The past couple of months, I scheduled the hell out of myself. And it was OK. I managed just fine. I didn’t lose it. I didn’t get sick. I didn’t have anxiety attacks.
Actually, I feel energized.
Over the last few days, I took time to reflect on why I’m juggling so well this year, when in years past I’ve struggled. I’m still doing all the holiday planning and preparations myself. I’m still celebrating all of my kids’ birthdays. Still writing posts for space2live. Still working as a personal/relationship coach. Still running a household.
In fact, I’ve added new projects and people to my calendar and life. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I now work as a substitute paraprofessional in the local school system. I’ve also been active within my spiritual community, including participating in the holiday play. I took two trips in November, created a proposal and negotiated a contract with a publisher to write a book. I even managed to squeeze in a meaningful relationship with a special man.
Normally, all of that activity would have overwhelmed me, but the sense of purpose and meaningful relationships woven into the above, give me the desire and energy to keep going. Having actual deadlines and little wiggle room also helps.
Understanding and perspective provide that meaningful boost
I can’t tell you how much insight and understanding revitalize me. Which is why I love reading. Reading is really a search for resonance, knowledge or ideas. Reading feeds my curiosity, as do places and people. In a way, I create relationships with books, places and people. I create lasting ties through memories, deep experiencing and connection. I let it all affect me because it provides peak understanding and perspective.
Understanding and perspective light me up. They give my life meaning and perpetually affect me. The openness to truly understand another’s viewpoint leaves me vulnerable at times. I can be influenced. But the same openness often leads to the ability to influence others. Not in a domineering way but in a two-way, win/win way.
Win/win is so satisfying. For everyone.
Meaningful work doesn’t feel like work
All of my work — writing, coaching, working as a paraprofessional — helps others while it helps me. Each position gives me the opportunity to use my inner world thoughts in the outer world. All of the thinking, learning and resolving I do in my head, gets applied to real world relationships. My careers are an outlet for my passion.
What makes these relationships different?
All of my relationships — family, friends, co-workers, intimate — are training grounds and growth catalysts. My mind naturally focuses on relationships. They are the puzzles I can’t stop solving, nor do I want to.
My children challenge me to understand different personalities and exercise patience. They teach me about unconditional love and its importance. The intuitive and compassionate people in my spiritual community feed my soul. They offer support. They remind me of my true self. The relationships I have with other writers, teachers and coaches show me how to collaborate, how to learn from others on similar missions. My intimate relationships are a mix of support, challenge and joy. They’re an opportunity for emotional safety and physical intimacy, both registering as highly meaningful to my happiness.
I’ve had many relationships in the past. Currently, my relationships have a high degree of alignment with my values and inner world. There is safety, comfort and support in that. I believe that is the difference. That is why I am energized and not depleted by all the connections.
INFP to INFJ
In the past, I have assessed as an INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiver) in the Myers Briggs Type Inventory. INFPs sometimes struggle with motivation, until they find their cause, career or meaningful work. Isabel Briggs Myers was an INFP herself. Her (and her mother’s) tireless research and work in the field of personality theory led to the development of the Myers Briggs inventory.
INFPs are also known to have a ‘take things as they come’ attitude when it comes to schedules. They like to keep options open and plans conditional depending on what circumstances arise. They tend to get energized right before a deadline.
I have been known to gather and gather data before taking action. Another trait of INFPs. The last six years have culminated in the creation of my personal development career. Now I have the meaningful work that drives me. I have lots of it. I have self and other – imposed deadlines. I’m working my ass off but loving it.
Author, Stephen Covey (7 Habits for Highly Effective People) said maturity is the balance between courage and consideration. It takes courage to assert your own perspective. It takes consideration to ask others theirs. I’m slowly learning how to create such balance.
The steady progress and inclusion of other’s perspectives makes my Myers Briggs type now seem like an INFJ too. I’m focusing on task completion and harmony, as an INFJ would.
Perhaps I’m maturing. Whatever it is I’m enjoying the energy boost. I highly recommend meaningful work and deadlines for sensitive introverts.
What drives you? What does meaningful work look like for you? Are you immersed in safe supportive relationships? Do deadlines energize you?
P.S. I set a 1:30PM deadline for finishing this post. Done at 1:28PM. Nailed it! 😉