Do you prefer focusing on facts or looking for a deeper meaning?
Are you more energized by being in a group or being on your own?
Do you believe telling the truth is more important than being tactful, or is being tactful more important than telling the “cold” truth?
Do you like keeping things open or do you prefer making lists and sticking to them?
I was in high school when I took my first personality test. It taught me a lot about myself – how I make decisions, how I see the world, how I relate to people – and helped me realize that not everyone is like me.
Where I was creative, others were logical. Where I was extroverted, others were introverted. Where I was people-pleasing, others were truth-telling. I recently took the test again and it was interesting to see who I’d become as an adult: an ENFJ (extroverted, intuitive, feeling, judging).
Here are some descriptors of an ENFJ:
- Driven to implement their vision of what is best for humanity
- See potential in other people and use their charisma to persuade others to their ideas
- Typically energetic and driven, and often have a lot on their plates
- Acutely aware of human suffering, but also optimistic and forward-thinking
- Feel personally responsible for making the world a better place
- Like to be liked and are very sensitive to feedback, both positive and negative – as people pleasers, they can take criticism too much to heart
- Ranked by psychologists as among least likely to have trouble in school
- Least likely of feeling types to report being a stay-at-home parent
- Don’t like conflict and try to avoid it
- Sometimes feel problems that aren’t their own and try to fix things they can’t fix
- Can be stricken with paralysis when faced with a difficult decision due to imagining all the consequences of their actions, especially if those consequences are humanitarian
- Can be caught off guard as they find that – through circumstance or simple misunderstanding – people fight against them and defy the principles they’ve adopted, however well-intentioned they may be
Sources: Truity & 16 Personalities
Based on this description, it’s no wonder I gravitate toward writing, making documentaries, meeting new people, travelling extensively, listening to TED Talks, and daydreaming about how to solve world problems. It’s also no wonder I take criticism too personally, struggle making on-the-spot decisions, try to avoid conflict at all costs, and obsess over how others perceive what I say or do.
Because I’m an ENFJ, I it’s my natural inclination to encourage and push others to get more involved in social justice issues. But sometimes when I meet people they say things like:
“Oh I could never go on tour and meet new people every day, that sounds exhausting.”
“Travelling to so many places would overwhelm me.”
“I wish I could write like you, but I get so bored.”
“I wish I had your passion for social justice.”
The problem is that comparing ourselves to others without taking into account our own strengths can lead to paralysis and discouragement. Everyone can be involved in the fight against human trafficking. Our contributions will look different but we have the biggest impact when we bring our personality types together.
We need researchers, public speakers, analysts, writers, accountants, computer programmers, filmmakers, lawyers, diplomats, nurses, social workers, lawmakers, professors, managers, photographers, flight attendants, marketers, business owners, farmers, hairdressers, and actors.
We need all 16 personality types – teachers, commanders, champions, visionaries, counsellors, masterminds, healers, architects, providers, supervisors, performers, dynamos, protectors, inspectors, composers, and craftsmen – to work together for the common good.
Knowing who you are and what makes you tick is the first step you can take to fight injustice.
When I first learned about human trafficking, I felt guilty that I wasn’t interested in victim aftercare. I valued it and supported those who did it, but didn’t feel that to be the best fit for me personally. I thought there was something wrong with me; that I was a bad person for not wanting to start a safe house or become a social worker.
All the while I found myself voraciously researching, writing, and interviewing. I simply had to speak out, to start a blog, to travel and see things for myself so I could share it with others. This was my sweet spot, the place I felt alive. I’ve come to realize it’s where I have the most impact.
But even within this sphere, there’s so much I need help with. I can’t fix website glitches or keep all our finances sorted. I lean on other people for these. Sometimes when working on a project I tend to get stuck in minutia and forget the big picture, so I need Jay – who is the exact opposite – to keep me on track.
If you want to get involved in the fight against human trafficking but don’t know where you fit, here are some ideas:
Are you an introvert who doesn’t mind behind-the-scenes repetitive tasks? Offer to help an anti-trafficking organization with data entry or accounting.
Are you a creative? Partner with a researcher and make their findings more accessible to the public through good design (ie. infographics).
Do you have good ideas? Organize a meet-up with others interested in social justice and brainstorm what you can do in your community together.
Are you a healthcare worker who likes to teach? Put together a training seminar for your colleagues on how to spot trafficking warning signs.
Are you comfortable on stage? Use it as a platform to raise awareness.
Do you know code? I guarantee that almost every anti-trafficking organization would let you make their website better.
This being said, sometimes we need to stretch ourselves and do things that don’t come naturally to us. For example, just because victim aftercare isn’t my primary focus doesn’t mean I shouldn’t meet survivors and volunteer every now and then. If I’d stuck to writing alone, I would never have gone beyond my comfort zone to make documentaries.
If you’ve never done a personality test before, you can do a simplified version for free here. It will take you about 10 minutes. You can also take the Meyers Briggs test (the most comprehensive option) through a certified instructor in your area.
It’s time we acknowledge our strengths, celebrate our personalities, and figure out what unique piece we can bring to the table!