5 Reasons Why the Most Successful Entrepreneurs Are ENFPs

UPDATED: December 10, 2015
PUBLISHED: November 26, 2015

What do Walt Disney, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld and Arianna Huffington have in common?

They are all successful people. They are all successful entrepreneurs. And they are all ENFPs, one of 16 Myers-Briggs personality types that are characterized by extraversion, intuition, feeling and perception.

Heidi Priebe, author of The Comprehensive ENFP Survival Guide, explores the ups, downs and inside-outs of life as one of the most passionate yet self-contradictory types—the ENFP. She gives five reasons why ENFP personality types are so successful—and how we can apply the lessons in business:

1. They have a big vision.

ENFP entrepreneurs are clear about the impact they want to make. To their very core, they believe in their vision. And once they know it, they use imagination and resources to start turning their dream into reality. Their vision keeps them motivated during the ups and downs in business.

Walt Disney wanted to create the happiest place on earth. Arianna Huffington wanted to create a place to start conversations, where everyone could voice their opinion. It didn’t matter if other people had faith in their visions—because they did.

The lesson: As an entrepreneur, your vision keeps you motivated. Why did you start the business? What impact do you want to make? Create your vision and take action. Don’t let anything stop you.

2. They stay true to their values.

Many entrepreneurs fear that being their true self may turn away customers. They put on the professional mask to hide their real identity. The truth is, before doing business with you, people want to know what drives you. 

ENFP entrepreneurs show who they truly are, and stick to their values, like Walt Disney and imagination, Ellen and self-expression, Jerry Seinfeld and humor, and Arianna Huffington and freedom.

The lesson: When you stay true to your values, you build trust and attract the right customers. Don’t worry about looking professional all the time. Show people who you truly are. Share the story of why you first started the business. 

3. They deeply connect with people.

ENFP entrepreneurs make you feel like you have been friends for years, even if you have only known them for five minutes. They make you feel comfortable to open up.

Even if that person is Ellen Degeneres, and you’re sitting in front of a live audience and rolling cameras.

Ellen DeGeneres is the opposite of formal. She is personal—she gets personal with her guests and her audience, joking around and making them feel comfortable enough to share their stories to the world. She so naturally shows that celebrities aren’t gods, that they’re human—just like you, just like me. Instead of seeing a host interviewing a celebrity, we see two friends hanging out, gossiping, interacting

And we feel like we’re part of it, too. At the 2014 Oscars, Ellen took a selfie with Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Brad Pitt. That selfie is the most retweeted image of all time. Enough said.

The lesson: Make your product or service a fun experience. Share personal stories to connect at a deeper level.

4. They make people happy.

ENFP entrepreneurs can quickly find out what people are thinking but not necessarily saying. They share interesting observations that make people laugh—and when you make people laugh, you become more likeable.

Stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld observes people’s behavior and finds out what is funny, what people can relate to. Example? His joke about public speaking: “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

The lesson: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Make fun of yourself. Your sense of humour helps create a deeper connection with customers. 

5. They strive for excellence.

Once ENFP entrepreneurs commit to a goal, they don’t stop until they’ve done the best.

Walt Disney made sure every Disney animation was excellent. His strong drive for brilliance brought him 26 Academy Awards. He still holds the record of winning the most Oscars. When preparing for his comedy show, Jerry Seinfeld practiced his funny lines over and over, and over and over. His persistence made him one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time. 

The lesson: Do your best to achieve your goals. Average entrepreneurs settle for good. Successful entrepreneurs strive for excellence. 

Jonathan Li

Jonathan Li teaches business leaders how to speak with confidence, helping them deliver their message effectively and with a positive impact. As host of The Expressive Leaderpodcast, he has interviewed successful leaders including Guy Kawasaki, Nancy Duarte and Chris Brogan. You can reach Jonathan at TheExpressiveLeader.com.