What Downton Abbey and Myers-Briggs taught me about living simply
It all started with Downton Abbey and the internet. You see, I happened upon this post in which the author created a brilliant infographic lining up each character from Downton Abbey with a Myers-Briggs personality type.
I’ve taken some form of the Myers-Briggs test at least 4,092,726 times in my life, but who can remember a bunch of letters? Not me. So every time I’d read something about the test…I’d take it again because I couldn’t remember what I was.
Until this week.
Apparently, I’m Anna or some sort of weird hybrid between Anna, Sybil, and a little bit of Mary. Now that? I can remember that.
As I read more about my ENFP personality, I learned that I can get really excited about things and fall into a perpetual cycle of trying new things and not finishing the…
Or I can take on way too much, simply because itallsoundssoveryinteresting.
And then, there is my life motto: “Do as little as possible, as well as possible.”
See? They don’t jive.
The Personality vs Life Motto Smackdown
But regardless of how anti-Kat it is, I am determined (at some point in my life) to become a woman of excellence and white space. I dream of being someone who does things well and creates space in my life so that I can be successful in the core things that matter most to me, and yet have enough grace and energy to carry other people’s burdens.
But right now, I look like an airport valet transporting luggage for a family of 6 chronic over-packers on a ski vacation at Christmastime.
So, for all my ENFP friends (and everyone else), how do we live simply?
1. The first step, for me, has been to avoid excuses. I could say it’s not my personality. But then I could also say that my muscles aren’t naturally strong – no, I need to push them to make them that way. In the same way, I need to exercise my character to strengthen it.
2. Evaluate opportunities. I measure each new opportunity against my motto and my life mission statement.
3. Limit Projects. I “try” to limit myself to 3 projects at a time. Obviously, this is kind of arbitrary considering all the various facets of life, but if I have more than 3 big things fighting for space in my brain, I know it’s time to scale back.
4. Measure relationships. If I’m feeling a strain in my relationships with my husband, my children, my friends or with God, then I know I’m probably overloaded and need to simplify.
A Success Story
It’s an ongoing process, but I’ve seen some wonderful growth in the past couple of years. In fact, just last year, for no particular reason, I felt that I needed to step back from traveling and speaking for all of 2013. So, for the first time in several years, I didn’t fly anywhere or take on any new speaking engagements.
I didn’t really know why I was doing it at the time, but I know now…
This year has unexpectedly been the most challenging and busy work season my husband has ever encountered. I can’t imagine what our lives would have been like if I hadn’t intentionally stepped back to create white space for our home and family. I love that I’ve been able to carry that burden with him, so that he can be awesome at work and feel supported.
The ENFP in me loves the result of living simply.
Because I’m insatiably curious, do you know your personality type? (You can click here to take a 5 minute test.) Share it in the comments. Does your personality make living simply easy or hard?
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