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Using MBTI Type to Follow Your Passions

Posted 01 July 2016 by
Marta, MBTI Certified Expert, Career & Leadership Coach
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We’ve talked a good bit so far about inspiration, what that means and how you can use knowledge about your MBTI type to help you find inspiration and also find time for inspiration, but what about passion? Is passion different from inspiration? According to, the word inspire means “to fill with an animating, quickening or exalting influence, to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.” Passion on the other hand (in the context we’re talking about) means “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.” The difference is inspiration is about bringing forth a feeling or influence, where passion is a strong desire that already exists. Once you know what sort of things inspire you (check back to the list you created from the first blog in the series here), you can use that knowledge and awareness of your MBTI type preferences to help discover your passion(s).

What are you passionate about? What do you love to do? Is there a cause in this world you find that you have to support? What brings a smile to your face and a makes you feel great every time you see it? Or them? What do you care deeply about? That is your passion. It’s not always easy to find, but once you do, it provides that spark vital to your happiness. Now, I suppose MBTI type could be your passion (and many of us here are passionate about personality type and using it to better understand ourselves and others), but let’s look at how knowing your MBTI® type preferences might impact the pursuing of your passion. I’ll use my MBTI type preferences and a passion of my own to illustrate.

While MBTI type preferences may well impact what we’re passionate about; it definitely impacts how we express that passion. Embedded in my MBTI preferences—INFP—are the two middle letters NF (Intuitive Feeling) and the dominant function of Introverted Feeling. This translates into a focus on possibilities and values-based decisions, a concern for people and a need to have my actions and environment align with my core values. It also means that while I prefer the inner world of ideas over actual interaction with people, others typically see my Extraverted Intuition at play (because whatever part of your MBTI type you extravert will be the type that people see first. If you have preferences for Introversion, then your dominant or favorite function is introverted and your secondary function is extraverted. If you have preferences for extraversion, your dominant function is extraverted and your secondary function is introverted. That means for anyone like myself with introverted preferences, what people usually see first is not my favorite or dominant function, it’s actually my secondary function). Now, how does this connect to my passions? Good question.

Let’s look at one passion of mine—recycling. It’s true; I have a passion for recycling. Separating out cans and bottles from trash is a deep-seated desire of mine. Paper always goes in the recycling bin, not the garbage bin, and here’s where we can start to see type expressed. I don’t often participate in group clean-up days; I prefer to pick up bottles and cans on my solo hikes in the woods. I don’t make specific plans to go somewhere and participate in recycling efforts, but I do recycle wherever I go. I have lots of ideas on how to recycle and what to recycle and how to reuse what might otherwise show up in the landfill, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to talk about it fervently when I meet you. For me, recycling is a passion rooted in caring for the planet and the people who live here, and an envisioning of what could be if we don’t “reduce—reuse—recycle.” The how of my recycling results in a perfect blend of being true to my INFP preferences and following my passion.

Now it’s your turn to test and explore your own self-awareness. What are you passionate about? How do your MBTI type preferences show up in how you follow that passion?