The ENFP “Champion” Personality Type
Note from Joel: For those of you who are ENFPs this article may feel too long to read. Your mind is going to want to jump to other things. Read it anyway. Slowing down and being deeply introspective is one of the most important things you can do.
The 1200 seat auditorium was buzzing with excited energy. I was buzzing with nervous energy.
“Why did I commit to doing this?” I asked myself. I felt flush and was pacing wildly in the back of the room mumbling to myself. I’m sure the scene looked a bit odd to onlookers.
In less than three minutes I had to stand up at Inbound (a major marketing conference in Boston) and deliver a talk to potentially thousands of marking and business professionals about using personality types to build Rapid Customer Rapport.
I felt like punching a wall. I was angry with myself for taking this gig. I was nervous about the outcome. I felt out of alignment.
It wasn’t that I was nervous about speaking in front of thousands of people. I’ve been getting on stage since I was five years old. I had absolute faith in my speaking abilities.
I was much more anxious about the audience’s reception to my talk.
I was asking myself basic outcome questions like…
“Will this talk be any good at spreading the message of personal growth through the lens of personality types?”
“Will I look smart and impress this room of world-class marketing professionals?”
“Was this going to be an effective talk and help me reach my business and personal goals?”
And then I remembered to implement the very advice we teach ENFPs at Personality Hacker. Within 30 seconds I had tapped into my inner wisdom and felt a deep emotional shift inside my heart. It felt like the puzzle piece of anxiety was being swapped out for one of inner alignment.
And then I asked myself a new question.
This question came from my core. My deep inner wisdom asked…
“Is giving this talk today in alignment with who I am and what I stand for?”
Just changing the question made me feel a bit better.
A big “YES!” from my heart confirmed that the talk I was about to give resonated with me.
At that moment – the outcome didn’t matter as much as the fact that I was doing the right thing for me.
I exchanged my emotions of anger and anxiety for the emotion of knowing this talk came from my inner core.
I’d like this article to help you as an ENFP experience this same feeling of deep inner alignment.
ENFP Personality | Wiring of the Mind
As an ENFP your mind is fundamentally wired differently from other personalities. You’ve probably already heard that you are an Extravert, iNtuitive, Feeler, Perceiver.
A lot of articles and resources focus on the behaviors you show the world as an ENFP.
Behavior can be helpful – but it isn’t the complete picture when figuring out your personality.
I want to give you a peek inside your mind to expose the mental wiring that makes you an ENFP.
Your four letter code, ENFP, gives us insight into how your mind is learning information and making decisions.
The primary way your mind sees the world is by using a mental process we’ve nicknamed “Exploration.” It’s technical name is Extraverted Intuition.
When looking at the world – “Exploration” asks the question “What if?”
- “What if we could build a machine that lets humans fly?”
- “What if we cross breed a Lion with a Tiger?”
- “What if I pretend to speak a foreign language on the first day of class?”
To truly grasp how this process works imagine a four passenger car.
If one of your mental processes could drive – it would be “Exploration.”
Using this mental process puts you in flow. You’ve been using it your whole life. It’s your reality filter and informs what captures your attention.
If Exploration is how you see the world as an ENFP, then the mental process we’ve nicknamed “Authenticity” is how you make your best decisions.
The technical name for Authenticity is Introverted Feeling.
When evaluating any decision – Authenticity asks the question “Does this feel right to me?”
It’s a feeling process concerned with how the events in your life impact you on a subjective emotional level.
Think about that four passenger car again… if Exploration is in the Driver seat – then Authenticity is in the front passenger seat.
It is your Co-Pilot mental process and what we call your “growth state.”
Of course – this is a four passenger car, so you also have two mental processes in the backseat.
Sitting right behind the Co-Pilot is a mental process we call “Effectiveness.”
Effectiveness is all about what works, “the bottom line” and what gets the job done. It’s about getting tasks and objectives accomplished regardless of personal feelings and when not used in a healthy way can disregard personal ethics. This mental process has the development of about a 10-year-old child.
Finally – behind the Driver of Exploration sits a mental process called “Memory.”
We call this your “blind spot” or 3-year-old mental process.
Memory is all about precedent, safety and doing the reliable thing. It’s about realizing who you are based on your past and your ties to the past.
Notice – we haven’t talked about ENFP behaviors.
Instead, I’ve been talking about the mental wiring of your mind.
Behaviors can only give us clues to how your mind is wired.
It’s far more interesting to dive into WHAT CAUSES our behaviors as people.
ENFP Personal Growth
As an ENFP your Co-Pilot is the mental process called “Authenticity.”
This is what we call your growth position. It’s the highest leverage point for growth in your personality.
Authenticity allows you as an ENFP to make decisions that resonate with your core identity and inner wisdom.
It asks internal questions like:
- “Does this feel right for me?”
- “Is this action really an expression of how I see myself?”
- “Am I making this choice because it is true to my inner wisdom?”
Authenticity encourages you as an ENFP to ignore expediency and instead choose meaning and alignment.
It may be easy for you as an ENFP to get into action and get things done, but if those actions are out of alignment, you will always feel like something is missing.
Growing your Authenticity can be a challenge for you as an ENFP. And it can take a while to process and develop how you feel about a decision.
Every personality type tends to avoid growing their Co-Pilot mental process. But here lies the power of understanding your personality.
Don’t see your Authenticity as a hindrance. Embrace the slower pace of getting into this mental process because it gives you the opportunity to slow down and become present as an ENFP.
For an ENFP, it feels right to focus on your core values. It feels like it’s in alignment for you to focus on your true internal motivations and desires.
To continue doing the right things, it should feel in alignment to go inside and check in with your inner wisdom and discover what really matters to you on a core level.
As an ENFP – Your inner wisdom already knows what’s right for you. Don’t ignore the deep core of your true heart.
Start asking, “what emotional impact do I want to create in my life?” Spend some focused introverted time thinking about how you personally feel. See if you can map your emotions to parts of your body.
Each time you are faced with a decision, close your eyes and ask yourself what feels right for you in this moment.
In the middle of a disagreement, pay attention to how you are FEELING in the moment.
Do what it takes to access your inner wisdom.
As an ENFP, you will bring the best version of yourself to the world when you get inside your heart and map your inner values and motivations.
Your Defensive Place
You have a specific area of your mind that you defend.
As an ENFP, that’s your Effectiveness process sitting in the backseat of your car. Remember, it has the sophistication of a 10-year-old child.
That’s okay when you use this process to get the tasks done that your Authenticity has already prioritized.
The trouble starts when you begin to rely on this 10-year-old process of Effectiveness as your primary way to determine which activities to do in life.
Since Effectiveness is concerned with getting things done, it can often show up when you have endless options and you don’t know which one to choose. You may get into action or commit to a project before knowing it’s right for you.
When you feel hurt, Effectiveness can also be used to stay so busy that you can’t connect with others or create intimacy. Or in an attempt to “do everything” (or to become impossible to pin down) you can lose your inner wisdom and become exploitative. For an ENFP this can show up as telling others what they want to hear.
At its worst, Effectiveness can take you down a road of anger, emotional manipulation or even becoming a con artist.
If you let your 10-year-old take a directive role, you’ll be busy and maybe even productive, but you’ll lose your identity and can offend your own core values.
You need to take time to truly evaluate who you are, what means something to you and how you want to contribute to the world.
Don’t let your Effectiveness process steal your happiness. The solution is to focus on growing your Authenticity process like we’ve talked about before.
3 Big ENFP Challenges
I love the Yin-Yang symbol. For me it represents the inner paradox of the heart. Each challenge I see ENFPs struggle with has a Yin-Yang element to it.
As an ENFP – you can sometimes feel mercurial. You often feel like you oscillate between wild extremes from one minute to another.
(This is actually a superpower that we will talk about later in this article. The same ability to oscillate between emotions allows you to be in control of emotions when you are faced with intense situations. Again…Yin-Yang).
Let’s talk about three of the biggest challenges I often see emerging for ENFPs as they begin to work on developing their “Authenticity” process.
These can be extremely challenging since they all three come up as you begin working on developing your “Authenticity.” That’s to be expected.
