I’m an INFJ. Except on the days I feel really analytical, when I test as an INTJ.
What the eff am I talking about? Let me ‘splain.
I have been working on a lot of collaborative projects lately. Some are really easy, some have a little friction, and others make me pull out my hair (from time to time). I’m sure my creative partners on my various projects feel the same way about me (from time to time). But even on the hair-pulling projects, I have amazingly talented, successful, creative, hard working partners and I want to continue to work with them in the future.
To make money? Sure.
To have fun? You bet.
To stretch myself and force myself to grow? Definitely.
To create kick-ass projects? Yes, yes, 1000 times yes.
So, what’s the secret of working with different people and different kinds of people? We don’t always match our work partners in style or character 100%, and I don’t think we should. I think partnerships can work best and be most productive and creatively fulfilling when each partner brings different strengths and weaknesses to the table. Weaknesses? Sure, let’s be honest OK? We’re all human being, so we all have flaws. And hiding them or being ashamed of them is no way to feed a successful partnership.
So, back to INFJ (or INTJ, if you prefer). That’s my Myers-Briggs Personality Type, based on Jungian archetypes. I’m no expert on this type of thing, and I take it with a grain of salt, so please excuse me if I get something wrong. But I have always loved taking quizzes that claim to be able to illuminate me about myself, and this is one of my favorites. I love the way it breaks the personality traits into four sections:
I/E – Introvert / Extravert I am an introvert. I can get along fine in crowds and I can even teach and speak to large groups, but I need to crawl into a hole and recover my energy before I feel human again. I am very thought oriented and not very action oriented at all. I live my life in my head.
N/S – iNtuitive / Sensing I am intuitive. I base much of what I believe on how I feel about things and I follow my gut, rather than depending so much on concrete information I gather with my own senses. I trust myself to know what is right for me.
F/T – Feeling / Thinking I go back and forth here. Sometimes I am more apt to let my feelings guide me, and at other times I am more apt to look for hard data. I am very balanced between my right- and left-brain functions, and I think that’s what this section is about. I am able to work in a creative free-flowing manner and also, somewhat, in a more directed, planned manner.
P/J – Perceiving / Judging I don’t really get this as much as the other areas, but I generally make up my mind about things fairly quickly and I don’t agonize over having too many choices or missing opportunities because I’ve made a decision too quickly. That said, I do try to make myself take some time to be certain before I formally make or announce a decision because I don’t like to change my mind publicly too much.
I understand myself pretty well, I think. But I’m not so good at understanding others. I can’t tell if my colleagues are INFJ, ESTP, ENFJ or whatever. Which, I think, makes it more difficult for me to figure out how to work well with others (something I’ve been deficient in since at least first grade).
Here are some of my strengths:
- I finish what I start.
- I make concrete plans and follow through.
- I am a very good writer.
- I am incredibly patient with my students.
- I have the stamina to dig deep in my research and studies.
- I respect and embrace people who are different than I am.
- I make damn-good products.
Here are some of my weaknesses:
- I am impatient with people who are working with me.
- I get pissed off when other people are impatient with me.
- I procrastinate a lot.
- I don’t tolerate stress well.
- I am judgmental of people who don’t share my values.
- I am hesitant about marketing and I selling myself short.
So there you have it. An incomplete portrait of a creative collaborator.