Temperament and the Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur

The ‘NFP’ personality profile is a part of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter and describes a distinct pattern of human behaviour. The ‘N’ stands for ‘intuitive’, the ‘F’ stands for ‘feeler’ and the ‘P’ stands for ‘perceiver’…and precursing these 3 traits is either an ‘E’ for ‘extrovert’ or an ‘I’ for ‘introvert’. Below is a brief history of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter followed by the description of both the “INFP” and the “ENFP” personality profiles.

What is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter?

At Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate School Keirsey began his research and study of human behavior. As he researched historical literature in psychology, philosophy, and the sciences, he became intrigued by the patterns of four temperaments. These four distinct patterns of human behavior were woven throughout history, dating back to such figures as Hippocrates (c370), Plato (c340) and Aristotle (c325).

In the 1950’s, he began putting his theory into practice as an Educational Psychologist, where he developed techniques in training and coaching. For more than two decades, he served as a consultant to both educators and psychologists, with continued research and innovations in his theory of the four temperaments.

In the early 1970’s Keirsey introduced his theory as an educational curriculum at California State University, Fullerton, where he served on the faculty, and eventually chair, in the department of counseling for ten years. During his time there, he published his theory in the book, Please Understand Me® (1978), where he publicly introduced the Keirsey Temperament Sorter® (KTS®) to the world.

The impact of Keirsey Temperament Theory has been lasting and substantial. In the early years, his theory was first put to use by psychologists, educators, and faith based organizations. Please Understand Me became an international best seller, selling more than 2 million copies.

In 1996, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter was introduced online through the Keirsey.com website, and since that time, more than 17 million people have taken the instrument via this popular site. In 1998, Keirsey published Please Understand Me II, by which time Keirsey Temperament Theory was being widely utilized by major companies, government institutions, non-profit, and educational organizations worldwide. Collectively, Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II have sold more than 4 million copies in more than a dozen languages.

The INFP Temperament

Healers present a calm and serene face to the world, and can seem shy, even distant around others. But inside they’re anything but serene, having a capacity for personal caring rarely found in the other types. Healers care deeply about the inner life of a few special persons, or about a favorite cause in the world at large. And their great passion is to heal the conflicts that trouble individuals, or that divide groups, and thus to bring wholeness, or health, to themselves, their loved ones, and their community.

Healers have a profound sense of idealism that comes from a strong personal sense of right and wrong. They conceive of the world as an ethical, honorable place, full of wondrous possibilities and potential goods. In fact, to understand Healers, we must understand that their deep commitment to the positive and the good is almost boundless and selfless, inspiring them to make extraordinary sacrifices for someone or something they believe in. Set off from the rest of humanity by their privacy and scarcity, Healers can often feel even more isolated in the purity of their idealism.

Also, Healers might well feel a sense of separation because of their often misunderstood childhood. Healers live a fantasy-filled childhood-they are the prince or princess of fairy tales-an attitude which, sadly, is frowned upon, or even punished, by many parents. With parents who want them to get their head out of the clouds, Healers begin to believe they are bad to be so fanciful, so dreamy, and can come to see themselves as ugly ducklings. In truth, they are quite OK just as they are, only different from most others-swans reared in a family of ducks.

At work, Healers are adaptable, welcome new ideas and new information, are patient with complicated situations, but impatient with routine details. Healers are keenly aware of people and their feelings, and relate well with most others. Because of their deep-seated reserve, however, they can work quite happily alone. When making decisions, Healers follow their heart not their head, which means they can make errors of fact, but seldom of feeling. They have a natural interest in scholarly activities and demonstrate, like the other Idealists, a remarkable facility with language. They have a gift for interpreting stories, as well as for creating them, and thus often write in lyric, poetic fashion. Frequently they hear a call to go forth into the world and help others, a call they seem ready to answer, even if they must sacrifice their own comfort.

The ENFP Temperament 

Like the other Idealists, Champions are rather rare, say three or four percent of the population, but even more than the others they consider intense emotional experiences as being vital to a full life. Champions have a wide range and variety of emotions, and a great passion for novelty. They see life as an exciting drama, pregnant with possibilities for both good and evil, and they want to experience all the meaningful events and fascinating people in the world. The most outgoing of the Idealists, Champions often can’t wait to tell others of their extraordinary experiences. Champions can be tireless in talking with others, like fountains that bubble and splash, spilling over their own words to get it all out. And usually this is not simple storytelling; Champions often speak (or write) in the hope of revealing some truth about human experience, or of motivating others with their powerful convictions. Their strong drive to speak out on issues and events, along with their boundless enthusiasm and natural talent with language, makes them the most vivacious and inspiring of all the types.

Fiercely individualistic, Champions strive toward a kind of personal authenticity, and this intention always to be themselves is usually quite attractive to others. At the same time, Champions have outstanding intuitive powers and can tell what is going on inside of others, reading hidden emotions and giving special significance to words or actions. In fact, Champions are constantly scanning the social environment, and no intriguing character or silent motive is likely to escape their attention. Far more than the other Idealists, Champions are keen and probing observers of the people around them, and are capable of intense concentration on another individual. Their attention is rarely passive or casual. On the contrary, Champions tend to be extra sensitive and alert, always ready for emergencies, always on the lookout for what’s possible.

Champions are good with people and usually have a wide range of personal relationships. They are warm and full of energy with their friends. They are likable and at ease with colleagues, and handle their employees or students with great skill. They are good in public and on the telephone, and are so spontaneous and dramatic that others love to be in their company. Champions are positive, exuberant people, and often their confidence in the goodness of life and of human nature makes good things happen.

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