Challenge #1 – Lacking Confidence Around Intelligence & Knowledge As An ENFP
We were sitting around a small table drinking coffee on my college campus. The conversation somehow drifted to our biggest fears.
Most of the group answered that they didn’t want to die or feared being alone for the rest of their lives.
“Not being taken seriously,” I blurted out when it came my turn.
My friend Nathan asked me what I meant.
“Just because I’m fun doesn’t mean I don’t have a brain,” I answered. “I just can’t articulate it as fast as other people.”
As an ENFP – you may feel similar. Since your Exploration process moves fast and works with your intuition and “hunches” it can be hard to articulate opinions and information. Your brain has a difficult time keeping up with itself.
A lot of ENFPs struggle with expressing their thoughts and opinions with the data and metrics that others seem to require. It can be a source of massive frustration as well as insecurity.
It’s common to hear an ENFP say, “I know stuff damn it… I just can’t express it in the data points you want.”
As an ENFP, you may also feel a lack of confidence, not because you are ignorant, but just the opposite.
You pattern recognize so quickly that you soon realize there are a unlimited number of answers to every question.
Each time you are presented with a challenge you can’t think of an answer… you think of 5000 answers. All at the same time. Sometimes this makes your brain feel like a big mess.
Building Confidence Around Intelligence & Knowledge
ENFPs struggle with confidence because they’ve been programmed to ignore their core intuition and gut instinct.
Lots of people will tell you it’s wrong to trust your feelings.
My question to you is this… “Why is another person’s subjective ‘rules’ about knowledge and the world MORE valid than yours?” It’s not.
The ENFP superpower is the embodiment of your deepest wisdom, not explaining data points. If you can embody the point you are making it has extreme power in communicating to others.
I will caution you. In some instances embodying ideas can lead ENFPs to become martyrs. When done in a healthy way ENFPs that embody ideas become champions at living their authentic truth for a cause.
In short, it is better to embody and live out your intelligence.
This is why ENFPs are often attracted to storytelling mediums like film, music, writing and performance art.
For an ENFP it is far more powerful to show – not tell.
Challenge #2 – ENFP Insecurity Around Introspection & Inner Flaws
As an ENFP begins developing their Authenticity in a disciplined way, it’s not long before they begin to get in touch with their heart and all the strong motivating emotions begin to reveal themselves.
Human beings are emotionally complex. We don’t always have altruistic emotions and motivations. Sometimes our motivations and desires are downright frightening and dark.
Authenticity can see these dark parts of the human heart. It feels the darkness. It has the potential to resonate with truly evil and life terminating attitudes.
It is my belief that we all possess this ability in our hearts. We all have good and evil inside us. It’s just that Authenticity has a closer connection and the ability to find and feel these motivations directly.
As an ENFP feels this internal darkness and begins to express it outwardly to other personality types, they can often feel invalidated. Other types don’t resonate with seeing this in themselves like the ENFP.
And now the ENFP begins to wonder if they are truly evil at the core.
An ENFP might say something like, “I know I’m not a bad person, but I look around and I seem to be the only one I know who is in touch with this heart darkness. Maybe I really am bad or wrong at the core of my identity.”
To make matters worse, other people are quick to turn critique and flaws back on you as an ENFP. It can get so bad that you feel the need for perfection BEFORE living your truth.
The pressure of needing to have it all together in order to truly feel as if I’m not being hypocritical when I “champion” others, while simultaneously feeling as if I am always a giant, clumsy, unreliable, immature, and inconsistent hot mess can sometimes feel like too strong of a burden.
For example, in an argument with my ex-wife, I would point out a struggle I was having with her behavior and she would instantly point out that I had no right to mention flaws in others when I had so many myself. She would then proceed to list all my flaws and shortcomings.
I would take these listings to heart and back off. I would spend the next several days/weeks/months trying to “fix” all my flaws.
Meanwhile I would allow the destruction of my personal boundaries by my ex-wife and others because I was “so flawed.”
An ENFP needs to feel that the people they love assume positive intent from them. Often when an ENFP is moving fast and connecting patterns, they might say or do something that unintentionally hurts another person.
And most ENFPs realize they can be a little bit like a “bull in a China shop” and bump against social norms, beliefs or personal boundaries of others. So they rely on others seeing them with good intent.
But deep in their heart an ENFP can find reason for bad motive or intent. So there’s an underlying insecurity that they aren’t truly acting in the best interest of others. The deep fear is that you actually are as flawed as others might suggest and your own heart seems to show you.
A common ENFP phrase that might be uttered in the midst of this insecurity, “Yes I know what I said sounded rude, but please know I was trying to be helpful. I have good intent here!”
Building Inner Authority Through Introspection And Holding Space For Your Inner Flaws
Yes. Your Authenticity will see the darkness of your own heart. As you begin to grow this process you may become frightened at what comes up for you.
I would counter this and posit; the more personal something is… the more universal.
An ENFP is not alone in “heart darkness” – just more aware and introspective.
Everyone struggles with dark fantasies and evil thoughts. You are not alone in your heart.
The unhealthy action would be to act on these impulses or try to alleviate them with self harm like cutting or extreme indulgences (like substance abuse).
I encourage ENFPs to express themselves in order to work through these challenges. It may be performance. It might be photography or art. Whatever an ENFP chooses, it needs to express the conflicts of the heart that feel so challenging.
And – remember how you’ve been waiting to speak up for yourself or your inner truth until you get all your flaws fixed?
It’s not going to happen.
You ARE a flawed human being just like the rest of us.
And you CAN trust your inner wisdom that speaks your truth in spite of the shortcomings you feel.
I was never going to be perfect before setting up my personal boundaries in my first marriage. And it was important that I did it anyway.
Challenge #3 – ENFP Insecurity Of Decisions & Lack of Follow Through
As an ENFP, you will always have ENDLESS things that seem interesting to you. You probably want to do everything in life.
My personal list goes like this…
I want to be a filmmaker, musician, billionaire, graphic designer, New York Times bestselling author, world-class speaker, consultant, actor, radio host, podcaster, personality profiler, resort owner, pilot, computer programmer, blogger, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, voice over artist, TV writer, screenwriter, YouTube celebrity, professional mourner, mountain climber, river guide, neurologist, biologist, emcee, and the list keeps going…. on and on… and on.
This is typical for an ENFP “wanna be” list.
How do you narrow down options as an ENFP? Where do you find your true passion and direction?
A lot of ENFPs solve their direction challenges by relying on people around them to set the agenda. It appears more “effective” to have another person help direct so you can get into action.
But if you struggle with options, it’s because they all currently hold equal passion for you. You could literally see yourself doing any of these options.
As an ENFP you know what it’s like when you truly have passion around something. It’s intoxicating and motivating. You are unstoppable and unwavering.
Where is passion found? Your Authenticity of course.
Your Authenticity helps you stop doing what makes other people happy.
Because when Authenticity finds what it’s convicted about – NOTHING can sway it.
Building Decisiveness And Follow Through
I’ve outlined three areas that I believe will help you develop better decision making and follow-through.
1) Slow everything way down and buy yourself some time
Speed kills Authenticity. If you are forced to make a quick decision, your Authenticity will feel too much pressure and pass the decision to your Effectiveness process.
One of the greatest leverage points for an ENFP is slowing down the decisions they are required to make.
You’ve probably heard someone use the phrase “I’ll need to sleep on it first.”
That’s a great ENFP response. Giving yourself time to check in with how you feel about a decision is like injecting steroids into your Authenticity process.
2) Trust your emotions and inner wisdom
Once you slow down your decision making – you’ve just bought the introverted part of you some time to dig deep into your heart and determine what’s right for you.
Like I mentioned above, expect your insecurities around trusting this mental process that seem slow and inarticulate to show up in a strong way.
It will take practice to trust yourself in spite of having no “data” or “metrics of proof” that the actions you are taking are the right actions.
You know it’s the right action for you. If you are focused on acting from core values, you don’t need to worry about the rightness of your actions. As long as you stay in alignment with what is truly important to you, you will make good decisions.
