Friday, December 8, 2017

A Conversation with an INFP

INFJ Counsels an INFP:
 The Rarest Types in the Myers-Briggs.

Only 1% of people internationally score as an INFJ or an INFP, which explains why they don't find a lot of like-minded souls in real life and connect very quickly when they do find themselves interacting with their same MBTI preferences.

I sent you to a free site---16 Personalities.Com, which is VERY good, but to take the actual test would cost about $150 and then you'd have to pay me or someone licensed to give you a full interpretation.   But I’m providing this to you as one of my email clients at only $15 (which is really not going to cover my costs or my hourly rate; but hopefully makes you take this information more seriously since it was not freely provided).   So allow me to go into detail (by the way, can you send me the actual image you received, so that I can see how clear or unclear, strong or weak, your actual letters were? I will add additional suggestions for your unique score and how to gain more access to your gifts and develop your weaknesses or gaps).
Here's how I teach it in my workshops...and I was trained this way, so I'm biased.  Some practitioners say that we have the ability to be a little bit light in one area, and strong in another and that means we are sort of Feelers or F for instance, but not as strong as we can conclude that we can "swing both ways" when a T or Thinker situation presents itself.  But that's not what I find and not what I was taught.  A person who doesn't score STRONGLY, very clearly on each letter is still trying to figure out who they are.  They are still listening to cultural or parental messages and are not able to clearly and affirmatively identify themselves.  And our lifetime goal, is to get ALL of those letters to that we can self-advocate.  So that we can communicate our needs, be aware when we are asked to be out of type, which ultimately causes STRESS AND PROCRASTINATION.  Those are the two things to watch out for.
 We all have to function outside of our type, our preference, to get along in this world, but if we do it too long, without moving back into our natural path, we will experience stress (anxiety, even anger) and procrastination (which many people call LAZY---I don't believe in lazy---more about that later).  So, it is incumbent on us to make sure we find activities to put us right again.  So that we can go back out and be out of type, if necessary, again.
Your type is the exact opposite type of the culture of the USA.  Our culture teaches very early that one needs to be an ESTJ.  This type is very one-sided, likes things black and white, right or wrong, and will LOUDLY declare that rightness.  Our first experience in school for being an E (and a loud one) is Show and Tell.  We force children, even Introverts or people who struggle with shyness (which is not as aspect of Introversion----that's a myth or a misunderstanding of the dichotomy---Introversion and Extroversion are about ENERGY---how one gains it and how one depletes it).  So, we force everyone to get up in front of a group and talk.  And what do teachers do when an Introvert is sitting quietly, not raising their hand to be called on (because Introverts need their thoughts, their verbal sharings, to be fully thought out before speaking?), well, they CALL on them when they have not shown a desire to be called on. A very rattling experience and usually very embarrassing as well.
 So yes, you know at such a young age (I have no idea how old you are, but you strike me as so enthusiastic and energetic, I assume you are still in your 20s), you already have enough self-awareness to score as an INFP.  Just remember, you will ALWAYS feel like you are alone or even sometimes in extreme self-doubt, wrong.   But you are needed.  Oh, so needed.  The INFJ and the INFP are two people who MUST change the world for the better (and isn't that what we've been talking about this whole time)?  And the really cool part is they will do it without wanting to take credit for it.  Just the simple act of knowing we are making a difference is enough reward for us.  Even if the people we are changing don't realize it.  We don't need fame or fortune.  We just want to be doing what we feel is good for the planet.
MBTI practitioners often lament about the scarcity of INFP and INFJ.  Philosophically, it is this type that will change things as they are today. But again, when you do find one, they are likely quietly blogging or teaching a small group of people (wink, wink) and not standing at a podium with a microphone talking to the media!
The difference in our two types? The P is very flexible, open, accepts changes easily. While the J is more organized, even rigid in some ways, and time sensitive.  One is agreeable and easy going; the other gets things done and on time.
