For years I thought the assessments must be wrong. Then a book, discussion, and a big realization changed my perspective!
When I shared a few random facts about myself in an Instagram post last week, I had no idea the emails I’d receive and the conversations that would follow. In particular, it seems many can relate to my introverted tendencies or were curious about what I meant. We had spirited discussion on the introvert/extrovert topic in ASPIRE this year too, and I’d love to continue the dialogue here.
A bit of background: On the Myers Briggs and other assessments, I consistently test as an extrovert. This has always surprised me, as most of my “replenishing” comes from solo activities – writing, reading, creating, walking in nature. I’ve long felt I require more alone time than the average person and just assumed my assessment results weren’t entirely accurate.
Until I read and discussed Susan Cain’s book, Quiet.
Then it all made sense: Yes, I find great joy in my silent endeavors and need a fair amount of private time to re-energize. If I have to choose between a large, loud party and a peaceful evening at the bookstore, for example, the bookstore will typically win.
But my greatest energy comes from deep, meaningful, heartfelt conversations with one or a few people.
For example, a few years ago at a networking luncheon, I happened to sit next to a woman who turned out to also be a coach, also passionate about helping people uncover their purpose, also had school-aged children … the similarities went on and on. Our conversation delved deep right away – and has never really stopped. She is now one of my closest friends.
Similarly, I recently went out for an early dinner with a friend. Even though we hadn’t seen each other in a while, we only spent a few minutes on small talk then dove right into the “good stuff,” staying there for hours on end. We didn’t wrap up until the wee hours of the morning – waaaay past my bedtime, but I was so jazzed from our conversation that I stayed up nearly two more hours after that anyway.
Can you relate? Or not at all? Either way, it’s all good. We need all types to make for rich, fulfilling work and life experiences.
Being extroverted doesn’t necessarily mean you’d choose the big cocktail party seven nights a week. And being introverted doesn’t necessarily mean you have a monthly reservation at a silent retreat. The spectrum is wide and your preferences are unique. I highly recommend Quiet for a fascinating look at this topic and maybe, like what happened for me, great insight into your own life.
How about you? Are you more introverted, or do you lean toward the extroverted side? What energizes you most?
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