harmony. However, under stress, this emphasis on fostering agreement may lead ESFJs to view anything other than whole-hearted enthusiasm for their ideas as confrontational. This can stifle others’ efforts to explore the possible downsides of a plan. Exploring a strategy in depth and from all angles will nearly always produce a better solution for everyone involved, and those who prefer ESFJ can use their skills to facilitate an open and balanced discussion on how to move forward most effectively.

When facing an LCE, ESFJs typically need an accepting companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey. An accepting companion can affirm their worth and offer them specific and supportive feedback. Such a companion can also express appreciation for the ESFJ’s special, caring contributions to group welfare. This affirmative guidance can also help ESFJs explore and honor the unique contributions of others involved, as well as reassuring ESFJs that although peoples’ methods may be different, their goals are in common and there is unity beneath the surface differences. Because they want to get going on the steps needed to serve the common good, those who prefer ESFJ usually want to know exactly what they are authorized to do and when they can begin doing it. ESFJs seek companions who have made the journey before who can therefore offer this material expertise. Those who prefer ESFJ also value companions who can tell them, in concrete terms, what they can expect during transitions and advise them on what actions to take when challenges arise. A down to earth companion can also help them take a more detached look at the bigger picture, showing them how checking a plan against both the bottom line and people’s feelings will reduce conflict in the future.

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer ESFJ, they may become so focused on the social norms defining what they are supposed to feel and do, that they neglect to evaluate how well these norms fit with their individual values and the unique situation. Indeed, they may be so concerned about disappointing significant others, that they may see their inability to conform to what (they believe) is expected of them as a personal failing. An accepting companion can help the ESFJ to see that community standards are just that—standard ways of operating, meant to be an approximation of what to do rather than the last word on the absolute best way for each individual to proceed in every single situation. Such a companion can help them to see that their own particular needs and desires matter, that they don’t have to be perfect (whatever that means), and finally that they do not have to and cannot be responsible for everyone’s satisfaction during confusing and tough circumstances. Incorporating these truths into any strategy will make implementation more pleasurable and successful for ESFJs and everyone involved.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 83
If you prefer ESFJ (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.

  1. How can you find time to check-in with yourself and discover what matters most – in terms of the bottom line as well as in people terms?
  2. How can you explore the larger meaning of your experiences in order to discover new ways of proceeding that might help you to manage your transition more successfully?
  3. How can you take an objective inventory of which approaches to your new circumstances are working and which are not?
  4. How can you build flexibility into your goals and plans to take advantage of learning opportunities as they appear?
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Sixteen Months of Type — INTP

This is the eleventh post in our 16 Months of Type series and we focus here on INTP. To remind you, we are using our material on managing life transitions with psychological type (formerly available through CPP as Introduction to Type® and Reintegration and soon to be available on CareerPlanner.com – stay tuned!) as the jumping off point for each piece and then connecting this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs). Read on!

INTP, Introversion, Intuition, Thinking and Perceiving
When facing an LCE, INTPs typically want an approach that is theoretically sound and internally consistent. INTPs usually want to examine the foundations of any system to ensure the basic operating assumptions are in alignment with their beliefs. People who prefer INTP appreciate having sufficient time to consider at least one option in depth and collect data on the merits of this option from a wide variety of sources. They feel most confident about a plan when they have had the opportunity to conduct a systematic review of its pros and cons. The idea that they can think their way out of every situation can lead them to invent creative and imaginative solutions to deal with the day-to-day challenges of forging a new life. Furthermore, people who prefer INTP don’t tend to shy away from hard truths and will attempt to use their gift of analysis to see all points of view to help bring people together during difficult transitions.

When INTP preferences are overdone, people who prefer INTP may become so concerned about appearing incompetent that they simply stop taking action for fear of making a mistake. Thus, if the principles on which a plan is based appear to be incongruent or contradictory, they may discard it completely, throwing their hands in the air rather than tweaking the plan so that it is good enough to warrant moving forward. Because they usually require a well-thought out rationale, INTPs can become distressed, even if the stakes are low, in situations where all choices seem equally good (or bad) and a decision must be made immediately. Those with INTP preferences may also neglect to share their elegant reasoning with significant others. Without this shared understanding, the INTPs’ insistence on doing something a certain way can appear arbitrary and their criticism of significant others’ alternative approaches can feel unwarranted.