Otherwise, we are Introverts....which is again, about energy.  It means nothing more than we need to be alone and in a quiet environment to become grounded and rested.  We, of course, have to extrovert on a regular basis.  And Jung himself said, "No one person is all one way or the other; that person would find himself in an insane asylum."  We must modify our approach or stretch ourselves to meet the demands of the outside world.  THAT's why people say they are both.  Because we get lots of practice in doing both.  But the question is:  Does it ENERGIZE you to be around a lot of people and stimuli?  Or does it ultimately make you tired and scattered (even irritable)?  That's the sign of the Introvert.  They can be very socially at ease, very good at presentations and speaking in front of others, introducing people at parties and so on, but it takes its toll. And Extroverts (and remember our culture insists that we be extroverted), don't understand this.  They label the need to be alone as odd or anti-social.  Now secretly, they wish they had a spoonful of this ability, for they are constantly in the business of seeking more and more stimuli, more and more distraction.  They in the extreme are what we call Emotional Vampires.  Taking and taking, talking and talking, just to keep their energy levels off.  Boredom or what they feel is inertia is SCARY to them. They almost PANIC...oh no!  I'm getting DEPRESSED...I'm going naturally they call us that when they observe our introversion.
This is all being said, so that you can do what I did NOT do in my younger years:  Advocate for yourself. Exercise Self Care.  You can have reasonable conversations with people that state your needs and purposely put yourself into introversion.  I often had to create false arguments or fights to get alone time.  I had to move myself to exhaustion or even illness, to get a couple of days in bed under the covers.  So be aware that if you're working a large project or anything else where you need to concentrate and deliver, you need to CLOSE THE DOOR or work at home.  Distractions in the form of interruptions or external noise, just people talking in the hallway, will interfere with your overall process.
The N is Intuitive...and the reason they use N is because I was already taken!  Nothing more scientific then that!  While S on the MBTI, is an indicator that this person only takes in information (or believes data) that can be confirmed with the five sensors (thus the name SENSOR), the N believes and uses quite effectively, that GUT or intuition is also a viable sense and to be used in decision making.  The N also could stand for in they like things to be improved or even just changed for the sake of novelty.  S's are the watchdogs of tradition.  If dad did it that way, then I will do it that way, no matter what evidence is shown to me to prove otherwise.  S could stand for STUBBORN.  Martin Luther King was the ultimate N....I have a dream....and it took over 40 years until we even were able to catch up with that (though I would argue we are still struggling).  His dream was unique, new and different.  Apparently, other civil rights leaders wanted equality under the law.  Just the same funding or allowances that whites enjoyed.  But Martin wanted INTEGRATION.  Where white children sat next to black children in school!  Even the progressives thought he was mad.  A true N if there ever was one.
Now it’s time for T vs. F.  F or Feeler.  Every female in our culture is socially conditioned to be an F (share with others, consider others feelings over your own, be nice always.  Anger is a no-no).  But only 2/3 of females score F on the MBTI.  Likewise, all men are socially conditioned to be a T (big boys don't cry, sadness or tears are not acceptable, walk it off, man-up, keep it all inside).  Thus, we have a very dysfunctional society when we forbid two very natural and normal and appropriate emotions from each gender respectively.  A Feeling Female has a blind spot though:  Thinking.  Now we ALL feel and we ALL think...but it's the order we do it in or HOW we do it, how much emphasis we place on one or the other.  And easy example is considering the purchase of a car.  The T would address this need by gathering data, facts, resale value, reliability and consider the financial limits of this purchase.  Once a car starts to meet all the criteria, they start to FEEL attracted to that car.  The F will see a car and FEEL an attraction to it...and then ensure that this is the right decision by backing it up with research, data, facts, resale value and the financial limits.  And yes, in the extreme a T is very hesitant to pull the trigger on any and all decisions created stagnation and frustration for those around him (sometimes even called stingy) and the F may purchase things that are not within their abilities, hoping it will all work out somehow, but showing up as impulsive or irresponsible to others.
