Friday, May 15, 2009

Personality Tests May Not Be A Load of Crap After All

A few evenings ago, I had dinner at My Florist Cafe with an old friend and mentor who I know from my days with American Humanics in Kansas City. Over deliciously pretentious salads served by hot male waiters sporting more hair gel than either of us, she proceeded to see through every excuse, flippant comment and joke I put out there about why I haven't yet found another job. Damn her! Why couldn't she leave well-enough alone? And why am I now putting down my copy of Skinny Bitch and dealing with the things she said? Doesn't my heart know that I am not ready to face reality?

Apparently, it does not. My friend and I talked at length about the Myers-Briggs personality test, and the characteristics of ENFP - the disposition we both share, according to the quiz. ENFP-ers are known as being "Inspirers." A related website says this about us: "ENFPs are... enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities... very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others... They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life... and strive to make the most out of it. ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents. They are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime." Woo-Hoo! I'm bright! I'm full of potential! I have an unusually broad range of skills! I will go through several different careers in my lifetime! Um. About that last one... 

While most of the above should sufficiently boost my ego so I can make the calls I dread making, and send out the resumes I dread sending, there are a few challenges that we as ENFP's face. The list: "to onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose... They... are on a continuous quest... to achieve inner peace (seriously, how well did I name this blog?!). An ENFP needs to focus on following through with their projects. This can be a problem area for some of these individuals. ENFPs... may fall into the habit of  dropping a project when they become excited about a new possibility, and thus they never achieve the great accomplishments which they are capable of." 

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd love to say that those "personality tests" are a bunch of hooey, that I cannot be defined by some formula derived from abstract questions. I am unique! I am special! I am the exception to every rule!

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which of the above paragraphs you skip), I am 100% ENFP. An example: I recently read about a business plan contest the Downtown Tempe Community is holding in order to fill vacant spaces on Mill Avenue with a year of free rent for the winner. I was so excited about this prospect that I immediately wrote down three or four brilliant ideas and told everyone I know about them. But now that the rules and regs have been posted, and it is time to put these fabulous ideas into a focused concrete plan, I find myself being easily distracted by the email I must check, the Twitter account I must update, and yes, the blog entry I must write. 

So is there hope for me and other ENFPs? Will I be able to power through the sea of ideas and emotions that toss me from one endeavor to the next, often making me late for one thing or the other? My friend seems to think so. The first thing, she so wisely advised me is to take some time for myself. Stop flitting from one activity, friend, boyfriend or project to the next and take one moment or many to sit down and really be productive. 

On our way to dinner, I told my friend about the other young woman I had invited to join us, one who was in need of a little encouragement. Thankfully my friend was able to see right through my attempt to shift the focus off me and my lack of direction, and made sure I was well aware of both my weaknesses and my strengths.  A friend like this, I believe, is the second thing. 


David said...

I had a friend who gave me that personality test, and like you, I was very skeptical. Then she told me I was a..."XXXX"...some...series of letters I can't remember, and proceeded to describe my personality and innermost thoughts. WHAT? Yep. That was surprising. I'm not a beautiful and unique snowflake. But I am, dammit! I am. And so are you.

Megan Michelle said...

LOL. Thanks David the Snowflake - on the upside, at least we know that we are not alone in our "unique" fears and weaknesses.

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