I’m an ENFJ: Here’s the Thing That Is Holding Me Back From Success (and Maybe You Too!)

March 2, 2014 • Branding, Life Tips

We all have personality characteristics that make us who we are. I’m a fan of the Myer-Briggs MBTI personality test for understanding what makes up my unique personality.

Here’s a little more about what the MBTI test reveals:

The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.

I took this test back in college when I took Derek Lidow’s Entrepeneurial Leadership Class. The class taught me so much about entrepreneurship, but also about the key leadership ingredients that any company (or personal brand) needs  in order to be successful.

The other day I was perusing the internet and came across a great site that summarized personality type strengths and weaknesses.I looked at my own weaknesses and realized, “Whoa, Rana. Alot of this stuff is so true about you. What can you do to positively affect these things that are becoming a hindrance to your success?”

My Personality type is ENFJ. In a nutshell, this is what that means:

ENFJ- personality type

Representing approximately 2 percent of all people, people with the ENFJ personality type tend to be very influential, often without making any conscious efforts to increase their influence. ENFJs are genuinely interested in other people and radiate authenticity, concern and altruism – not surprisingly, those who surround the ENFJ usually find them very inspiring and likeable.


  • Very charismatic. ENFJ personalities are charming and popular – they instinctively know how to attract and keep people’s attention, as well as communicate with them effectively.
  • Altruistic. ENFJs are warm and selfless, always willing to help other people. They are idealists, motivated by the idea of doing something good for the world.
  • Skilled imitators. ENFJs find it very easy to notice what drives, motivates and worries other people, and are instinctively able to adjust their own manners and arguments accordingly.
  • Natural leaders. ENFJ personalities do not seek to dominate or direct, but people are attracted to their charisma and eloquence – unsurprisingly, ENFJs usually end up being very popular and rarely have any difficulties getting to leadership positions.
  • Tolerant. People with this personality type tend to be open-minded and accepting, willing to consider competing ideas as long as they do not contradict their inner principles. ENFJs can easily get along with most other types.
  • Reliable. ENFJs work hard for causes they consider important – if their role excites and motivates them, an ENFJ can be very patient and reliable.

– taken from http://www.16personalities.com/enfj-personality


  • Sometimes too selfless. ENFJs may often take on too much work or get deeply involved in other people’s problems, trying too hard to not offend or disappoint anybody.
  • Very idealistic. People with this personality type can often be too idealistic or even naïve, believing that everyone is good natured and cares about principles that are important to the ENFJ.
  • Often too sensitive. Deep down, ENFJs are sensitive and emotional individuals who can get hurt and disappointed very easily. They may also worry too much about other people’s feelings and well-being.
  • Vulnerable to criticism. ENFJ personalities have a strong inner core of principles and values, and they can get very hurt if someone criticizes them. ENFJs may also have difficulties reacting calmly to general criticism and negativity.
  • May find it difficult to make tough decisions. Due to their altruism and sensitivity, ENFJs are likely to struggle with decisions involving hard choices – they may waver between different options, unable to stop thinking about all the possible consequences.
  • Highly fluctuating self-esteem. ENFJs’ self-esteem depends on whether they are able to live up to their ideals and fulfill their goals, while at the same time making sure that everyone around them is happy. If the ENFJ’s ideas are being constantly criticized or they are unable to help people close to them, their self-confidence is likely to plummet.

-taken from http://www.16personalities.com/enfj-strengths-and-weaknesses


From this test, the one thing that affects me the most is that I can be very sensitive and vulnerable to criticism. I let what others think about me really weigh me down at times. Because I am a people-pleaser, I take it personally when I am not able to follow through on this. The amount of disappointment I feel when something doesn’t go as planned or how I want it to can be very crippling. However, I tend to keep everything in as not to disturb the energy of others that I am around. The same thing goes for responding to criticism. I don’t always take criticism lightly. I sometimes see what other people think of me (or what I’m doing) as a stab at my core values and persona. (This may sound silly, but it’s true.  We ENFJs take pride is our core persona!). 