What I have found as an HR professional, is that the FEELING MALE and the THINKING FEMALE are actually a preferred outcome.   While these two people feel VERY judged by our culture, they are actually the true diplomats and conflict managers of our society.  A Feeling Male is able to be a T with ease, because of his social conditioning; but he is actually a F and can easily move into that world with equal excellence.  While he may be accused of being "a sensitive male" which is almost a slur and suggestion of his sexual preference, he is able to handle things like a quarrel between his employees because he can focus on both managing the results while simultaneously maintaining relationships.  An advanced outcome if there ever was one.  The poster boy for the Feeling Male is Barack Obama.  And a diplomat he truly is.
Now, the Thinking Female has her issues with cultural messages and judgment too.  For a T female is often strong, decisive and knowledgeable.  Which is our culture reads as a bitch.  Yep!  That's exactly what we call her, assuring that she keeps this fabulous trait under wraps or risk the wrath of social rejection.  But a Thinking Female, just like her counterpart the Feeling Male, can "swing both ways."  She can play the Feeling Female with ease, while actually having full access to her Thinking function.  An excellent manager if there ever was one.  And the poster child for Thinking Female?  Hillary Clinton.  And just look at what we do to her in our culture.  She's shamed at every turn.
As a Feeling Female, you need to watch out for your blind spot: Thinking.  You should and MUST go into every situation purposely focusing your THINKER.  It is very dormant.  Instead of going into a meeting naturally thinking about others, how it will affect people, ensuring that the decision meets up with your value system (which you would do in your sleep and even if you were ill or intoxicated), you must focus on the facts, the data, the proof and the financials of it all.  That will provide you with the balance you need to be a good decision maker.  Likewise, the Thinking Male must do the same thing:  focus on what others are feeling, notice body language and tone of voice, be aware that his way is not everyone's way and so on.
Now for the final letter or dichotomy.  J vs. P.  Judgers (and in this case the label doesn't always apply, so please be aware that J's are not always judgmental and P's are not necessarily perceptive!).  J's are time sensitive.  They feel ANXIETY when they are late...or even right on time!  Right on time is LATE in their thinking.  They BARELY made it.  And that causes anxiety.  Where the E and the I are measuring ENERGY, the J and the P are measuring anxiety states.  P's are very open-ended, enjoying processes, much more than destinations.  They feel anxiety when someone insists on a deadline or to be punctual.  For them, 4:30 is still within the 4:00 hour, and really can't you be a little flexible and not so JUDGMENTAL?  They are also clutter bugs.  They do not need their environments to be exact, precise, clean and orderly.  They make piles, they don't even see those dirty clothes in the corner.  While the J is the one who put in the breakroom:  Your Mother Doesn't Work Here; Please Clean Up After Yourself!"  The J becomes mentally scattered when their environment is scattered or in disarray.  And this is where J's and P's are rich for conflict.  Many of the arguments in the workplace are around this behavior.  The J's will even write up the P's when they are the manager. It can be determined that the P doesn't need to be right on time for his or her job, that he can always find what he needs in the piles, but the J insists that he needs to be on time and neat and orderly nonetheless.  HR often has to swoop in a manage this personality difference.  P's were the crammers in school.  They get an adrenaline charge and do their best work at the last minute.  They will wait until the day before to complete a project or request.  This drives the J's crazy, because when you give them a deadline, their anxiety is in full alert, and they want nothing more than to check it off their to-do list.  And a J ALWAYS has a to-do list!
MBTI is the stuff of emotional intelligence.  And Emotional Intelligence (EI) is now considered the best indicator of workplace success (registering four times higher than IQ).  We all know the smart guy down the hall who has two master's degrees, but no one really knows him, and he seems kind of weird, so we avoid him....vs. the high school graduate who is fun, friendly, remembers your kids' names and always considering your view or feelings.  Emotional intelligence requires these five things:  Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Self-Discipline, Empathy and People Skills/Communication Skills.  And the MBTI shows you where you have these things and where you do not.  And therefore, you can address these gaps and become more successful, more productive, less stressed and avoid procrastination.
For your own interpretative report, send your results from 16 Personalities to stephanie@work-stress-solutions.  
See Stephanie's site Work Stress Solutions for more information like this.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Another Look at Boundaries

