Discovering What You Like

It astounds me sometimes how much of a challenge it is to figure out what you like. It's just one piece of that elusive "self-awareness" we all wish we had. While it seems like knowing what you like should be quite simple, some people spend their entire lives trying to figure it out. By the end of your life, there's not much time left to enjoy doing what you love, so it's an incredible thing to figure it out as early on as possible.

When you're young, people are always asking what you want to be when you grow up. Eventually you hit the teenage years and it seems like all you hear about is how lazy you are. ;)

I think something that makes it hard for people is the level of investment you're expected to put into things once you discover your gifts, talents, etc. Think about how hard it can be to decide what you want to eat for lunch, especially at a restaurant where there are lots of options. That is a much smaller investment that will most likely only affect you that day.

People are envious of those who discover what they like and are going after it. I think in many people's minds, it's one of the reasons we're alive. Especially when the thing you love to do crosses over with some benefit to the world/humanity. It's extremely fulfilling compared to another 8 hour shift at your local fast food restaurant.

While I can't say that I hold the keys to discovering your destiny overnight, I feel like I've uncovered some tools. I'm sure the first one isn't hard to guess: Personality Type. I find that by going through someone's functions with them, you begin to uncover their needs, the way they see the world, and the things they're naturally gifted at. Someone with a desire to make the world beautiful will often have a preference for Se (extraverted Sensing). This is a great hint that perhaps this person would be enjoy something in the realm of the arts. If someone is obsessed with learning new things and has a high level of Ti (introverted Thinking), that's a great place to start, but if you see that they have Se as well - you know they can make great mechanics, computer hardware repair people, or something else in the realm of understanding how a physical product works. If they have Ne instead, paired with the Ti - they can be awesome researchers. Ti with Ne can intelligently study things and find connections that no one else finds. These are just a couple basic examples that don't even take into account the life experience the person might have.

My dad is an SeFi (ESFP). SeFi's are usually determined to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment. He's a smart guy who was in the right place at the right time. He taught himself HTML in his early 20's and landed a job with Dell that was stable and supported the family. Eventually that stability started to disappear. He was laid off, was unemployed for a while, worked for another tech company, and then back to Dell again. When he was 40, he started to get into photography. For the first time he discovered something he was truly passionate about. He jokes about how it took him so long, but there are plenty of people out there who will never find that thing.

My dad loves to live in the moment, make the world beautiful, enjoy the company of happy people, and experience new things all the time. It's not surprising that Fashion Photography suits him just fine. He flies out twice a year to New York to shoot fashion week. He has an eye for capturing beauty in the moment. Fashion changes constantly. It's perfect for an SeFi!

Unfortunately, not everything is perfect. He's got a family to support and photography isn't even close to paying the bills right now. His Fi hates not being able to provide because it's such a basic, concrete way to show that he cares and loves us. Luckily he's got my mum. While she certainly wouldn't mind rolling in cash, she has a stubbornly held belief in my dad as a photographer. When he gets frustrated that he can't seem to get anywhere, she refuses to let him sulk and sell off his photography equipment. It's clear that he's highly gifted and there's nothing else he would rather do. She is determined that he will succeed and refuses to let him give up.

My mum is SiTe (ISTJ). She's got a very solid, stable understanding (Si) of what healthy people look like, and the steps necessary (Te) to take a broken person and make them whole again. For a long time, when she counseled people, some of them would get attached to her and start demanding loads of emotional attention (Fi). At that point, the fun of fixing people starts going away, and suddenly she's stuck with a bunch of whiners. After years of this, I introduced her to life coaching. In life coaching, all the answers come from the person being helped. Now my mum can coach people through their issues without them trying to dump the ownership of their problems into her lap. Her Fi gets to relax now, and be used when she chooses rather than being tugged on left and right by people she has no relationship with.

Type has become a legend in my mind that I understand people through. It's not that I am trying to shove them into boxes, but it really helps when I know I'm interacting with, say, an Fi instead of an Fe, or someone that's more in touch with their S than their N. I see patterns, like sarcastic SiTe women, and I also see the exceptions of a pattern sometimes, like me (TiNe) and my best friend and wifeypants (FiSe) actually getting along.

When I sit down with you and walk you through the process of discovering what you like, I really do believe that all the answers are inside you. You just need to be asked the right questions so that you know what to look for. If I know that you're Se, we can look for ways that you might enjoy making the world beautiful. The functions give us a place to start and questions to ask, and you fill in the blanks from there.

Sound like fun? Shoot us an email at and let me know that you want to discover what you like!