Embracing the Introvert

If you know me....really know me, you will know that I am an introvert.

Side story - I recently shared this with a former college student and they were shocked :) I love that it was a shock for them honestly. It means that I can do what I need to do -- lead when in that position.

I recently read a post "The Power of Introverts in Leadership" the article started by asking:

"Do you tend to listen more than talk? Would you rather place yourself on the outer edges of a group rather than the middle? Do you feel most effective one-on-one and small groups versus a large group?"

Um...yes, yes, and yes.

"In a world of attention mongering, introverts can feel drown out by their seemingly charismatic, attention-loving, charming, fun, and cool extroverted cohorts. I mean, don’t people just prefer charismatic, charmers? Aren’t they just more fun, cool, and friendly? That’s the belief I held for a long time – people who were quiet were seen as none-of-the-above."
Can I be honest? I think I have had those same thoughts myself...aren't extroverts "more fun", "cooler", "friendlier"? And let me tell you I know that I am mostly seen as "quiet" (with some exceptions).
"While labels like “introvert” and “extrovert” put people into one box or another, it’s helpful to understand the discomfort and energy drain introverts experience in large groups of people, versus the energy and excitement of experiencing deep conversation with an intimate few.

YES! I takes so much energy and "push" for me to participate, lead, share, experience large groups. As I left EdCampKS yesterday and drove our group home, I was quiet. I listened to their converstations and enjoyed time with them....but I noticed the drain. I wondered what they thought of my quietness. When questioned on something, I said that "I didn't know"...I needed time to process the answer....I was mentally spent. I honestly didn't know how to answer it at the exact moment of time. It was time to recharge and a recharge for me, was some alone time (or at least family time).
"With the introverts who share their heart, spirit, and space with me as their coach, there’s often a mysterious unfolding that happens and a meaningful relationship and mutual respect develop. I understand you, comrade."

I hope those around me will understand the "mysterious unfolding". I will "unfold" more as the relationship grows and a mutual respect develops. I will like you, I will try my best to interact with you....but you need to know that the less I know you, the more difficult it is for me to have that conversation with you. I'm questioning my words, before they are out of my mouth. My words tend to be carefully chosen...I will listen more than share. Don't rush me to share....I will. There are only a few that I will allow to "push" me with my introverted state. They are those that have stronger and higher levels of respect with me.

The article ends with the authors learning about introverted leaders:
  1. When they speak, listen. Their words carry weight because they’re careful not to waste any.
  2. They share their most private selves with only a select few and are deep and loyal.
  3. They listen carefully, hearing things most miss, and connect the dots to make meaning.
  4. They process and reflect internally. Wait for it.
  5. Introverts have no need to be entertainers or rack up followers. In fact, they may even have a hidden moxie to do the opposite of what the crowd does.
  6. They’re keen in thinking about how they come across and have a tendency to think it’s not enough. However, those around them are almost always greatly impacted.
A very good summation! Leadership as an introvert is interesting :) But to other introverts out there - it is POSSIBLE! It is stretching...every time I stand in front of a room to present. Participants shouldn't know and I don't expect them to know....but the honest truth is that I would prefer to be hidden in the back row of the room.  However, I push myself to do it. I LOVE it ...once I get going. It energizes me to share what I love and teach others. Then...there will be a moment of "crash"...I will need to recharge. It is who I am. I'm learning to embrace that. 


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