Do you ever find yourself accomplishing a ton of things but frequently feel that “something is missing?” Do you tend to indulge in some vices such as overeating, drinking, or sex when feeling stressed or overworked? When a learning process is in the auxiliary or Co-Pilot position in the Car Model, it takes conscious effort to reflect on how a particular decision can play out. Types that lead with a decision-making process can take action without considering the consequences which often leads to over exhaustion. For this article, I will focus on two extraverted types: ENTJs and ENFJs (from here referenced as ENxJs).
Both types use an incredibly quiet Co-pilot process called Introverted Intuition or what we’ve nicknamed “Perspectives.” This process is all about patterns of thinking and getting into the heads of others. When ENxJs use this process, they hammer out plans to meet personal and social needs while holding space for other people who think and behave differently. If an ENxJ bypasses Perspectives by relying on their tertiary 10 Year Old process, they may hesitate to move forward in their lives and can seem incredibly rigid and judgmental toward others.
The 10 Year Old called “Sensation,” or Extraverted Sensing, celebrates kinesthetic engagement in the moment. It encourages exploration of the physical world through all of our senses; and while that seems fun, it can sabotage any efforts for slowing down and can entice ENxJs, in particular, to look at what’s right in front of them without considering the bigger picture.
For example, let’s say a plan is not working out within the day that you started it. If it’s abandoned too quickly without considering how it might play out, then the Sensation process wins. For other types, this isn’t always a bad thing, but ENxJs can fall into the trap of improvising and avoiding long-term plans. That short term planning may keep them away from greater possibilities. Distractions goad them to focus on what’s pleasing and accessible at the moment rather than beneficial in the long run, which leads to a pattern of indulgence to self-medicate when overwhelmed with meaningless work. They will use what’s “right in front of their eyes” as the only measure of what’s possible in their lives.
Develop Your Co-Pilot
It’s important to use Perspectives as a vetting process before or immediately after making a decision because it asks “Are these all of the options? Is this the biggest picture possible?”
Before I get into this, I want to point out that finding solitude is a necessary preliminary step. This means creating a space lacking sensory distractions like music, TV, noises from your cell phone, or anything that might disrupt your focus. In this space, allow yourself the freedom to get conceptual. You have full permission create whatever your mind comes up with. Go ahead and be weird. Get comfortable with not being busy, not serving someone, and not evaluating everything as a pass or fail. Relax and embrace the peace.
As a person who uses Perspectives as her dominant process, I’ll break it down into three essential components: Visualization, long-term projection, and understanding viewpoints.
- Visualization – Or in other words, a mental roleplay. Take the options you have and think how they will play out in your life. What might happen if I take that job? How would this benefit me in the future? Where is this relationship going? Is my friend giving me the cold shoulder or does their body language indicate something else? Perspectives always starts with a question that leads you on a path to prospects. As you play the scene out in your mind, keep forming new questions to lead your thoughts through new areas.
- Long-Term Projection – As you’re thinking of possible trajectories each choice might lead you to, keep trying to push that trajectory further and further into the future as much as possible. How will this play out by the end of the month? After three months? How will this affect me after one year? How will it affect my community after five years? What will I be able to say about this decision when I’m retired? Is this the direction I would like to go?
- Understanding viewpoints – It’s important to try and get into the heads of others when assessing the details of a plan or the particulars of a relationship. What role will you take and how can others benefit from this agreement? How will you be seen because of this and is that perception acceptable for completing these goals? What do you think others want from you? What do you think their motivations are? What potential do they have? Make sure to look at possible perspectives not only in a one-on-one scenario but also zoomed out. How does this benefit people on a large scale?
As you can see, Perspectives involves a lot of Socratic questioning. It also humanizes people because we work to see life from their point of view. This helps us manage our environment effectively instead of simply making judgments about it and the people around us. Running a mental simulation encourages visualization about relationships or systems which makes ENxJs incredible relationship or business coaches. Trying to see life from another perspective can inspire us to back off and give people some space for the differing talents they bring to the world.
- Read A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger. It’s all about how Socratic questioning encourages us to see things from different viewpoints and how that can fuel new ideas which lead to opportunities.
