You know this thing that brought you and I together? This knowledge that has made such a difference in our lives? I'm talking about our INFJ personality type. Our type is part of a personality system developed by two women with idealistic visions of changing the world—one of which was an INFJ! They had no previous psychological training and faced a lot of opposition. That didn't stop them from creating something that changed your life.
Katharine Cook Briggs (INFJ) and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers (INFP), are the creators of the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) tool. Katharine came across the work and ideas of Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, and began devoting her life to studying his work. Jung focused on those with severe psychological problems (an unbalanced development of type). Katharine wanted to use his work to help healthy people understand that it's ok to be different. She wanted us to appreciate our uniqueness and have a better understanding of others.
World War II brought many women into the workforce in areas where they had no experience or training. Briggs and Myers thought that by understanding their personality type, women might find work in which they could have the most impact. Myers thought that we could avoid war if we could better understand each other. This was a big part of her motivation for creating the MBTI®. Isn't that fantastic?
Neither Briggs or Myers had formal training in psychology or the statistics needed to create a reliable and valid type indicator. It was also a time of even less respect for women and their abilities. They faced a lot of opposition in people who didn't think they were qualified. Myers continued to gather data, refine her questions, and test the indicator to assure the results were valid, reliable, repeatable, and held statistical significance (Gifts Differing, Preface pg. xiv). She also partnered with those who did support her and could provide the resources she needed to test and validate the MBTI®.
To this day you'll find "naysayers" online who say the MBTI® is not reliable or who compare it to a horoscope. It has nothing to do with horoscope, zodiac signs, or astrology—these are completely separate systems. The real MBTI® tool is now 75 years old and has stood up to many tests of both reliability and validity. The questions on the official MBTI® assessment are similar to the original questions published in 1943. The free "MBTI-like" assessments you see online do not have the same advantages as the official (paid) MBTI® assessment. These advantages include decades of use and testing for reliability, validity, and repeatability.
Now millions of people have learned their personality type through the Myers-Briggs system. It's also the most widely-used personality assessment in the world. It made a difference in your life, too, didn't it?
So let's talk about you. Is there something you know will make a difference in the world but you're afraid of putting it out there? If so, imagine if Myers and Briggs had thought to themselves, "You know what, they're right. I don't have the right education. This is too big of a task for me. No one understands what we're doing and no one believes in me." Imagine never having learned about your INFJness. You wouldn't have the understanding and awareness that came with that discovery.
So I ask you: what gifts can you give the world, even if people don't understand them? How can you serve the world, even if you aren't around to see the eventual results and impact of your work?
You are always enough, just as you are.
Interested in taking the official MBTI tool and working with a certified MBTI® practitioner to verify your type? Find out more information here.