When God created man, He saw that it was not good for him to be alone so He created a help-meet: woman. Many people think the Scripture says He created a help-mate; but this is not true. The translation is actually help-meet, which means of equal value.
I am Anna’s help-meet and Anna is my help-meet. We compliment each other. We gain strength from each other. We rely on the value of difference of each other BUT, we also LEARN from each other. This could not be more true for me. I am a natural introvert, which means I gain energy from spending time by myself. But no one can deny the magnetism of a super extrovert; Anna is this extrovert. Where I am good, no phenomenal, at developing processes, creating original content, exploring the possibilities – I was never the person that was going to be the life of the party. But Anna is.
As I entered the adult world at age 19, Anna and I had just gotten together. But we had already know each other for almost three years. We developed a friendship while I was only a senior in high school. We would meet at Gold’s Gym every afternoon (in between her morning and evening supervisor shifts at the telemarketing company we both worked at and in between by my morning Advanced Placement high school classes and telemarketer evening shift). EVERYONE no only knew Anna, but LOVED Anna. She knew everyone at the gym and everyone knew her. Anna has never met a stranger. This is in stark contrast to me: I could completely avoid interactions with people forever if I had it my way. My boss used to tell me she’s never met anyone like me. I now know why: I have the rarest personality type there is: INTJ or Architect. This Intuitive-Thinking-Judging-Assertive Introvert is an imaginative and strategic thinker, who has a plan for everything. Only 2% of the population have this personality, and even less women with only 0.8%. BUT I used not be an INTJ. Research suggests if people do not change by the age of 30, they probably never will. I used to be an ISTJ or Logistician – practical and fact-minded whose reliability cannot be doubted.
How did I literally become a different person? As I’ve opened up to my family over the last 6 months, they’ve said things like I’m really enjoying getting to know you. This was odd to me, but now I understand – I am a different person than I was growing up. My cousin stopped by to see me at the hospital a few days ago. She had never met Anna and it was the first time we saw each other since we were teenagers (over 20 years ago). She later told me that I was she loved to see my happy – that I was glowing; and that my energy was contagious. She was the second person in 2 weeks that had told me I was “glowing.” The only time, before now, I heard people say this was when they referenced a woman well into her pregnancy.
My 17-year-old self told Anna while we were at Gold’s Gym, I’m not trying to be rude or weird – but if you died you would have a lot of people at your funeral. This was the only way I could describe the sheer magnetism Anna possessed. I wanted a piece of that. This made her a natural connector and relator. Watching her interact with people through drive-thru, at church, anywhere was (and is still) one of my favorite things to do. I literally get sucked into simply watching this exchange of right-now, present, nothing or no one else matters LIFE.
As I entered into the adult-world, I realized that no matter how smart and intelligent I was; it would not attain its full potential unless I was able to tap into some of what Anna had naturally – the ability to connect with people. So, like every astute introvert, I conducted research. I watched her every move. I taught myself how to be a people-person, how to connect, and engage with people. I became obsessed with the idea of being able to transform my quiet, reserved, studious self into someone that could connect with someone on a deep level. I began to reach out to people. It wasn’t always the same result, particularly at first, that Anna experienced. But as the years progressed, I learned more and practiced even more. I found myself gaining successes in this area. I began to excel at work and became team leader, then clinical supervisor, and finally nurse educator. I found myself teaching new millennial graduate nurses how to connect with people. I conducted an entire class on how to do this. I shared my story – find someone who connects with people naturally and observe their behavior. What do they do? How can you begin to integrate that into your interactions with people? I firmly believe I helped cultivate an entire pocket of nurses that were able to realize developing people skills was just as important, if not more important, than having all the knowledge in the word. There is a famous quote I projected onto my PowerPoint presentation at the start of each class that read: No one cares how much you know unless they know how much you care. I’ve just discovered the author was Theodore Roosevelt.
If we are to grow and evolve, not only as individuals, but as the human race, society, culture, people, and the global community; I strongly believe we must learn from each other. I was able to transform the portion of my personality that dictates how I perceive the world into something different. I was a sensor, but now am intuitive. Sensors make great nurses. They like to be told what to do, provided with a list of rules and guidelines, and execute those instructions. This is extremely important for a nurse. A nurse must know what physiologically changes are normal, abnormal, or sign of impending critical danger to their patient. And implement the best course of action, following evidence-based practice and physician orders. On the other hand, a sensor can be held back by their lack of getting a full understanding of the overall picture of a scenario. The best nurses are those that can also go on their ‘gut feeling’ that something is not right and act on that intuition. I was able to become someone who used by gut, or intuition, to perceive. This transformed how I perceived, related, and interacted with the world.