3) Be okay with changing your mind – even after committing
Sometimes ENFPs don’t know a bad decision until after it has already been made. This can be extremely frustrating since often there was absolutely no way to know how you feel about something until you do it.
If it’s a core value of yours, you as an ENFP will keep your word and commitments. Most people think of ENFPs as “flighty” and hard to pin down. They don’t believe ENFPs are capable of committing to much.
I would argue the exact opposite.
The reason ENFPs feel difficult to “pin down” is because once they give their word about something – they have integrity to honor that commitment even if it hurts. So the best way for an ENFP to avoid feeling trapped by “their word” is to never allow yourself to be pinned down or committed.
Cut yourself some slack and realize that it’s just going to happen. You will make decisions and commit to things that you find out later were not in alignment for you. You made a decision that you need to now change. That’s okay.
As you begin to make decisions from your deepest wisdom, you may need to go through with a decision to know if it’s right for you.
Steps For ENFP Personal Growth
I’ve already detailed the mental wiring of your mind. We’ve talked about your highest leverage point for growth and shed light on your defensive strategies. So what’s next for you as an ENFP?
How will you launch yourself on a personal development journey that resonates with you?
Understanding that each of us will have a unique personal growth path seems obvious. And yet, self help authors and teachers often teach a one-size-fits-all model of growth.
You now know the mental process to grow yourself as an ENFP is Authenticity.
We hear from ENFPs all the time who are insecure about the knowledge and insight they bring to the world. Many ENFPs worry that they are only seen as the “life of the party” or “class clown.”
Most ENFPs want to truly inspire others. They want to be an example of living an exciting and inspirational life.
Developing Authenticity takes an ENFP from being “fun” to being “inspirational.”
The enemy of Authenticity is frenetic, thoughtless activity. Authenticity requires time, space and introspection. Sometimes this means addressing painful emotions. Sometimes you may feel even more indecisive at first. But given time and practice – Authenticity will increase the quality of your decisions, ensuring you only commit to things you actually believe in.
Set up your conditions to slow down and give yourself the needed alone time to check in with your Inner Wisdom.
A good way to practice this technique is to explore where your values and beliefs come from.
- Are your core values inherited from parents, influential people in your life, or your culture?
- Which of your core values are reactions against those things?
- If you had to make a list of 10 core values, which ones would make the list?
It’s common for ENFPs, once they start living from their deep inner wisdom to begin wondering how they missed out on this amazing life for so long.
Most of your growth will happen by feeling super clear about what is really important to YOU and making decisions based on YOUR core values.
NOTE: Be sure to stop by our community and let me know what personal growth actions you are taking in your life and what has already worked for you.
The Most Powerful Question An ENFP Can Ask:
“What Emotion Do I Want To Feel?”
My journey with developing my Authenticity has been tumultuous. As a young man I prided myself on my emotional control, ability to get things done and always show up looking like I had my shit together.
And then I spent the past several years “drinking my own cool aid” and actively working on developing my Co-Pilot of Authenticity…
…Enter fits of rage, emotional outbursts, punching walls, breaking down in tears when I couldn’t accomplish task, being unable to focus, lack of clarity, confusion and lack of motivation. I think the people around me thought I was nuts for several months at a time.
This is probably the exact opposite of what you thought I was going to say happened when I started this personal growth journey.
But this strikes at the core of why ENFPs avoid growing their Co-Pilot of Authenticity. I think we instinctively know that it’s not going to look (or feel) pretty. The more we’ve lived in our Effectiveness 10-year-old process, the more volatile this growth experience can look.
You may find yourself feeling like you are losing control of your emotions. You may start fights with your lover or friends randomly. You may drop into a mild depression.
I won’t lie. This may be some of the hardest work you will ever do as an ENFP.
But I know you have it in you.
Relax into the experience and realize it’s just your nervous system doing a reboot and firing up the Authenticity software.
All the emotional upheavals I felt during this time period were the result of my true core values colliding directly with the ones I had allowed to be programmed into my mind and heart over the course of my life. It was like a war within me. So of course it’s going to feel and look erratic on the outside.
The biggest leverage point came for me when I stopped asking “what should I do?” when making decisions.
Instead, I started to access my Authenticity by asking “What do I want to feel right now?”
This was the single best thing I’ve ever done in my life.
As an ENFP, you will get a response from the mental process best equipped to answer the question. Ask better questions, get better answers.
So if you ask, “What goals do I have for next year? What do I want to do?” your Effectiveness process says “Oh that’s a question about action and getting things done. That’s mine – I got this.” and then gives you an answer that will be about action steps and goals.
Start shifting your questions in a way that forces your Authenticity process to stand up and answer.
Instead of phrasing the question “What do I want to do next year?” ask “What are the emotions I want to FEEL next year? Who do I want to be?”
Now your Effectiveness process goes “Wait! That’s not a logistics question. I can’t help with this one. Hey Authenticity, I’m sending this one over to you.”
And now your Co-Pilot is put in charge of answering that question. And you have tapped into the super power you posses as an ENFP… your inner wisdom.
It’s a shift in questioning that will pay off in huge dividends for you.
Ask a better question, get a better answer.
Remember my story about feeling angry and anxious just before hitting the stage to give a talk at Inbound?
I was initially worried about my outcome. I wanted external markers to line up and give me feedback that I was going to do a great job.
Then I shifted my question to ask “Is giving this talk today in alignment with who I am and what I stand for?”
I Authenticity said “hey that’s my question” and answered, “Yes!”
And minutes later I took the stage in front of an audience of marketing professionals and delivered what I consider to be a great talk.
As I looked out over the audience and smiled. I felt centered, grounded and confident. I didn’t care about the outcome of the talk.
I wanted to show up as my authentic self. I wanted to be an ENFP who was fully in alignment with my core values, desires and emotions I chose to feel.
As an ENFP this empowerment is available to you also.
I can’t wait to see you step into being a transformational leader in the world as you step into the person you already know you are in the deepest wisdom of your heart.
Want to learn more?
Discover Your Personal Genius
This article and the ENFP-focused podcast have been mind-blowing for me. I’ve always thought I was an INFP but sensed that leaning into developing exploration (the INFP co-pilot) was a BAD idea. I already feel like there are a billion possibilities in life. Imagining emphasizing exploration feels like getting sucked into the galaxy with no way of ever getting back.
Learning the car model brought me incredible clarity. I’m an ENFP!! I need to lean into authenticity! It makes so much more sense. And this insight came just in time. I’m 42 and in the midst of vocational changes. I feel like I’ve spent too much time trying to sort out what’s next. And I’ve been worrying that I’m driving my husband, friends and family nuts with my indecision. I was about to just pick something (likely my back-up plan) and try and suck it up and make it work. I would have found myself in the same place I just left, which felt like a prison of performance and expectation.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the gift of wisdom at a crucial crossroad.
p.s., also people glom onto me like nobody’s business and in hearing your ENFP podcast, I am now committing to cutting ties nice and early, to save myself the grief of inevitably hurting people more severely. ….Now I just need to find my way out of relationship with the 173 people knocking on my door to hang out. (An exaggeration… kind of.)
I have been struggling to understand MBTi for the past 5 years, and never could accepted that i’m an ENFP because i was depressed and was always trained to believe that efficiency is the key to success and happiness. Today, i finally got a grip of it thanks to my friend who helped me connect the dots. And this article has taught me why certain stuff works and not work for me. Thank you so much! Hope i can be successful and be the best version of myself, and then help other people be the best version of themselves too.
