The “S” in ISFJ: The Stretching of a Sensor

Within the Myers Briggs personality system, I am a ISFJ. I prefer Sensing. This means that I prefer to experience the world, and take in information through my five senses. I like to keep BOTH–not just one–feet grounded in reality. I trust experiences more than gut feelings. I like sequential information, not seemingly random or general. I notice facts and remember details that are important to me. I think in a step-by-step manner; I start with facts and build to a larger conclusion.

Don’t even ask me to brainstorm. I might hit you.

Don’t even ask me about possibilities. I might choke.

Don’t even ask me interpret metaphors or appreciate poetry. I might scream.

I have done very little to develop skills on the Intuition side of life. Intuition is the other side of the dichotomy. People who prefer Intuition like to see patterns, read between the lines, solve problems by jumping from idea to idea, discuss the big picture. They trust impressions and analogies, and love to dream up possibilities.

Tonight I saw my preference for Sensing coming out strong.

I’m trying to add new content to my QBQ! training session. I had my usual content outline pulled up, and I was attempting to put new content blurbs in. I called my dad to help me talk through it, and as we chatted (which really means he talks while I listen and take notes), I started to feel that stressed out feeling in the pit of my stomach. I finally was able to articulate:

But all that good solid true awesome content doesn’t fit in my outline!!!!!

I said, Dad! I can’t do this! I have this outline, and if the content I want to teach doesn’t fit in these lines, in those blanks, with these bullets….well, then I just can’t teach it.

My inability to break away from the sequence/outline/step-by-step process was limiting my ability to teach well.

My inability to be flexible and see possibilities and “go with the flow” (eeesh that just makes me shudder) was slaughtering my ability to grow as a communicator.

My dad was gracious. He gave me a suggestion. So here’s a picture of how I wish my notes could be, and how I’m trying them out next session:


Stretching the brain of a Sensor

Content boxes that I can choose to insert, wherever. The possibilities are almost endless.

This might just kill me.

But I’m willing to do it, so that I can grow.

According to Myers Briggs, the point of learning our types (ISFJ in my case) is not to settle in and use that as my excuse for being a certain way for the rest of my life. No, the end goal is to become a balanced person.

To recognize that while I’m innately an ISFJ, I can still learn the skills of extroversion, intuition, thinking and perceiving. (All of you ENTP’s out there…we are soooo different.)

So here’s to tomorrow–this ISFJ is gonna take a shaky step into that world of Intuition and give it a go.

Clutching my outline of sequential information with my feet planted in reality of course.

About kristinlindeen

I am Kristin. I am Erik's wife. I am Joshua, Rebecca, and Andrew's mom. I am known nationally as the "QBQ! Daughter" and keynote on Personal Accountability and the QBQ. I am certified in Myers Briggs and am passionate about helping people understand themselves and others better. I am John and Karen's daughter. I am sister to many, mentor to some, friend to others. Most defining, I am Christ's daughter, adopted by God--rescued and saved by grace. And almost every single day, I need to be reminded of that truth. Come say "hi" at and of course, browse the blog! I'd love to hear from you, so comment away!
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6 Responses to The “S” in ISFJ: The Stretching of a Sensor

  1. Aprille says:

    When I took a test online (can’t remember which site) I was only 1% more S than N. So it’s kind of weird to read something like this because in many ways I am still really intuitive. Interesting stuff!

    • Isn’t that funny how that happens? And it doesn’t mean “more” or “less” of the S or N. It just indicates that you don’t have a clear preference either way–that you’re really balance. So that’s great!

      • Aprille says:

        Well that sounds a little nicer! I try to be a balanced person. My F and J preferences were higher, in the 30%s but my Intrmoversion preference was 50% higher! This stuff is amazing.

      • Yep! That all means your just more “clear” in your preference for those things. Being in the middle doesn’t make one better or more balanced–it just means you don’t strongly prefer either way! I strongly prefer Introversion, Sensing and Feeling. I am less clear on my preference for Judging–I think because motherhood has confused me and forced me to work on being more flexible!! 🙂

  2. Carissa says:

    I’m curious. Is this possibly why I struggle when people ask me to brain-storm? I have a difficult time with road-mapping my goals and expectations for a husband, or any plan actually. I have a hard time picturing a whole out of that information, although I sort of can if I force myself. It just doesn’t come naturally.

    • Quite possibly so! Brainstorming is hard for me too. It’s so abstract. I’d rather have someone else do that while I get stuff DONE and then when they tell me what idea we’re going with, I’ll take the concrete details and make it happen. Much easier for me. 🙂 Yea for ISFJ!

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