At some level, under the right circumstances, we are all introverts at heart, whether we recognize it or not. That doesn’t mean we are necessarily quiet or shy, but we become more introspective, and pragmatic in our day to day dealings. In approaching and managing among others in this current age, our always-connected devices and light speed social media exposures suggest that introverts may actually have an advantage.
Superficially, it seems that there’s little room for introverts to shine or stand out when the hoard of extroverts and their avatars dominate every form of social media. Embedded into the lives of famous celebrities and social influencers are always a mere click away from our smartphones. People are naturally drawn to the energy and hype, the buzz of the internet and its deep well of activity, and as such, introverts and extroverts swap roles and practices in the ebb and flow of communications and interactions.
While introverts are drawn to deep, thoughtful conversations conducted among small, intimate circles, given the power of online, real-time exchanges, what may appear to be private, takes on a life of its own, with the introvert observing and contemplating, with minimal direct impact and influence. That’s not to judge introvert behavior, as I must admit to my guilty pleasures of curling up alone with a good book or being so captivated by a Netflix series that I turn down dates to stream one episode after another. My point here is to suggest that as an introvert, occasionally, I would like to be able to handle myself in group discussions or conversations on topics of broad interest; to speak confidently, load and with inflection so as not to have to repeat myself. I imaging clear and direct responses in meetings and gatherings, never feeling flustered when called on to explain a complex task or social endeavor, but more than anything, I’d like to stop worrying about saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, or in the wrong way.
Be Proactive. Rise to The Challenge!
Being an introvert, I hate being in crowds. I feel intimidated as a part of a large group, but I realize that to combat my natural tendencies and breach shyness in the company of others, one has to do the things that are uncomfortable, and learn how to attentively converse with other people, even if they’re boring or wrong-headed. I must learn and practice in being pleasant and engaging at all times. That doesn’t mean to be fake, but it does mean it’s up to me to overcome anxiety and to find the confidence to overturn uncomfortable situations. I have to get my head in the game and approach the matter deliberately and strategically.
Go to 2-3 networking events this month. Have a 10-minute conversation with another manager. Set up a meeting with your boss and talk about career goals and ways you can prepare yourself for a promotion. Share that you are an introvert and that you work better independently or on a small team.
Get Involved in Activities That You Enjoy Doing.
Something I noticed in hosting a game-night gathering at my place, I am more comfortable and sociable in my own space, where I’m familiar and in control. Not just because I’m around my friends and can literally be myself, but the environment and the sense of control makes a big difference. I realized my introversion becomes extroversion when I’m actually enjoying myself and involved in an activity or hobby that engages me. So I use this knowledge to seek and find the familiar in new environments and to find an avenue for engagement and enjoyment in unfamiliar activities.
Accept That You Are An Introvert.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. It’s but one of many personality traits that characterize our tendencies in interpersonal interactions. In fact, introverts are often more insightful, and creative. They are more patient and mindful approach to life, more keen to the experience than the impact. I find introverts to be more attentive to others and likely to offer more thoughtful feedback and meaningful conversations once they reach their comfort level. Introverts are typically hard-workers and can be sensitive and compassionate leaders as well. We bring great value to the workplace. The smartest I should say but I’m biased. (Extroverts are known to have ineffective filters sometimes, saying anything, or whatever comes to mind, just to be heard….sometimes I wish they would just shut the hell up. But then again, that makes me judgmental.)
Accepting that I’m an introvert allows me to focus on being constructive and to be pragmatic in deciding when and how to address matters of interest and or responsibility. My best advice: Get and be comfortable as an introvert. Even when you suffer a “brain fart”, everyone gets them you know, you have the advantage of keeping it to yourself! Let your introverted-ness shine!
Featured image: Courtney White
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