Why Difficult Goals Matter for INFJs
When I was 15, I fell in love with race cars. It was such a random thing, but I loved them. People kept asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I had no idea, but I knew that I wanted to do something big and meaningful. I needed something that was way bigger than me to focus on, to push me, to help me fulfill my potential and be happy with my life. I don’t know how I knew that I needed that big goal, but it has made all of the difference in my life.
You need a big goal too, something a lot bigger than you that will push you to be the best version of yourself. Writing will help you get there.
We’ll talk about this and a lot more on this episode of The Quiet Ones.
When I was 15 I sat down to watch a NASCAR race with my dad. The company he worked for was doing a lot of business with freight companies, like FedEx and UPS. They sponsored cars, so they invited my dad to the racetrack. He got really excited about racing and started watching it regularly. I was curious about his interest, so I sat down to watch it with him.
I don’t know what it is about cars going around in circles, but I was mesmerized. It was so much fun to learn about drivers and crew chiefs and strategy and tires. I loved it. I couldn’t get enough.
I watched every TV show about racing, read every book I could get my hands on, learning about physics and aerodynamics, anything that would help me understand better. This was probably my first INFJ deep dive and it lasted for about 20 years.
All throughout high school people kept asking me what I was going to do after I graduated. I hated that question. I didn’t want to graduate because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew that I didn’t want to be average or mediocre. I wanted to do something special and meaningful. I explored mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering and even being an astronaut.
Then I realized I really didn’t want to have to work. That felt like a 4 letter word to me. I really wanted to have fun, to enjoy my life, especially since I would be spending so much time working. Since I loved NASCAR so much I figured that if I got a job in the industry then it wouldn’t feel like work. It would be fun.
My whole perspective on life changed once I made the decision that I was going to work in Nascar. I wanted it so bad that I wasn’t willing to let anything get in the way. Everything was either something that helped my goal, something that hurt my goal or irrelevant.
I was willing to endure things that I never would have otherwise. I was willing to put myself through hell as long as I viewed it as something that helped my goal.
No one understood my drive or desire. So many people told me I was crazy and I would never get what I wanted and there was no way it was going to work out. I didn’t care. I kept pushing.
To be honest, I didn’t really understand my drive either. I just knew that this was the only thing that I had. Without it, I was lost and hopeless and I so didn’t want to be lost and hopeless. I hated that feeling more than anything else. So I desperately clung to my goal and kept pushing forward.
The reasoning of a life goal
When you have a goal, you have something to look forward to, something to push you forward. I believe everyone needs a big goal in their life, a life goal if you will. We all need something to focus on, something that’s bigger than us that will help us figure out how to be the best version of ourselves.
When you have a goal, you view everything in your life through a different lens. Everything falls into 3 categories:
Things that will help you achieve your goal
Things that will not help you achieve your goal
At one point in my life I started running. I hired a running coach and got really serious about working out every day. He said that I needed to start cycling and swimming to help my running. I hate swimming, but that hate didn’t matter to me so much because I was so focused on running that I wanted to do anything to achieve that goal.
I was embarrassed to admit that I never learned how to swim underwater without holding my nose. I didn’t want to tell anyone that and I didn’t know how to fix it on my own. But running was more important than the embarrassment, so I fessed up and told my coach my problem. He suggested a swimming teacher who told me that half of her students were adults like me. And I learned to swim underwater without holding my nose within a few short lessons.
What makes you happy
People think that achieving goals is what gives you a dopamine rush, that makes you happy. It’s not. Whether you achieve your goal or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s working for the goal that gives you meaning in your life. It’s striving for something bigger than you that gives you the motivation to keep going. That’s what makes you happy.
Why should you bother doing something extremely difficult? Because it’s worth it. Because the opposite is suffering. The opposite is feeling lost and feeling that your life is meaningless.
What’s the point of suffering? Especially if you are the cause of your own suffering? There is no point at all! Life is way too short to be the cause of your own suffering, to know your life is miserable and it’s completely your fault.
How do you get a difficult goal?
Ok, so you know that you need a goal now. I’ve convinced you of that. You’re probably as scared of being lost and hopeless as I am. But you don’t know what goal to focus on.
I’ve been there too. There was a point when racing was no longer the goal. I felt that familiar lost and hopeless feeling and I didn’t know how to stave it off. I struggled for more than 2 years to find something that was bigger than me that would help me. I explored a few things, though it’s difficult to explore when you’re in the depths of depression.
That was when I found writing. I wanted to write for my whole life. I knew that I could write and I wanted to. I had toyed with writing fiction for a while and read a bunch of books about it. I’d also started about 5 or 6 blogs that I wrote 2 - 3 posts on each and then abruptly deleted them. I was somewhere between embarrassed of my feelings and terrified of any kind of reaction or judgment. So I wanted to write, and I’d started on it, but wasn’t really committed to up to that point.
In December of 2018, I finally decided to get committed and focus. I realized that this was the goal that I needed, this was the thing that was bigger than me, that I could focus on and would make me a better person. That’s when I started my blog, INFJ Woman. It pushed me to learn more about myself and to help others by sharing that knowledge.
It has done more than just that though. Over the last 4 years, not only have I learned to write, but I’ve also learned how to handle criticism. I’ve learned that other people’s negative opinions don’t matter as much as I thought they did and that the response was overwhelmingly positive, which I never would have expected.
I’ve also learned about podcasting and making videos for YouTube. I have overcome my fear of being on camera… well I’m making a lot of progress on that fear, I guess I should say. But I’m not terrified anymore, which is massive progress for me.
I’ve expanded what I knew about Instagram and I’ve learned how to connect with all kinds of people all over the world in a much deeper and more authentic way.
I’ve also learned a lot about endurance, something that I thought I knew about, something that running taught me, something that I thought college taught me, but I really had no idea until I started my blog. We live in a world where everyone expects immediate results. When you get a headache, you reach for the Advil and your headache goes away. When you’re curious about an actor on TV or a recipe or dinner you grab your phone and Siri and Google are their with what you need.
We hear about people who are overnight successes a lot, especially in blog writing and podcasts and online businesses. But few people talk about a work that goes into their “overnight success.” Few people talk about starting with an impossible goal, that is a million times bigger than you are, that pushes you and pulls you to be better than you are right now, that forces you to grow beyond what you thought was even possible.
One of my favorite bloggers is Glennon Doyle. She used to blog about depression and anxiety and eating disorders, all things that I struggled with. I was listening to an interview that she did not too long ago and someone asked her what it felt like to be an overnight success. She said It felt weird to be called an overnight success because she had spent ten years blogging every single day. so she really wasn't an overnight success. It's just that no one saw the struggle before the success. But it was that struggle that made her the writer that everyone fell in love with.
So back to how do you get to the difficult goal…
You have to find something that you love, something that you’ve probably already started. That thing that keeps nagging at you that you want to do, but you think you’re not good enough or that you could never do it like other people do. That’s the thing to focus on.
You don’t have to accomplish this goal overnight and you shouldn’t. This should be a goal that takes you years to accomplish. It’s something you can focus on for a while that will give you meaning and purpose in your life.
If writing happens to be your thing, you’re in the right place! We’re going to be talking a lot more about writing in the coming weeks.
Season 5 Extras
Writing is such an important part of our lives as INFJs. It’s truly life changing in so many ways from problem solving to communication to healing from your past and planning your future. I want to help you learn more about writing and dig deeper into how it can help you, so I’ve created 8 additional episodes of The Quiet Ones that you can access for free at https://infjwoman.com/seasonfiveextras/.