When facing an LCE, INTPs typically need an objective companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey. If your preferences are for INTP, you tend to seek companions who can help you weigh up the potential future consequences of any decision you make today. INTPs are typically quite skeptical and need a companion who will honor this as well as match the INTP enthusiasm for analysis and inquiry and not be put off by queries of all kinds. Debating and probing “the truth” with a skilled companion not only helps INTPs to organize the available options into a logical framework but also reminds them that a thorough appraisal, by definition, requires looking at emotional as well as bottom line impacts. Such a companion can also help INTPs strike a balance between critique and showing appreciation for the ideas and contributions of others so that INTPs genuine desire to make things better can be realized.

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer INTP, they may get so caught up in an attempt to understand the reasons for their new situation that they fail to attend to basic aspects of daily life, unable to focus on anything outside of their worrying ruminations, becoming embroiled in a fruitless search for the perfect answer. People who prefer INTP also tend to be concerned about repeating past errors. Without a dispassionate companion who can help them evaluate the actual severity of missteps, they may have difficulty achieving a more balanced view of the past, and in turn doubt their ability to cope with similar situations going forward. Without reminders that nearly all problems combine aspects within and outside of their control, INTPs may exaggerate their responsibility or culpability and be unable to face the reality that sometimes things cannot be explained or improved, no matter how hard they try. Impartial and wise counsel can help INTPs to pick their battles and focus their excellent problem-solving abilities on those issues where progress is possible.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 81
If you prefer INTP (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.

  1. How can you find ways to enrich your experience by connecting with others and reaching out to share stories, time, and strategies?
  2. How can your past experiences be a guide to what might help you manage things more successfully now?
  3. How can you assess the impact of your actions on those you care about?
  4. How can you create plans, schedules or routines to help you manage your new way of living more easily?

Sixteen Months of Type — ISFJ

This is the seventh post in our 16 Months of Type series and we focus here on ISFJ. To remind you, we are using our material on managing life transitions with psychological type (formerly available through CPP as Introduction to Type® and Reintegration) as the jumping off point for each piece and then connecting this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs). Read on!

ISFJ, Introversion, Sensing, Feeling and Judging
When facing an LCE, ISTJs typically want an approach that is well established and supportive as they come to grips with their altered circumstances. If your preferences are for ISFJ, you most likely want to find peace and quiet to enable you to digest all that has been happening and to consider carefully how you can sequence any next steps so that they are most beneficial for all concerned. ISFJs tend to prefer plans that emphasize security and maintain predictability (as much as possible) and seek methods to assure them that what they are doing what is sensible and appropriate. People who prefer ISFJ often find that activities that produce a tangible or useful product – knitting, gardening or woodworking, for example – can help them feel more relaxed as they work through the ambiguities that usually accompany an LCE. Engaging in activities with specific steps and specific goals can help them regain a sense of stability and comfort when so much else feels uncertain.

When ISFJ preferences are overdone, people who prefer ISFJ may fail to recognize that their interest in preserving tradition is keeping them stuck in routines and processes that are no longer meeting their needs. This tendency may also keep them from utilizing and adapting to new data that could improve circumstances and create new and better practices and procedures. Moreover, in their desire to serve others, ISFJs may put their own concerns on the back burner. If they don’t get encouragement from significant others to make self-care a priority, they may see play or relaxation as a dereliction of duty rather than as an appropriate way to recharge that all of us need (even the highly dedicated ISFJ!). With their typically strong sense of loyalty and commitment, those who prefer ISFJ may shy away from expressing divergent views and postpone discussions about where views clash out of a fear of stirring up conflict. Counter to their intentions, this approach may increase the likelihood of misunderstandings and exhaust them as they try to do the impossible and keep all parties happy.