I’m sat at my desk in a whirlwind of emotion after reading this article. Words truly can’t express how much I connected with this post. I returned to education after a gap or what my family saw as me “quitting” due to what they perceive as my constant “flighty’ness”. I could never buy into this perception of me as I knew deep down that the decision that I made was well thought of and true to what I felt was right! I find that when I try to tap into Authenticity I am met with judgement and restrictions and that used to drive me up the wall and I would lash out emotionally or even worse be moody and passive aggressive for long periods of time consumed by negative thoughts about myself and my capabilities. I have found that taking the time to dig deep and ask myself what I truly want and have an internal dialogue with myself before bouncing of ideas with my loved ones has helped me manage peoples expectations of me. Thank you so much for writing this and I am so grateful for coming across this gem before starting the biggest chapters of my life. I hope that in using the tools that you’ve layed out I’ll look back at my life and it’ll be a bloody good read! XOXOX
Honestly animal and then human extinction then planet break down after is more important than a romantic relationship, more important than financial stability or other aspects of life that only have value if you live long enough to enjoy them. Even long term goals in this current climate are capped at 20 years maximum no such thing as long term anymore. Also I notice I have traits of jobs/careers I have zero interest in, my jobs simply allow me to fend off being homeless everything else job like in anyway is towards activism I am so against being an authority type that I instead choose to volunteer anywhere I’m drawn to also you can’t assume that oh their nice they must be doing! activism is foolish thinking
Where were you in my 20s? Thank you.
Yikes. I’m an ENFP (btw- does it matter that my E is really tiny? I often relate to INFP qualities) AND an Enneagram 4. SO I’m supposed to move toward Enneagram 1 in health – and take action! That seems to not align with what I’ve read here re: turning from effectiveness to feeling. ???
I am also an ENFP that is very close to INFP and an enneagram 4. 🙂 I just want to point out that 4s move toward healthy aspects of 1 in health, which would mean effectiveness balanced by perspective. Doing well what is right, not just doing well for the sake of doing well.
Wow! Wow! Wow! *Mind Blown!* At age 41 now, I wish I knew this years ago! This should actually be taught in Primary Schools to give people an actual understanding of how they are wired and how others are wired too. The sheer relief at reading this article and realising this is the basic foundation of why I am how I am is just amazing! I cannot thank the author of this article enough! Thank you! ❤️ ??❤️
Wow this wad an amazing read. So many feelings and thoughts that id never been able to explain before.
The more i read the more i wanted to cry because ive never understood how i can switch my thought processes so easily from one way of getting things dome to another.
I felt as though i was reading an article that i had written myself especially when it came to the inner darkness and understanding how we we all have it in us but ive always understood i should never act upon those thoughts. I thought i was sick i the mind for even thinking some things.
This article may have just helped me unlock some paths to my inner understanding and hopefully one day a true sense of self worth and happiness.
Thank you very much for taking the time to write the above article and share your thoughts and experiences with us all.
Thanks for the insightful article. Wow everything you’ve written here is so true for me. It brought me to a new level of self understanding. Especially about the need to ‘feel’ right when making a decision and I absolutely hate it whenever people pressure me to make a quick decision. And yes, feeling the 5000 possibilities in my mind at one instance is really not easily understood by people. I feel so ‘understood’ by your article.
Thanks for the article!
This has got to be the single best post on introverted feelings.
Be true to yourself. Instead of asking what should you do, ask “What do I want to feel. Who do I want to become?”
Wow, greatness awaits for everyone willing to take a stand.
Thank you soooo much for this Joel, I’ve been struggling with this my whole life. It was always sooo hard to make a decisions because everything just seems right (I feel like I can do anything if I want to) but I never actually really took my feelings and inner wisdom seriously because of what people always told me about this. They always told me to think it through and that’s the hardest part of being ENFP. I hardly have enough sleep because of this and I got a lot of depression at night & cry (no one knows how I struggle) because I think too hard and never seemed to find the answer.
This article actually opens my eyes as an ENFP. Now I’m ready to be the better ENFP and start doing what I feel right. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for this Joel from the entirity of my heart. I will try and use Authenticity to make my decisions going forward, it is so empowering!!
It’s funny, I have been reading the Enneagram for the last year and I always say that I see all the enneatypes in me, all the fears, all the darkness, only some more than others but all nevertheless. Other people just completely refuse to believe/accept that they might have something like that in them, I could never understand why when it is so obvious to me…
Wow I didn’t connect that until you said that- me too! Talking about the enneagram I tell people they’re fears we all have and just some we lean towards more, but often others don’t get what I’m saying. But it’s the awareness from authenticity. Cool.
INFJ here, and I loved the flow and writing style of this article. The way you explain things really resonates with me 🙂 All my life the people I’ve found I’ve easily opened up to and have been able to establish good friendships with have been ENFPs… my mom is ENFP too! I feel like I skipped out on a lot of the negative childhood experiences a lot of INFJs around the web talk about growing up with, thanks to my ENFP mom (who is also my best friend.)
Rock on ENFP’s!
Thank you Msa for the feedback. Much appreciated.
I am in my 40’s and looking for the best career path for me. I have done sales jobs and found it be so natural. Then I got into middle management governance job which involves a lot of paperwork and reporting – hate every moment of it. I tend to thrive in small projects and meaningful ventures such as starting a boxing gym and training people. I still want to be in the IT field but perhaps steer myself into Business Analyst as it involves engaging and solution development with the business and technical architects. Does the starter pack help me with career planning? Before I dive into getting training for BA and Project Management roles, I would like some validation of such a decision. Can you please advice on this. Thanks
Wow this explains so much. In my early 20s I had a period of unemployment. Some of the people around me really kicked me when I was down. I’ve been so afraid of ever feeling like a lazy mess ever again that I’ve been rushing through life working hard in job after job never stopping to realise that it’s ok to slow down and consider what I really value. I guess I fear being broke and disrespected again, but I know I wouldn’t let that happen.
Thanks so much for your post Joel! I actually have to confess I opened your article a few months ago after I googled, “ENFP feeling trapped,” and then closed it after seeing how long it was (typical). Though the same feelings I had back then arose once again and this time I read the entire thing. I always skim read but if my mind began to wander I would go back and process what you wrote. As a college age ENFP, it’s so easy to freak out about majors and careers and EVERYTHING. Half the time I want to drop out and be an au pair in France or some random country. Originally I was a biology major, though I quickly switched to kinesiology. After I didn’t like that either I landed in liberal studies. I couldn’t be happier with my choice and the freedom it allows me to take classes I’m interested with very little structure of required classes. Though I find myself, as you mentioned, not being taken seriously as an intellectual, whereas in biology I felt respect from my peers. It doesn’t bother me that much, but it is an issue every once and awhile when explaining my decision on “taking the way road.” Also, have you encountered authenticity becoming more prominent than the exploration trait? Often I feel my core values and gut feelings to hush what might actually be best for me. Anyways, rant over. Thank you for helping me better understand my 3,000 mph brain. Looking forward to growth.
*easy road* dang iPhone.
I was so relieved reading this post – the “heart darkness” awareness is totally something I’m struggling with right now. I find that in recent days, everyday at the back of my head I would tell myself to smile, even if I’m feeling neutral or sad in order to “look like a good person”, because I fear that I am actually not. This also relates to my lack of ability to be vulnerable and open about my problems even to my closest friends.
I know I have been good and caring towards others, externally. but there is a part of me that I feel is truly dark and cynical. And I am scared that this is who I actually am. Yes, I have been kind and pretty much all my friends tell me I am nice, funny, outgoing – but I ask myself, what if it was all an act just so people will like me? What if I am actually evil and selfish and just wanted attention? I want to get rid of this doubt so badly. Because something tells me it’s not true, but it’s hard to believe. I’m glad I’m not alone in this but how in the world do I go about trusting myself? If someone could give me tips I will be so grateful!
Hi Tina, i can deeply relate on what you wrote. I also often think that maybe this all good and nice person that my friends see in me is just a pretending, cause i can see in some ways that there is also a selfish side of it, as you said, just me wanted to be liked, to have attention, to have people saying about me that im fun, nice, tolerant and so on…is it just pretending so that people praise me in return and give me good concsciousness ?? Sometimes i feel like an impostor, and am afraid of me and afraid that people will realize that im in fact darky, selfish and some kind of manipulative evil.
Also it happens sometimes that i feel like i am playing a role when motivating other people, saying what they need to hear for them to feel encouraged and worthy. But i have the impression to have felt into an actor play and not being authentic.
