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Struggling with Perfectionism as an INFJ

“Perfectionistic – INFJs are all but defined by their pursuit of ideals. While this is a wonderful quality in many ways, an ideal situation is not always possible – in politics, in business, in romance – and INFJs too often drop or ignore healthy and productive situations and relationships, always believing there might be a better option down the road.” (Reference)

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Dreaming Big Dreams and Making Them Happen

I’ve always been very passionate about my dreams. I love to dream. I love to think about how things could be better and then put a plan together to make those dreams come true. It’s what drives me, what makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. It’s a truly important factor in my life, one that I have come to believe is the most important thing for me.

I’ve always been motivated by looking toward the future. I truly believe the best part of my life is still in front of me. I think I will always believe that.

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My Adventure in Chi Town

Sunday morning. 4am alarm to catch a 6am flight to Chicago. 

The landing was rough being that we landed on a real runway at Midway, but oh so typical for Miami Air. 

Got lost on the way to the track trying desperately to find a Starbucks. Siri was confused. It happens. 

So I settled for a Diet Dr Pepper. I pulled into a convenience store a few minutes from the track. Now mind you, I’ve only seen the Midway part and the race track part of Chicago. So this place looked like Chicago to me. Until I was about two steps from the entrance and this dude comes around the corner. He looks like every stereotype of a gang member rolled into one. I’m sure he had a gun. The things I do for caffeine. 

Once I have sorted through the cooler and finally located my DDP, it couldn’t have been readily visible, I bring the bottles, yes bottleS, to the counter. I look up at the cashier through several layers of plexiglass. She gives me this look: What THE HELL are YOU doing HERE??

I can’t answer that question. I don’t really know myself. 

More stereotypes circling. I’m scared to leave, but don’t want to stay either. How do you RUN to your car without looking suspicious?? 

Finally make it to the track and park my car. The parking lot is outside of the track because, well, team members just aren’t important enough to park inside. We put on the show, but whatevs. 

As I’m walking to the infield a guy on a courtesy shuttle stops to offer me a ride. The following exchange happens:

Where are you headed to? 

The Sprint Cup garage. 

Oh. You don’t have a hot pass. They won’t let you in without a hot pass. 

Will this work (holding up my hard card… or full season credential for you non-racing folks)

I don’t think so.

Really? It’s worked at EVERY OTHER RACE TRACK THIS SEASON. 

Well. I guess you can try it. 

I can’t even…

After that, the race part of race day was relatively uneventful. I took pictures, posted them to Twitter and Facebook, met with sponsor guests, engaged in the dreaded small talk, and watched the race. It was boring at times and awesome at times. You’ll have that at a mile and a half track. With 50 laps to go I reluctantly left. I swore I would never leave a race track before the race was over. I used to harass my dad for even considering it. But I do it every week now…

It was almost an hour drive back to Midway. I was starving to death so I found a Jimmy Johns. This neighborhood looked significantly better than the one this morning. But, alas, more stereotypes…

Upon arriving at the airport, well the back of the airport where we drop our rental cars, I was met with the people from Avis. They asked me for my rental car contract. This is strange. Usually we just abandon our cars and they sort everything out later. They must have been new. They were completely lost.

3.5 hour wait on the plane before we could take off and an hour ride home. With 20 minutes left in our flight we hit some wicked turbulence. I HATE FLYING!!! I can’t say it enough. Finally made it home. That landing was THE WORST landing I have EVER experienced. People were shrieking on the plane. The girl next to me asked if we landed or got shot down. We still aren’t sure.

Just another day in the life. 20 hours from when I got out of bed until I got back into it. I LOVE my job. Wouldn’t trade it for anything… 

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Change

I HATE change. I think that everything should stay the same, ALWAYS. I think nothing should ever be allowed to change. People shouldn’t change, places shouldn’t change, things SHOULDN’T change… EVER.

But, of course, at the same time…

I want everything to change. I HATE the way that it is and it SHOULDN’T be that way. It’s wrong and it’s unacceptable and it needs to be different.

I just don’t know how to reconcile these two things.

I have these moments in my life, that rock my whole existence. And not in a good way. They change everything I think about life. They make it hard to breathe. They feel like everything that is horrible and awful and terrible about the world is all wrapped up in this one thing, one story, one picture, one experience.

I had one yesterday. Something happened, something that I knew was going to happen, someday, but yesterday, someday became today and the terrible thing that I dreaded, happened. It changed the whole way that I think about the world. It changed my whole experience with life, my hopes and dreams, my reasons for being.

