The ENFP is likely the most misunderstood of all the 16 personality types. The ENFP is often viewed as a space cadet, bouncing around from idea to idea with no sense of time, priority, or follow-through. We find they are often more likely to be diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) with ADD/ADHD.
Conversely, the ENFP is also an idea factory, a brainstorming machine, and an overall future-thinking behemoth. We all know someone with this personality type that can just crank out ideas seemingly without end. They are great in marketing, sales, and R&D departments.
I want to show how the ENFP can take this plethora of ideas and drive them forward in their own life and start a thriving business.
Typical Struggles of the ENFP
In coaching ENFPs, here are some recurring themes that arise:
- Better at starting projects than finishing
- Would rather create the idea than implement it
- Having too many ideas to pick just one
- Stuck ideating endlessly which prevents starting
- Fear of rejection; fear their ideas are bad
This can be easily explained by understanding how the ENFP operates functionally. The ENFP cognitive function stack is:
Ne (Extraverted iNtuition) – Brainstorming
Fi (Introverted Feeling) – Values
Te (Extraverted Thinking) – Effectiveness
Si (Introverted Sensing) – Memory
Simply put, leading with a mindset that prioritizes brainstorming, ideation, and novelty will naturally reject things like process, structure, and repetition. There is always a counterbalance, and if we leverage it to grow, then we can become our most dynamic Self.
So from the perspective of starting a business, the ENFP can utilize their less-developed functions to actually move forward productively.
Let’s use Introverted Sensing (Si), the ENFPs 4th function, which is known as Memory. It’s not just remembering in the classic sense, but it’s, as Dario Nardi has labeled it “a predictable standard.” Standards, traditions, and stability are what this function seeks. For the ENFP, the desire for newness and novelty will always try to fight against predictability and standards.
With ENFPs, the struggle of starting a new business lies in the fact that once the new idea gets going for a certain amount of time, the allure wears off and it’s no longer new and fresh. This start-stop motion can be internally frustrating for the ENFP who’s many good ideas seem to flame out after a very energetic start.
3 Tips for an ENFP
Here are some tips that I’ve learned while coaching and collaborating with ENFPs:
- Look at what’s worked before for you. Can you use that as a jumping-off point for your new venture? For example, have you had repeated remarks from others that “You see things nobody else does…” or “I’ve never thought about it that way until you said it.” Perhaps everytime you post a meme you created on social media, you get a massive response from your audience that is much better than your text posts. Repeatability creates a standard by which you can then move forward with an idea.
- Put things into motion to the point where you can no longer turn back. File that fictitious business statement, get that business bank account, create that logo, start branding, create that website. These are all points of no return psychologically that prevent backsliding.
- Capture your ideas into a journal of some sort and return to them days later to see if you still feel the same fire you did when you first captured it. If it’s 5 days later and that idea still has passion behind it, then it’s worth pursuing in full.
The ENFP has massive potential to start their own venture and be successful. When they can combine their brainstorming ability with the sometimes frustrating acceptance of a predictable standard, they are able to create sincerely wonderful things.
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