Every time I teach a course on a specific personality type, I learn things that blow me away. I learned INTP women look nothing like INTP men. I learned F’s sometimes misidentify themselves as T’s but T’s never mistake themselves for F’s. I learned that INTJ men almost always marry ENFP women.
There’s so much valuable knowledge that everyone should email me to get access to all sixteen personality type courses for $1,285 (regular price: $3120). You have two weeks to do this. But that’s not actually the point of this post.
I was particularly excited for the ENTJ course because I’m an ENTJ. And also, every time there was a problem in one of the other classes—lack of focus, search for meaning, obsession with details—I always thought to myself, “I can’t wait for the course for ENTJs. They will have none of these problems.”
And that’s true. The ENTJs are solely focused on earning money. They have plans, they know their limits, they are realistic but always thinking big. One of the most common questions I get is, “I want a great career. How can I be more like an ENTJ?” And I was surprised to find that many people in the ENTJ course were there to learn how to think like an ENTJ.
I once heard an ENTP ask a new boss, the CEO, “Do you know your personality type?”
And the boss said, “Yeah. And I am the only type that makes a good CEO.”
The result of the smugness of ENTJs is that ENTJs have nothing to talk about. They are great at managing a career and they attract mentors easily because who doesn’t want to mentor a rising star? All the rich, powerful mentors are ENTJs looking for younger, upstart ENTJs. And sure, ENTJs don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the emotions of their personal lives, but it’s okay because they are masters of management when it comes to their personal lives: their kids get the best education, sex is on schedule, and household help is always top-flight.
In the ENTJ course (like in every course) I talked about how life becomes more interesting if you understand yourself better and when you understand how people around you react to you and why.
So I focused on career questions, and all the ENTJs wanted to know if they were on track to meet their goals and how to get more people to help them meet their goals. The sessions sometimes felt like human resource bootcamp. Here’s a tip to anyone who wants to get the attention of an ENTJ: tell them what to delegate next and who to hire to take on that work.
I started thinking about how the intense conflict of work and life is what makes careers interesting, and then I missed the constantly tormented ENFJs torn between work and family.
And I missed the endless stream of deep thoughtful questions from the INFJs.
Melissa runs a recruiting agency. She recruits by type, and she is always stunned by how amazing the ENTJ candidates are. She tells me about them, and then I have ENTJ remorse. Because I’m an ENTJ but clearly I’m a bad egg. The twentysomething ENTJs always have perfect resumes, stellar references, and the self-confidence most people don’t get until they’re 70 years old.
At least I’m not boring.
Do you know what it takes to be an ENTJ who is not boring? Pain.
I was talking about early memories with a friend, whose earliest was having dinner with his parents at a restaurant. He said going out to dinner was rare when he was a kid, so it made an impression. I said my first memory was watching TV with my family when men landed on the moon. It wasn’t the men landing on the moon that made an impression so much as that we were watching TV together, which my family never did before or after that night.
My youngest son was with us, and he said, “My first memory is when Dad pushed you onto the floor.”
Then I say, “We went to therapy after that because it’s not an acceptable way to express anger. And Dad and I learned better ways to show emotion.”
My son says, “I can tell you are lying to me because your voice is shaky.”
I don’t respond.
I wasn’t lying about going to therapy. I was lying with my tone of voice, trying to say everything is okay. Because it’s not okay. I’m the same person who had a courtship from hell and got married anyway. I’m the person who put up with violence a few times without the kids seeing but I didn’t leave before the kids saw. I stayed.
I’m damaged CEO material.
Be careful when you look around yourself and you think you see people who have what you want. I do a trick in coaching sessions: you tell me the friend of yours who has a life that’s better than yours, and I’ll tell you the secret that friend is hiding. I don’t know why I know, but I do. And to the people I’m coaching, it’s like magic. As soon as I tell them the secret they say, “You’re right.”
Maybe once you face your own secrets, you can see everyone’s.
ENTJs don’t have secrets because they don’t care. About anything. That’s what you need to do to have a career that’s like an ENTJ’s. But if you decide to be just you instead, you have to give up the idea that life is easy for someone else. It’s not. You would hate someone else’s life, with someone else’s choices. So instead of wishing you were an ENTJ, embrace the mess that is your life. It’s what makes me want to talk to you, and I bet that’s true for everyone else as well.
Learn about all 16 personality types in a four-day course of irreverent fun and insight.