Before landing my most recent job, I interviewed for months.
The experience was always the same.
Driving to the interview, I’d be rehearsing responses to whatever difficult questions I guessed might be asked.
Then I’d sit in the waiting area attempting to meditate, hoping to calm myself and get a feel for the place to help set my tone for the interview.
Once in the interview room, I’d look the person(s) in the eye, and proceed to hover around whichever of my rehearsed answers best fit each question asked, opening up as much as seemed necessary.
But the whole time, I’d be just waiting for . . . willing . . . the conversation to end.
Collapsing back to my car afterwards felt like peeling off stiff ice-skates and slipping back into regular shoes.
When I finally got hired by a huge company, I’ll never forget the deep, rich sense of dread I felt as I pulled up and walked in on Day 1.
Most of that first week involved listening to onboarding lectures and reading handbooks. But there were also hours spent sitting with my supervisor, and asking my new co-workers for things I needed.
I felt a strong motivation to connect with each person in a meaningful way . . . but also that same desire for each interaction to be over as soon as possible.
A week later, I knew I needed to stretch. I didn’t want to end up the “quiet guy” just staring in silence at my screen all day while scores of lively people bustled all around.
So walking past 2 co-workers in conversation, I forced myself to stop, listen, and make a few brief comments.
Later that day, after a minute or so of self-directed pep-talks, I stood and introduced myself to the lady on the other side of my desk wall.
The conversations that followed those 2 minor efforts were choppy. I mostly just nodded and affirmed, again waiting for the peace of release I knew would come at the end.
But those small instances of stretching really made all the difference for me.
In MBTI terms, stretching to connect or assert yourself is
As an INFJ, you’re “called” to bring harmony and help others achieve their values. That’s what you care about most, and it’s the direction your “home” of unconscious big-picture insight should be pointed.
Stretching, for an INFJ, results in you feeling directly (viscerally) what’s most important to everyone else around.
Following that auxiliary “calling” is never easy for any type, introverted or extroverted. But it’s what makes each of us into the best versions of ourselves.
Yes, traditional industries and societal hierarchies have been mostly dominated by extroverts. But you don’t ever have to try and turn yourself into one to be successful.
In fact, you don’t have to change what you are at all.
You could never really make yourself into someone who’s energized by interactions (for their own sake), anyway. It’s okay that stretching to connect and communicate will likely always drain you to some degree.
Instead of trying to be something you’re not, just listen to that difficult voice “calling” you to make the best use of all you actually are.