Understanding yourself can go a long way towards your success. When I first started out as a musician, I definitely didn’t understand myself. This had a direct impact on my initial effectiveness, because what works for many other personality types didn’t work for me. But, if you can play to your strengths and work around/strengthen your weaknesses, then you can succeed.
As an INTJ-A (Enneagram 5w4), here are five struggles that have presented themselves.
#1—Being visible in your industry.
As INTJs, we sometimes think that being seen is a bad thing. Moreover, the introvert within us doesn’t really want to be seen. We often wait until other people fail to lead before we step up to take the reins.
This mentality may not suit you well. Unless all the doors open for you in your career (which sometimes happens), then you are going to need to step out in front of others. You not only must be excellent, competent, and collegial, but people must see you as being those things. Once this happens enough times, word of mouth spreads, and more work comes your way.
When I first started out, I failed to grasp the importance of promotion and marketing. My assumption was that success happened magically after working hard enough. That wasn’t the case. I realized that I needed to treat my music career like a business, and part of any good business is visibility.
#2—Letting people in on your plans and ideas.
As an INTJ, you keep much of your life private. You do not like to show much of your inner thoughts. This is often because what is going on inside your head is very individualized, and you’ve found that people have a hard time following the connections that you’ve made.
When I was a young person, I would make observations or come up with ideas that I thought were perfectly obvious. I remember being shocked that people would stare at me as if I’d said something they’d never heard before. This wasn’t because what I’d said was weird (I would turn out to be correct). It was because my brain operated differently than others.
You are an idea and thought factory. Own that creativity. It is a valuable way that you can contribute and excel in your craft. Additionally, people need to sign on to your artistic plans for them to come to fruition.
#3—Realizing that, sometimes, conventional is best.
INTJs like to do things their own way. This works well when they are working by themselves, but more difficult when working with others. INTJs might think that rules are made to be broken, but most people do not like to stray out of their comfort zone. And traditions/conventions often exist for one major reason: they’ve been proven to work.
I remember feeling liberated when I understood that I was free to operate inside or outside the conventional. Now, I work with long-established organizations and I do my own stuff. It’s so much more enjoyable. Although, I will say that there are few things more fun than collaborating with a dynamic, motivated group of outside-the-box thinkers!
#4—Giving positive feedback.
INTJs don’t need a lot of praise. We are a very independent group. This can be a strength, as it can enable us to doggedly move forward with an idea when others might give up. Unfortunately, this mindset doesn’t work with others. Many people desire a significant amount of encouragement. It is good to give it.
As I am writing this, the world is locked in the COVID-19 pandemic. Musicians and others have been forced to move online via video conferencing. I’ve noticed that, particularly in large group video chats, I don’t show much emotion on my face. In fact, I can look downright scary! This is known as the INTJ death stare.
INTJs are not known for their effusive faces, and this can come back to haunt us. Your students and collaborators need encouragement, and your face is an effective tool to do it. In my last master’s program, my conducting professor would tell me to smile more because the singers in the choir rehearsal would respond. It was true.
Well, that sums up a few of the things that INTJs struggle with. There are many others, but these came to my mind. If you think that I missed some, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to speak with you!