Finding your purpose is like a rite of passage for INFJs. We feel like we have this higher calling like there's some big thing that we're supposed to do in the world. We're not satisfied with the normal nine to five, the white picket fence, the 2.3 kids, whatever it is nowadays. We need some bigger purpose. We need to be able to help people or to know that there is some bigger reason that we're here on Earth.
When we're young, it's really difficult because we know that we have a bigger purpose. We just don't know what it is. I struggled for years through all of high school and all of college. I spent ten years in college and a lot of the reason for that was because I didn't know what I wanted to do. I just couldn't decide.
After I got out of college, I had a job for a while that I really liked. And then I got laid off, and then it was like, okay, start over again. So how many times am I going to have to start over before I actually find the thing? It was like, I don't know what I want to do, and I would get into a job where I'm like, okay, I think that this is the right thing, and maybe I was making enough money, maybe even more money than what I did in the past, but it still didn't feel right. There was still something that felt like it was missing.
I worked in retail for a long time. I worked in food service for a little while. I worked in different types of offices, from a civil engineering firm to a marketing company. I've worked for a nonprofit. Actually, I thought maybe that was what was missing. Maybe if I could just work for a nonprofit, well, they have a higher purpose, right? It's kind of built-in there. And you just know that you're helping people every single day when you go to work, even if the work that you do doesn't directly help people because I was a communications manager, so I wasn't actually working with the kids that the nonprofit helped. But I knew that the work that I was doing was in some way helping those children. That ended up being the worst job that I've ever had. So back to square one… again.
Round and round again
There have been so many times that have been back to square one for me. I realized after I started my blog there are a lot of INFJs who feel the same way. We look for a higher purpose, but we're also very practical. We know that careers in insurance or accounting or website development will pay the bills. And we're really good at figuring out answers to problems. So if the problem is, I have to pay my rent and I have to pay my car payment, then I know that I can work at a job that I hate to make that happen.
But a lot of the time we forget about or just don't have enough time for our purpose so it gets put on the back burner. We get so focused on what was the backup plan that it becomes the only plan. We focused on the job that we hate because it pays the bills, and we focus on working until Friday. Looking forward to the weekend because the weekend is my happy place, where I can do whatever I want. And if I can just get through the week, if I can just get through today, I can just make it to Friday if I can just make it to the holiday vacation, if I can just make it until next year, everything will get better, but then it never does. It's kind of like Groundhog day, right? I've lived that for so many years, and it makes such a huge difference when you can actually focus on your purpose and move that to the front burner and say, “okay, I know this is the thing that I want to do, and this is how I'm going to help.”
There are four main reasons why a lot of INFJs never find their purpose in life. Let’s take a closer look at them.
We overthink everything to death
The first reason is that we overthink everything to death. You've probably heard of the Ni-Ti loop. Ni is introverted intuition, and Ti is introverted thinking. What happens is our introverted intuition is telling us, hey, you need to do something. You have this higher purpose in life. There's this thing that you're supposed to be doing.
But then your introverted thinking kicks in, and that's the reasonable, rational side of your head. And it says, “Hold, please. You have bills to pay. You have to pay the rent. You have to pay for your car, you have insurance and groceries and gas and cable and Internet, and all of these things that you have to pay for. You can't just go gallivanting off on some epic adventure that doesn't work.” So then you go back to your intuition, and your intuition is like, no, but there's this big thing, and it can be so awesome. And all you really need to do is just give in to this higher calling that you have. Maybe you can help people in an orphanage in Africa. Maybe you could be one of those people who writes a blog and lives in Bali. Maybe you could do, like, an eat prey love type of thing where you just find out who you are as a person and really come into your own.
And then your thinking comes back and it's like, Hello, that's not going to work. How are you going to afford that? You don't have any money. What about all of your responsibilities? You can't just leave your job. What about your friends?
It turns into this battle of overthinking and you get stuck there and you don't know how to get out of that. That's part of overthinking, which a lot of INFJs struggle with all of the time, not just for your purpose, but for a lot of other things.
