Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Think We Are Entrepreneurs (MB)

I haven't historically been that into Myers Briggs types.  Similar to my reaction to horoscopes and signs of the Zodiac, I gobble up fun insights and true-ringing characterizations that can come from these types of things, but I never think to ask people what type or sign they are, and I haven't memorized much at all about various types or characteristics in either case.  I do realize Myers Briggs and the Zodiac are completely different.  I only compare because of my very amateur knowledge of both. 

I took the Myers Briggs test as you requested, and I am an ENFJ.  I am not sure about this.  I think I took the test years ago and put in a bunch of different answers -- still honest, mind you, but I think I am a changing person.  But I do admit I think I got the same result.  I think being an ENFJ feels like pressure.  (I am a tired ENFJ, okay!)  I often ruminate on the fact that I'm NOT as giving or empathetic as I would like to be.  So, I'm not sure if I'm the best ENFJ around.  Well, I guess that's obvious, considering Abraham Lincoln was an ENFJ. 
Here are the parts I like about your INFJ profile description, Ab: 
"The INFJ individual is gifted in ways that other types are not. Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement."
". . . they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don't believe in compromising their ideals."

The part about your description I do NOT agree with, at least as it pertains to you, is: "They are not good at dealing with minutia or very detailed tasks."
I believe I have observed you organize about four (4) large Rubbermaid containers full of legos for an entire day, and have also seen an entire felted vegetable set you created for Charlie, complete with realistic stems and seed stitches.  I would say you have a gift for (creative) minutia.

I think in your passionate and frank last post, regarding your dream, you talk about uncertainties, but they are not really uncertainties about your dream. Thing is, you articulate gloriously what your dream is:  

"My dream is not a destination but a style of living. I want to keep things simple and graceful."
". . . To find beauty and magic in all the little things. . ."
". . .  to live effortlessly. . . "
". . . [for] my kids to have time to figure out what's interesting to them. . . "

I spent last night working on some things at home and intermittently weeping over the loss of a community member here in Madison who died of colon cancer.  I didn't even know she had colon cancer.  She was a mom a bit older than us, with kids about the same age as Peter and Henry.  She had gone back to law school as a non-traditional student and was kicking ass all over the place, involved in stuff, engaged.  And within a year and half from diagnosis she was gone.  We can set dreams to the highest hilt, to the most detailed degree, but life is more powerful than us.  But, we can't live limiting ourselves, cowering in the looming possibility that life won't let us play out our dreams, either.  It seems we must set our dreams in a way that simultaneously allows us the greatest possibility to run our lives out for the full long haul, actualized, fulfilled, contributing, and positive, while not compromising the days between, should -- God forbid -- life have different plans for us. 

It's a much more true-to-life description to say your dream is to live gracefully and effortlessly, and for your kids to find their own passions, than to say you hope to sack away a million bucks by the time you're fifty (50) or that you want to build a house in Mexico or that you want to start your own art gallery or pilates studio or whatever.  You have a good chance of realizing your dream and being sure your dream is accurately what you want under this approach.

In short, contrary to the title of your last post, I think you DO have a clue what your dream is, I think it is a good one, and I think you might be getting to it.  But I think, like me, you get jammed up on all the uncertainties and steps and drudgery and decisions to be made on the actual path of moving forward on this dream.  Your last post focuses a lot on jobs and identities defined by jobs, and making money.  To me, these acts -- the work we do and how we pay the bills -- these are the steps we take to realize our dreams.  But they're not our dreams. 