The thing is… what happened… it had nothing to do with me. It was someone that I don’t know making a big life decision, but it affected me. And it almost feels like I knew something was going to happen…

I woke up in the morning and didn’t want to go swimming, so I shut the alarm off and stayed in bed, hoping for some more sleep. When that didn’t happen, I got up and took a shower. I’m not a morning person. I’m trying to be… well, pretending to be, because my running and cycling classes are at 5:30am and I find it easier to exercise in the morning. So for me to get out of bed without any reason, that’s a big deal.

But, I wanted to write before I had to work. I ended up working first. My boss’ vacation is wreaking havoc on my “free” time at work. And it is giving me a whole lot of extra work and migraine headaches everyday. I don’t want to be an Air Traffic Controller. That’s pretty much what he does… for a marketing company. It’s not for me.

It’s hard for me to deal with the temporary change of me doing his job while he’s gone. It’s only two weeks, right? How long could that be? How much can happen in two weeks?

So how to adjust to this new reality? The temporary one and the permanent one too. How do you go about simple things when your chest is tight and your throat is scratchy and you’re already stressed out and trying to deal with a migraine?

Cookies for dinner. And tater tots.

I’m not suggesting it. I’m just telling you what I did.

I woke up this morning to a new set of horrors. The ones from yesterday are still there and still hard to think about and accept. But there are new things to think about and new projects to conquer. And as the days go by, the things that changed don’t seem so foreign anymore. They become reality… if you wait long enough.

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Fear and Cliff Jumping

I hate fear. It’s a terrible thing. I have so much of it and it is such a hard thing to get around.

You see, I’m a routine type of person. I like routines of the same old same old. I like knowing what’s going to happen and when. I like people I know, because I know what they are going to say, how they will react to things I say and what I can and can’t say to them. I don’t like people that I don’t know for the same reasons. Too much unknown.

In my job, I travel every weekend. I go to the same places at relatively the same time of year and do pretty much the same thing every weekend. That is exhausting to my boss and lots of other people. They call it boring. I call it safe. It’s enough of a comfort zone for me that I can do my job well and enjoy the environment. The variety comes from meeting new people every week… which I hate. The only thing that keeps me going is the race track. I love the track, whichever one we are talking about. I love racing, with an intense passion. If there is a race going on, I’ll do whatever I need to do to be there.

The problem is… if there isn’t a race track involved, I’m usually not interested in conquering any fears. I like safe. I like my little world with my bike and my computer and my TV. I’m good with that. Most days, I’m good with that.

Other days, I want more. I want things that force me to do things outside of safe. The thing I want the most requires a huge amount of “networking.” I loathe that word. Its the business way of saying “make friends.” I’ve never been very good at that.

When I was young I was incredibly shy, scared of my own shadow, to be honest. I grew out of a little bit of that. But I realized that a lot of what I called shy was actually fear. Recently I have had to push myself through that fear to accomplish the things that I want. I find myself standing on the edge of the cliff quite often. Looking at something that I want, but not sure if I am capable of jumping. I go through the possible outcomes in my head and try to determine if I can handle each one. It never turns out as bad as I think that it could, but still, every time I am on the verge of stepping outside of safe, I get scared.

I had a huge struggle this week. I wanted to go to an event. I knew for certain there would be a bunch of people there that I need to “network” with. It was a great opportunity. Yet, for days, I went back and forth in my head about not going.

On the day of the event, even just a few minutes before, I was still uncertain about going. But I had told someone important that I would go, so I did.

It wasn’t long before I was standing on the edge of the cliff again. There was a person standing in front of me that I knew would be important to get to know.

“Go introduce yourself.” I thought.

Then: “What would I say…” Fear.

Before it was too late I decided just to go for it. I smiled, stumbled through an introduction and waited. She was really nice and I ended up talking to her for a while. Stupid fear.

When I came to the next cliff, I had a lot less fear and was able to stumble through another introduction.

Like I said, fear is a terrible thing. It will paralyze you if you let it.

The trick is to figure out how to not let it.

Everything that you want is on the other side of fear. – Jack Canfield

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Road Racing

Yet another Sunday full of panic and drama. I have this dream that one day I will make it through race day travel without a panic attack. Not yet. Maybe someday.

I think the majority of it starts with a 3:00am alarm. Man that’s rough. It’s hard to sleep the night before. Just about the time I go to sleep, the alarm goes off.

