You know the truism that when a woman decides she wants to have a baby, all she sees around her are pregnant women, strollers, and kids kids kids? No, I don’t have an announcement about my family planning – just drawing an analogy to what has jumped out at me as the newest “thing” — introversion. Have you noticed?
First, a quick recitation of my introvert creds (since many of us don’t like to have attention focused on us for long): when I was a girl, the standard response to anyone’s query: Where’s Heidi? was: In her room, reading. And my nature hasn’t changed – the Meyers-Briggs psychological assessment still puts me at the very top of the scale for introversion. If this is greek to you, a quick explanation of terms. According to Meyers-Briggs, “The first pair of psychological preferences is Extraversion and Introversion. Where do you put your attention and get your energy? Do you like to spend time in the outer world of people and things (Extraversion), or in your inner world of ideas and images (Introversion)?” (That’s not a typo, both extravert and extrovert are accepted spellings).
Another truism. I’ve heard that when something new is in the air, it takes 3 exposures for you to realize that it’s a phenomenon. So number one — a new book that’s getting a lot of attention. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, is already a New York Times bestseller. Cain writes that the “single most important aspect of personality … is where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum.”
I just started reading it, and will report back with a review.
Number two — check out this great Facebook page, The Introvert Entrepreneur, run by Beth Buelow. It’s a wonderful resource providing advice, support, observations for business-minded introverts. She also posts fun t-shirt slogans. Here’s one, a t-shirt (from ThinkGeek) that she recently put up:
The third? Another new book. This one was written by Devora Zack, a consultant and self-described “off-the-chart introvert.”
Networking for People Who Hate Networking : A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected is a dynamic, interesting, helpful book. Even if you’re not interested in networking, it’s a great guide to just plain relating to people – many of whom are extroverts or value the characteristics stereotypically associated with being an extrovert (friendly, outgoing, talkative).
Devora provides countless real-life tips and suggestions to help you navigate the world of networking, meeting, and connecting with people, while preserving your sanity and energy. Her concise description of the difference between introverts and extroverts is really helpful:
“Introverts think to talk” while “Extroverts talk to think.”
“Introverts go deep” while “Extroverts go wide.”
“Introverts energize alone” while “Extroverts energize with others.”
Of course, there are people who are strongly one or the other category, and people who are more of a mixture, to which the term “centrovert” may apply. Also, not all introverts are shy. Devora does a great job in this book of addressing many of the stereotypes and misconceptions about introversion. I highly recommend it for anyone who identifies as an introvert and struggles with issues of networking or connecting with people.
Have you thought about these issues? Taken the Meyers-Briggs test? Any other INFPs out there? (If you don’t want to identify yourself, I totally understand).