Most of you who read this blog haven’t met me in person, but you may have assumed that I’m an extrovert because my chosen career involves people, or the fact that I regularly speak to large groups of people at large conferences and events.
But you would be wrong. I’m actually a card carrying introvert, and think that we as a species are wildly misunderstood.
Recently, one of my favorite bloggers, Sacha Chua, shared a great Slideshare presentation called The Shy Connector. It’s so awesome that I think this should be required reading for anyone who says that they’re an introvert , but can’t possibly bring themselves to network with others.
Personally, I don’t see introversion/extroversion as the difference between being shy or outgoing, as many people do. I like these simple definitions best:
Introverts – Recharge by spending time alone.
Extroverts – Recharge by being around people.
It’s really that simple. So an Introvert can be the life of the party – but then they’ll probably crash and burn afterward in order to reboot – and an Extrovert doesn’t necessarily have to be the center of attention at all times who can never stop talking. Although if the shoe fits…
Sacha’s presentation got me to thinking about some of the other interesting things I’ve read on the subject and I thought I’d share a few of them to encourage my fellow Introverts out there and also to help the Extroverts to better to understand us.
- Funny and accurate: Caring for Your Introvert – Money Quote: “Now I am here to tell you what you need to know in order to respond sensitively and supportively to your own introverted family members, friends, and colleagues. Remember, someone you know, respect, and interact with every day is an introvert, and you are probably driving this person nuts.”
- Why Introverts Can Make The Best Leaders – Money Quote: “Introverted leaders are energized by spending time alone. They suffer from people exhaustion and need to retreat to recharge their batteries frequently. These regular timeouts actually fuel their thinking, creativity and decision-making and, when the pressure is on, help them be responsive, not reactive.”
- How to Network: For Introverts – Money Quote: “Introverts typically don’t like to talk about themselves – we prefer to talk about ideas. Force yourself to discuss some of the things you’ve done. Don’t brag, make sure they are relevant to the conversation. Then the extroverts can talk about you and pass your achievements along.”
- Job Search Tips for Introverts – Money Quote: “Value your listening skills. When you’re searching for a job and reaching out to others, you’ll do this much more effectively if you’re a good listener.”
- Top 5 Things Every Extrovert Should Know About Introverts – Money Quote: “Introverts have more brain activity in their frontal lobes and when these areas are activated through solitary activity, introverts become energized through processes such as problem solving, introspection, and complex thinking. Extroverts on the other hand tend to have more activity in the back of their brain, areas that deal with processing sensory information from the external world, so they tend to search for external stimuli in the form of interacting with other people and the outside world to energize them.”
Do you feel like being an introvert has held you back in your career in any way – or has it helped you to get where you are today?
Extroverts – do you understand us? Or do you think that anyone who doesn’t get excited about dressing up to go see the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the 57th time is just plain weird?
(Because we definitely think that about you when you do.)