No real issues until we got to Watkins Glen. There was fog around the airport and apparently you can’t land a big plane at a small airport with zero visibility. I would think that you could with the right computer, but maybe not.

So, we circled the area for about 2 hours. The fog was lifting so the pilots decided to try and land the plane, emphasis on try. They pulled up at the last minute. First time for me to be on a plane that had to abort a landing. So not fun. Did I mention I don’t like to fly very much? Take offs and landings make me really nervous. Especially since these planes are really big and the airports are really small, not exactly designed to be landing a big plane there.

So we came around for another try a few minutes later. Thankfully, we made it on the ground safe and sound.

But, as I mentioned, we had circled for over 2 hours. That made us over 2 hours late. When we got off of the plane and out the gate the rental car lady was there, but there was no car with my name on it. Second time in two weeks that has happened. No sleep, already running late equals zero patience. Another 30 minute delay looking for the car.

Of course this has to happen on the day that I am supposed to start calling all of our guests to make sure that they made it to the track ok. And at a race track that I had never been to and new nothing about.

Fun Times

Watkins Glen is a road course race track that is out in the middle of nowhere New York. It’s a 30 min drive from the airport on back country roads with lots of steep hills. It probably would have been a nice scenic drive had I have had the chance to breathe. I’ve heard its a really pretty place with amazing water falls. I still don’t know that first hand though.

When I finally got to the track, which I couldn’t see, I followed the signs to the infield and asked several people where to go. Unfortunately, I followed the wrong signs and got lost in the campground. Just what I needed. I did manage to make it to the infield and after asking several more people found the right parking lot.

This whole process was very frustrating for me. All of the race tracks that I have ever been to are visible from the road. It’s pretty clear where the infield is and usually pretty easy to find the right parking lot. Not this one! Shame on me for not being more prepared.

Had to talk to several more people in order to find the Cup garage and the media center as well.

It’s a road course. It’s all screwed up.

I finally made it to the media center and had a chance to catch my breath. There was a lot going on in there so I didn’t hang out for too long. I made my way to the garage to catch up with our driver’s PR manager. He showed me where pit road was and where the pit box was. At this road course the drivers go around the track counter clockwise, so everything is backwards from normal. You would think that would be easy to remember, but its not. It’s really confusing.

About half of our guests showed up, which is normal. They met with the driver and I gave them the speech about walking to pit road for the opening ceremonies. About an hour later only half of the half showed up. I have no idea why people come to the track and don’t want to walk out to pit road before the race and sit on the pit box to watch the race. It really baffles me, seriously. I would have killed for an opportunity like that, regardless of the driver!

It’s such an awesome experience to walk down pit road like you own the place! To stand next to the cars and watch all of the pre-race excitement… I just can’t put it into words. I don’t know why anyone would miss that.

A bit earlier in the day the PR manager that I was hanging out with got tapped to spot for the driver on the back part of the course. So, he asked me to do his job for the day. That meant once the opening ceremonies were finished I sent the guests down to the pit box and stayed at the car while the driver got in the car. I got to be the official hat and sunglasses holder for the day! lol

I also got to take pit notes, which is basically writing down everything that happens in the race that pertains to our car and what the driver and crew chief talk about during the race. Very cool.

Once I made it down to the pit box and the race started, within 10 laps all of the guests left. So, I went to the media center. There is air conditioning in there and I’m not in the way in there. Plus they have TVs so you can see what’s going on. I opted to take my pit notes on the computer. It’s way easier.

About 2/3 through the race there was a big wreck that cause damage to the barriers. They had to be repaired before the race could continue. So, as was the duty of “official hat holder”, I made my way back to pit road to wait for the driver. They parked the cars on the front stretch and the drivers got out.

It took more than an hour to repair the barriers. The drivers hung out behind the pit box and ate popsicles. They talked to the crew guys for a while and talked to each other. Finally they got back in the cars and got the race started again.

It took a bunch of cautions and another red flag to finish the race.

Me, being so prepared and all, went a different way out of the track. I was trusting my sweet iPhone to get me to the airport, but I didn’t have very much confidence in the way I was going. More country roads, lots of houses, no gas stations or restaurants in sight. Not cool for someone who needs to put gas in their rental car before I got back to the airport.

I drove around for 30 mins after I found the airport looking for a gas station. After a couple of wild goose chases from highway signs, I finally found one. One that didn’t take credit cards. Thankfully, for once in my life I had cash.

When I got back to the airport I realized that had I went the other way on the highway I would have found civilization. Even more frustrating that driving around for 30 mins!