The question that arises for me about all of this is multiple : maybe everyone is like that and we as ENFP are just more honest or lucid regarding this evil part? Maybe the fact that we realize and recognize that there could be some dark side of us means that we are not that bad ? Maybe that’s finally ok cause at the end people are truly reloaded with confidence or energy or motivation after talking with us? Is the final result for others is that we make them feel good, maybe its ok?or is it just my evil part trying to convince me that its ok???
Uuuf sorry that i don’t have any answer for you, just happy or released a bit that im not the only one feeling this huge evil paradox..
I still having difficulties focusing on my most important task; completing my college course. I always got sway by other interesting things when i know i need to read textbooks or do revisions. When the exams are near, i forced myself to study only and ditch all other distracting things and entertainments. Bad side is this way, my brain usually only absorb half of what i study. Sometimes, i have to take breaks to clear my heavy headache which usually end up taking too long break and a day is gone… Badly need help or any breakthrough ideas to lighten my problem. Thank you in advance.
Thank you! This is the most thought provoking and resonant piece I’ve read on putting my ENFP poop together!!
I do feel like I spend an awful lot of time explaining my data points, hoping that the other person will understand my perspective and validate my “weird” decisions.
Sometimes I feel like my greatest talent is entertaining my fellow strangers while on line at the DMV…I mean, I am certainly the best person to be stuck with when the clerk is calling number 99 and you just pulled a 137! ?
Thank you so much for helping me see a way to reframe the ” what am I going to do”? question…perhaps now you could answer the question of why I bother to always go back and correct all my autocorrect capitalizations etc…like a capital Q isn’t good enough in this day and age!?
I am a 22 year old ENFP who is afraid that if I truly, truly listened to my authenticity, I would be a rebel and an outcast. I care about what people think of me, I suppose. Has anyone else here felt the same?
As much as I admire the irreverent style of Russel Brand, I am afraid to find that I am like him.
I am afraid to live my wisdom because I think people will find it outrageous.
I’ve definitely experienced the “shoulds”, “musts” and ” you have to do it this way” pressure from others. Your struggle is real and you are not alone.
I’m wondering what would happen if you gave your authenticity some time and space to think and/or write about this more. Maybe lean into your feelings a little and ask some questions like “which people will find me outrageous?”, “who am I afraid to alienate?”, “where do my ideas of who I should be come from?” “If I choose to ignore my own values and needs how will I feel?”
When I think of Russel Brand I think of someone who people like and connect with. I’m pretty sure he has done some great things through activism and even worked with the Dali Lama. Where some people see outrageous, others may see effective and inspirational entertainer and leader. It all depends on who’s acceptance you are after. And in the end how you will decide to accept yourself and your choices.
That’s a great idea! Thank you Melanie, I was thinking in the context of family and close friends. And yes those questions are bringing up very interesting answers. I think I would rather be my authentic self and make my family face the truth of who I really am than live a lie. I guess I don’t trust myself to express myself/convince them of my point, but will never learn to if I don’t dive in. On further thoughts, even if they aren’t convinced atleast it’s a start. We would learn things from each other even if we disagreed. And talking it out is totally in alignment with me.
I think that’s a very good way of understanding and processing any emotion that comes up. Thank You!
Thank you so much for this. I am a mental health therapist and ENFP and I love the work you guys do on Personality Hacker! I have used your resources for many clients as homework or part of sessions.
I can relate pretty strongly to this article. I am 28 years old and for the past few “adult” years, I have felt locked in an epic battle between authenticity and effectiveness. Our culture pushes that “being an adult” is all about effectiveness and to some extent material achievement. I don’t have expensive tastes, but at the end of the day I do need to pay my bills and would ultimately love to be comfortable and not have to worry about money. I pretty much abhor anything to do with personal finance or day-to-day “money things” (classic ENFP – something I know I need to work on). The last time I really felt like I was completely on board with Authenticity was in college. It was the perfect time for an ENFP with endless opportunities for exploration and authenticity and very minimal responsibilities holding me back.
Authenticity to me is the wonderful feeling that you are exactly in the right place at the right time. It’s very connected to mindfulness for me. When I am in an “authentic zone” it’s like I am feeling my way gently through the universe and I have no idea why but every decision I make feels RIGHT. And it usually is right for me. I have had moments of living authentically since college but it’s been hard to hold on to the clarity. Plus, even within my authenticity, I have two contrasting value systems: 1) to be a leader, inspire others, effect social change and to create and maintain community and 2) To be present, mindful and live a comfortable stable life with plenty of energy for my family.- Maybe they go together, but I haven’t figured out how to be a leader and effect change without burning myself out. I get confused about which path to take because I feel passionate about both.
I’m trying to figure out how to consistently tap into my authenticity/exploration and still be an effective adult with adult responsibilities. I’m wondering if a lot of other ENFPs struggle with similar challenges. This feeling that you are being held back by the limitations and expectations of our culture? Thank you for the fuel to grow!
Joel, Antonia, you guys just changed my life, for the better. I am learning to respect Authenticity after ignoring it. It’s like I have lost touch and have to struggle to call it on. I am also struggling with feelings of right and good. Yet,
Feels right! Feels like me!
I really like how you are personalizing advice here at PH and I believe this is the future. You guys are making people understand themselves and others, be a more authentic version of their own with pride and joy 🙂
Loads of Love to all you ENFP’s! Just keep swimming
Thanks Misha for sharing. Appreciate your kind words. 🙂
This article was really, really insightful and helpful. I’ve been slowly coming around to asking myself how I want to feel and who I really am instead of what do I want to accomplish and it has indeed been a frustrating yet freeing process. I’m excited to see more and more of my authentic self show up. Thank you for your transparency and the depth of information presented here!
This is good. Lol I did however read two thirds and skimmed the rest. True ENFP. I am 29, just took a personality test for the first time today and this has taught me a lot. I have found my way through two of the three major problem. I give myself time to think and feel internally. I do it well and fast. I often pause before a decision, let the people I’m with know I need to think, close my eyes and search my core really quick. It takes a moment but it has become a habit. I communicate well. Those 5000 ideas and processing at once. Sheesh, that took a long time to figure out and it still happens ococcasionaly. My biggest issue is keeping passion alive. My effectiveness drove me for a long time and I lost myself in it. It wasn’t good but I would say I developed it beyond the norm so I can effectively learn and do things well fast, then I lose the passion just as fast. I’ve had so many close friends, relationships and family members get mad at me in life for being able to switch gears, get what I want, do and learn really well at it all. They quite literally get mad that I do it all above average in a short amount of time. Then of course I switch gears and find new passions. I have a huge list of things I’d like to do. Can’t bring myself to let them go. My goal for over 10 years has been to become both financially and time free. I have achieved it on a few occasions for a year or two at a time. I find those years have been the best. Even before today I’ve worked on igniting passion in what I do because I have a hard time with it. I’m in a seasonal business as the regional manager and business growth leader for a chain of retail flower shops. It fits me well but man is it hard not to drift sometimes. At 29 it is an excellent position to be in but I have no opportunity for promotion (I’m at the top with only the owner as a boss) and have to remind myself to focus on personal growth through what I get to do. Those struggles are real. A few more years and I might strike out on my own in a venture to create that personal freedom again. My dreams to impact the world are far to large. Anyways, that is my input. Hope you can put it to good use. Cheers!
Great article Joel, many thanks,jam packed with helpful info. And wonderful suggestion about asking better / different questions. It’s something I’ve done before but it hadn’t even occurred to me to use it in this context, I’m starting right now 🙂
Thanks a ton, Joel – could so deeply identify with everything you wrote. I am at a stage where I know deep within that my job is wrong for me but I have been trying to quit 3 times in the last 10 years but the Effective part of me has just held on. Now I actually feel physically sick if o even think of continuing so I guess finally Authenticity is winning ! I know what is not right, but no clue what is….and that is causing a deep numbness that scares me. How do I stop myself from becoming purposeless once I quit, with no idea about what to do next ?
