3 Questions With An INFP is a short interview designed to share the unique voices of individual INFPs and see how similar, and different, we all are.
And now I present:
1. How did you find out you were INFP?
In the late 1980s, when I was in law school, the partner of a classmate asked some of us to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI.) She was writing about learning styles in her doctoral work and linking that to MBTI results. She typed me as an ISFP. I had tested 50-50 for “iNtuitive” and “Sensing,” but the doctoral candidate thought I was more “S.” “I can see you measuring exactly ¼ cup of flour for a recipe,” she said. I didn’t cook then and don’t now, but I did like things to be precise. No matter how many times I take any form of the MBTI, I score nearly 50-50 on my “iNtuitive” and “Sensing.” A few years later, the Bar Association Journal offered a mini-MBTI. I’ve always loved studying personality types. I asked others in the small law firm where I was a partner to take the test. Personality types didn’t interest them. They had work to do. But I persisted. One by one, the results came in. ISTJ. ENTJ. ISFJ. INTJ. ESTP. ESTJ. After each of the 12 people in our office tested, only one of the legal secretaries and I tested as INFPs. While I remembered having been typed ISFP before, the INFP description felt more accurate then and still does today. I’d always felt different from other lawyers. From the first day of law school, sitting in Greg Travalio’s contracts class, listening to my classmates recite the facts of the case, it seemed I had been dropped into an alien world. For three years of law school and ten of legal practice, that feeling never left. I could do the research and come up with the same answers as the other lawyers, but it took longer and I found the answers through a more circuitous route. Eventually, a major depressive episode forced me to rethink my career. I’d been successful, finding my way by focusing on research and writing, but the magazine article test confirmed what I already knew. I was a unicorn in a stable full of horses much more suited to their tasks. Now, as an INFP writer who lives with chronic depression—which came first the depression or my attempts to mold my INFP-ness into a non-INFP world—I accept my need to muddle around in something before I find the flow others seem to easily access. That time-consuming process didn’t work well when I was living and dying by the billable hour. I secretly wrote off hours of billable time and spent more hours at the office because the work took me twice as long as my “STJ” colleagues. I still struggle with some of my INFP characteristics, but I no longer find it necessary to hide my process.
2. What do you create?
I turn decaf coffee into books about mental health, running, meditation, and writing. I blog, write guest posts, edit other people’s blogs, and coach the occasional writer. I’ve written ten books, published two, and have many more in mind. I just need to access a bit more extraverted thinking and get things done! I’m also a meditation leader and I “create” guided meditations to help others find mindfulness in everyday activities including exercise. I’ve begun to record selfie videos in which I discuss running as meditation for mental health and well-being.
3. What do you enjoy?
In addition to spending time with my husband, and our yellow Labrador retriever, Scarlet, I love to run. I’m slow and unapologetic. Ten hours alone in the woods is bliss—except when it’s not.
I also love the sound of words and the shape of sentences. “Having” written is also bliss. I especially enjoy using my writing skills to share mental health and wellness tips with others.