Finally made it to the plane though and surprisingly enough ours was the earlier of the two to leave. We made it home by 9:30pm, though the landing was a lot rougher than usual. That was about the fifth time I was positive that I was going to die that day.

On the plane ride home this guy sat down next to me and started talking to me. I’m sure I was looking at him like he had lost his mind. That never happens. Lots of people stare at me, but no one ever says anything. Not sure what he was up to. Maybe he was just chatty or maybe he had other intentions. I don’t know. But the ring on his left hand kept me from saying too much. So not going there.

All in all I survived another race day. I visited another state and another race track that I had not seen before.

Back to Michigan next weekend.

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Through the Clouds

From August 3, 2014:

I was on a plane twice today to and from the race track in Pocono, PA. The forecast called for a 50% chance of rain. Not cool. Too many rain delays already this year.

I always sit by the window on planes, when I can. I love to look out the window and see things I’ve never seen before. I imagine the lives of the people down below and wonder what they have planned for the day. I wonder if it is half as cool as what I have planned. Probably not. Not much can top a NASCAR race in my opinion. There is nowhere else I would choose to be.

During the first flight the clouds started to build. And before I knew it we were in the middle of them. There was no sign of sky above or little people below. It’s impossible to tell which direction we were going. You have to have some kind of faith to fly like that! I wonder what pilots did before they had computers to guide them.

My life reminds me of flying through clouds. I go on for hours, days, months not knowing where I am going or what I am doing. I have tremendous faith in the process though. I have to. It’s worked out before. Surely it will work out again… right?

All the things I spent years dreaming about I now have. I wanted:

 

  1. To go to the racetrack regularly
  2. A Hard Card (an annual credential to all of the Sprint Cup races)
  3. To be an important part of a race team
  4. To make enough money to pay my bills
  5. To have peace and quiet at home
  6. To find myself

 

I have all of those things, so much to be thankful for. But there is still a list of things that I want:

 

  1. To work for a certain company
  2. To have a husband of my own
  3. To have a family

 

Everything else seems to pale in comparison to these things. Every time that I start to get overwhelmed and concerned (which happens a LOT) something seems to remind me to stop and trust. Have faith. I’m not the pilot. I’m just the passenger. We will make it through the uncertainty of the clouds… in time.

And hopefully, just hopefully, like today, it will be a beautiful day for a race!

 

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9 Miles

I was looking through my workouts this past week and saw that my coach scheduled a 9 mile run for Monday. I got scared. I’ve never run 9 miles before. It seemed like an impossible thing to do. Plus, it has been so hot and humid outside. I get inspired to run when it’s about 65. I get inspired to sleep in the air conditioning when its 95 with a dew point of 75… aka rain forrest miserable. My asthma makes it impossible to breathe in those conditions.

I thought about this run all week and all weekend. I was dreading it as I sat on the couch for 5 hours on Sunday watching the race from Indy. Guilt started to creep in for skipping my workout that day. Thankfully for me, I use guilt as motivation for the next day.

I knew that 9 miles was going to take a long time, like over 2 hours, so I set my alarm for 5am. When I woke up Monday morning it was dark and raining. Probably would have went anyway, but then I heard thunder as well. Not good. So I did the only reasonable thing: went back to bed for 3 hours.

It kept creeping into my head the whole day… 9 miles.

By the time I got home there was no doubt in my mind. I was going to finish all 9 miles if it was the last thing I did! I love the days when there is no doubt, no internal battle over whether or not to go run. Those are the worst battles for me.

I laced up my shoes and headed out. I had Gatorade and Strava ready to go. I had also mapped out a route and knew exactly what it would take to complete all of the miles.

Before I hit the first half mile there is a busy road that I have to cross. In the town where I live there are crosswalks with signs that people are supposed to stop. Most don’t. But some do. A few cars blew past and then one in the lane farthest from me started slowing down. I assumed he was stopping for me. Not so much. I took off to cross the street and realized the moron was turning left (without a turn signal). He almost ran over me! Then looked at me like I had done something wrong! I hope he learned his lesson. I sure learned mine! That run was almost over before it started!

Keep digging.

I had a particularly rough day at work. Five minutes before 5pm my boss sends me a message. “Don’t leave yet. I need to talk to you.” Never good. My first thought:

“Oh hell. What did I do now?”

The conversation wasn’t so bad, but our communication styles are so different that we constantly run into issues. He’s OCD particular about EVERYTHING and I’m more laid back. In theory it sounds like a good combination. It’s not. And of course he said something that bothered me and I took it personally. I always do.

