When I tell people I'm an INFJ, almost everyone asks what I mean. INFJ is my Myers Briggs personality profile, and the letters stand for Introversion, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging. While I won't go into the details of each of these "types," I'll summarize as follows.
I – Downtime, or reflection, is my energy source
N – With less interest in details, I tend to look for the “big picture”
F – I empathize when making decisions
J – My preference is for order and structure, and for things to be settled
Great news! According to Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger, good "arts" careers for INFJs include Playwright, Novelist, and Poet. So at least I've confirmed writing is a good fit for my personality type!
But that's not what's prompted me to write about personality type.
At a writers' group meeting several weeks ago, we talked about our great chemistry and how each member contributes a different skill set. Gary talked about Dorlana's ability to see where the story should start, Chrissa's capacity at florid description, Theresa's skill of natural dialog, and Kelli's passion with punctuation, just to name a few. Then he mentioned my ability to see the details.
Wow. Imagine that. Me – see the details!
What a surprise that was. You see, my "N" is real strong in my INFJ. Strong to a fault. I see the forest, but rarely notice the trees. I couldn't tell you what color shirt my husband was wearing when I dropped him off at work this morning. Nor could I tell you the color or type car that most of my neighbors drive, although I do know a few. I may not even notice when a family member gets a new haircut. I just don't pay attention to those details.
Yet here I was receiving what I feel is a terrific complement. Thank you, Gary! Which got me to thinking… do I really see the details while reading the work of my colleague writers?
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps. Since I am so aware of my inattentiveness to detail, I think when I'm tasked to look at or read something, I pay particular attention. And while I read chapters of novels or short stories for the group, I typically have the "big picture" in mind and usually will have read through the selection more than once. So as I read, I look at those details to see if they fit with the whole picture. Anyway, that's what I'm guessing.
Now I'm curious – do you know your Myers Briggs personality profile? If you do, please share it in the comments section and I'll bet we see a truly diverse group of personality types.
Whether it's my writers' group, or any group for that matter, Gary is right. It's all our differences that make us so great; and together, we're all pretty awesome!