Illustration by JR Bee, Verywell

Julianna Carbonare

“The Advocate”

INFJ-A

Career Nirvana: Coach/Thought Leader/Writer

INFJ in a nutshell

INFJs are one of the 16 personality types that make up the Myers-Briggs personality system. I’ve known I was an INFJ since I was 16 years old. I took the Myers-Briggs personality test for the first time in a high school psychology class and have always received the same result in the subsequent times I’ve taken the test over the past years. INFJs are actually the rarest of all the personality types, making up less than one percent of the world population. Also known as The Advocate, this personality type is a unique and rare combination of strong idealism with a foundation of realism.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to meet an INFJ, you most likely wouldn’t know it. A highly complex personality type with numerous layers, this type of person has many different manifestations in demeanor. There aren’t many real-life examples of INFJs, but for an example of some well-known names of this type, think of people like —

Nelson Mandela
Morgan Freeman
J.K. Rowling
Oprah Winfrey

Despite the seemingly different exteriors, at their core, all of these INFJs share the same underlying qualities of being introverted, humble and self-made success stories that made their names known with the purpose of making the world a better place in various forms.

INFJ Makeup

I — Introverted. INFJ is an introverted personality type, meaning they are recharged and energized by alone and quiet time. Although, this is often a type that is very often confused as an extrovert due to their warm, friendly nature and great ability to relate with others.

N — Intuitive. This is where the idealistic nature of INFJ comes in. Intuitive types tend to see patterns and possibilities and focus on ideas and concepts rather than hard facts and details. INFJs are known for their consistency for trusting their inner gut feelings and not allowing established evidence or facts to limit them from living out their big dreams.

F — Feeling. INFJ prioritizes feelings over all else. This adds to their skill in being highly perceptive when it comes to others and having a strong ability in empathizing with any situation or person in life. They are a type that is led by feelings and takes pride in their ability to experience the full depth of the human spectrum of emotion.

J — Judging. INFJ’s preference for order and structure often throws a wrench in what others assume is a typical dreamy personality type. This is the aspect of them that puts the money behind their huge visions. They know that in order to bring massive change and good into the world, there has to be a roll out for making it happen.

Understanding INFJ

You probably get the theme here that INFJ is not an easy personality to understand. This is not to be mistaken for INFJs being unrelatable or difficult people to be around. It’s rather that there are many layers and complexities to them. Despite having an almost intuitive gift for relating with others, they are highly protective of their inner worlds. They are genuinely warm and caring people because they understand emotions better than any other personality type. Yet, they very much consider themselves as individualists as well as outsiders to the mainstream world. Because of this, they are great at ignoring the opinions of others. When they have a vision, they charge at with little concern for others’ doubts and opinions. Their mind is often in the future, with grand, optimistic visions for what the world could be and how we can bring it there.

If you know an INFJ in real life, you probably are surprised to find they tend to have strong senses of humor and focus very much on the beauty in present life. This is because they know that without an appreciation for the present, we cannot create a better future. They will often keep their grandest visions to themselves and work tirelessly away behind the scenes. Even when they meet their life’s biggest personal achievement, INFJs are very much rooted in their humble, down-to-earth nurture. They know anything they put out into the world has and always will be for the greater good of humanity and rooted from the depths of their own emotional experiences.

Career Possibilities

This is a personality type that truly believes it possible to do anything you set your mind to. They have no self-imposed limitations when it comes to interest in new skills or talents. For this reason, you can find INFJs as anything from a Ph.D. scientist to an actor. Their biggest underlying need in career is not fame or prestige but to make an impact on the world whether it’s through art, a social solution, or helping at the individual level.

Here is a list of some of the most common INFJ career paths:

Life Coaches

Psychologists/Therapists

Doctors

Spiritual Leaders

Social Scientists

Environmental Attorney

Writers

Speakers

Artists

Where to start in your career?

Young INFJs almost always have a very difficult time at the start of their careers. They see ten wildly different paths in front of them and are conflicted on which one best serves their higher purpose.

A traditional corporate career will most likely not satisfy this personality. An INFJ will never be able to derive satisfaction from surface-level success despite approval from friends and family.

Every INFJ already knows deep in their soul what their highest pursuit or calling is. It’s the mission that all their life they’ve been called to help with hands-on as well as spread the message for. It’s just a matter of trusting themselves enough to get there. This is a type that is not afraid to dream huge, so they may actually keep their true calling a secret from many.

At the start of their career, they need to focus on putting themselves in the position of building the foundation of their skills that will serve them and their purpose later in life. Whether these are artistic skills or more professional based like the skills needed to start a business one day, their early career is an intensive and intentional skill-building stage.

This is also the part of their career to seek out a mentor and/or a genuine network of people-oriented around the mission that calls to them the most and with the skills that they need to master.

INFJ’s highest form in career development

The highest form of success in a career for an INFJ will come when the career path allows them to be and display who they truly are and what they truly believe inside.

This often comes in the form of building a career around a channel in which they are able to express their emotions and inner worlds. For example, writers, musicians, artists, and speakers all are master transcribers of their emotional experiences and inner worlds. In their various forms, they take what they feel and create something others can feel and relate to.

It also can come in the form of becoming a guide to others in living their most authentic and fulfilling life. Think therapist, life coach, career coach, or mentor. This is another opportunity for INFJs to use their expansive knowledge rooted from working to understand the trenches of their own emotional experiences and help guide others through their unique, yet highly relatable life experiences along the way. This is a satisfying mission or career for INFJ that creates change in the world on an individual level.

It’s not surprising that one of the highest forms of career for INFJ can find many of them in the founder or CEO chair of a business. This is an opportunity for them to make a direct impact or improvement in many lives centered around a cause or solution that is near and dear to their hearts.

— —
As an INFJ, learning more and more about my personality type over the years has brought me much relief as well as insight in understanding myself and navigating my way through the world. I take pride in the way my mind works, the way I’m able to connect with others, and the strong, never faulting drive I have to leave the world better than I found it. We’re a small group, but we leave (and have left!) a mighty footstep on the world. Our careers, or rather our missions, is arguably the most defining part of perceived purpose in the world. If I leave you with one bit of advice from one INFJ to another; if struggling on your career path, remember the roots to your mission rather than the extension of what the world’s idea of success is for you.

Empowerment. Capturing the journey through life, career, femininity, and more. I write about what it takes to live as your truest self.

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