After coming to terms with being a 6w7, rather than a 7w6, my friend Debbie has been looking at how type plays out in her life. The enthusiasm of her 7 wing really comes through when she talks about getting hooked on things that interest and excite her. She was also quite candid about some of the challenges of being a 6, for which I’m very grateful.
This is part of a continuing conversation. Click here for Part 1.
D: If something sounds interesting to me, I don’t care how busy I am, I figure I can do this. And I do.
J: And being able to accomplish things and get the feedback from doing that is important.
D: True, because for the most part, when you accomplish something, it’s really highly positive feedback. But what I’ve come to realize is that even though I was getting positive feedback, it was based on what other people wanted from me and not really what I saw as personally meaningful. It was always what someone else thought was important.
J: What’s different now?
D: Now I’m trying to explore the things that would be more meaningful for me so I can be more selective about what I say yes to. Is this particular project something I would like to do? Sure, some of the importance of the project comes from outside, but maybe it’s also something I want to do. I also want to find things to do that are important to me—regardless of anyone else—and find the time to do them. I don’t want to just fill my time with other people’s projects and to-do lists.
J: You don’t want to only do things for other people’s approval or acknowledgement.
D: Right. Sometimes my own approval and acknowledgement are enough.
J: What do you think are some of the challenges of being a type 6?
D: The first thing is that it’s really difficult for me to rein in my enthusiasm for projects. If somebody comes up with something that sounds even remotely interesting to me, I’m signing on before I fully consider what’s involved and how stressed I’m going to be trying to accomplish whatever it is within the given timeframe—because of course I’ve already made other commitments. So I get kind of overwhelmed.
Another challenge is a sense of uncertainty, of not being sure I’m doing the right thing or choosing the right things. I find that after I’m down the road a bit, I’m saying to myself maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. And I start doubting my own assessment of whether or not it’s a good idea.
J: How would you know, right?
D: Right. I just get so tangled up in not knowing and wanting to know and wanting to be sure. But I’m not. When I take on someone else’s agenda, then I’m not sure I’m really accomplishing it in the way they want it accomplished. It took me a long time to recognize where all this uncertainty was coming from. Probably the biggest surprise in finding out I’m a 6 was realizing this uncertainty and anxiety is part of my type and not something that’s wrong with me.
J: Yes, it’s normal for 6s to experience things that way. One interesting aspect of this is that you made a comment earlier about not knowing what you wanted to be doing 10 minutes from now. I was thinking that if you have all the spaces in your calendar filled in, then you don’t have to stop and think about what you want to be doing 10 minutes from now. You’ve already got everything—
D: It’s already planned out. But even though it’s all planned out, there’s a part of me that knows there should be [italics mine] things I want to do for me. But I don’t always figure that out. So there’s a disconnect when you ask me what I want to do. What do you mean, “What do I want to do?” There are enough things to do already that I don’t need to be thinking about what I want to do.
J: You don’t have time for it, anyway, because every slot is filled in. You’re also getting positive feedback from other people, so the whole thing is self-reinforcing.
J: That approval is very important for a 6 to get. So as long as you keep getting it, it’s like fuel for the machine, which keeps on running. You’re not really motivated to focus on what you want to do.
D: Yes, because I’m getting something out of this and it isn’t all bad.
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More on the challenges and gifts of being a 6 to follow.