18 Jan Introvert or Extrovert: You Can Become World-class and Great in What You Do
Recognize, embrace, and improvise your personality to excel in what you do and in whichever industry you may be
“No! You cannot be an introvert!” That is how many of my workshop attendees or coachees reply whenever I reveal my preference for introversion.
When they see me rocking it on stage, being friendly with my audience, and getting along with people in a public setting, many assume that that is my most preferred mode…
No wonder why they PROTEST vigorously when I tell them that, by default, I DRAW ENERGY from being alone, going deep to explore within than hanging out with others… reflecting and in silence on a daily basis rather than going out to socialize regularly 😊
I still get pushback from many people who have difficulty learning that my private space is my comfort zone. They become amused hearing me share excitingly how I enjoy taking long walks, reading books for hours non-stop, strategizing, planning, and writing daily more than speaking, and socializing in a public setting…
A quick disclaimer: Even back then, I used to enjoy one-on-one and small group gatherings with familiar people, like many introverts. The challenge was larger groups and people I didn’t already know.
Mind you, for many years, I didn’t know why I preferred the way I did, and why… What about you? Do you relate to that? Are you still in the dark about your personality type and preferences? If so, keep reading…
I didn’t have the clarity and was clueless about how each one of us is wired differently and how this in turn dictates from where we draw ENERGY.
For years, many friends and colleagues accused me: “You don’t like people!” Deep inside, nonetheless, I knew I love people except that I didn’t know how to express it the way an extrovert does.
Since I didn’t have enough knowledge about my wiring, personality type, and preferences, and how they were normal and widespread, I was apologetic. I thought it was my fault and I was the only one! Do you feel the same? If so, feel no more…
I used to feel guilty for feeling stressed out when I must go out and hang out with people, especially the ones I didn’t know yet.
During my early entrepreneurial years, networking was one of the dreadful things I resented. It was stressful partly because I didn’t know from where it was coming. I felt something must be wrong with me.
So many times, I almost convinced myself that entrepreneurship, speaking, and leadership weren’t for me… I must not be cut for these…
…Of course, until I took the MBTI (Myers Briggs Types Indicator) assessment.
As the saying goes the truth sets you free, I was set free! Are you still in the dark? Do you apologize for your personality type and preferences? Do these no more!
Let me ask you:
- What is your preference?
- How does it enhance the quality of your life and success in what you do?
- Is it coming in the way and hindering you from achieving your goals?
If you don’t know the answer to one or more of the above questions or if you’re not sure about any of the answers, you need professional help, especially if you don’t want to be an average leader, entrepreneur, or artist…
However, if you already know and are sure about your preference and it is introversion, I’ve a word of advice. Don’t be like many introverts I met in the past who feel inferior and wished they had a preference for extroversion. Let me liberate you!
Unlike the conventional wisdom popular among the uninformed, there are so many advantages of having this preference.
- Do you know that many extroverts struggle to sit down for long to read books, reflect, meditate, strategize, prioritize, and plan?
- Are you aware that, especially these days, many teams and organizations are preferring to promote or hire leaders who have a preference for introversion?
Of course, don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not saying people with a preference for introversion are better than those who have a preference for extroversion. Not at all! There are so many advantages to having an extroversion personality type too, especially in certain professions and industries.
However, both introversion and extroversion have some drawbacks.
For instance, my preference for introversion had been hindering me from succeeding as a speaker, consultant, facilitator, and coach for many years. As you can imagine, these undertakings required me to:
- Reach out and meet diverse people and network constantly.
- Promote and market my ideas, products, and services unashamedly and publicly for as many people as possible.
- Deliver speeches, coach, and facilitate training on the stage and standing in front of lots of people including strangers (sometimes some hecklers)…
Many with a preference for extroversion enjoy and perform these duties without much stress acting like they were born with these competencies…
Once I took the MBTI assessment and realized that this is the way I was wired and there are advantages to being an introvert, I embraced my preference. I started to explain comfortably and confidently without feeling apologetic about why I prefer introversion, and why I feel uncomfortable about some activities that require engaging with lots of people and regularly. I was freed, and you should be if you’ve not yet.
However, I didn’t stop there. My true transformation happened when I upgraded myself… When I came up with approaches and strategies to overcome the downside of having a preference for introversion… When I got training, coaching, and mentoring…
If you’ve a preference for extroversion and don’t believe me (or if you have a preference for introversion and are doubtful), there are many successful and world-class entrepreneurs, politicians, and artists who have a preference for introversion. To mention a few:
- Former US Presidents such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama …
- Entrepreneurs and Investors in the US such as Marissa Mayer, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk …
- Artists and Actors in America such as Beyoncé, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Bob Dylan, Tyler Swift …
- And many great influencers.