Remember that epic emotion ballad by the Verve "Bittersweet Symphony"?  Here, you can watch them play it in Glastonbury (another story, but I camped there once when I was pregnant with Peter and got to go to the famed tor and medieval fountain of youth that brings pilgrammages of readers of The Mists of Avalon there):  Anyway, as a young person I was extremely moved by the inherent, deep, universal-feeling sound and sentiment of this song.  But I was always confused by the line "try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die."  Now, say what you will about the extremely melodramatic nature of that line, and whether a bunch of world-famous UK singers can pull off singing it, but now that I'm older, I kind of smile when I hear it because sometimes life CAN slightly feel like that.  I mean for those of us without a trust fund, aren't we bascially always thinking about how we're going to make the money we need, and doesn't that issue have at least the power and potential to really have us by the balls?  This is a part of the paralysis we can feel about our dreams when what we're really stuck on is the steps we're taking to get there.

It sounds like the question of "what you're doing" is making you sweat when you're answering the question of "what's your dream." But I think I have a solution for that -- for both of us.

Here is the part I like about my profile description, Ab:
"Many ENFJs have tremendous entrepreneurial ability."

I like this part best because I often feel that if I could just put all my good ENFJ intentions out in the world in my own format, under my own vision, and according to my own principles, I'm fairly certain I could be very successful in creating some great stuff. It's all the damn rules and unavoidable conflicting responsibilities that get in the way!  I, too, am hung up on the steps of getting to the dream, instead of the dream.  In an effortless world where all things fall into place, I have a dream (or 100!), and I'm certain I could reach the dream famously.

I guess what we both need to work on is not only answering the question "what's your dream?" in a way that contemplates all the uncertainties of life, but also answering the question "what are you going to do about it?" And your last post certainly also explores the question of "how do I define what I'm doing now?"  You have your ample share of variety and breadth in the various professions and experiments and accomplishments you have taken on, from artist to pilates instructor to baker to illustrator to home renovator to host of art club and so many things I can't do justice here.  I've already articulated through this blog and otherwise that I believe in your primary profession -- MOM -- you kick serious ass.  But, through all of those accomplishments and roles, you're left feeling empty about that one, consistent role that others seem to have.  Some people can define themselves as writers or teachers or doctors or artists.  Although I may be defined often as a lawyer, single mom, non-profit Executive, etc., even I feel this same anxiety about not being quite able to put my finger on whether any of those roles should really define me, whether any of them can properly encapsulate the dream I would like to live, if only these pesky daily responsibilities and money-making and dish-washing and negotiating-the-phone bill could get out of my way.  The roles we've played are steps toward the dream, but they're not the dream.  Maybe we should forget about defining who-we-are and what-we-do and just get down to business on the dream, but I fear we humans have a gluttonous desire for definitions (at least I do).  I want to give things a name, and have a clear response when asked (even if only by myself) what the hell I am doing.

I think if we must define who we are and what we do in a universal sense, in a way that can carry the dream forward for each of us, I suggest we think about it like this:

"We are entrepreneurs".  Here is a nice thorough wiki post about the full meaning and history of the word and concept:

I'll let you take a look and consider all the ways this word might apply to what you have been doing, what you are doing, and similarly, what I'm up to -- not only in the work force, but as moms, seekers, lovers of life, and artists.  The Webster definitition of the word goes something like this: "one who organizes, manages and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise."

Our enterprise is the dream; and we are certainly doing nothing if not organizing, managing, and assuming risk related to that enterprise.  You have fairly well defined your enterprise, your dream, as I've summarized above.  I still need to work on how to explain my dream.  It's in there somewhere but I'll get it out in a future post.  For now, if we wish to seek comfort in a definition about who-we-are and what-we-do, I'm inclined to embrace the term "entrepreneur", an all-encompassing definition of all the steps we're taking, things we're learning, and progress we're making on the dream, rather than try to pinpoint what role or act or creation or single profession that could possibly define us or what we do.

I think Penelope Trunk, fellow former Madison resident (who -- fun fact --  lived in the house that my family lived in while I was in law school, after we moved out), acquaintance of yours, and source of much good blogging entertainment for both of us, would approve (PS I just looked at her blog again and was reminded: she is OUTRAGEOUS!).

And, I do believe "entrepreneur" might fit for both INFJ and ENFJ.  But I welcome your thoughts.
With total appreciation.

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