Boundaries are needed when we are younger, esp. when we are raised in dysfunction (and I'd be surprised to hear from anyone in our generation or before that WASN'T raised in dysfunction. In my opinion, "even spanking" is abuse...I don't give a damn if it's on the fleshy part of your's a practice based in anger and is traumatizing to the receiver). 

But I am finding more and more, that boundaries declared, can be a fine weapon against people we simply disagree with. We use the language (or I use the language) of "Don't tread on my boundary! I am setting it to advocate for myself..." but it's really a "screw you" in the conversation and ends all discussion. Something I'm looking at in myself, anyway.

See Stephanie's site Work Stress Solutions for more information like this.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ten Tips for Stress Relief

This week's entry is from a guest blogger, Armstrong Appointments Recruiting Specialists.

First there are the causes of common stressors and then ten suggestions for easing stress at work.

See Stephanie's site Work Stress Solutions for more information like this.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

I Tried to Set a Boundary and Now My Brother Won't Talk to Me

An actual conversation on Facebook....

Q:  Can you imagine a friend or coworker doing that to you?

A:  My friends - even some who were only acquaintances - were far more interested in helping me; truly just helping me with no strings or baggage attached. One of my brothers is avoiding family gatherings now because he's mad that I set a boundary and have distanced myself from him. Same thing regarding drama - I didn't engage in it - I just decided I needed to step away because he and his wife were disrespectful.

Q:   I always find it interesting that when one sets a boundary---which is just another way of saying, "I insist on being treated with respect and dignity," that someone would pout about this or be angered by it. What is the message? I want to keep making you feel like badly? I like making you feel awful and I don't want to stop?  Your discomfort is less important to me than my discomfort?

It's like when these same family members call me/you selfish. Selfish is the most shaming word. And those of us who are sensitive to others don't want to ever be seen as non-giving or withholding (selfish) so it works great! But the one calling us selfish is actually the selfish party! They are saying, "I like things like they are, even though you don't, and I insist we keep it like this." Isn't that actually the definition of selfish? I want it like I want it?

A:   Not that I was keeping a scoreboard, but pretty much every time he asked me for help, I helped. I was under the impression that when family asks for help, you simply say, 'Sure. What do you need?' So after the 4th time he said he wouldn't help, I set the boundary that I don't want to interact with him anymore. I didn't throw a fit, complain, beg... I just backed away. Apparently, I was supposed to just keep accepting that behavior and pretend it was fine. I wouldn't have a problem if he and his family were at a family gathering; I'd be courteous, but I guess he doesn't feel like he could do the same.

Q:  What's true is that he's actually thinking about his behavior and the effect it had/the consequences. He may have too much pride right now to admit it. I'm wondering if you give it just a little time, and asked him for help, if he would do it now. Kind of like letting him have a little dignity (even though you would have to risk being rejected again).

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Avoiding Office Burnout : Signs, Causes and Remedies

From Guest Blogger:  David Lafferty of The Simple Dollar
Click Graphic for Full InfoGraphic Information

See Stephanie's site Work Stress Solutions for more information like this.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Can't We All Just Get Along?

“The most important single ingredient in the formula for success is the knack of getting along with people.”
—Theodore Roosevelt

Today, we call this emotional intelligence. My latest book, "Whatever You Are, Be a Good One: A Guide to Effectiveness is the Workplace," provides over one hundred methods for increasing your emotional intelligence as an employee.
The Mirror Exercise

There is an old saying that points out, “We dislike most in others, what we dislike most in ourselves.”