ISFJs typically need a kind companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey. By being available on a regular and consistent basis, a caring companion can provide the ISFJ with non-hurried, one-on-one time to discuss their hopes and fears. Such a companion can help them to sort through the facts and help make these more meaningful by connecting the personal specifics the ISFJ is dealing with to the larger picture. Since ISFJs are usually concerned with how they might be perceived by others, a sympathetic companion can gently nudge them to check the accuracy of these perceptions; reminding them to examine whether their beliefs about what others want or expect of them are accurate. Further, things have changed, therefore what’s expected or what’s appropriate is likely changing, too. Some confusion or awkwardness during the transition is normal and is not a character failing of others or of the ISFJ!

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer ISFJ, they may be left staggered and adrift with all the new data coming at them and feel unable to sift through it in such a way as to create an outline of what’s happening and prioritize their actions. Similarly, if there is insufficient information, or the available data are vague, ISFJs may struggle to commit to any plans for the future, wanting to wait until they are certain of all the necessary steps. Caring companions who have “been there” can serve as role models and help the ISFJ get unstuck. Together they can list and clarify what is already or still working so that these things can become part of new plans and traditions. With this thoughtful help, ISFJs can be reassured that many current practices – albeit some requiring updates or tweaks – will continue to be usable, thereby creating a bridge from the past to the future. Through this support, people who prefer ISFJ can begin to evaluate their options more realistically, find solutions in line with their values, and perhaps even start to celebrate some of their successes – or at the very least their hard work – in forging a new way forward.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 78
If you prefer ISFJ (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.

  1. How can you find the ways to enrich your connections with others by reaching out to share stories, time, and activities?
  2. How can you explore the larger meaning of your experiences in order to discover new ways of proceeding that might help you to manage your transition more successfully?
  3. How can you take an objective inventory of which approaches to your new circumstances are working and which are not?
  4. How can you build flexibility into your goals and plans to take advantage of learning opportunities as they appear?

Sixteen Months of Type — ENFP

This is the sixth post in our 16 Months of Type series and we focus here on ENFP. To remind you, we are using our material on managing life transitions with psychological type (formerly available through CPP as Introduction to Type® and Reintegration) as the jumping off point for each piece and then connecting this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs). Read on!

ENFP, Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling and Perceiving
When facing an LCE, ENFPs typically want an approach that makes it possible for them to stretch and grow. If your preferences are for ENFP, you most likely see a life-changing event as a time to embrace change and do things differently. People who prefer ENFP tend to do best if they have ongoing, informal opportunities to share and discuss ideas as they arise and when plans are kept flexible, imaginative, and expansive. Limiting options or codifying procedures before ENFPs have had the chance to try things out or play with new concepts typically dampens their enthusiasm and motivation. ENFPs tend to be drawn to strategies that feel nontraditional and fun, and those that include a variety of people and circumstances. They often have an uncanny ability to draw the greatest resources of talent from these interactions and in doing so, make it so that the most may benefit from the changes taking place.

When ENFP preferences are overdone, there can be a tendency for them to overextend themselves at the risk of jeopardizing their health and/or neglecting practical concerns. In their zest for devising creative strategies, people who prefer ENFP may not fully consider whether their inventive plans can realistically be enacted. Further, because ENFPs generally enjoy change, when facing an LCE they may too quickly dismiss those things that have worked in the past in favor of starting everything anew. Embarking on a complete “do-over” may inadvertently make things tougher by creating more work for themselves and others. In addition, the ENFP’s typical optimism and desire to see everyone happy may also mean that debates are curtailed or critical facts are not thoroughly discussed for fear of provoking conflict when such conversations may be both helpful and necessary to avoid mistakes.

ENFPs typically need an imaginative companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey. The support of such a mentor is particularly important when it comes to brainstorming the possibilities that LCEs bring. Since people who prefer ENFP typically get their best insights when talking over their ideas, they desire companions who can use metaphors and imagery to help them visualize options and who will understand and honor the importance of imagination. These companions can also assist those who prefer ENFP in formulating ways to manage their time and energy in order to establish conditions that are sustaining to their practical and physical needs. This helps ENFPs conserve stamina for developing the big picture—their favorite part of the process and usually the best use of their gifts.

