Taking Life As It Comes

I had an “aha” moment a few days ago, after reading Val Nelson’s article “Your Worst Trait Could Be Your Superpower“. Like me, Val is an introvert who coaches introverts, and she had this to say about her own “worst trait”:

“Another side of me I used to criticize is the part of me that wants to find the easy (“lazy”) way to do things, but now I see that is the part of me that understands finding flow wherever possible. And now I see how that gift is what makes me a good career and business coach, because I can help others find more ease in their work. Who knew that my “lazy” side was actually my gift for finding flow? Now it’s totally central to my work!

My point is that when I learned to work with my natural flow, I can spend more time in my peak creative zone and thus bring my best work to the world. Those natural gifts make up my superpower. Now I get to help others find their natural flow!”

Ping!

That’s when I had a light bulb moment – because what Val says in her article describes ME!!

I also realised, a couple of hours later, why it is that I’m so good at Taking Life As It Comes. It’s because I’m a specific type of introvert. In Myers Briggs terminology, I’m an INFP – and for the purposes of this post, I’m just going to focus on the “P” part of that.

P = “Perceiver” (as opposed to “Judger” – although it has nothing at all to do with judging!).

Perceivers generally don’t like planning – they prefer to leave their options open and to be more spontaneous. I definitely recognise this trait in myself. They also tend to see time flowing through them, from front (future) to back (past), and may be rooted in the present.

If someone invites me to an event, some time in the future, I will generally put it in my diary, but I’ll leave making a decision about it until nearer the time. And even if I’ve said I’ll go along, I might get cold feet and back out at the last minute – or pray that someone cancels the event!!

All of this means that I tend to live very much in the present.

When I’m coaching, for example, I don’t have much idea of how the session will go – I don’t have a plan, or an intended outcome. Which makes it difficult to explain to people how coaching with me works. It would be so much easier if I could say: we follow such and such process. The thing is, I enjoy being as much on the knife edge as my clients – paying absolute attention to every moment as it unfolds.

Being rooted in the present also means that I don’t tend to worry about the future – because I have little or no concept of what the future might bring. This can be very handy when the going gets tough, I can tell you – when those around me are focusing on the inevitable gloom and doom.

For me, looking to the future is a bit like looking at a deck of index cards, stretching out into infinity before me. I can only see the first card clearly – and the top of the second and third cards, if I stand on tip-toes. But beyond that, the details are masked.

I don’t think my relaxed attitude about the future is totally down to my lack of forward vision, though. Even if I were a better planner, I wouldn’t be able to plan for every eventuality. So I rely on another of my super powers – which is the knowledge that, no matter what happens, I’ll find a way through it.

That knowledge will no doubt comfort me, as I continue my quest to shine my light and invest in my greatness. 🙂

7 thoughts on “Why I’m So Good At Taking Life As It Comes

  1. When I read this Julia, I thought you’d been living in my mind but I just hadn’t realised it! I’ve not thought of my habit of deciding at the last minute whether I’ll go to an event was a ‘P’ thing before though – just a by-product of being an introvert. Whatever the reason, the outcome is the same I guess 🙂
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  2. Rose Carty

    Wow. I’m a fellow INFP and this really struck a chord with me. After this, I sat down and examined one of my ‘worst traits’ and soon saw how amazingly brilliant I am afterall! Thanks Julia

  3. Julia Barnickle

    Ha ha! That’s funny, Gina! I think that “not deciding until the last minute” is fairly common to all types of introverts, but I guess the “P” thing just adds to the indecisiveness! 😉

  4. Julia Barnickle

    I’m so glad to hear that, Rose – it just goes to show that it does us good, sometimes, to re-evaluate traits that we’ve assumed must be negative!

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  6. What an inspirational post! My problem is that I’m always worried about the future, made worse by my breast cancer experience. I’ve been trying to live in the present and be more mindful of each day, but it’s not always easy. 🙂

  7. Julia Barnickle

    Thank you, Beth! I totally agree. If the present situation isn’t great, it’s nice to be able to look to a future when things will be better – but if the future is also uncertain, there’s not much room for positivity. I admit there have been times this year when, not knowing what the future might hold, it was harder to deal with bad things that were going on in the present. But I find that, as soon as I focus on reading a book, or writing, or taking photographs, or doing some work for a client I like,… it takes my mind off my problems. It’s like a form of meditation. 🙂

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