With that in mind, to remove excess negativity, resentment, judgment, or tension in a relationship, use the mirror exercise. The next time you feel angry, frustrated, or judgmental of another, flip it. In other words, ask yourself where you behave like the other person (or worry that you may lapse into that behavior and so spend lots of energy trying hard to not be “that way”). Instead of looking at them and labeling, look at yourself and make a mental shift.

For instance, let’s say you are very conscientious about being on time. You wake up earlier than you’d like; you speed sometimes to make it there on time; you get upset with slow traffic; you start the morning frantic and frustrated with your family… all to make it there at the stroke of your start time. Now, let’s also say that you have a co-worker who consistently “slides in” at least 5 minutes late on a regular basis.

Chances are great that you highly resent this behavior. After all, you are really making timeliness a priority and this person clearly doesn’t care, right?

What’s likely happening is that you are realizing that you too have an issue with punctuality. Otherwise, you would find yourself easily getting to places in plenty of time. That this other person is seemingly not going through the pains that you are to be on time angers you. This is because you feel you are giving up a great deal in terms of peace of mind and lowered stress levels to honor your priority of punctuality.

Instead of resenting the latecomer, try instead to see that you are also capable of being late.  We are all sometimes late! Realize that you are transferring your own self-judgment onto the other person (’cause that’s easier and more fun) and continue on to the next page for releasing this judgment.

Get it on Kindle via Amazon. Paperback coming soon!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Whatever You Are, Be a Good One

My latest book is now available on Amazon Kindle. Whatever You Are, Be a Good One: A Guide to Effectiveness in the Workplace."

See Stephanie's site Work Stress Solutions for more information like this.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The M/R Formula: Balancing Managing Results or Maintaining Relationships

After three decades of working with employees in America's workplace, I have come to one conclusion: Everyone must exercise the M/R formula---Manage Results or Maintain Relationships.

This formula is inherent in all relationships, not just coworkers, and provides the answer to how much conflict or how much harmony we will experience in any given relationship.

Everyone is born with one type of brain or the other. We are either the type of person who is excellent at managing results or we are the type of person who experiences ease in maintaining relationships.

A person who excels in managing results is someone who will master data, facts, logic and see things in a black or white lens. A person who is successful in maintaining relationships will exhibit traits like a strong ability to empathize, a master in communication, and a focus on creating peaceful outcomes.

Because a person can only be born with one or the other as a natural tendency, we are required to exercise the weaker side to be complete. To be an effective individual, or be someone who has achieved balance, we must recognize which type we are and emphasize or practice the type we are not naturally.

The impetus or motivation for doing so can be provided by explaining what happens when someone relies too heavily on one or the other. If one is too reliant on managing results, they will be someone who insists on achievement, meeting goals, focusing on budget and improved numbers, and containing or compartmentalize feelings. If one is reporting to this type of person as an employee, they will experience a strong focus on the bottom line, growth, reports, mathematical proof of momentum and will not be encouraged to expect verbal affirmation; a lack of understanding or interest in personal details; a limited focus in ensuring health, relationships and recharging or restoring to avoid burnout.

In contrast, if one is too reliant on their natural tendency toward maintaining relationships, they will be concerned with being liked, but they will rarely be looked to or relied upon to lead in difficult situation. This person will focus on being "part of the gang" and will have a limited ability in making a decision that will be unpopular, even if it's the right solution for the overall organization or unit. This is true for a family unit as well as a workplace unit. While able to empathize, sympathize, and soothe others, this person will struggle in the areas of money matters, gathering research, identifying trends and making decisions.

In order to be an accomplished and complete individual, we must pursue the M/R balance. We need to identify which side of the human brain we have naturally, and then recognize we lack the traits and tendencies of the other. In every situation we encounter, we must relax our natural inclination (because we will always have this ability even when we are sick, tired or stressed), and purposely use or focus on our weaker side in order to strengthen it. This is the way we become a highly effective and mature individual, experiencing satisfaction in the workplace or in our personal life.