Another part of overthinking is perfectionism. It's planning every single thing to death. Maybe you actually listen to your intuition and you say, okay, I want to be one of those people who starts this epic blog about a self-discovery journey. And I'm going to do the eat, pray, love thing. I'm going to spend three months in one place and three months in another place and three months in another place. But here's the thing: I have to have all the things figured out before I can do that. I can't just, like, jump in. And so you get this plan together and you start planning and planning and planning and planning. And you think that you're not going to take action until it's perfect.
So you just keep planning and keep planning and keep planning. And you just keep thinking about it and keep planning and keep thinking and keep planning. And all that happens is you just keep thinking about it. It becomes one of those things that you're going to do and you never do it.
A lot of this is we think that we can plan our way out of failure. We know that there's a huge opportunity for failure every time you put yourself out there, especially if it involves some kind of public thing, like, hey, I'm going to quit my job or, hey, I'm going to move across the country. I've done that a few times, and it is rough telling your family and your friends.
The first time that I moved across the country was really difficult. I grew up in Kansas, and we were living in Missouri at the time, in the central part of the US. And I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, which is on the East Coast. And I think I spent 19 hours driving in the car, and it was over 1000 miles, and I was terrified. But even before I actually got in the car, I wanted to go. I had wanted to go for ten years, and I thought, well, if I could just plan it enough, then I won't make any mistakes. I was afraid because I was young enough and bold enough that I had told all of my friends and family and anybody that would listen to me like, this is what I'm going to do. I'm moving to Charlotte.
As the time grew closer for me to go, I got really scared because it's like, what if I fail? What if I don't have enough money? What if I can't find the job that I want? What if I have to come home?
And I think more, especially for me, it's not really the failure that I'm scared of the most. What I'm scared of is the embarrassment that comes with failure. It doesn't really bother me per se that I fail. What bothers me is that other people see me fail. It bothers me because I don't want people to know that I'm a failure.
Now, if somebody came to me and said, okay, I have this grand idea and I'm going to do this. What do you think I would be like, yes, you should definitely go for it. Do it. Try it. See what happens. And if they said, Well, what happens if I fail? I would say, it doesn't matter if you fail, that's part of life. You just need to keep going, keep trying, keep trying until you figure it out. Would I think less of them if they failed? No. I would be excited that they actually tried. I would be sitting there encouraging them to keep trying, keep going some more.
But when it comes to me, I feel like people view me in a different way. And I don't know if that's just perfectionism. I don't know if that's just the way that my mind works or if everybody feels that way. We're just so worried about the embarrassment that the thought of potential embarrassment holds us back.
We let fear hold us back
When I was talking about embarrassment, a lot of that is fear, right? It's fear of embarrassment. We might have a fear of being seen, a fear of putting ourselves out in the world, a fear of opening ourselves up to anything, to being ridiculed. Of course, that's one of the biggest fears: being embarrassed, being ridiculed, being bullied, having people say negative things to us. But we could also be afraid of having people say positive things to us. We're so afraid of anything that they'll say to us.
When I first started my blog, I had this big fear of not being enough. I thought, who am I to write a blog? What do I know? I don't really know that much. I'm not any type of authority. Yeah, I spent a lot of time in college, but I didn't study any of the things that I write about in my blog. I took a basic psychology class, the one that they make everybody take, and they didn't really even talk about personality type. So who am I to write about personality types?
What if somebody looks at me and says you are a fraud? That was my biggest fear that somebody would say, you are a fraud. You have no idea what you're talking about. Who are you to do this? And for almost three years, nobody really said that. Thankfully, it took that long for somebody to actually say something negative. And it did happen. It happened just a few months ago. I found that there are accounts on Instagram, whole accounts, that are dedicated to calling me a fraud and saying that I'm a terrible person and saying that I don't know what I'm talking about.
When I first saw them, I was kind of blown away like, wow, who has the time to put together a whole account on Instagram simply dedicated to hating me? To know that there are people out there who are just dedicated to throwing hate in my direction, it's kind of sad, really, but at the same time, it helps me a lot because my greatest fear was somebody saying, you're a fraud. You don't know what you're talking about. And here there are several people.
