Pause: The ENFP’s Secret Weapon

Brothers! Sisters! Fellow ENFPs! I come to share with you a life changing discovery that — oh look, a bird!

Here’s the thing: We ENFPs generally have two speeds — full steam ahead and “look how pretty the world is as I’m crashing down in a gigantic ball of flame!” If this sounds nothing like you, you can stop reading now. Better, you should start your own blog because, gosh darn, you must be such a badass at life and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter!

ENFPs, I’m sure you have an intimate understanding of this thing called burning out. In case you don’t know — but I know you do — the act of burning out can only be described with the technical term OMGWTFBBQ. You’re doing life. It’s business as usual, but suddenly you realize that you’ve taken on too much and, depending on how you react, you have a meltdown that would make Brittany Spears blush. Burning out isn’t exclusive to our personality type but we sure do deal with it more often than we would like, amirite?

As ENFPs, we like to think we can single-handedly save the world. We’re extroverted which means we have no problems surrounding ourselves with people — our latest projects. We are intuitive so it doesn’t take us long for us to see that there is something inherently wrong with a given process. We rely on our feelings which give us our super-human ability to come up with solutions to problems in the blink of an eye. Finally, we are perceiving which means you better listen to this here blog post because I’ve gone through this before and I’m here to change your life!

Put it all together and you get what I like to call the “Ooo, piece of candy!” syndrome.
(Ooo, piece of candy! … Ooo, piece of candy! … Ooo, piece of candy!)

Most of the time, this is great! We live life one adventure at a time and solve everyone’s problems to our heart’s delight. The problem arises when we get caught up in helping others and we forget about helping ourselves.

Friends, in true ENFP fashion, I’m here to propose a solution. Is this the be-all, end-all? The one ring to rule them all? The silver bullet that will forever stop us from burning out in a blaze of glory? Well, I’m not too sure because, just like you, I’m usually too busy saving the world to find out. But, hey! We’re all in this together.

The solution? Pause.

Knowing how and when to pause is a necessary tactic to keep in the ENFP toolkit, but first let’s explore why pause is a good thing.

Pausing every now and again allows us to see where we’ve been, where we currently are, and in what direction we’re going. Just as it’s good to refer to a map when hiking on a winding trail, it’s also good to stop and gather ourselves every once in a while.

Pausing gives us time to rest and recharge our batteries. It allows us to check up on ourselves and make course-correcting adjustments if something isn’t going quite well. It improves our decision making by giving us an opportunity to give thought to our gut feelings. We are so quick to consume life experiences that we can sometimes fail to see if those experiences are healthy for us or if they are even necessary to live out.

It’s always about life’s next adventure and never about our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Again, if this does not apply to you, color me envious. But, if this does sound familiar, I hope you understand how important it is to slow down every now and again.

Here’s where it gets tough. The world we live in is a noisy place. Advertisements blanket our senses in an attempt to take what little money we have. Media sensationalizes its stories to win your eyes and ears for the next thirty seconds just to do it all over again with the next top story. Social media induces FOMO so hard that you lock yourself in your room and list to Twenty One Pilots on repeat.

If we can isolate ourselves from all of this noise that surrounds us, great! If not, that’s ok. We just need a little bit of practice.

I used to compete on my school’s archery team (lol, yes) and one of the most important concepts we learned was the ability to shut the world out and still our minds for the next shot we were about to take. It was something that we worked on at each and every practice and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to hone this skill over time.

We would lie down on the grass and calm our bodies. We emptied our minds, yet acknowledged the cool air and ocean-like drone of the cars on the nearby freeway. We learned what it felt like to be still amidst a busy world. Finally, we learned how to return to that place of stillness at the snap of a finger*.

*Literally! My coach trained one of my teammates to yawn when anyone snapped their fingers in front of him.

Without a doubt, you could file this one under “easier said than done” but if you can pull it off, the end results are… how do I emphasize this?

Rewarding.

Clear that hurdle and you’re well on your way in mastering the art of pause. How long do you pause for? As long as you can and for as long as it takes. Where can you pause? Wherever you can but preferably in a quiet place. Any more generic answers? 42.

As for how often? I would say that we need to do this every. single. day. If all we can afford is fifteen seconds each day, that would be exponentially better than not pausing at all. Don’t have fifteen seconds? Sacrifice a cat video recipe video because, admit it, you will never make that creme brûlée ice cream sandwich cheesecake omelette anyway. And if you have more time to spare, take as much time as you need!

This isn’t some simple life hack. It won’t be easy to do. It won’t be easy to remember. Some might need to set reminders on their phones. Others may need to include it in their daily planners. Others, still, will try to incorporate this habit into their lives using various habit-forming techniques. Still others will think this is an amazing concept and then immediately forget to pause every day. To those people I say, “Hey! Get out of my head!”

The funny thing is we’re always giving advice to others but now we’re on the receiving end of the ENFP advise stick. But I’ll leave you with this: Persevere and good luck! — Ooo, ice cream!

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