This incident was on my mind for the first 6 miles of my run. I tried everything I could to push it out. But it kept coming back. I planned every snarky, sarcastic, nasty response that I could think of. In my head, I yelled at him for why he was wrong and why I was right. I had some great arguments for why he was being ridiculous and why the whole thing was so not the issue he was making it.

I’m great at telling people exactly what I think about them… in my head, way after the confrontation is over. I’ll tell them again and again until I feel like I’m going crazy. But the good thing that comes out of it is that I usually know how to respond better, at the right time, the next time.

I wrestled with this issue for a long time, but I came to a sensible solution. One that didn’t involve snark or nastiness and that lowered the rick of me getting fired. Thank you endorphins!

It’s not easy to run 9 miles. Everything is telling you to quit. My head is the worst. So many negative thoughts. I struggle to breathe after about a mile so I have to walk for a couple of minutes to catch my breath. At those times my legs start to hurt and my head tells me things like, “It’s ok. You ran 4 miles. You can totally walk the rest of the way.” On this day, I pushed those thoughts aside and kept plugging away.

About mile 5 a lady on a bike passed me and said, “You’re doing a great job! Keep going!” God bless her! I think she was an angel. I love those people who can say things like that to total strangers. When I grow up, I’m going to be like them!

The last 3 miles were the worst. There was a dog (I hate dogs) and people in the way and sweat mixed with sun screen lotion running in my eyes. In the middle of this I realized what a nice day it was. Beautiful even! The temperature was perfect and the wind was blowing just enough. I was more than inspired to keep digging.

I don’t think I have ever felt so good about finishing something. Not for a long time anyway. It’s a high that I can’t really describe. I suppose you would have to do something really crazy to understand it. Something like running 9 miles. It’s the same high that I get when I’m standing on pit road at the race track and realize that I’m living my dream… and getting paid to do it. It’s pretty amazing.

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Contradiction

My life is a constant contradiction. I’ve known this for a while, but it seems to be getting worse.

For starters: I’m a life-long vegetarian (and leaning into veganism) but I don’t really like animals. I don’t really hate them either. I just don’t like them. They are fine outside, in a fence, where I don’t have to touch them or smell them. They are also fine in the wild, where they belong. I just don’t want them in my house.

I have a tendency to be very honest and direct with people, but I don’t like it when people are direct with me. I can dish it out, but I can’t take it. I assume this applies to a lot of people though.

I love fast cars, but I hate to drive. True story.

I work in marketing and I’m not a very social person.

I am highly judgmental, but I don’t like it when people judge me.

No lesson here. Just an observation. The first step is admitting that you have a problem, right?

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Difficult People

I had this job a few years ago at a retail store. It was a brand new store that was just being built and my job was to help fill it with merchandise before opening day. It took six weeks to stock the store. Most of that time was in meetings. We had a morning meeting, a before lunch meeting, an after lunch meeting, an afternoon meeting… It was ridiculous. We had meetings to get ready for meetings to prepare for meetings to talk about other meetings. None of these meetings helped put items on the shelves, which was the whole point of us being there. The whole thing seemed very unproductive to me.

I had this other job where there was a massive communication problem, but it was because of the lack of communication. My boss would tell me one thing and I would do it. While I was doing this thing the plan would change and I wouldn’t get informed. Then, I would get copied on a string of emails from my boss and his boss and clients talking about why I had messed up. After this I would get subjected to a “Why are you so stupid” lecture from my boss. Sometimes he would ask how I made it through college being so dumb. I never could explain it. He could never see that the problem was with his lack of communication, not my intelligence.

If only I were clairvoyant like he assumed that I should be. Even then, I’m sure there would still be a problem and somehow it would be my fault.

How do you work with such people? What baffles me even more is that I always seem to get stuck with the extremely difficult ones. Are there that many impossible people or is God trying to teach me something? I’m not certain.

Even when I was in the first grade I was around the impossible children. We had desks that faced each other. We would move them every 4 to 6 weeks. Mine faced the worst child in the world. He was loud and obnoxious all of the time. I was quiet and patient and shy. So, my teacher tortured me by setting me next to him. We changed desks several times and I always ended up with his desk facing mine.

I finally got the courage to ask the teacher why she was torturing me. She said that I was the only person who did not make this child worse. Somehow my being good turned into a punishment for me.

I still can’t make sense of that.

 

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