What does Success mean to an ENFP?
ENFPs are motivated in everything they do by a desire to understand the world around them. They are constantly searching about, mentally and physically, for input that will help them to better understand the Big Picture. They are open-minded to new people and new experiences; they're eager for the opportunity to understand what the new people and experiences are all about. ENFPs use their understanding of the world to serve the agendas of their value systems. An ENFP's value system often includes respect for the needs and desires of individual people over the needs of a social group. Their respect for the individual makes them dislike controlling others, and being controlled by others. ENFPs are passionate about their beliefs, whatever they may be. They often stubbornly adhere to their value system regardless of threats to its validity. They are more concerned with keeping true to what they believe than they are with expectations or demands from the social group that they function within. ENFPs dislike personal criticism, because it threatens their validity as an individual and the validity of their value system. ENFPs may internalize anger rather than express it; their respect for other individuals makes it difficult for them to hurt others. An ENFP's feeling of success depends upon the availability of opportunities to grow their understanding of the world, upon feeling that they're living true to their personal value system, and upon the condition of their closest relationships.
As an ENFP, you have gifts that are specific to your personality type that aren't natural strengths for other types. By recognizing your special gifts and encouraging their growth and development, you will more readily see your place in the world, and be more content with your role.
Nearly all ENFPs will recognize the following characteristics in themselves. They should embrace and nourish these strengths:
ENFPs who have developed their Introverted Feeling to the extent that they apply judgment to all of their perceptions will enjoy these special gifts:
With any gift of strength, there is an associated weakness. Without "bad", there would be no "good". Without "difficult", there would be no "easy". We value our strengths, but we often curse and ignore our weaknesses. To grow as a person and get what we want out of life, we must not only capitalize upon our strengths, but also face our weaknesses and deal with them. That means taking a hard look at our personality type's potential problem areas.
Most of the weaker characteristics found in ENFPs are due to their dominant Extraverted Intuition overshadowing the personality to the extent that they don't apply judgement to anything. Or, they may use their primary judging function (Introverted Feeling) to support the agenda of Extraverted Intuition, i.e. to rationalize and support the idea of welcoming all experiences and accepting all individuals. In such cases, an ENFP may show some or all of the following weaknesses in varying degree:
Nearly all of the problematic characteristics described above can be attributed in various degrees to the common ENFP problem of wanting to understand and experience everything at any cost. If the ENFP does not learn how to discriminate things and people in their external environment, the ENFP will begin to use their judging function (Introverted Feeling) as a "rubber stamper" to support their agenda to seek out experiences. This is a natural survivalistic technique for the ENFP personality. The main driver to the ENFP personality is Extraverted Intuition, whose purpose is to understand the world as one Big Picture, seeking connections and meaning in everything. If their ability to seek understanding is threatened, the ENFP shuts out the threatening force. This is totally natural, but unfortunately the individual who exercises this type of agenda protection regularly will become more and more unable to apply objective judgment to anything. When the unbalanced ENFP does apply judgement, it will generally be skewed to support their subjective agenda. They will always find justification for their own inappropriate behaviour. They will be unable to finish anything that they start, and generally wander through life from experience to experience.
It's very common for ENFPs to resist applying judgement until they feel they truly understand a person or situation. However, part of the understanding process includes using discernment to classify qualities. If the ENFP shuts judgment off entirely, he or she will not achieve their ultimate goal of understanding; rather they will jump from experience to experience in a purposeless fashion.
Anger can be a problem for anybody, but may be especially so for ENFPs who have not sufficiently developed their Introverted Feeling. The desire to keep everything non-judgmental, combined with the tendency to use Introverted Feeling as justification rather than true judgement is a recipe for suppressed anger. These are very contradictory forces. "I hate you for judging me" is an ironic feeling, but is unfortunately common. The inability to apply judgment, or to accept negative judgment, makes it difficult for the ENFP to express anger, as anger often comes with negative judgment in tow. Therefore, the ENFP stews in their anger, rather than dealing with it.
To grow as an individual, the ENFP needs to focus on applying judgement to all of their perceptions. This means they need to decide how they really feel about people, places and things, rather than allowing their feelings to hang open indeterminately. The ENFP needs to understand that developing their ability to discern qualities does not threaten their ability to understand the world, but rather enhances it, and enhances their personal changes for achieving a measure of success in their lives.
The ENFP concerned with personal growth will pay close attention to their motivation for making a judgment. Are they trying to really determine the objective value or merit of something, or are they trying to defend their individual right to not be judged or controlled? The goal when judging something is to not let your life experiences cloud your opinions. Obviously, this is not entirely possible, but it is the exercise to keep in mind. You want to open your mind to judgment without feeling threatened, and without using your own judgement in a defensive, rationalizing mode.
As can be seen from the above, some ENFPs can have difficulty fitting into society. Their problems are often due top feeling different from others because of their dominant Intuition, and being unable to stick to anything long enough to feel a sense of accomplishment. They feel like they don't fit in, and can't find the place where they belong in the world. The ENFP who consistently makes decisions and applies classifications to their ideas will be able to turn their ideas into reality, and experience the feelings of accomplishment and success that accompany being effective.
The key to personal growth for the ENFP is competent execution of Introverted Feeling. It's difficult for most to understand what this means, much less incorporate that directive into your life. I have created some action-oriented suggestions that will help lead you down the path towards more effective use of the Introverted Feeling function. Specific suggestions: