By Suzanne Short
People usually don’t believe me when I say I’m an introvert. They see me as outgoing, as one who doesn’t even rank public speaking on her list of fears. They call up a crazy antic or two to prove I’m wrong, but it’s their stereotype of an introvert that’s wrong.
Being an introvert is not about being shy, but about how we react to, and recharge from, the world around us. Whereas extroverts draw their energy from being around other people, introverts need time alone to reflect and renew.
I gravitate toward roles in training or sales – two areas where extroverts can dominate. After a full day of “being on,” other people can head home (or to a social function!) more energized than when they arrived. I tend to wander the parking lot, completely spent and unable to find my car, let alone extend my sociability. It’s not that I work that much harder, it’s that I’m an introvert.
Understanding my introversion helped me piece together some of life’s puzzle. I’ve learned that selfishness can be a good thing – in fact, it’s critical to an introvert’s success. I know that when I’m selfish, I have much more to give others.
Being social depletes my energy. To recharge, I need to isolate myself, especially when I’m the ringleader of a training session. I find the solitude I need by retreating, either physically or mentally, during breaks and lunches. I may go for a walk, even if it’s only to my car to listen to some tunes. If I decide to stay put, I lock the door until we reconvene. I used to feel guilty doing this, but I’ve learned that a trainer on break is a magnet for an idle extrovert.
I'm an #introvert, hear me roar! 3 strategies to succeed http://ctt.ec/Z2i1c+ pic.twitter.com/3NVl3Px1eA
I nurture myself in order to withstand the demands certain situations place on me. During periods of sustained socializing, I cultivate rituals: I eat well, hydrate often, stick my face in the sun and sleep deeply. I often wake up earlier than I need to, taking advantage of energy I know I won’t have at the end of the day to reconnect with my thoughts. When my body is strong and my mind is centered, my energy flows.
Until I understood my introversion, I would make excuses for wanting to spend time alone or beat myself up while searching for my elusive car. Now, I celebrate my natural tendencies and appreciate how they complement the unique qualities of extroverts. Both are as different as can be, but that’s what makes life vibrant.
My rally cry may be surprising, but it’s true: I’m an introvert, hear me roar!
Subscribe to this blog and receive email updates when we publish a new article.