Hey there Joel! Quick question. I was listening to one of your podcasts I can’t remember which one but it was when you and Antonia were going through each letter and explaining what each letter actually symbolize in comparison to the stereotype habits each invite, I think I understood all of what you said but I got stumped on the section when you talk about Judging vs Perceiving, in the podcast the stereotype was one person always has a plan while the other is real messy and spontaneous. To contrast what the real meaning of the letter was you had made the analogy to which world is messy and which is neat(inner and outer), on one hand I totally understood it on the other hand I didn’t. For example, I am an ENFP and my dad is an ISTJ being that my dad is super organized, OCD, perfectionist, he gets so frustrated with the amount of times he tells me to pick up my towels after a shower. To which he is like, “how can you not remember to do such a simple task” going back to your podcast I know that my focus on neatness is not on the outer world but my Inner world so it’s almost as if I just don’t notice it. At least that’s what I assumed that’s what that meant if that’s right and I’m on the right track cool. If not could you further clarify?
So assuming that is the correct line of thinking my confusion came from this… If my inner world is supposedly “neat” what does that really mean. The phrase almost invites you to believe that means someone has really good memory, or they’re really good at quick responses, or that they just have everything together mentally that there is no “going through the mess to find that brilliant idea” I know for me this is not the case. What is organized about my inner world? Examples and Anologies always help me.
Thanks for the question. You are on the right track. We are talking about the inner world. For you as an ENFP that can show up as emotions for you – not just thoughts/memories/ideas.
It’s not so much that your inner world will ALWAYS be organized. Rather, it’s when you choose to organize – you will be better equipped to organize your inner space.
For you as an ENFP – imagine a group of anthropomorphic emotions all vying for your attention. You will organize these emotions naturally and give some emotions more attention that the others. It’s like your the CEO of your inner emotional space and your job is to keep all these emotions coordinated. As you focus on growing your co-pilot of Authenticity (Fi), you will become better over time at getting all your disparate emotions to coordinate and produce a better experience for you in life.
That makes a lot of sense! What would an example where that manifests? With people who are judgers it’s obvious, their space is tidy and organized or their projects has a clean thought out plan, is there an outward example that you can see a perceiver has their emotions organized?
The best article I have read about ENFP for the past 10 years.
Thanks Victoria. I’ll take that. 🙂
I just came across your article and I loved it. Haha on your list of what you should do as a career? I’ve been going through a very similar process of finding my true core. It’s just so hard to focus and keep the drive and intent going. Oh something shiny…new…interesting! Thank you for your honesty and your words. You are really onto something here.
Hi. i’m an ENFP, i’m a college student, and i am an Indonesian. i don’t know if ENFP all around the world is the same, but this article is so true and so helpful for me.
at many times, i explain things complicatedly and my friend who listen to me always think that i am murmuring. then i called myself a “mumbledumb”.
btw thank you for your effort to publish the article and to help ENFPs to develop our self.
Having been through various times in life when I have been the slightly depressed, mopey, wall punching, shouty, weeping weirdo – I can vouch for the rewards in growing ones authenticity.
As I have developed as an ENFP I have become less bothered about trying to impress others with humour, wit, kindness etc and more focused on being true to what I am. The result has been a real change in how I lead people at work (I am a priest) and how I structure my days.
I’m definitely not a finished article but I want to encourage everyone to keep pressing into authenticity as it really does help filter the noise made by our adventurous side and the 101 ideas before breakfast…
Thanks for your great work Joel!
Thanks Andy. Love the phrase “slightly depressed, mopey, wall punching, shouty, weeping weirdo” as I identify with all of those when I’m not my best self 🙂
It might make a great office door sign…as long the flip side said something like, “your rainbow vomiting champion and biggest fan” for the good days.
Had difficulty focusing on reading this but very much worth it. Thank you very much. This article provided much-needed pointers on how to grow and be comfortable as an ENFP. I was ashamed and confused on how to be one lately, envying thinkers who always seem logical and sensible all at the same time. I am always afraid that people perceive me as someone shallow, thus leading me to do things that deep inside I am not comfortable with. This article was a lifesaver. Thank you for the encouragement. 🙂
I am in awe of this article.
This really resonated with me. Over the past couple years, I’ve consciously been trying to live more authentically.
I’ve been wishy-washy on whether I’m an INFP and ENFP. I’m still not sure, honestly, but this article was a very enlightening read regardless. I will think through my feelings more from now on, just to give it a try. Thanks!
Joel …i cannot thank you enough … I am in the phase where everything feels confusing the anger, not agreeing with self, doubting my own intuition etc.
… the first phase where i dint know who I was and why am I like this. I coincidentally came across ENFP personality type and I got to know who really I am. And now I am working on improving myself.
..the right and the wrong … because we see both the sides. Your article has been of a great help …It is such a relief …..to ask “How do I feel about it?” and I know that it is right for ME and not right or wrong in general.
One of the best articles I have read about ENFPs till now!! Thank you.
Thank you so much for your insight! First off – I thought that I was the only one who can’t seem to find the words I need when I speak – woohoo, I’m not alone!
And I love your advice about asking myself “What do I want to feel right now”… I think that asking myself that will cut through alot of crap and will help me make better decisions.
I’m also sadly realizing that I’ve allowed my effectiveness to take over in stressful situations and the out-come isn’t always pretty (anger). But if knowing is half the battle, I can get started on looking at my frustration in a different light and inviting authenticity to the party instead. 🙂
Thanks Lisa for sharing your feedback. Glad it resonated with you.
Joel, thank you so much for this article! I have been consciously working on taking time regularly for introspection over the last two years–joined the church choir! The people time gets me out of the house, but once there we have so many quiet moments for self reflection and prayer. I have surprised myself with my emotional reactions (can I get through one service without tears?!), but I love it. I am now pursuing yet another career, one that feels in line with all the others yet gives me a sense of constant growth (the must recent move is from actor, baby sitter and theater teacher to speech pathologist–finally, a single job title!). I feel like the emotional outbursts of the past decade in my search for a career have paid off. I have always striven to be authentic, leaving numerous “day jobs” after less than a year through out my twenties, but 3 years into my thirties I feel like I’m finally giving my emotional reactions their due. I am getting married this June, and I find it really helps that my partner (an INTP) doesn’t have the emotional outbursts that I have, but reminds me of the necessity of alone time to sort them out. A younger me couldn’t even fathom dating an introvert, yet now I rely on his introspection. In a lot of ways I feel more like my first grade self. I think I shut her emotions down because I thought growing up meant not letting emotions get to you. Now I recognize them as a vital seat of my intuition.
Omg! You just described what Danielle Laporte calls Core Desired Feelings from her book the Desire Map. I have been searching for a few months now and trying to find the best planner and productivity system to get me into “action” with my goals of coaching and my Desire Map workshops. And “stumbled” onto this article. Thank you for confirming that I am on the right path. I’m still confused though about what question would better serve me. I have been looking for the best day planner and productivity system that would fit my personality. I so crave the structure and want to create new habits to facilitate my Authenticity or Core Desired Feelings which are: Ease, Peace, Flow, Courage, Wondrously Alive, Deeply Adored, and Free. Any suggestions? Thank you for all you do.
Peace n Love
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you, very much, for giving of your time, contemplation and care to provide this article. I found it to be exceptional, to say the least. These thoughts after having read, listened to and discussed volumes on the topic matter and related over the past 20+ years.
My curiosity and interest compelled me to search for your Inbound talk mentioned at the outset, and was glad to have found it. 🙂
I enjoyed that greatly also, especially the primo, thought provoking, laser-focusing closing question you raised. Thank you for that!
As one of billions of beings wandering this strange, painful, wonderful and super-funny world we find ourselves in together at the same time, albeit just for a flash, I can attest with full certainty and accuracy that you are also indeed a very gifted and special-meaningful-and-inspiring-story teller/communicator.
Gratefully and sincerely, fellow ENFP,
Thank you Casey for the kind words of encouragement. As a fellow ENFP – you know just how much that can be a shot of energy for me 🙂
On thing that I don’t understand is how to use my Authenticity. When you say ask yourself how you feel do you mean say that instead of saying how do I solve this problem? For example if I’m arguing with my friend, I should say what do I want to feel? Instead of how do I solve this problem? Plus I don’t understand like why you would go through so much trauma. I suppose I just don’t understand in general how I am supposed to use authenticity.
