Show of hands.
Who likes to learn about themselves?
If you’re an INFP I’d be willing to bet that you do.
Assessments, quizzes, personality tests, etc. give an opportunity to see yourself from a different perspective. All so that you can understand yourself better and see the many facets of yourself from a different light. INFPs need to understand things deeply. Shallow won’t do!
I’ve been on a journey to understand myself for a long time; to understand why I act the way I do, how to be a better person and how to pick myself up when I’m down. The tools below are things that I’ve found to be helpful or that I’ve heard of (I’ve tried 99% of them).
But be warned! Just because an assessment says you are something, do not use that to accept that you are and always will be that way. Many INFPs use their type to justify stagnation and bad habits. One thing I know from running this site for so long is that if you have 100 INFPs in a room, everyone of them would be uniquely different; uniquely human. And INFPs are wonderfully warm people who get better with age as long as they’re growing and working on themselves.
Learn about yourself but don’t use today’s knowledge as a straight-jacket for tomorrow’s you!
Myers-Briggs is the OG; the reason you showed up here.
You already know you’re an INFP. But do you know if you’re Assertive or Turbulent? 16 Personalities describes the differences between INFP-A and INFP-T and their test will tell you which one you are. Me? I’m turbulent. Storm clouds for miles. Never satisfied with the status quo and I constantly have to slow myself down to smell the roses and appreciate life.
- Astrological Readings
Some of you will scoff at this and some of you will salivate at the word. I don’t put a ton of stock into astrology, but I know some really great people who know their shit and I would say that when someone who is really talented reads you, they can deliver some deep insights. Additionally, logically we know that the moon impacts tides and our emotions. So why would it be far-fetched to think that the alignment of planets and how far each of them are from ours affects us and our energy in some way? Any insights we can get about ourselves is gold.
I haven’t delved deep into Enneagram, but many INFPs like reading about the nine Enneagram types and discovering their own.
- Human Design
Human Design is an offshoot of astrology based on the exact minute that you were born. The theory is that you would fall into one of 4 different “Human Designs” and based on that, it gives you a set of instructions for living your life. Ie we were designed to operate a certain way and when we allow ourselves to do just that (a years-long process of deconditioning), we find a) our true selves and b) harmony within ourselves and the Universe.
I’m a “Projector,” which means my job is to sit back and wait for the invitation. I need to be invited to things instead of going out and getting them. Which is a hard one to get your head around and I’m still trying to figure it out years later. I’ve known a handful of INFPs who really found peace in the knowledge of their Universal design
Here’s a great place to discover your Human Design for free.
This is a paid assessment but I find it to be very useful in a professional setting to understand my strengths so that I can lead with them and work to obtain positions that utilize them vs my weaknesses. INFPs typically have a hard time selling themselves in their careers. The result is lost opportunities and lower pay than other types. I personally worked with a CliftonStrengths coach for one session and she really helped me understand my power as a professional (strategic, creative vision) and to see how to use my strengths in a real-world setting. I didn’t quite see what I could possibly do with being primarily strategic (I have very few executing functions). She pointed out that CEOs are also primarily strategic, which was really great reinforcement that my skills are valuable and gave me something to aim at professionally.
- HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)
This assessment is based on Elaine N. Aron’s work published in the book The Highly Sensitive Person (she has additional books about parenting, children, relationships). I know plenty of people who identify as HSPs. I definitely do. Sometimes, everything is just too much. I’m sensitive to chemicals, noises, smells, etc, etc. It’s helpful to have a way to categorize this part of myself so I can relate to others.
Therapy helps us identify unsupportive behaviors, thought patterns. It looks at the historical cause for particular feelings and can help us move forward from negative beliefs. I think INFPs in particular need support with their emotions. Without support, we can become resentful and angry. Our goal should be emotional, spiritual growth. And to endeavor on that path, we need professionals who can support us on the journey. I’ve been going for years and find that it’s incredibly helpful in terms of processing traumas, venting and having my ways of thinking challenged. It’s usually covered by health insurance, which I love. My career has been the topic of many therapy sessions over the last decade.
Coaching is different from therapy in a few different ways. The primary difference is that whereas therapy is based in the past and looks at emotional issues, coaching is focused on the future. It’s about setting goals and being held accountable to making those goals a reality. INFPs could benefit from coaching because a good coach can help you get clarity on what you want in life and work with you to move forward when you get stuck. It is not covered by insurance, unfortunately, but it’s a big investment in yourself. I’d also say (hint, hint) that INFPs can make great coaches.
I notice INFPs have a broad collective of spiritual beliefs, but it’s important for us to cultivate some form of spiritual believe and practice. I come from a Christian background and rejected my faith in my teens. I was always more spiritual than religious and came to have a strong disdain for organized religion. But I rediscovered prayer through 12-step recovery. I know some may scoff at this incredible tool, but I look at it as a simply a tool. If we allow ourselves to put our ego to the side and just ask for help, it can be incredibly comforting, especially during times of conflict. Kneeling at the side of my bed and praying for help seems to act as a daily bookmark. As I pray for the next few days, I inevitably notice that things are getting better. I always recommend prayer as a tool for discovery, clarity and seeking of a deeper wisdom.
Similar to prayer, meditation is such an incredibly powerful tool that all INFPs should dive right into for the sake of emotional stability and clarity. I think the answers that we desire are deep down, below the noise of our minds. So we quiet our minds, sit with silence and the answers come to us. I’ve had moments where the silence provided me great wisdom and insight. For example, after my last night of binge drinking, I accessed silence purely by being too hung over to develop thoughts. And I heard a single thought: “it’s time to get help.” Similarly, when going through a divorce, I took a detour before work one day to look at the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. My emotions screamed and I could only feel sadness. And I heard a single thought: “It’s going to be alright.” Meditation is how we access that wisdom and higher form of consciousness more consistently.