- Listen to other points of view. Ask a few people you trust about an idea you have and listen to their point of view. If you disagree with something they’ve said, ask a question that gets them to elaborate why they think that way instead of inserting your opinion immediately. Encourage them to flesh out how this idea might play out in their mind. Once you have several angles, use them to either solidify your decision or tweak it toward a more promising direction.
- Use an outline or graphic organizer to draw emergent paths. Expand the outline or picture as much as possible by asking the 5Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why) and How, so multiple angles are addressed for the main ideas you come up with.
- If you need something more concrete, use a simple timeline. Start with your general idea and keep pushing it forward through time. Try to keep it going until you have at least a year’s worth of implications from your original thought. Once you have that, determine your biggest milestones and what actions need to be taken to get there while anticipating obstacles that might interrupt your progression. Think about how you’ll overcome them and include those possibilities on your timeline so you can be prepared when things get chaotic.
- Finally, use a Pros and Cons list. Go through each beneficial outcome of a choice and try to balance it with an adverse outcome. Remember to think of all of the people involved that will be affected by it. How will this action benefit them and in what way? How will it be detrimental to them? Then think of the resources. Will this be a significant strain on the physical, mental, and financial capital that you have? Would it be worth it to do so considering the pros? I use an 80/20 metric for success when it comes to these lists, but you can determine what ratio works best for you.
Getting Into Growth
Instead of allowing the Sensation process to limit growth, let it act as a support system. Sensation takes in information that’s right in front of you, so you can use that as a starting point to launch into Perspectives.
Let me give you an example of how each type uses the relationship between their Perspectives and Sensation processes to accomplish tasks.
My ENFJ friend worked in a small business that helped Au Pairs get jobs in the United States. After a few years of that, she became an Au Pair herself working two years in the US and one year in France. Through her work, she frequently received questions from people about how to do what she’s doing. It was easy for her to just answer those questions on a small scale in the moment but she decided to think a little bigger than that. She made plans to prepare a blog just for Au Pairs in the Millennial generation which would be an overarching source of information for them. Not only would they be able to get her personal advice easily, but they would also be able to contact her if they needed more information. Having the blog up also meant that she would enable success stories and help her community in a profound way. Furthermore, it is a project that has the potential to grow. It can always get more views, she can always add more content, it can always become a source of passive income and it can definitely lead her to jobs and collaborations in the future.
Her Sensation process recognized that a large group of millennials want information about how to be an Au Pair in the United States. So she uses that information, zooms out on a large scale and deliberately maximizes the potential of that path.
In another example, my ENTJ friend recently entered the music industry at the prompting of his INFP cousin to assist with the business aspects of their art. The ENTJ could see the potential of the idea so he researched the feasibility in getting the business legitimized as a record company. The INFP focused on songwriting and graphic design while the ENTJ got it registered, created a website, kept track of the paperwork and thought through some marketing strategies. He thought to himself, “What exactly can I do to grow this idea past where it already is? How are my actions significant?” He used the artistic skills he already had to start creating his own music projects that would inspire local artists to join the record company. He visualized how the plan would play out in his community, figuring out a marketing strategy and anticipating the growth of the company. Since his objective was to attract young local musicians who may not understand the music business, he made the decision to keep contracts in casual, everyday language on top of keeping royalties fair to build trust and encourage the artists to fulfill their dreams. Their satisfaction would directly benefit the company because those signed to the label would express that positive experience to their friends, making it inevitable that the company would grow.
His Sensation process was attracted to the success represented in the music industry, and he used his Perspectives process to project a clear path, figure out what his community would want, and adapt his marketing strategy to that end.
If you’re an ENTJ or an ENFJ reading this article, don’t settle for less! Take a tangible action and project that into the world of possibilities for growth. If you’re worried about taking on too much and losing control, use your perspectives process to think about what conflicts might come up. When you anticipate them first, then you actually have more power to manage those situations. Step outside of the box. The first few times you try to get out of a rut may not be successful and that’s ok. Keep leveling up. Keep aiming for meaning and purpose. Then, your industriousness helps you help the world in a meaningful way.