Can INFPs be ambitious? Have you ever questioned your ambition as an INFP?
If you’re anything like me, you may have once thought you were ambitious only to later question whether you have any ambition at all. Maybe you wonder if you ought to be more ambitious.
People with INFP personalities have ways of seeing and relating to the world that may cause us to appear as if we lack direction or drive. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have passion and goals.
The thing is, we’re dreamers, so we’re not interested in being “ambitious” in the usual sense. Ambition is a desirable trait for many people. But for some INFPs, ambition may actually have a negative connotation. We may feel as though ambition conflicts with the values and principles that are inherently important to INFPs.
A meaningful life is what drives INFPs.
We have visions and goals. But we tend to take our time with the journey before hurrying to a destination, particularly because our visions tend to evolve as we travel down life’s path.
INFPs have an array of creative skills and talents. We may even be leaders. Yet, we’re often more interested in “leading from behind” by empowering others rather than achieving power or expertise.
Living in a culture that equates success to fame, money, or power can feel alienating and anxiety-inducing to INFPs since we’re not motivated by these goals.
When we’re not aware of the unique ways ambition shows up for INFPs, we can easily assume that there’s something wrong with us.
But there’s nothing wrong with us. Rather, we’re determined to focus our energy on that which nourishes our rich, inner lives and makes a positive impact on the surrounding world.
Here are some ways ambition might show up for INFPs, as well as some of the challenges that trip us up. By spotting these challenges, we can help ensure our strengths shine.
1. INFPs are ambitious when we aspire to make a difference.
As INFPs, we’re idealists that require meaning from how we spend our time. Financial gain is rarely a motivator. We’re deep feelers with a natural sense of sensitivity and empathy. INFPs want to know that the work we devote our energy to has a positive impact on the world. INFPs can be extraordinarily passionate in creative and helping professions, and may even be the crusaders for social causes.
Challenge: INFPs may get excited about a project, but lose motivation if we feel we’re not putting our energy in the most effective place. This is something that I’ve routinely experienced on my vocational path, and it used to make me feel anxious. Now when it happens, I take a moment to acknowledge the pattern. I commit to putting my energy fully into the project for a period of time despite an urge to throw it away. And I recognize that my path will inevitably evolve because it’s my nature, and that’s okay.
2. INFPs are ambitious when we’re intent on creating.
INFPs thrive on using their creativity in every area of life, not just in a career capacity. INFPs tend to feel stifled by convention. We’re energized when we apply our innovative minds to nontraditional ways of living that align with our values. Our ambition may show up as we explore alternative lifestyles such as tiny home living or cashless economies. We may turn to writing, art, or music to express our vast inner landscapes when we feel our words do not.
Challenge: INFPs often waver between conventional and unconventional living as we reconcile opposing influences within us. In these times, as INFPs, we must turn to our inner compasses and personal truth to allow our imaginative capacity to flourish.
3. INFPs are ambitious when we’re dedicated to personal growth.
INFPs spend a lot of time self-reflecting. We want to know our purpose and place in the world. We want to understand ourselves so we can live as our kindest, most compassionate selves with the people in our lives. We may see personal growth as one of the most worthy goals in life.
Challenge: As highly introspective creatures who often strive toward perfection, INFPs can easily get bogged down in self-criticism. Our inner critic can be ruthless. One way to manage this critic is to write down the negative thoughts and beliefs that arise, ask yourself if they’re true, and then journal about your strengths and what is true (ie when you’ve had a success, when you’ve made a strong decision, etc.).
4. INFPs are ambitious when we’re impassioned by experiencing the world.
We have a restless, curious nature to our personalities. Traveling to new places is sometimes seen as a worthy goal in life for many INFPs. When we connect with a kindred spirit, immerse ourselves in another culture, and witness awe-inspiring nature, INFPs feel in touch with what they feel is the purpose of life.
Challenge: While INFPs might dig adventure travel, we can also find ourselves irritable when we don’t get enough alone time or are faced with too much stimulation. We can be magically happy with few belongings, yet may crave a space to root down and recharge for a period of time. Setting up your travel in such a way that allows for time and space for grounding at times is important for INFPs.
5. INFPs are ambitious when we strive for meaningful connection.
Emotional connection is vital to INFP mental health. While we isolate ourselves at times, we value human connection, especially with other sensitive souls like us. Shallow, inauthentic relationships won’t cut it for INFPs. Lack of true connection wears us out. But our hearts warm with deep, genuine relationships.
Challenge: Despite appreciating connection, we become overwhelmed when too many social engagements come our way. Or we may wish that our loved ones would connect the INFP way only to realize that connection comes in other forms for many personality types. Acceptance and healthy boundaries are vital when it comes to human connection for INFPs.
INFPs are determined to live a meaningful life with what they feel matters most in life. So, are INFPs ambitious? What do you think?