See Stephanie's site Work Stress Solutions for more information like this.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Train Your Thoughts for a Peaceful Life

Our thoughts create our experience. From the time of Buddha, this has been a truth revealed to us as humans. Unfortunately, for many of us, we have no formal training in how to manage our thoughts and therefore have some control over our experience. Instead, we form a habit of looking for what is wrong or what is missing. We go over mistakes from our past and worry about the ones we may make in the future. And then we wonder why we are anxious, depressed, irritable and unable to fall asleep.

You could embark on the path of meditation. You could also enter therapy to notice your thoughts and decide which ones to keep and which ones to discard at any given moment. But, you already know this. This information has been around since the 60s. You don't want to (and I don't either) for several reasons including: it's too hard, it's expensive and it's time consuming.

So what to do? Find a mantra. What's a mantra? It's a simple sentence that you can repeat to yourself over and over, when you are driving, when you are falling asleep, when you are worried. It is a focal point for your untrained mind. It is the habit, the habitual thought, that will replace your current habit of random fears and judging others.

I have some suggestions, but I strongly urge you to find your own. It should be FUN to find your mantra. And it should create a feeling in you that calms and comforts you. It should seem like a universal truth to you, not wishful thinking or positive thinking.

"Thank love for this moment in its perfection."
"I can do all things through (Christ, Buddha) who strengthens me."
"In this moment, everything is okay."
"I am supported in each moment."

Thoughts are not benign. They literally create reactions in our bodies. These reactions range from adrenaline surges to dopamine releases; cortisol and hormones. Your physical body's state will determine how you feel. And this feeling stems from the thoughts you are constantly thinking.

Choose your thoughts, choose your experience.

See Stephanie's site Work Stress Solutions for more information like this.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Want to Feel Better? Get Better at Feeling!

Things come into our lives and then they go. Those things sometimes create bad feelings, and so we are grateful when they leave. Other times the things are good and we mourn when they go, wishing they would stay forever, instead of seeing this as the natural ebb and flow of life.

Because these times can BOTH be so painful, we tend to clinch, tense up, against ANY changes at all. Because we just don't believe we can handle any more processing, any more work, any more pain. But this doesn't work. And it's the root of stress and even addiction.

I'm going to ask you to do something completely counter-intuitive, but will actually work like a charm. I want you to sit for a minute, take a deep breath and PURPOSELY feel these feelings. Really lean into them. Whatever you experience, whether a mental labeling (Oh, I feel sad and its seems to be in my stomach area to the left) or you actually cry or rage or feel otherwise negative---let it happen. Let it roll through your body. You may want to put out a yoga mat and roll around however your body dictates---possibly moaning or making other strange sounds as the body releases pent-up emotion. See whatever comes as energy, and try not to label it as "good" or "bad".

Hopefully, this will become a regular practice. When you feel any emotion, good or bad, you let it in. You stop what you are doing and bring in full force....and eventually....what you will notice is that these emotions, once fully felt, will go. You no longer feel the feeling for days and even weeks. You are back to normal or even peaceful as soon as you completely feel the feeling. Now, a word of caution: you can't go into this process saying, "If I feel the feelings, then they will go away!" You can't go in with that agenda, but that is what will happen.

And over time, you will see that emotions can't kill you. It sure seems like they are going to, but it turns out they just need expression. They need to roll through the body. What's ironic is that the holding in or avoiding emotions actually WILL ultimately cause disease and premature death! We all know that now with studies that connect unexpressed anger with heart attack and intense sadness with cancer and so on. Not to mention the intermittent back pain, headaches, etc.

In short, the answer is not to feel better. We need to get better at feeling. When we block the negative expression, we will find that we also can't really take in the good times...we don't completely feel the joy of a wedding, a graduation and so on, because we've blocked those channels too.

See Stephanie's site Work Stress Solutions for more information like this.