During our exploration of what inspires us, we’ve covered the decision making functions of thinking and feeling both internally and externally. Now let’s move on to the information gathering functions. In this blog I’ll describe what those with an ESFP or ESTP preference find inspiring followed by ISTJ and ISFJ.
Those with an ESFP or ESTP preference share the dominant function of extraverted sensing. This is best described as having a keen ability to notice data in the environment, being in the moment and experiencing present reality. Those of us with this dominant function are known to quickly take action relevant to the moment and current context. One example of using extraverted sensing in daily life is becoming immersed in your current surroundings – whether that’s at home with your family, at work in the middle of a meeting or sitting outside during your lunch break.
Someone I know well utilizes her extraverted sensing every day to save lives in a hospital. You are probably thinking she is a doctor or nurse, but she is not. While a doctor or nurse would certainly use this function to save lives, my friend manages the computer systems in a hospital. Behind the scenes, she is watching every detail of the system to make sure it is operating properly. At a moment’s notice she may need to jump into action, with complete attention to every detail, non-stop for many hours to repair a system. And these systems aren’t just for updating email – they’re critical support systems that monitor heart rate, medication and important medical records.
I asked my friend to describe what truly inspires her and she said:
“I feel most inspired when I need to jump in to solve a problem. I feel a burst of energy that lasts all day and night until the job is complete. The sense of satisfaction that I can handle emergencies calmly and competently is all the inspiration I need!”
Others with an ESFP or ESTP preference have similar stories of inspiration.
“I am incredibly inspired when I have the flexibility to stop and smell the roses. I mean that literally. So often we are rushed and go through life missing the most important moments right in front of us. In an effort to attend a school function with my child, we got lost and walked a different path. There was a beautiful flower garden along the way. We stopped and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings. Getting ‘lost’ in our current surroundings was so inspiring. While we did miss much of the school function, getting caught up in the moment was a very inspiring trade off.”
In contrast to how those with extraverted sensing focus on the current environment, those with an ISTJ or ISFJ preference use their sensing preference internally. Introverted sensing is best described as being able to recall tangible data and experiences. Those people with this preference tend to be able to best manage a situation by comparing it to what is expected, known and reliable. An example of using introverted sensing in daily life is when faced with a decision, those of us with this preference remember very specific details of a past experience that is similar- recalling exactly what you did, what worked and what didn’t work.
A client I was working with shared a story that describes this dominant function in action very clearly. He was hired to help an organization redesign their production procedures to reduce errors, reduce waste and shorten the time it takes to produce their products. Having experience in the industry, he was able to vividly recall the exact details from 4 other similar companies he worked for, remembering the individual steps they took to solve similar problems. Rather than moving forward with trial and error, he was able to quickly implement the processes that were successful and avoid the mistakes that would have cost time and money.
Here are a couple of quotes from those with an ISTJ or ISFJ preference. Their stories paint an insightful picture of how they are inspired.
“I am especially inspired when my co-workers appreciate my attention to detail. I know what to look for and can spot inaccuracies others may overlook. Once my co-worker postponed a critical project for 2 weeks until I was able to proof it. He said my discerning eye was the most valuable piece of the project and refused to proceed without me. This appreciation for one of my strengths is what inspires me above all.”
“I am most inspired when I save time and money by remembering important details. While planning a vacation to Europe, I recalled from ten years prior, a great Bed and Breakfast that was a fraction the cost of advertised hotels. Remembering this hidden gem saved time researching and saved lots of money!”
We have two more dominant functions to go in this inspirational series! If you love to brainstorm new ideas or you are inspired by solving complex problems that baffle others, then the last blog in this series is all about you (and you may be patiently waiting with preferences for ENFP, ENTP, INFJ or INTJ!). After that we’ll take a look at how you can use what you’ve learned and put your own inspiration into action.