How INFJ ambition is different

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An INFJ woman with a vision for the future is full of inspiration about how she can positively impact the world. She's gifted with the ambition to make her vision a reality.

As I've worked with INFJ women on their visions, I've sensed and observed resistance to expressing their natural ambition. When INFJ women express their ambition, they have a much greater chance of seeing their vision take shape during their lifetime. When INFJs suppress their ambition, or feel guilty or ashamed of it, they deny themselves a tool that can provide motivation and momentum in the quest for their vision.

Every INFJ with a vision also has built-in ambition. While there are two sides to ambition, some of the INFJ women I've worked with fear the "evil" side of ambition. What does a twisted version of INFJ ambition look like, and what are the unique ways a healthy INFJ acts on her ambition? Let's take a look.

The two sides of INFJ ambition

When you read the word "ambition" above, what came to mind? Was it a caricature of someone who crushes anyone in their way as they climb to the top? Did you see an image of an aggressive person who gets what she wants by pushing others around? These examples of ambition gone awry do exist, even among INFJs. Take Hitler, for example. He's widely profiled as an INFJ. He had a vision, too, and was ambitious (to put it lightly) in his quest to make it happen. If these are the images that came to mind when you read "ambition," you saw an extreme version of INFJ aspirations.

The evil side of ambition

When INFJs are unhealthy (from stress, being withdrawn, etc.), they can experience an exaggerated state of their dominant, and most beautiful, cognitive function of Introverted Intuition (Ni). In this unhealthy and extreme state, they begin to have wild and unrealistic visions. They become arrogant about their ideas, and they force data to fit patterns they believe exist. They may be aggressive and do whatever it takes to make their vision a reality. They may be manipulative and domineering. They turn so far inward that they do not check their insights and vision with others, and they don't seek help from anyone. Their version or reality and the future is the only thing that matters.

I mention these extreme examples because INFJs have the potential for evil just like any other type. If you're reading this, you're most likely not in any danger of expressing your ambition with aggression. If that were the case, you wouldn't be interested in the topics I write about. If you're at all concerned, two things that help INFJs stay healthy include managing your stress and making sure you're spending time in your Extraverted Feeling (Fe).

The virtuous side of ambition

If we associate this part of our personalities with the extreme examples mentioned above, of course we'll separate ourselves from the idea of ambition. Here is where the idiom, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" fits perfectly. Let's not throw away something good in an effort to distance ourselves from the negative association on one side of the ambition coin.

When an INFJ is gifted with a vision for the future, it often arrives as a whole picture. All the details of the vision may not be revealed, but we can often see many pieces of the puzzle early on in the process. That's not always the case, but it does happen. When that moment happens—and it really does happen in a moment for many INFJs—we're inspired and excited to make this vision a reality. That's ambition!

The eagerness you feel to make your vision happen is your ambition. Having ambition means you have aspirations for a different future. When eagerness and aspirations are focused on something that benefits others, you're drawing upon your innate (and virtuous) ambition.

This doesn't mean making your vision happen will be easy, or that you'll automatically take the next step. But when you feel ambition around a vision, recognize that you have the fuel needed to light your own "make it happen" fire.

How healthy INFJs act on their ambition


1. They're driven by an inner desire to serve others.

INFJs who use their ambition for good are driven by an inner longing to use their gifts and skills for the benefit of others. That may mean writing a story that will delight readers or drawing a picture that inspires joy. It may mean teaching and inspiring others with insights you've gained. When you're driven by an internal motivation, and you're not singularly motivated by external rewards or acknowledgment, it's easier to steadily stay the course. There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with receiving and enjoying external rewards or acknowledgment, but a healthy INFJ cannot use the absence or presence of those things to fuel her desire to stop or keep going.

2. They're open to support from others to help make it happen.

When INFJs invite others to help them make their vision happen, they recognize their strengths and acknowledge areas where they could use support. This could mean collaborating with someone or asking for feedback to check the validity of your ideas. Talking to others who have different gifts than you do can help solidify and strengthen your ideas. Having ambition to make something happen doesn't mean you already have everything worked out. Knowing when it's time to accept support is a healthy expression of INFJ ambition. 

3. They're open to altering their vision as needed.

When an INFJ blocks out any feedback or adjustment to their original vision, they're headed toward an unhealthy expression of their ambition. Our intuition is wonderful at giving us a long-range idea for the future. When we hold so strongly to a version of our vision that we refuse to see alternate perspectives, we run the risk of pulling deeper inside and closing ourselves off to ideas, perspectives, and pathways that could allow us to have an even greater impact than we originally imagined.

What about you? What do you think of ambition? Do you recognize it in your life? Has a fear of the "evil" side of ambition kept you from acknowledging this piece of who you are? If so, how will you redefine ambition so that it becomes a tool for making your vision a reality? 

I'd really love to hear your thoughts on how you define ambition, and how you might redefine it moving forward. Comment below to share your thoughts with me.