My greatest fear happened and I'm still standing. I'm still here. And, yeah, it was awful. But it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I made it through. It's not fun to deal with that. It's not fun to process those emotions. It's not fun to see the posts and to know that it's there. But I'm grateful for it because it made me face my greatest fear and say, you know what? It's not the end of the world. It's not as bad as I thought it would be. I'm actually going to be okay.
So if my greatest fear has come true and it's not that bad, then why am I letting all of these other fears hold me back?
We don’t take action
Reason number three, why most INFJs never find their purpose is that we don't take action. We get stuck in overthinking. We get stuck in planning mode. We stay in planning mode because we have perfectionism. So we feel like if we can plan something enough, if I can plan it perfectly - every single aspect of it - then I won't make a mistake. I won't fail.
Another reason that we don't take action is that we're paralyzed by fear. All those fears from reason number two, we let those hold us back. We focus on the fear rather than on the possibilities of what could happen, and we get stuck.
Unsure of what to do
Another reason that we don't take action is that we're unsure of what to do. We have this idea that goes around and around and around in our heads of “I just don't know what to do! I don't know what to do! I don't know what I want! I don't know what my purpose is. I don't know what the right career is for me. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know!!!”
Another reason that we don't take action is that we want to be comfortable. We have this comfort zone that we want to stay in, and we don't want to get out of that comfort zone, right? We don't want to open ourselves up to embarrassment. We don't want to open ourselves up to ridicule. We don't want to do anything that's out of the norm. I'm comfortable being in my house. I don't want to go outside. I'm comfortable with the friends that I have. I don't want to make new friends.
I'm comfortable doing what I've always done, even though I don't necessarily like it, even though it's not what I want to do for the rest of my life. Even though I have this dream in my head of this whole different life that looks 100% different from what I do now, I don't want to take action because that would be uncomfortable. It would be uncomfortable to put myself out there. It would be uncomfortable if somebody said, wow, you shouldn't take pictures of yourself and share them. It would be uncomfortable if somebody said, you are such a fraud. So the best thing that I can do is stay comfortable. That staying comfortable - that's one of the biggest reasons why INFJs never find their purpose in life because we want to be comfortable.
Take a break to breathe…
Before we get to the biggest reason, I want to share with you another free guide that I have that has a simple exercise that I used to nail down my exact purpose in life. I want to help you find your purpose in life, and I know that this exercise can help you because it helped me so much. This guide is completely free, and all you have to do is click here to get it → infjwoman.com/findyourpurpose.
We get stuck on this idea that there is only one thing
And the fourth reason, which is actually the biggest reason that most INFJs never find their purpose is that we get stuck on this idea that there's one thing that we're supposed to do, that we just have one purpose. There's just this one perfect thing. It's going to be the reason that I'm alive, the thing that makes me happy, and a way to help everybody else. It's going to be every single thing all in this one thing. And it's just like we have this idea that we're just going to stumble upon our purpose like it’s Prince Charming coming to sweep us off of our feet. It's like some magical Disney fairy tale, right? That's the idea that we have in our heads.
But the thing is, that's not reality. It doesn't happen like that. Some people who are super lucky people know their purpose from the day that they're born. They have this thing that they want to do, and they know exactly how to get there. They have a clear path of this is how I'm going to help people. Other people who aren't so lucky, like me, were lost and confused for a long, long time.
Here's the secret
You already have your purpose inside of you. It's already there. There's already a voice that's telling you this is what you're supposed to do. If you're listening to it, you'll know what it is. If you're not so good at listening to that voice, you maybe have a feeling, but you're probably still questioning whether that's the right thing for you.
I had that voice when I was young. I loved to read. And every time I would get to the end of a book, I would put the book down and be totally disappointed that I was done reading it. I would think to myself, wow, I wish I could write a book like that. I really want to write a book. Years later I bought my first computer and one of the first things that I downloaded was this program that would help you write a book because I wanted to write a book back then, but I didn't know what to write about. I had no idea.
I would get overwhelmed by fear because I don't know how to spell very well. I'm not great at sentence structure. And then there's that feeling of who am I to write a book? What do I have to share? I don't know anything about anything. Who would read a book that I write? Who am I to do that? So I let that hold me back. And I pushed down this idea of “I need to write something” because I'm not good at writing.
When I was in college there were multiple classes where you have to write. You have to take English composition. I took a speech writing class. I took literature classes, all of these different things where you have to write. I always got good grades in all of them. And then I went to work in marketing, and a lot of marketing is writing. You write blog posts, you write all of the words that are on websites. You write social media posts all the time. So I have a lot of practice in writing, but I never connected that practice in writing.
I just kept pushing down this idea of “I want to be a writer” thinking, no, that's not for me. No, that doesn't work.
A lot of people are a lot like me. We get stuck on this idea that there's one thing that we're supposed to do, and we shut out the voice in our head that's trying to tell us, hey, this is the thing that you're supposed to do. Maybe it's something that seems weird to us or doesn't seem to fit with this idea that we have in our head of what our life should be or what we thought that we were going to do.
Maybe your parents have been telling you that you should be a doctor or a lawyer for your whole life. And this voice in your head is saying, you know, you really should be writing about something and you're like, no, I can't make a living being a writer. What are you talking about? You need to stop saying that. I can just be a lawyer. It's totally fine. I can figure it out. I can make this work. You're never really going to be happy
But the thing is that you're never really going to be happy in your life, you're never going to feel like you're actually fulfilling your purpose unless you start listening to that voice. Remember, you already know what the answer is. There's already this thing that's telling you, “this is what you need to do.” And the thing is you have to let go of the idea that there's just one thing that's this be-all-end-all. And every single thing that you need in your life is going to be in this one purpose.
Consider something outside the box
When I was young, my parents told me that you have one job. You need to find a good job that has insurance, that will pay for your student loans and all the bills that you have so that you can make enough money to do the things that you like to do. And so not only did I already have this idea that my purpose was some grand big, huge thing, but I thought, okay, it has to be my job, too, right? It has to all be rolled up into everything. I never considered the fact that I could make money from a job and start writing and be fulfilled with writing in a different way from making money at my job. I never thought that those two things could coexist together.
I never thought that I could make money through a blog either. I knew that people made money writing books, but I never considered the fact that I would make money writing a book.
A lot of the problem that we have is that we get stuck on these ideas, these stories that we've told ourselves for so long that we don't consider any other possibilities. We get stuck on this grand big idea, and we don't think about the little things. We never question that grand big idea. We just get stuck on it. I don't know what it is. I'm never going to find it, and we don't ever look for what it could possibly be. We don't look for little ways that we could be fulfilling our purpose. We don't look at how we're already fulfilling our purpose.
Maybe there's already a way that you're helping people - that's one of the biggest things to your purpose is to help people, especially for INFJs. We are the most ourselves when we're helping other people. So how are you helping people?
How do you really find your purpose?
How do you get past all of these reasons why INFJs don't find their purpose? And how do you figure out what is your real and true purpose in life? Here is the best thing that I can tell you: take action, do something. Do anything. Really. There's already a voice inside of you that's telling you that you have something to share with the world.
The best thing that you can do is to help people. There's some way that you can help people. That's the reason that you will put on this Earth. There's something that you've gone through in your life, some type of really big emotional pain that you've made it through. You've got to the other side of it. And there are people who need to know how to get through the other side of it. They're struggling with the same thing right now. And if you could just show up and help them, if you could just show up and share your story and say, hey, this is what I went through. And this is how I got to the other side of it. It could be a massive thing.
I talk about depression and anxiety a lot because I have both of those things, and they're a big part of my life. And I want to be a part of normalizing them. I also want to be a part of telling people that there's hope, that you can get past it, that there's a better thing that's coming for you. There are better days ahead. There are happy days ahead for you.
When I was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I felt all of the stigma around it. I didn't want to tell people that I had it. I was so embarrassed. Like, why would I have something like this? I was told not to tell people that I had it. I was told that it was embarrassing, that it was shameful, that I shouldn't be talking about it. But then I had some friends who talked about it like it was normal, who talked about going to counseling like it was just a part of their life. They said that they thought that everybody should be in counseling, and if it helps you, why should you be ashamed of it?
