After a simplified version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator circulated on Facebook, I had a conversation with my mother about being the I in an INFP. She kind of balked at the notion that I might be an introvert. I was an outgoing kid. I talked to strangers. I performed concerts for anyone who would watch. I sought out the new kid at school and made friends. In my teen years, my confidence took a totally normal nosedive and most of this boldness was replaced with an almost painful shyness that continued until a few years ago when I entered my 30s, but I’m comfortable in my skin again, so I suppose it seems odd to her that I’d obtain such a result.
The fact is, what makes you either an introvert or an extrovert has little to do with whether or not you are a good leader or can deliver a great public speech. It’s really about where you draw your energy. If going out and socializing after a long day recharges you, you’re probably an extrovert. If you feel like you need some downtime after being at the office, then you are more than likely an introvert. I have to say, this distinction really helped ease some my fears about the career path I have chosen for myself. Though I prefer to think of what I’m doing as teaching, there is definitely a considerable amount of public speaking and leadership involved and it was comforting to know that this side of my personality wasn’t going to impede me, or really have any bearing on my success whatsoever. It needn’t prevent you from having the future you desire for yourself, either.
I’ve always enjoyed solitude and work better when I have silence. I don’t make excellent small talk, but I will stay up all night helping someone iron out a wrinkle of the life variety. I need a minute or two before responding to a question and require time to shut off after being “on” for an extended period. Now I understand that as long as I come home and partake in an activity that grounds and centers me, I can go back to taking on the world tomorrow.
Below is a wonderful TED Talk by fellow introvert, Susan Cain. I simply cannot do her words justice. Tell me this woman isn’t a leader!
What do you think? Do you identify? If not personally, did it provide you with insight that helps you better understand the introvert in your life? Share your comments.
Wishing You Total Well-Being,