Allow me to think inside the box.

Thinking Inside the Box

Because sometimes, having too many choices and seeing too many possibilities can leave us feeling empty and unhappy. Since using peripheral vision and being aware of ‘so much more’ is a signature female trait, we often question ourselves, “What if I should know better/do better? Am I missing something”? I have asked myself this question many times when thinking about the topic of success.

My husband was raised in a strict Christian household, and comparing myself to him and his value system I often felt like ‘the rebel’ and gave myself the nickname grace hog. Why grace hog? I like achievements. I like to work long hours to complete projects and then feel good about what I have done. Conversely, when I haven’t achieved anything in a few days I tend to become cranky and frustrated.

Am I missing something?” Why do I give achievements such precedence in my life? Does celebrating my little successes not put me on the ‘too much pride’ spectrum instead of on the ‘walk by faith’ path (…that I should be on?). Not so.

Come into my box!

As a matter of fact, success means different things to different people. And, as so often in life, there is no right or wrong, better or worse, there is just that… a difference. To illustrate it, I invite you into my box. The box, today, being the 16 personality types categorized according to the theories of Carl Jung and the personality assessment tool (MBTI) developed by the mother-daughter team Myers and Briggs, and their definitions of success. Have a look:

ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers – An ISTJ’s feeling of success depends upon being able to use her experience for the benefit of an institution, and also upon the level of structure and lack of chaos in her life, and in the health and welfare of her family or other social structure.

ESTJ - The Guardians – An ESTJ may enjoy a sense of success if she is able to live her live within her defined system of principles, but her true and lasting success will come from the ability to create and sustain good and lasting principles, and thus to address all situations in her life adequately and consistently.

ISFJ - The Nurturers – Success for an ISFJ means being able to fulfill a role providing value for others and ordering her world in a way in which safety and security is balanced against a genuine respect for the aesthetic and positive qualities of life.

ESFJ – The Caregivers – The ESFJ is at her best when it involves caring for and about others, measuring her success by the happiness and gratitude which is reflected back to her from the people in whose lives she plays a part.

ISTP – The Mechanics – An ISTP’s feeling of success is dependent primarily upon her mastery of her physical world, but is also dependent upon the existence of strong, reliable, interpersonal relationships.

ESTP – The Doers – Success to an ESTP is usually not measured in ongoing terms, but in transient moments of achievement, moments which bring the ESTP the needed feeling of having won the day.

ESFP - The Performers – The successful ESFP will always be found where she can live in full and open engagement with people and able to express her talents, appreciations and joys before the world at large.

ISFP – The Artists – For the ISFP, personal success depends upon the condition of her closest relationships, her aesthetic environment and the development of her artistic creativity, her spiritual development, and how much she feels valued and accepted for her individual contributions.

ENTJ – The Executives – Success for an ENTJ is something that can be clearly seen, a real world result which can be measured. And whether measured in dollars, bricks, bread or just happy people, the successful ENTJ knows the result is due to her belief that it is just plain commonsense to try and make the best of every situation and get the most out if it for the most people.

INTJ – The Scientists – An INTJ’s feeling of success depends primarily upon her own level of understanding and accomplishment, but also depends upon the level of structure in her life, and her ability to respect the intelligence and competence of those who share her life.

Want to know how you can spell success? Check out the 3Plus coaching and mentoring programs for professional women.

ENTP – The Visionaries – ENTP people measure their success by their “aha” moments, by the sense of satisfaction which comes as they spread their newly written maps before them and contemplate the new adventure, design, investigation or conquest which has now become their road ahead.

INTP - The Thinkers – The INTP’s feeling of success depends upon her opportunities to exercise her active mind, her opportunities to seek and find Truth, and the condition of her relationships and extraverted life.

ENFJ – The Givers – Success for an ENFJ comes through involvement in the process of making things happen for people; through the accomplishments and satisfactions of those she has helped to enrich the human world with greater value, and through finding that her efforts on behalf of others have fulfilled her own life as well.

INFJ - The Protectors – The INFJ feels successful when she has used her very deep understanding of something to do a real service for someone.

ENFP - The Inspirers – An ENFP’s feeling of success depends upon the availability of opportunities to grow her understanding of the world, upon feeling that she is living true to her personal value system, and upon the condition of her closest relationships.

INFP – The Idealists – For the INFP, personal success depends upon the condition of her closest relationships, the development of her creative abilities, and the continual support of humanity by serving people in need, fighting against injustice, or in some other way working to make the world a better place to be.

You see? Just because Ms. Jones feels most successful doing a real service for someone else, doesn’t mean you have to feel about success her same way. And vice versa. Not right or wrong, just different.

What MBTI personality type are you (here is my short MBTI overview)? What is your definition of success? Have you ever felt guilty for being successful? Why?

Anna Smith is the community administrator at whatdoyouwantfromthem – the informal network for managers. You can connect with her on twitter @wdywft or via email [email protected].