Breathwork is in my opinion a modern miracle. I find it to be a more potent and immediate form of mediation that shatters blocks around my heart and gives me immediate access to my emotional Being and healing. Whereas it takes time and consistent practice to get benefits from meditation, I’ve had extraordinarily powerful experiences with breathwork, including the first time I did it. I practice a form of breathwork taught by David Elliott called Pranayama breathing. You lay on your back and breath in through your mouth: first to your stomach, then to your chest/heart. Then you breath out. Here’s a sample video. My favorite teacher’s name is based in NYC and his name is Chris Phipps. Check out some of his downloads here. This is one more tool for INFPs to cultivate a strong sense of spirituality and connection to their heart as well as processing of deep traumas, which can absolutely positively affect our careers.
- Intuition Programs
Intuition is how INFPs access the external world. And I think many of us have been taught to shut that down and only use our brains and logic. But it’s critically important for us to develop our intuition. I’ve taken training on accessing my intuition and it was incredibly powerful for me. It helped me understand how to access the intuition more regularly and reliably and also taught me more about how my intuition works. My teacher currently only works with “soulpreneurs” so I can’t recommend her for this purpose, but if you want some recommendations, reach out and I’ll try to track some down.
I’m not the sportiest human on Earth, but sports can be a great way to understand how you function as an individual and on a team. I’ve met a lot of INFPs and it’s a mixed bag on the sports front. Some are into them, some aren’t. But sports can relate to your career in so many ways. They can teach you to push through difficult times and the resilience required to succeed. Mental strength, many times begets physical strength. So working on your body usually creates some mental synergies.
- Being in nature
I can think of no other type who embodies nature more than INFPs. It’s the epitomical picture of the INFP – the free spirit frolicking through a grassy field. That may or may not be you. But one thing’s for sure, being connected to nature is important for us on so many levels: mind, body, soul, spirit. Being in nature allows us to relax, to ground ourselves and to get perspective on life. When we’re unhappy with our careers, nature can prompt us to connect with something deeper, to see greater meaning in what we do and to help us process the options in front of us.
- 12-Step Programs
I have an addictive personality (and I’ve made a claim that this is an INFP trait). I had a few addictions that went unchecked for a while. They stood in my way in my life and career. Once I quit (first alcohol and then sugar), doors started opening up like never before. When you take away the unhealthy coping mechanism and start facing the emotional root causes behind the issue and force yourself to create healthy coping mechanisms, things grow and and blossom in a much more fruitful way. I’m picturing a tree trying to grow through a fence when exposed to toxics. It will grow through the fence but it will look terrible and mangled and the toxins will hurt it. Take that all away and it starts to grow in a much healthier way and restore itself. 12-Step Programs help you curb those addictions by forcing you to be real with others, work through spiritual issues, clear your conscience and learn to be of service. There’s a program for whatever you struggle with, though the most commonly known program is Alcoholics Anonymous to help people stop drinking.
INFPs are natural artists, attuned to their emotions and the world around them. How does that relate to work? One on hand, work can be art. On another art can be your work. And on yet another, art can help INFPs cope with difficult situations and struggles at work. Art allows us to express our emotions and free ourselves from burdensome energy.
I know nothing of dance, other than sometimes I like to dance around the house like an idiot. But there’s elegance to dancing when it’s done right. It’s soothing, it’s fun to watch and it’s breathtaking. Worst case, it’s fun. And we have to have fun, even when we’re not happy with other parts of lives like our careers. INFPs in particular can feel like they’re being shoved into a box in the world of work. Dancing allows us to come out of that box, experience joy and play, which are essential to our mental health.
- Visual Art
I’ve been drawing since my teens. Am I good at it? Nope! AND it doesn’t matter. Art is about expression first and foremost. Later in life, I discovered abstract painting when my kids were young. How? By finger painting with them. As I scratched my fingers down the paper, suddenly I felt a cathartic release of anxiety. It was amazing. So I went out and bought legitimate paints and paper and made a hobby out of finger painting. Some things I’ve created turned out well. And it gave me another lens through which to view my feelings. When going through something emotionally difficult, I will paint and later on I look at it and can see the conflicting emotions crashing into one another.
Music is my first love and yet another artform that INFPs are likely to enjoy. I sometimes wish I pursued music instead of computers. I love musical instruments. I love when my sons bring one home from school so that I can see how it works and play around with it. Being able to play an instrument allows us to really match our expression with our mood. Feeling happy? Play something poppy. Feeling sad? Play Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. Music for me resonates at the frequency of my soul. And it’s helped me cope with difficult situations at work – people I care about leaving, feeling stuck, feeling overwhelmed. All of it. When I’m having a hard time, I sit down and play my piano.
Writing of course is another cathartic outlet that INFPs enjoy. Whether it’s poetry or prose, we love to explore our feelings from all sides. Make sure to have a journal. If you’re struggling with career, make sure to journal. Go through pros and cons, explore your frustrations.
On top of being an outlet, writing is great because it’s such a useful tool for communication in both a personal and business setting. It’s a critical skill to learn and utilize and it can be a career for INFPs too!
What do you think? Do you use any of these tools in your career or life?
Did I forget something that INFPs should use for helping to learn more about themselves and their careers?
Leave a comment below!