What made JFK so successful? He, like me, was an INTJ or Architect personality. On the other hand, so is Hilary Clinton. But most people would not consider JFK and Hillary Clinton to be anywhere near the same. Yet, they are. I believe the difference is that JFK was able to tap into people who had what he was missing. I have been able to do that with Anna, who is an ESFP or Entertainer. Extovert-Sensing-Feeling-Perception. You probably have heard of some ESFP’s – they include Elvis, Ronald Reagan, Beyonce, Dolly Parton, and Bill Clinton. Oddly enough, you may recognize some INTJ’s, that include Hillary Clinton, Sir Isaace Newton, Bill Gates, Thomas Jefferson, and Colin Powell. If Hillary Clinton would have been able to tap into some of her husband Bill’s ESFP Entertainer personality, would she be our president right now? Who knows for sure? But probably.
But I will tell you this – I would rather be JFK than Hillary Clinton. JFK was able to tap into someone’s ESFP. Marilyn Monroe was an ESFP. When they say opposites attract, it couldn’t be more true. Anna and I are literal 180-degree opposites.
We all need inspiration. When you are inspired, you can do anything. Napoleon Hill wrote one of the most influential books ever written: Think and Grow Rich, where he researched 500 millionaires in the 1930s to discover their secret. This list included JP Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Charles M. Schwab. Want to know what the highest energy medium was? Sex. Yes, sex. Think about it – when you are first falling in love with someone, you can do anything. You can go without sleep, food, any and everything. Napoleon Hill discovered, in 1930s America, that if you could tap into your sexual energy; there was nothing you couldn’t achieve. I know … #MindBlown
Let’s learn from each other. Let’s grow from each other. People were made for human interaction and connection. For over 15 years, Anna tried to hide out. The year was 2001 and we yet again, worked at the same place: a property appraisal business. I was in nursing school full-time and worked their part-time in accounts receivable. Anna was the full-time appraisal coordinator. Like every other area of her life, people loved her. Clients, such as Bank of America and Wachovia, would only talk to Anna. They sent her flowers, candy, and balloons on her birthday. Our boss was drawn to this magnetism, as well, and was in love with Anna. The problem was, however, that sometimes our boss would aggressively yell at and scold Anna. This was problematic, not only for Anna, but for me. I still remember witnessing the harsh spoken words one Friday afternoon. When the boss stopped yelling at Anna and returned to her office, I immediately walked back to Anna’s cubical and said if you want to walk out right now; we can. I will go with you. You wanna go? We decided to wait until the end of the work day once everybody else left and then we did go, and never went back.
This was the best decision I ever made and I would make it again. BUT, it was also devastating to Anna. She became severely depressed. Just 2 years earlier, her dad had died. Anna was a daddy’s girl. Anna was brought into her dad’s life at a time when everyone hated him. He was the pastor of the church, but was having an affair. The church elected his wife, Anna’s mother, as pastor in his place. Anna’s daddy needed Anna. He needed love. But Anna needed her dad. Her dad was her everything. Where her mom was jealous of Anna’s gifts, her daddy basked in them. He prayed everyday for her happiness. Although it had been 2 years since her dad died, once she walked off her job – it was like everything she had been pushing down all surfaced up to the top.
Anna began staying more and more at my college dorm. Since I went to a mostly all-girls college that was also Baptist; guys were not allowed to spend the night. BUT Anna was, because she was not a guy. A few months later, my college merged with a larger, private university and we found ourselves in a brand-new college campus apartment. Anna kept bringing more and more personal items and clothes from her mom’s house. One day, she looked up and realized “we were living together.”
As I excelled in life and career, from taking what I had learned from Anna’s natural magnetism; Anna withdrew more and more (probably into my comfortableness with being by myself).
After 15 years of dealing with agoraphobia, Anna’s was forced to deal with it and overcome it in the spring of 2017. Her mother was in a nursing home and no longer could she avoid going out. She HAD to go spend time with her mom. Anna came alive. As an extrovert, she gains her energy from being around people. And energy did she gain! She lost over 100 pounds, began to in-person connect with people again, and thrived. Health issues crept up form over a decade of not adequately caring for herself and in the autumn of 2017 – she had 2 major surgeries within a couple of months of each other.
But Anna kept thriving. Kept going to see her mother. Kept engaging with others. Rediscovering her ministry of building others up. Like I had learned from her – she began to learn from others. By doing what was natural to her: engaging with people, she began to discover herself.
Now here it is almost 5 months into 2018 and me and Anna are both glowing and thriving. Why? Because we learned from others, but at the same time we reconnected with our true, authentic selves.