Thursday, September 13, 2012

Introverts Are Awesome

My recent post "The Week of Living Introvert" has prompted a few interesting conversations with both introverts and extroverts.   My attempt to be less of an extrovert for one week (Monday - Friday) was very educational, and the deep thoughts that have been shared since are having a meaningful impact on how I view people.  While I have always professed the value in the differences amongst people, this post has prompted many to openly share with me how they feel in different social situations.

The most common comment was about how I "missed the boat" on my social media activity during my efforts to understand introverts.  I pulled back on "Liking" posts or Tweeting my thoughts on a variety of things, as I thought that may have been my inner extrovert trying to escape.  Most introverts called me out on this saying I had it backwards, and that social media is a great place for introverts, and that by not engaging I was clearly not on the right track.

The post received a large number of views.  Several hundred hits came from a Facebook page called "Introverts Are Awesome".  I jumped over to see what that was all about and found a community that was started in May 2012 an is over 3200 strong.  The curator of the page champions the introvert and seems to have created a welcoming home for many.

There were some comments on the link back to my post.  Most applauded my attempt at discovering what introverts go through being asked to act more extroverted (although comments noticed where I obviously had not gone far enough), while a few clearly thought me a fool (it's okay, it is not the first time!!!).

What was not evident from my original post was that I have always championed in my training programs that "introverts are better networkers", as they are more selective... thus when they connect it is often a deeper relationship. I also know the value of the introverted person as I have been married to one for over twenty years.  She and I have found that there is meaning to "opposites attract", as we are both better for where we are balanced by the other.  We have come to respect how each of us "recharges our batteries", and respect that there is a difference (not better or worse).

I also found power in my more "private" time.  I do not think I did a good job in the original post in expressing this positive byproduct.  In a group or alone I took time to observe and contemplate.  One person thought I must have been bored, but it was really the opposite.  While this was not a natural energizer for me.... it was beneficial and helped spawn a couple of ideas that could have a lasting impact.  I need to make a point to schedule more of this "down time" into my week.  (W.W.I.D.?)

The unexpected awesomeness of my experiment and the resulting blog post is how many people are talking to me about this topic.  After my presentation for a software company "Users Conference" in St. Louis this week an audience member came and shared her experiences as an introvert living in an extroverted company.  The discussion was raw and real.  She understood what I was trying to do by behaving counter to my natural state, and gave me some great insight into how she "feels" in social situations.

If you have a point of view... leave a comment or send me an email (or let's have a call on the phone or skype).  I want to "get it" (some on Introverts Are Awesome said I still do not "get it"... so I want to find better understanding).  I believe I am of better service to others when I try to understand what I am and what I am not.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I think you somewhat confused introversion and shyness. I'm an introvert. I am NOT shy.

The biggest challenge I have in networking is energy management. Talking to people costs me energy. It's not that I want to stand on the sidelines. It's more that I want to talk to people I know because that takes less energy.

So I have to set clear goals for myself prior to an event. Like talking to three new people. That lets me know how I need to divide my energy and when it's okay to relax and talk to friends.

And I have a very hard time doing back to back evening events. I'm okay during the day, but talking to people in the evening is especially tiring because that's usually my recharge time.

Make sense?