You only have control over your emotions. When you try to “do something” when your friend is mad at you – you are attempting to change their emotions. You can influence others’ emotions to a degree – but you can’t change them. Those are their emotions. The change has to come from them.
When your friend is mad at you – why do you have to do anything? I would practice holding space for your friend to feel that way.
Use your authenticity to examine yourself.
Did you do or say something that is truly authentic for you that your friend used to feel angry?
If your words and actions are authentic to you on a core level – then stay with your authenticity. If you “do” something to try and accommodate your friend’s emotions you may make them feel better in the moment – and at the same time you will go against your inner authenticity.
Did you do or say something that is NOT authentic for you that your friend used to feel angry?
If that’s the case – get real with yourself and your friend. Find the part of you that is authentic in the situation. You want to feel good about yourself first. You never want to feel bad about your inner values just to make someone happy or feel better.
Don’t change your inner convictions or truths to make someone else feel better. You may feel good in the moment to break the tension. But your inner values and convictions will take a hit and it will feel like you are dying inside a little each time you do.
Your actions should follow your inner alignment feelings. So figure out how you feel about an action. If it lines up with your inner values – take action. If it doesn’t line up – don’t take action.
In the situation you mention above – I would say – be true to yourself no matter what your friend does.
ACTION FOLLOWS INNER TRUTH. Never change your inner truth to accommodate action.
Let me know if this resonates.
Wow, thank you. You nailed the hammer on the head. I can’t even express the current state of enlightenment that I am in. Apart from conferring with myself and my inner wisdom is their anything else that would help? And do you mind explaining how/why it was hard for you to follow your inner wisdom? Does age and development affect your ability to change and the pain that follows? Meaning since I am in my teen years it is incredibly easy for my brain to pick up skills and changes etc?
Im Just confused as to how you can ask your self what I WANT to feel right now. Do you mean what I want to feel and then pursue what that feeling is through action? For example I am in an argument with my friend and she is mad at me rather than asking what should I do ask what I want to feel then make a plan from there?
Thank you for your article. Now, I’m in the middle of growing my authenticity, and it’s tiring, super tiring. In my heart I’m crying because, damn why is it so hard to be someone that it’s true to myself, to be someone that i want to be.. But I’ve decided to keep doing it, no matter how tiring it is. Thank you, as you said, it’s easier for us to understand rather to tell it. Reading your article made me articulate what i feel and understand more.
Thank you for this article. Once I finish wiping my tears I am going to read again. I hope I can make myself understand these changes that I need to make to actually do something positive. I feel I’m going downhill right now after saying way too much way too soon and put myself in an emotional situation that could have been avoided had I asked myself the right questions. Now to see if I can clean up my mess..
Hey, this got some pretty damn good insights! A perfect description of some of the challenges I have gone through. I have some questions regarding the development of Authenticity. I’ve noticed that I often do not know what I stand for. I just feel for some things, but can’t really put my finger on why that is. There is also some resistance within me to really start defining who I am and what I like, because I often feel like I want to be above that or without personal biases.
Could some of what I’ve described be related to an undeveloped Authentity process? What are the potential benefits one can expect from growing it and how did it affect you exactly Joel?
Best ENFP article I have read! Most provide insight to behavioral traits of an ENFP, which is great but ultimately unsatisfying to the ENFP. Thank you!
About people attaching to me, I have an ENTP friend who wants to be in my house all the time and I realized I need to tell him how I honestly feel. Also, I never thought about asking how something makes me feel other then when something makes me feel strongly enough. It’s always been about intelligence and data and logistics…it gets tiring.
This is a great article that resonated easily. I’ve been lucky to be in touch with my authenticity from a very young age, though I’ve found it harder to do so in my young adulthood when, as Jennie (above) mentions, it often feels as if I ‘need; my effectiveness to help me move forward. Sometimes I feel as though I could continue introspecting and pondering forever, as each of the many possibilities is inspiring enough to reflect on for ages. Often times I jump on the first opportunity that presents itself – typically to good outcomes, but some not, because I feel that I’ve spent so much time waiting already for something to happen while I was introspecting. I enjoyed your list of new questions to ask myself. I also appreciated the tip at the beginning to keep reading despite it being long – I absolutely would have gotten distracted and stopped reading if it weren’t for that. Thanks!
I’ve known for many years that there are two things I love to do, that bring me more personal satisfaction than anything else. The first is writing, both fiction and non-fiction. The second is travelling, the whole process of getting to a new place and exploring it when I’m there. I’m now spending my life travelling and writing (I write a blog, http://www.jenniereid.com.au) and am happier than ever before. I write about travel from my own unique perspective, some of which is intensely personal. People tell me I’m inspiring. I’m beginning to get stories and articles accepted as well.
However Effectiveness, in this world, seems to be what pays the bills. Every now and then I find myself dragged back to it to stave off a financial crisis.
While I appreciate and welcome your thoughts on being Authentic I still have to eat. Any ideas?
Hi Jennie, I totally get the travelling/writing thing. Have you ever checked out the Suitcase Entrepreneur site/book or Chris Guillebeau as folks like that have combined a love of travel and building their own businesses. Having read a lot of what they write I don’t think either of them is an ENFP, but they have a lot of good info you may want to check out. Happy travels – Gillian
I think imagining looking back on a life of success is a really powerful thing to do when I’m trying to make decisions in my life. I’m in the middle of trying to make some big life decisions right now, so I took a short break to cry while reading this article. For the past year I’ve been really engaged in mindfulness and it’s felt so liberating in the past 4 months to really start trusting myself and feel like whatever emotions I feel are okay. Lately because of all the stress I’ve been feeling, however, it almost feels like I’ve regressed, and the self-love and enthusiasm for introversion that I seemed to be bursting with just a few months ago are slipping. Is this something any ENFPs can relate to? (Does it pass?)
Thanks for the comment. Read your words above and you’ll notice a nuance of thought…
Feelings are fleeting. They are circumstantial. They are the gateway to what’s really at play with your “Authenticity”… Your underlying EMOTIONS.
As ENFPs – our job is to dig past the distracting and fleeting feelings we have from moment to moment and get to the core of how we resonate in our heart of emotion.
It’s the difference between what feels good and what feels right. We want to use what feels right as our guiding light. And sometimes what feels right doesn’t always feel good.
Oh my god, yes that makes a lot of sense. Thanks, that’s definitely something I needed to hear. Also, FYI, after listening to your ENFP podcast the other night, I decided to make a big decision about my career that I’d been trying to avoid. I realized I knew all along that this was the decision I wanted/needed to make, even though the ten-year-old was saying that at least my current path is laid out and “easy”. Thank you so much for this website! I’ve been reading Myers-Briggs types for years, and I never understood the different functions until reading about the car model.
Your feelings are something I can completely relate with. I too have had a huge growth period after committing to introspection and spending alot of my time and energy on mindfulness. Note I too find myself in a fork in the road with a burden of stress and am shocked by my seeming lots of that emotional steadiness. I do find solace though in my awareness of my feelings. That’s something that mindfulness has given me that will never truly disappear. My feelings seem to cycle. It helps for me to remember that and remind myself that someday I’ll be very happy again.
Aw, that means a lot to me that someone else understands this exact process! I absolutely agree with you – I’m glad I’ve moved on from trying so hard to not feel my feelings. Letting go of that struggle and letting them be is a much more grounding way to experience life. Reading your comment gave me the warm fuzzies. As does your smile 🙂
Thank you very much, Joel. This is a great read.
The Authenticity part really struck a chord. I had been led by Effectiveness since highschool up until after college. It struck me that I completely missed my mark when choosing what to study. Should have taken the time to reflect and develop my Authenticity more. Now, I’m working a job I’m not passionate about. Hopefully, that will change. Though I’m wary of going back to the University again.
Thanks for sharing your comment. So what’s your next step?
I’m going to do a lot of thinking. Save money. See the pros and the cons. Then I’ll see if I have what it takes to go back to college, study psychology and be successful with it (though in my country). Otherwise, I could focus on photography (which is also not financial heaven).
