Recently I was asked how the Indicator made a change in my life. What a great question, especially for me, because the MBTI® instrument gave me a career! For 25 years, I was learning everything I could about type and writing about it in the pages of The Type Reporter.
It started in 1983, when I read my first description of the eight preferences on a summer day in the back yard. From that moment on, I was addicted to type, and always looking for the next fix. Like all people with an exciting new idea, I wanted to share what I was learning. I started by helping everyone in my world figure out their type, and going to groups where everyone knew their type, so I could see the types in action.
I was a free lance writer at the time, so I wrote an article on the MBTI assessment for the Washington Post. I got such a good response that I thought I'd write about type for other papers and magazines. I soon realized, however, that writing introductions didn't satisfy my addiction. I always wanted to learn something new about type. So in 1984, I got the idea to start my own publication.
The first issue was about people doing innovative things with type, like making a comedy show out of it, or describing how the different types react to stress. After that, I had a theme for each issue, like "careers," "type development," or "parenting." I'd interview MBTI professionals working in those fields, or phone people of all 16 types and ask them questions like, "What were you like as a child?" or "How do you develop your weaker functions?"
I wish everyone's work could be as much fun as mine was. I was always looking for an answer to a big question, like how can you help a feeling type ask for a raise, teach a perceiving child how to get to school with everything they need, or make it easier for a sensing type to see the sense in change.
What I remember most fondly is the interviews I did with people of the 16 types. Because I was looking for quotes I could use in my next issue, I hung on every word they said. Because they were talking about something they really knew - themselves - they sounded clever and wise. And because they were telling me what it was really like to be them, I loved them. What better way for an INFJ to connect with others?
My rolodex, organized by type, is still sitting on the shelf next to my writing chair, and going through it, I see the names of the people I couldn't wait to call with a new question. Their voices are still in my head when I come across other people of their type, helping me understand their inner world and guiding values. I started out loving a theory and ended up loving a whole world full of people.
To all the young people who are getting addicted to type right now and thinking about making a career out of it, I can only say, it's a great place to work; it's a great place to make a difference.