Note that there are many other successful and great introverts around the world too…
To learn more about the advantages introverts have for individual and corporate success, read Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”
Here are a couple of things I’ve seen many average professionals and leaders do that YOU SHOULDN’T:
- They don’t RECOGNIZE their preference at all
- Even if they do know it, they don’t LEVERAGE it
- Even if they leverage it, they use it as an EXCUSE and stay the same without challenging themselves
- Even if they don’t use it as an excuse, they don’t proactively and intentionally add some of the ATTRIBUTES of the OPPOSITE preference, especially those qualities their relationships, work, and business require the most
By the way, if this is the first time you heard about this, don’t stress out. Unlike me who was figuring it out by myself and with so many trials and errors for years, I’m here to help you or find someone who is an expert on this to help you. You shouldn’t do the transformation alone and it shouldn’t take you forever…
I’ve come a long way. There was a time I didn’t know how I was wired and how that influenced my preferences. That was why I felt guilty and apologetic about who I was for years. Even after I had gotten enlightened, I didn’t do anything to leverage it or craft ways and develop competencies to overcome its drawbacks.
Now? After getting MBTI certification (and other complementary certifications) some years back, I have been conducting one-on-one debriefing and coaching based on this and other similar assessments. I’ve been also facilitating team-building workshops that included taking MBTI assessments.
What is more? I have been proactively and intentionally adopting some of the traits of people who have a preference for extroversion, and I still do. That is why many people confuse me with someone who is an extrovert 😊
If you are curious, MBTI is one of the initial assessments I suggest- depending on their needs and goal, my coachees to take before we start a coaching relationship. I arrange for them to take the assessment online (mostly coupled with the 360-degree assessment), and conduct a 60 – 120 minute debriefing for each assessment to help them:
- Understand the results,
- What do these data mean, and
- How to leverage the findings.
After the debriefing and answering their questions, we will decide how many hours they need to meet their goals.
This approach is a win-win for both the coach and the coachees.
The coaches understand their coachees better and make sense of what has been happening, and the changes required. It also takes away the guesswork, their eyes are now widely open…
It also prepares the coachees to take feedback well and stay motivated to take bold actions consistently even if they don’t feel like doing it…
Knowing the personality profile, preferences, needs, and aspirations of your people is a must if your desire is to succeed as a leader in the 21st Century. That is why many of our leadership workshops and almost all cohort programs require taking this and other similar assessments.
But, you MUST never use these data to stereotype, second guess, and put individuals into predictable boxes.
Let me ask you:
- Have you taken the assessment?
- If so, did you get a debrief by a certified professional?
- Most importantly, have you been leveraging the strengths of your preference and devised ways to compensate for some of your inclinations to make sure that they don’t come in the way to sabotage or diminish your ability to build relationships with people with diverse personality types, and lead a profession or business or organization that require a certain undertaking for which you don’t feel comfortable?
If you or your team need one-on-one or group coaching after taking MBTI (if necessary, couple it with other relevant assessments), click here and fill out the Coaching Application Form, and submit it. To learn more about our Coaching service, click here and check out this page. [Note that we can only take a few clients every quarter. Once you submit the application, our team will review your request and we’ll get back to you to have a FREE strategic consultation session via phone or Zoom, whatever works for you.]
If you’re interested in:
- Building a team that functions like a well-oiled machine
- Helping your team to know each other better and at a personal level
- Recognizing the different personality types and preferences that exist within the team
- Leveraging your diverse team members
- Tapping into the uniqueness, and unlimited potential of each and every member of your team, reach out via [email protected] and we’ll custom design and deliver a half or a full-day workshop, virtually or in person. To learn more about the kind of programs we custom design, the already available programs, and how it works, click here and check out our Programs page.
PS I still have a preference for introversion 🙂 The only difference now is that I’m less stressed out when I have to switch my hat, go out to network, be with people, and have fun. When I have to speak, train, and be with lots of people including multiple days programs, I have built-in mechanisms to reenergize myself between sessions to keep recreating energy and enthusiasm… Remember, someone with an extroversion preference may not need to put such mechanisms in place 🙂 They flourish and enjoy when they find themselves in such situations… The more they draw energy, the more they are with others and socialize…