Once I started to question all of the shame and the embarrassment around this illness that I have, it opened up this whole different world for me. Would you be embarrassed about being ill if you had cancer? No, you wouldn't be embarrassed about that. You would probably tell your friends. You would probably, depending on what type of cancer that you have, you would have to tell your employer, right? Because you might need time off. You might need special accommodations at work and the people you told would rally around you because having cancer is a terrible thing, and they know that you need emotional support. Maybe you need financial support and everybody shows up for you, right?
But it's a different thing when you have depression or anxiety because those are mental illnesses. And in the world that we live in there's a lot of shame that comes with mental illnesses. You don't tell your friends. You don't tell your employer because you could potentially get fired, even though it's illegal to fire people for that, you could get fired.
If you can be a part of breaking that cycle, though, if you can be a part of telling somebody who's in that situation, hey, it's okay. I have depression, too. And you can still be a highly functional person and have depression. In fact, there are a lot of ways that you can get better if you have depression. Wouldn't that be an awesome thing to do? Isn't it worth putting yourself out there? Isn't it worth getting through the fear just to be able to help somebody?
How can you help people?
There are a lot of ways that most people don't think of as traditional jobs. Most people, think about finding a job or finding your purpose, think about insurance and being a lawyer, being a doctor, maybe working in marketing. You think about being an accountant, all of these types of traditional careers. But what if your purpose is to be a writer? What if your purpose is just to inspire people to be better? Maybe you can write a blog. If you want to be a writer, you can do that for free. You can share your thoughts and your ideas and your opinions with people, and it doesn't cost you anything.
You could write a book. A lot of people think that writing a book is this massive big thing, and I mean, you can make it that or you can make it something that's simple and easy. You can make videos. You can get past your fear of being seen. Get past your fear of being not good at making videos and make videos. How many people do you know that don't have a phone that has the capability to make videos? My phone will make better videos than my computer does! If you have a phone, you have the ability to start helping people just by making videos.
Maybe you want to start something a little bit simpler than that. You could start an account on Instagram or TikTok or Facebook, and you could start the same way that I started my account. I didn't share pictures of myself for almost the first year that I had the account. I didn't share videos. All I shared were posts about INFJs. Maybe you want to tell people about your personality type. Maybe you want to tell them about being an introvert or about being highly sensitive. Maybe you just want to help people find self-love or help people believe in themselves. It's completely free to start an Instagram account, and you can have multiple Instagram accounts. So really, all you have to do is come up with a name and you don't have to share a picture of yourself in the profile picture either. I had my logo, which I made for free, in the profile picture for more than a year.
Another way that you can find your purpose is to volunteer somewhere. Maybe you don't have the capacity to change jobs or the money to change jobs right now, and you're still not sure what your purpose is. You could volunteer. You could do all different types of volunteer work, but maybe that volunteer work will be your purpose. Maybe it will lead you to your purpose. Maybe that volunteer work is just the part of helping people that you need to do.
The main thing that you can do in finding your purpose is to take action, do something that helps someone, even if it's just one person. When I started my blog and my Instagram account, that was my goal. I thought you know what? I am so thankful to know my personality type. It's changed my life so much that if I can just help one person, that's all that matters. If I do all of this work, if I post five times a day, if I write 1000 words every single week, if it just helps one person, then that's all that matters, because that's what I want to do.
I’m here to help
I have a couple of additional resources that I wanted to tell you about so that you can get really clear on what your purpose in life is and also how to stop overthinking and start taking action right away. There are two different workshops. The first one is called How to Find Your Purpose in Life as an INFJ, you can find it here. It will tell you how to find your purpose and give you the exact method that I used that has helped so many people.
Both of these workshops are only $27 and you get instant access to the workshop and a workbook for each one, plus you'll have access to them forever.
A lot of times we need that accountability. We need some skin in the game. That's why I charge for these workshops because you find more value in them. You'll actually take action if you have some skin in the game, so make sure that you go check them out again.
That's how long it took me to find my purpose in life. The 3 years since then have been the best of my life. Is everything perfect? No. But the good days are good and the bad days aren't so bad because I know in my heart and soul that I'm helping people, that I'm making this world a better place. That's really all that I can ask for!