Your Professional Field Guide to be a Rock-Star Introvert-Part One
Finally, introverts are getting into the mainstream of the collective consciousness. Books and articles are now springing up on the topic and just now I saw a retreat for Introverts. It’s a good time to be an Introvert.
The biggest issue I have with most things I read on the subject of being an Introvert is the translating all of that into practical, usable advice. If I’m an Introvert, not only “what does that mean to me?” but “what do I do with that information that will help me with ________________ (fill in the blank)?”
Most of the time, when we take an assessment, there is this big “so-what?” factor that comes along with it. With the advent of the Internet, assessments and certainly personality assessments abound. Who doesn’t like to hear more about themselves? But once you do, it then begs the question about what good is that information. Even if you haven’t taken an assessment and have only surmised your personality type, what does that mean in the day-to-day arc of your life or career?
The short answer is: not much. It’s like learning about the formation of granite. Interesting but does it do anything at all to change your behavior, make a difference in your career or advance a cause? Again, no. Knowing that you are a specific personality type does you no good, if you can’t do something useful with the information.
My plan with the next three articles is to give you both insight into your personality as an introvert and how it works on the job. Today is Part-One of my three part series “Your Professional Field Guide to be a Rock-Star Introvert”. Let’s get right to it!
The central concept to understanding our personality is the use of our energy. When I first heard that, it really didn’t mean much to me. I’m sure someone else reading this has the same reaction. (We just didn’t connect the dots)
Energy in the context of your personality means the personal energy it takes to do something even if all you are doing is setting in a meeting. To further expand on this, think about going to a day long seminar or even a project that you work on all day. It’s the kind of thing that really has no physical expenditure but nevertheless, at the end of the day, you are pooped. Not because you used your energy to move around but because your brain was working overtime to soak up all of the value you were there to obtain. Rarely does anyone talk about the fact that your brain uses up energy almost faster than a good workout at the gym.
It turns out that the primary difference between an extravert (btw, it’s not a typo, it turns out that the “extro” or “extra” are equally as correct grammatically but the folks with MBTI prefer the “extra” and since I’m one of them I go with group-think on how to spell this personality) and an introvert is how their energy is created and spent. For an extravert, their battery is recharged through their environment or “outside” of their head. The things you commonly equate with an extravert, like speaking more than we do, is an energizing activity as is being interactive with others. For an introvert, those very things can suck the life out of us. Our energy is restored inside our head through more internally focused things like working on a solitary project, listening to music or reading. When we are around others or interact with others, it spends our energy.
This means if you begin with the basic understanding of energy creation and expenditure, it starts to make abundant sense when you then start equating energy to some of the behavior that goes with it. Below is a quiz I developed to help people self-identify your personality type and it is also designed to show the contrast between “E” and “I”. I should point out that you have other facets to your personality than just Introvert and Extravert but we are only focusing on those.
INSTRUCTIONS: This is a “forced choice” assessment, meaning at each line, select the statement that is truer for you or reflects you more than the other statement. You will notice that the other statement may apply to you as well but you must pick between the two.
Scoring: Once you are completed and have made an X selection for each line, tally the X’s in the left column and then the right column. This should give you a good idea of which type you are.
|X if yes||Extravert||X if yes||Introvert|
|Attuned to external environment or things surrounding you||Drawn to inner world or thoughts, memories, information, ideas and impressions|
|Prefer to communicate by talking||Prefer to communicate in writing|
|Work out ideas by talking them through||Work out ideas by reflecting on them|
|Learn best through doing or discussing||Learn best by reflection,, mental “practice”|
|Have broad interests||Focus in depth on your interests|
|Sociable and expressive||Private and contained|
|Readily take initiative in work and relationships||Take initiative when the situation or issue is very important to you|
|Is energized by interacting with people and speaking||Is energized by yourself|
|Oriented to people and action||Oriented to thoughts and feelings|
|Using trial and error with confidence||Considering deeply before acting|
|Scanning the environment for stimulation||Finding stimulation inwardly|
|Lively, energetic, seek spotlight||Calm, enjoy solitude, seek background|
|Interactive, want contact, listen and speak||Onlooker, prefer space, read and write|
|Want to belong, broad circle, join groups||Seek intimacy, one-on-one, find individuals|
|Demonstrative, easier to know, self-revealing||Controlled, harder to know, private|
|Sociable, congenial, introduce people||Reserved, low-key, are introduced|
|Gregarious, expressive||Quiet, contained|
|Initiating, enthusiastic||Receiving, intimate|
Now that you have taken this brief assessment, you should now be in the “so-what?” mode. Never fear, on Friday I will answer this question for you so be sure to come back for my answer. In the meantime, make sure to take my forced assessment above, and check out further resources here:
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