The world is a mean, dark, and cold place. It’s not predictable and full of sunflowers and lillies. As an entrepreneur, I’ll need to build tough skin. At the same time, absorbing criticism can be a great mechanism and tool for self-growth and future success. Not all criticism is bad. Criticism can be used to become a better person (or tool, product, brand, etc.)


1.    Feed Your Strengths! Make sure you have opportunities to involve yourself with others in situations where your input is valued.

2.     Face Your Weaknesses! Realize and accept that some traits are strengths and some are weaknesses. By facing your weaknesses, you can overcome them and they will have less power over you.

3.     Express Your Feelings. Understand that your feelings are as important as others are in the overall situation. Without your feelings and needs being valued the best result is not realised, so value and speak to your own feelings as much as you value those of others.

4.     Make Decisions. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion. You need to know show others the qualities and potentials you can see are worthy of action.

5.     Smile at Criticism. Try to see why disagreement and discord indicate the differences between people, and use this as an opportunity to make your value judgements useful for growth, because that’s exactly what they are. Try not to feel responsible for another’s criticism, but try to hear it and understand the feelings and images it engenders within you. Then you may see a path not only to agreement but to a shared and truly valuable end.

6.     Be Aware of Others. Remember that there are 15 other personality types out there who see things differently than you see them. Most of your problems with other people are easier to deal with if you try to understand the other person’s perspective.

7.     Be Aware of Yourself. Don’t stint your own needs for the sake of others too much. Realise you are an important focus. If you do not fulfil your own needs, how will continue to be effective and how will others know you are true to your beliefs?

8.     Be Gentle in Your Expectations. It is easy for you to see the value in others, but stressing this too much can drive them away. Try to show that you understand their fears and limitations and lead them gently to see how you feel: lead them gently into understanding and love.

9.     Assume the Best. Don’t distress yourself by feeling that your values are lost upon others – they are not. Perhaps it just has to sit with them too. Let the situation resolve itself and never stop believing that love is the true answer.

10. When in Doubt, Ask Questions! Don’t assume that the lack of feedback is the same thing as negative feedback. If you need feedback and don’t have any, ask for it.

-taken from https://www.personalitypage.com/html/ENFJ_per.html


Self-reflection is an important part of the success process for both the young and old. We have to start reflecting on what we know about ourselves and start making the active choice to combat the success- hindering components of ourselves. While the journey won’t be perfect, I’m sure if you try to do something different once each day (or even week), you’ll start to see results.

For me, I need to stop letting other’s thoughts and feelings about what I should be doing affect me so much. At the end of the day, I need to be doing what makes me happy. Being able to separate others’ opinions and my own sensitivity will be a struggle, but i am DETERMINED to work on this. I am DETERMINED to understand my weaknesses better.

If you have any ideas, tips, on advice on ways I can do this, please COMMENT or send me an email (rainshineluv@gmail.com).

Just in case you wanted to know, here are some other famous ENFJs:

Barack Obama
Abraham Lincoln, former U.S. president
Michael Jordan
Oprah Winfrey
Matthew McConaughey
Ben Affleck

What is the one thing that you KNOW is holding you back from success?  PLEASE COMMENT and share your experiences below.

Rana Campbell is  a branding expert and journalist. If you want to know more about me, click here  or contact me at rainshineluv@gmail.com.

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Rana Campbell is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Ranacampbell.com, a site dedicated to personal branding and helping people learn how to SHINE in their personal and professional lives.

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19 Responses to I’m an ENFJ: Here’s the Thing That Is Holding Me Back From Success (and Maybe You Too!)

  1. paulyr2 says:

    Success is a big word and concept in the history of American civilization. Sociologists, historians and journalists have studied how people seek success and achieve it in our society. The acquisition of wealth and power are the major factors in determining success in America. As a Christian, I don’t find success to be a component at all in the teachings of Jesus Christ, so the idea of success has practically no personal meaning for me, though I realize that Christianity, as a social force, has played a big role in the formation of ideas of success in this country going back to the Puritans and the Protestant work ethic. Christianity and success are compatible, but not necessary for each other. Anyway I would hope that your personal values, as you outline them above, Rana, don’t get trampled on, as you walk your road.