ENFP here. I’ve been a big fan of PH for a couple years it seems. Thanks for your hard work and the content you share Joel and Antonia.
I can relate with the emotional volatility that comes from attempting to grow authenticity. I’ve been unnerved for the last couple years by my seemingly out-of-character behavior.
I used to be very articulate and precise. Once I realized I had conditioned myself to do that out of fear of judgement, I realized it was a huge drain on me. I began to let go of it and have been shocked at times to find myself sounding like a damn fool in front of others (especially NT types).
I know that I am capable and intelligent, but because I care less about what others think now, I don’t put the energy into packaging my thoughts for them like I use to (a la ENTP). I’m not at the stage where I can trust my gut, so to speak. I’m really somewhere in between and I feel rather untethered.
That’s scary. But it also makes me feel so alive. I love being an ENFP. I don’t know where this road goes but I’ve always loved walking toward the horizon. All you ENFP’s out there, don’t forget to see the amazing potential in others that you see in yourself. Much love.
Of course I meant to say “Don’t forget to see the amazing potential in yourself that you see in others.” Haha, so much for precision. You know what I meant!
Shane. Thanks for sharing your experience. It is a tough road. I’m still feeling off balance after years of working on this. And I’m also starting to see my emotional oscillations stabilize a bit. The inbetween stage is the worst.
That was a great article.
And yes, I had to re-focus about ten times while reading cos I got on a full-on tangent and ended up giving a mini public-speaking event in my head, but I read the whole thing!
As an ENFP, I feel like my authentic self is an intrepid adventurer, but I remain stuck not just in my ten-year old process, but actually my three year-old one a lot. I’ve read elsewhere on this site that if a person has been stuck in their three year-old process most of their life, they may not have even had a chance to develop their pilot process. What does that look like for ENFPs?
Not sure what it looks like for all ENFPs. For me it would manifest in deep depression and a panicked feeling of being stuck forever. I can also remember times in my life when I just wanted to do the safe and reliable thing. I sought comfort above adventure and was very unhappy.
What would your advice be in such a case? Are there resources you could point us to?
Oh wow – this is exactly what I needed and at this point in my life.
It’s so easy to feel trapped and done. You undermine your intelligence, and who you really are . Being a victim can be a very comfortable spot to be in sometimes, especially if really change requires are 10 year old to show up and take the the reigns. Just by rephrasing a simple question , how do I was to feel right now, how do I want to feel next year, starts my engine right back up . Puts my strengths back in control . Thank you! Can’t wait to read more from you
Hey Joel, I have to say thank you for this article. First I struggled to go through all these Letters, because focusing isnt my biggest strenght 🙂 but im glad I did. Your inspiring article seem to be so close to my feelings and thoughts that it touches a little bit of my inner heart. Its really hard sometimes to be surrounded of a more successful and superficial orientated society, even if they are not..
It’s like being sad sometimes, not because they offended you,you are sad because you cant shine and show them the love and peace that would make us more happy and Human.
Im an 25 years old ENFP and hope to find my place in World. World isnt that complicated people 🙂
Thanks for the authentic comment, Helena! I’m glad you liked the article. 🙂
Joel, thank you for this article. I especially felt blown away by the simplicity of just asking a different question to engage my Authenticity. I agree that doing that authenticity work is a painful process and have been through it. However, I have always felt at war with my Effectiveness process and have been defaulting to it to try and get results. Every plan I think of leads to a closed door.
Much of my internal struggle is due to feeling like it isn’t ok to be ruled by my feelings. This article gave me permission to let them guide me. I have more work to do, starting with facing the fear of letting reason take a back seat and trusting my co-pilot.
Thanks for the feedback, Janice! I’m glad the article resonated with you. 🙂
Thank you Janice.
Great article. I felt many parts of this article applied to me. I have tried to do the things we are supposed to do only to end up in the same spot. It’s like going around in some elaborate circle only to end up back at start until I listen to my wisdom. I was prepping to go to pharmacy school knowing that my inner self wasn’t having it. It felt like a big battle happening inside of me. I’m now perusing naturopathic medical school, which I knew I was to do for quite some time.
I also have that feeling of wanting to do everything and make list of it and will pick five things I can do this month and then look again next month or week LOL. It was as if, you had spied the lists on my desk and in my draws.
I also struggle with being making people honor my boundaries and have left jobs and ended friendships over this and have defiantly stayed in a relationship too long over other people’s feelings.
I’ve had this happen to me before and wonder if, you have ever experienced this? I have had friends, family, and lovers get attached to me to the point that almost no amount of time I spend with them is enough. It was to the point that they would wake up early so as I had no alone time. They even tried to talk to me through the bathroom door until I pointed out how creepy that is.
When I asked them about this behavior they said that my being there just changed everything. This has caused me to shut down some as it has been a lot of people who would do this even at my job and i just couldn’t put my finger on what was going on until you mentioned how enfps give off a vibration that everyone feels. That could be it.
Hahaha… I have the same lists sitting everywhere. And about 20 books that have bookmarks stuck at the halfway point. And endless notes and task and files on my computer to “look at” or “do” someday.
I’ve had a few people attach to me. The most extreme case was in the form of trying to control my every move and action (even when they weren’t with me). At the end of the day – this person would question what I did, who I spoke with, what thoughts I had. It was intense since this person just siphoned off my energy and left me feeling wrung out at the end of each day.
Thanks for the comment. Hope we see you around the Personality Hacker community.
Thank you so much for an enlightening post (oh look light post)
Please continue what you are doing. For the rest of the world. Please continue empowering others. Thank you.
Thank you Mae for the kind words and support. Hope we see you around the Personality Hacker community.
This was such a helpful and insightful read. So spot on. For my family members, friends and loved ones that are ENFP, I could definitely resonate with the things you are saying. Yet wonder if they would actually be wanting to read this.
They secretly would, without letting me know they did.
I should send this as an email or something.
But this was so spot on.
I would like to ask you some more personal questions, is there a way to do that?
Thanks Erin for the feedback. I’ll send you an email.
Thanks Joel. I’m going to read and then re-read this. It really resonated on the first pass. I’ve had people tell me I should do so many things that my head hurts, and then I default to “whatever I feel like” which in my case is synonymous with whatever’s easiest. Enter confusion/frustration and emotional chaos at the lack of any forward inertia. Back of course to sitting at a desk all day because it pays the bills but is so incredibly suffocating! Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Yeah. I get it. I’ve felt so trapped in day jobs before and I didn’t know what to do. I used my imagination a lot in these circumstances.
My dream was to be in a creative and leadership role in my own company. I would go to work each morning and say to myself, “I’m going to CEO training today. I can’t wait to learn all the skills I need to learn for being a transformational leader.”
I also worked my butt off in the evenings and weekends building internet businesses. Over the years – I think I cycled through about 13 businesses before Personality Hacker.
What do you love? Who do you want to be? When you imagine looking back on a life of success – what do you look like? What image do you see?
This article is sooo ME! Thank you Joel Mark Witt for writing this! I got tears in my eyes as I read this. I finally feel understood after sooo many years of being misunderstood!!!!
Cool Jennifer. What’s next for you?
Joel, thanks for this inspiring article. I feel your emotions and eagerness to help us succeed as an ENFP. I’ll start focusing on my feelings during decision making. Thank you.
Thank you Johnathan.
I can’t express how much I love you all, and I love this article. I have been in a dark place trying to figure out my life using other people’s tactics. This makes me feel less alone and okay with the way I perceive the world instead of trying to act like someone else to get things done. Thank you-I wish I could give you all a hug.
The question about why should I give value to someone else’s subjective rules about knowledge and the world any more valid than my feelings hit me hard.
Thanks John for sharing.
Thank you Joel I recently read the book the secret recently, and it started to get me along the path of self development and believing in myself. Now that I have read your article I know I have made the right choice and I will continue to develop my authenticity, and become the true enforce I know I am. I want to bring laughter and joy to people and help everyone escape the prisons of there 9-5 jobs and help them pursue there dreams. This was an amazing read thank you for enlightening me on how to full the path I was meant to travel.