I recently came across a line that arrested my attention:
It stopped me in my tracks and made me think about the kind of work I really love. And when I say “work I love,” I’m referring to the thinking and doing that bring me to life – researching, synthesizing, and creating – not necessarily what I do to pay the bills.
The thinking I love allows me to focus deeply on one thing at a time, as the quote suggests, and it’s usually project-based in nature. I’m guessing you also enjoy projects for the focus they afford you.
Check out these five reasons why project-based work fires an INFJ up.
1. Projects call for research.
In the driver’s seat of our personality is a cognitive function, or mindset, known as introverted intuition (Ni). Ni is an information gathering mindset that seeks to understand the mysteries of the universe. It longs to know why and explore deeply, so this mindset leads us into constant, thorough research – especially of subjects that interest us. It’s why one of my five StrengthsFinder strengths is “learner.”
Every good project starts with research because you can’t create until you’ve gathered enough ideas and information to do the work right. A great project is research-driven and well-thought-out, and INFJs get a lot of joy out of digging in and understanding something new – especially when it relates to the arts and humanities.
2. Projects call for creativity.
Creative projects call for original, somewhat out-of-the-box thinking as well. To be a success, a creative project needs to be novel and interesting. Generating new, never-been-thought-of-before ideas is an INFJ strength too.
This is because Ni excels at making connections. And creativity boils down to making connections that no one else has made before – sometimes between seemingly unrelated ideas. When working on a project, INFJs transition seamlessly from research to connecting ideas.
3. Projects lead to flow.
What most people are looking for in their creative ventures and in their work, in general, is a state of flow where their minds are “firing on all cylinders.” They need the right balance of challenge and interest that leave them so caught up in the moment that they lose track of time. Projects do this for INFJs.
Projects in a quiet setting with plenty of time and space to think afford us the opportunity to solve problems, create, synthesize, and envision. We need the quiet because, although we love people, we’re introverts. Too much stimulation will drain us and send us into shut-down mode, but just the right amount leads us to a state of flow, where we’re loving what we’re doing. Again, the secret is to focus deeply on one thing at a time.
4. Projects provide autonomy.
When you’re working on a project, you can work with other people, or you can work by yourself. If what you’re working on is your own creative endeavor, not one a supervisor has assigned you, you can work on it…
- When you want…
- Where you want…
- How you want…
This is the ultimate trifecta. I didn’t realize how important these three things were to me – and a lot of INFJs – until recently.
When I do work, I want the freedom to control “the process and the product” as the authors of Do What You Are put it. I like to have complete creative control and to be able to make something that measures up to my standards. In too many other areas of life, external pressures force me to work in noisy environments with lots of people making subpar products, so when I get to work in quiet, by myself, making something I’m proud of, it’s a very satisfying thing. Can you say the same for yourself?
5. Projects lead to a sense of accomplishment.
Despite the fact that we INFJs are largely openminded learners, I can’t overlook the “J” at the end of our four-letter personality: We are, in the end, judgers who like to get stuff done, and we won’t be content sitting on creative ideas indefinitely. Unlike endless recurring tasks and chores, projects end. And when they do, we can see and enjoy the final product. We also get to check the project off as “complete.”
When I started this blog, wrote a book, and launched a podcast, those were big moments for me, ones I look back on with satisfaction and gratitude. Have you created or finished something you look back on with delight? Finished projects are milestones, confidence boosters, and motivators for the future. They’ll feed your INFJ heart.