    • Thank you for that kind comment. As you said, success is a big word. I meant it broadly in the sense of “things I want to achieve”. The acquisition of wealth and power are not my ultimate end goals, but I do have some short-term goals that I have not been successful at because of my sensitivity to criticism and ability to make decisions. Thank you once again! Please do continue to read my blogs! 🙂

  2. Paul Graham says:

    Hi Rana. I have very mixed feelings about MBTI and think that in some ways IT can hold people back. In a business setting It has some value when hiring junior people provided it doesn’t receive undue weight but when hiring very senior people most know how to manipulate it so that they will appear more compatible with the way they read the group. More importantly, for general purposes it is almost as intellectually lazy to put people into 16 boxes as into 12 horoscopes unless using an almost infinite range of sub-menus. Although Jung was cutting edge in his day, much wiser people than I now qualify many of his conclusions. That being said, I think your analysis of how to leverage your preferred qualities and address weaknesses is excellent and clearly this discipline is very effective for you. As to what holds me back, absolutely nothing except when I occasionally forget my fathers advice which was ..Every person you deal with has a unique lesson for you to learn from and if you fail to learn it that is your fault and not theirs. I suppose my lesson from you is that others may derive great benefit fro something on which I place limited value

    • Thank you for that thoughtful comment, Paul. Yes, at the end of the day all of us do derive benefits from different things and to me there is so much joy and knowledge that can be learned from participating in different conversations. Let me know if you have any more questions. Also, thanks for sharing that advice from your father 🙂

  3. This is wonderful. Your honesty is a breath of fresh air. Building tough skin is hard. Today I emailed a lot of people that I know about a new launch that I have been working on for a almost a year. I did not hear back from single person and I am down and taking it a bit personal. This post is exactly what I needed. Thank you so much!


  4. Cheron Long-Landes says:

    Yes, Renee, I can understand exactly where you are coming from! Great article, Rana. I, too, am an ENFJ and also focused on the “negative” aspects of my test. I love the 10 points, you have a good way of turning them around to your advantage. I’m sure your “weaknesses” will soon be your strengths, too! Well done.

  5. Anna Long says:

    So cool! I’d better make a point to see what mine is…good to know because when you understand, you can build a business around this! Love it!

  6. Great post Rana! I did the same exercise last year and realised that I had been working on many of my weaknesses for a while without consciously realising it and that I could contribute a lot of my success to doing that which was a revelation. I am also going to be using MBTI to help my ideal clients in my business. I work with many ‘IN’s’ and by understanding what’s holding them back I can help them to leverage their natural strengths and work on the things which might hold them back (I am INTJ/FJ by the way :)).

  7. Nikole Gipps says:

    I have scored a few different things in my life, but I took a different type of test recently and came up with ESTP – and finally things feel like they fit. I have been going through some major business shifts in the past year, and I feel like the recent results totally validated what I am trying to do within my business. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your personality is definitely key! For example, I enjoy quick fixes and difficult cases where I can really use my brain to sort out a solution, which is where I have been taking my business … but I really dislike working on the same site day after day so I would do very poorly as a web developer in a corporate environment.

  8. Natisha Willis-AyAndile says:

    I love MBTI! ENTP here – I can relate to a lot of what you write about here 🙂

  9. Adina Levin says:

    Don’t let the haters bring you down! Here’s to us both growing that thick skin against criticism to make us into great business builders.

  10. Brian Crawford says:

    Rana – I liked this piece of writing. Just remember most people don’t care what you should be doing. People are too busy with their own lives to care about judging your actions. You are not the centre of the universe. Most of what you feel they are thinking is just you being hypersenstive and/or stressed. You are not the centre of the universe.

  11. Alysha Gail says:

    Hey Rana, great article! I think I’m going to start writing a list of at least 3 things i have accomplished or learned in a day to show myself that I am learning and growing every day. This article was so me!