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Narratives of Type: Visionaries (INTJs and INFJs)

Narratives of Type: Visionaries (INTJs and INFJs)

By Donna Dunning

Stories are as old as mankind but it seems we never get tired of hearing them. I’m always interested in hearing or reading authentic stories about people, their personality preferences, their careers, their strengths, and their challenges. From talking with people, writing books and facilitating courses I’ve learned that stories can communicate ideas that are otherwise difficult to explain.

It’s relatively easy to find descriptions of the 16 personality types, but more difficult to find websites that share the voices of people with different preferences. In this series of posts, I offer a few quotes from people who share specific personality types.

People who have preferences for INTJ or INFJ personality type share a common core process of Introverted Intuition, sometimes referred to as Ni; a reflective, idea building approach. I call them Visionaries and use the words Interpret and Implement to describe their characteristic approach.

Some quotes have been taken from interviews used in my book, What’s Your Type of Career?. Others are segments of stories shared by readers on my website. I keep editing to a minimum when I post the stories that people share to retain the authentic voice of the Visionary, but I have shortened these quotes to include variety and brevity in this blog.

A person who prefers INTJ – on change and complexity.

I like to be rewarded for successful problem solving or project management by being given a slightly more complex problem or project. Change, complexity, and challenge are all powerful motivators for me.”

A teacher who prefers INFJ – her approach.

Organizing workloads, determining time lines, setting agendas, and keeping my students focused and accountable are activities I enjoy and can accomplish. When opportunities arise to work collaboratively, I enjoy discussing ideas, soliciting opinions, and sharing a vision with my colleagues.”

From a woman who prefers INTJ – the importance of achieving goals.

As a board member I have contributed to and often initiated strategic planning, gap analysis and best practices models, and communications strategy. Recently I have felt the need to be able to follow one process through to tangible results so have stepped off the board to focus on the communications committee. I am enjoying working with the members of the committee who are very goal oriented and seeing the results of our efforts.”

An engineer with preferences for INFJ – continuous improvement focus.

I constantly watch my colleagues and myself and work on ways to make my work and their work easier, more efficient, less stressful. I introduced new tools, new processes and constantly revise them to answer the constant changes in workflow.”

Sharing our stories helps us to understand each other and ourselves. If you have preferences for INTJ or INFJ please consider sharing your career story with my readers.

For the complete version of these success stories, look at the Visionary Career Success Stories and Strategies page.

If you would like more information, this site also describes preferences of Visionaries at Work as well as a list of Occupations that Attract Visionaries.

You can search your four-letter type code or one of the names (ex. Visionary, Enhancer) to find more information relevant to your preferences. See the Introduction to the 8 Ways of Working to familiarize yourself with the personality type names I use.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 1st, 2011 at 11:33 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Responses to “Narratives of Type: Visionaries (INTJs and INFJs)”

  1. “Good, better, best! Never let it rest … !” That has always been my mantra, even in my first job after high school as a clerk-typist in ’69. I had no real personal insight back then, but my behavior has been consistent over the last 40+ years in my work, and now I do have some good insights about my “INTJ-ness.”
    In that first job, I was 17 years old and recommended for a promotion after a year, over several other older workers (all women, back then) all of whom had more tenure in the company and more experience in the workfoce. I was told that I was “doing the work of a manager.” I had no idea what that meant, but I thought it was probably a good thing—truly, I wasn’t even sure. It was the first time I remember anyone suggesting that I was working beyond (or outside of) the scope of a particular job I held. That has been a consistent pattern in my career. Sometimes I’ve been rewarded for that, but other times it’s been a problem. I would rather organize and streamline work, set up systems, etc., than do the nitty-gritty parts of it, and sometimes that tendency to look at that bigger “systems” picture is not particularly appreciated by people who have hired me to do the nitty-gritty parts.
    Absorbing information and learning new ideas and skills and considering how, when, and where to apply them would be driving forces for me in my work life. I also like to share what I know. I am more satisfied by the “front end” strategizing and figuring out tactics than completing them. I think that made me an excellent supervisor—I’m only too happy to hand off the detail work to someone. I’m glad to let someone else “own” the job, if they will grind out the detail work to completion.
    I prefer to work in long stretches and by myself. It took me decades to realize that sometimes other people have good ideas, too. I’ve worked in marketing and public relations for most of my career and applied my skills particularly to companies and organizations that are involved in “fine arts and practical arts,” which, for me, includes architecture, interior design, graphic design, galleries & museums, culinary arts, and wine.
    I lost my job in November, after more than 11 years as director of public relations for the second largest building design firm in St. Louis (the largest headquartered here is the largest in the world!) I have reinvented myself as a freelancer with the description, “Connecting people through fine arts, fine wines, and commonsense social networking.” Yes, I’m on LinkedIn!