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer ENFP, they may feel isolated, with the sense that they are missing out on opportunities to make things better because their ideas are not valued or fully explored. Without the benefit of an imaginative companion, they may lose motivation and not fully participate in plans and strategies that they deem too staid or conventional. This is a loss for them and others, as their unique approach may offer the fine-tuning needed to make existing policies better. A resourceful companion can help ENFPs creatively position their ideas in practical terms, which helps traditionalists and non-traditionalists alike accept, appreciate and utilize the ENFPs’ contributions.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 77
If you prefer ENFP (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.

  1. How can you find time to check-in with yourself and discover what matters most – in terms of the bottom line as well as in people terms?
  2. How can your past experiences be a guide to what might help you manage things more successfully now?
  3. How can you take an objective inventory of the pressing facts as they relate to the transition taking place?
  4. How can you incorporate a few plans, schedules, or routines to help you manage your time and energy more easily?

Sixteen Months of Type — ENTJ

It’s 2016 and it struck us that the sixteenth year of the decade might be a time to look at the sixteen types captured in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®. We will focus on one type each month, starting with ENTJ, and as there are sixteen types, the process will take a year and four months to complete. We will use material in our booklet Introduction to Type® and Reintegration as the jumping off point for each piece and endeavor to connect this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs).

ENTJ, Extraversion, Intuition, Thinking and Judging
When facing an LCE, ENTJs typically want an approach that is groundbreaking and action-oriented. If your preferences are for ENTJ, you most likely don’t want to sit around and wait for things to change. You want to make things happen. ENTJs tend to prefer that a decision be made (they don’t always need to be the decider) so that they can get going. If it doesn’t work out the first time around, their usual approach is to learn from what went wrong and try again as soon as it is practical – the goal is to DO something, preferably something that breaks new ground.

When ENTJ preferences are overdone, for example, people who prefer ENTJ may fail to attend to current realities and their own values and feelings. This action-oriented approach can mean that they head off in a new direction without paying much heed to how the changes will impact them and/or their significant others in the near term. They may also assume that more action will make the difference, when instead time could be better spent reviewing current constraints and potential consequences – in both personal and bottom-line terms – and building these into their approach BEFORE continuing.

When facing an LCE, ENTJs typically need a self-assured companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey. Since those who prefer ENTJ are usually brimming with self-confidence, they seek companions, whether friends, colleagues or helping professionals, who aren’t afraid to share opinions, respond to questioning robustly, and perhaps, on occasion, even spar with them. This self-assurance should be an aspect of the companion’s general demeanor and also be rooted in competence, as people who prefer ENTJ seek not just someone who is confident, but someone who can back this up with real ability. In short, they should be someone who can “walk the talk” and hold themselves and the person with ENTJ preferences accountable.

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer ENTJ, they may struggle with the ambiguity that accompanies LCEs and interpret this confusion as incompetence on their part. A savvy companion can help them to see that waiting until they have more clarity around an issue instead of rushing to make further changes can be a strength. Without forthright or even blunt feedback, people who prefer ENTJ may believe that all is well simply because they have heard nothing to the contrary from others. Having an outspoken companion helps because this person can challenge them directly and also remind them to assess others’ level of discomfort through observation; does the person with whom they are interacting seem to be stalling, absenting themselves or maintaining a determined silence. If so, perhaps examining the situation further, before acting, is the best choice.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 72
If you prefer ENTJ (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.

  1. How can you find time to check-in with yourself and discover what matters most – in people terms as well as in terms of the bottom line?
  2. How can your past experiences be a guide to what might help you manage things more successfully now?
  3. How can you assess the impact of your actions on those you care about?
  4. How can you build flexibility into your action plan to take advantage of learning opportunities as they appear?

 


Lines in italics adapted from p. 48 and the four questions from p. 49 of Hirsh, E., Hirsh, K. W., & Peak, J. (2011). Introduction to type® and reintegration: A framework for managing the transition home. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.