  2. kristy pennino says:

    and as an intj, i love to tell anecdotal stories!!

    like the time when i attempted to demonstrate to my 7-year-old niece that frogs don’t bite…

  3. Mari says:

    There are times when I say things that make the room quiet. I am able to put together big picture commonalities and mostly others are surprised when this happens. I received a lovely complement that I am the most compassionate boss ever and this makes me proud. I enjoy validating others and seeing them grow. I lead change. I am INFJ.

  4. As an INFJ, I’ve always felt comfortable expressing my opinions about how things could be improved. It’s been a difficult lesson that others aren’t as willing to speak up. I’ve learned to ask, “And what does everyone else think?” People may incorrectly perceive that INFJs and INTJs are trying to get their way, when they’re really just stating their vision. If we believe that something could be done in a more effective way, we try to make that happen. (We can’t really understand why others wouldn’t do the same.) My new favorite quote is, “Unless you enjoy being stuck on the sandbar, I strongly suggest you rock the boat.”

  5. JeniRae says:

    These narratives are fantastic.
    I hope to see more entries following this format that highlight the the other seven dominant mental processes.

    JR // NeTi

  6. Donna Dunning says:

    Hi JeniRae, Thanks for your comment. I will be posting narratives for all of the dominant functions. One each week on Friday.

  7. JeniRae says:

    Looking forward to it!

    JR // NeTi

  8. MBTI helped me discover my true passion: helping people!

    In the past, I lived a “successful” but not truly happy life. As the head of a chemical production for cosmetics, I did not see my personal values reflected in my work. Neither could I find much meaning in the products we manufactured nor in the money we generated for the shareholders.

    The MBTI supported me in a career change, and today I am truly successful and happy: I help busy people to step off their hamster wheel to unlock their true potential while maintaing a healthy balance.

    My INFJ personality is ideal for my job as Executive Coach & Life Coach: “INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.”

    Introversion and Feeling make me an attentive listener who is passionate about his clients’ success. Intuition supports a big picture approach, and the Judging side helps turn dreams into realities.

    Seeing my clients succeed is my biggest reward. I love every minute of my “work”, if you want to call it work. It’s – almost – 24 hours fun every day.

    Follow your passion and get where you want to be,


  9. Pat Lee says:

    I’m mostly an INFJ. I took the test numerous times during my life and tend to think the results are “mood dependent”. I used to teach elementary school which led to scientific research and all along was a professional musician during weekends. I’m now retired and my hunch is that now I’ve become more of an INFP. Make sense?

  10. Donna Dunning says:

    Hi Pat, Yes. Your reported type on the indicator can certainly change in response to your mood or situation. Sounds like you have had an interesting and diverse career. Personality type theory would say that your personality type itself doesn’t change (even though your results on the indicator do). According to type theory, perhaps INFP are your more natural preferences and you were using the J to adapt or INFJ are your natural preferences and you are becoming more open-ended and less structured in your retirement. Maybe this will help you decide which pattern is your best-fit type.

    I have a blog on this topic, Does Your Type Change? if you want to read more.

  11. Lei Tang says:

    I’m an INTJ woman. I always love to work and work as a perfectionist. As Donna J Gamache said,”Good, better, best! Never let it rest …”. It’s not only our mantra, it’s something inside us. We are always excel at work, more complicated work, more enjoyable.
    Like to challenge and like the new things. If the working environment doesn’t have good leader or efficient people, we take the responsibility automatically. We also like to solve the problems. I think that our weakness is introvert. We are weak at communication and interpersonal relationships. This made us a big barrier for the career. After working for some companies in Canada, I think that for me the most suitable is working as an entrepreneur. As we are visionary, leadership, have the courage, patience and persistence,eager to learning. One of my friends even found me that after I worked for a trading company for new product projects for six months(I worked as R&D, Procurement), I have developped the capacity of imagination.

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