I leave Introvert Awareness Month by sharing a Manifesto on the power of Introversion by one of the world’s most public Introverts, Susan Cain. Lots of people write about Introversion, but Cain has the big picture vision. And that is why she has been able to communicate with so many people, helping lots of us see ourselves as part of a bigger network of thinky types, in a bigger sea of fellow Intros than we may have imagined. Thanks Susan!
Well, we have reached the final day of January. Today will wrap up my Introvert Awareness Month project. It is my last day to blast the internet quietly, with my selection of ready-made and home made memes. I’ve covered leadership, relationships, inspiration and neuroscience.
I’ll be posting 4 posts today, as my life has gotten so outwardly motivated that I’ve taken the last few days to be wonderfully, entirely by myself. Back to back meetings, recovering from a 32 person “retreat” and a town hall. I’ve also shared a proposal for burnable art that is very close to my heart. Sharing my truest of hearts is quite draining when time goes by without any real response. On the flip, a few of my crafty friends have signed on to assist in the build. So, there is validation from certain friends.
I have four new bosses in my volunteer work and that takes some getting used to as well. Group dynamics are tough to navigate as it is, before the introduction of a bunch of new hierarchies that have yet to settle out. I also lead the first meeting of my department for the season. I am getting a little run over, similar to last year; Interruptions, derailings, Well-meaning intent.
I find myself reading up on managing people and facilitating meetings as an Introvert. I’m hunting for how to handle interruptions specifically but for now, this article has some good, basic advice for Introvert Leads, from. Following that is an article on the hazards of being female and a lead. My experience lies somewhere in between.
This situation sends me into Fight or Flight, yet it happens every day. Like everyone else, I have to accept the fact that to the unaware eye, the path my brain takes to deeper, varied locations, before offering a verbal answer, looks like I have no input. Helgoe points to studies showing the path our brains take when responding to outside stimuli-it really is longer, lighting up deeper and more varied parts of the brain. It doesn’t by any means say we are smarter. It does point to the fact that we gather more information before speaking.
I had never seen an explanation of this kind of exchange written down, before Helgoe. I had to make a meme of her quote. I think it is an excellent, step-by-step description, of what we face when talking with extremely talkative extroverts.
The problem is, we can understand this, as we seek to understand why we get cut off all the time, rushed through complex thoughts and told to hurry by people who just took 5 minutes verbalizing a minute of relevant content. The people who need to understand why we often answer more slowly, however, will often brush the entire thing off to over-sensitivity or us not being aggressive enough.
Intros on the spectrum tend to ask “why?” a lot and “what if?”, which is why we tend to do more research into introversion. I’m pretty sure many extroverts don’t know they are extroverts. Which may be why so many claim to be introverts ;p
When we do cut off a person telling us to hurry, as I had to at a retreat this weekend, it throws us off our thought and it takes longer to get back on track. This even goes for visual clues, like rushing your hands in a circular motion. People also think we are rude-to counter-interrupt an interrupter.
So, if you want us to speed up, don’t interrupt to tell us so: We may have been done by the time your interruption was over. We let you talk it out, because that is how you think. If you give us a minute to process your words, you may find we have something to add to the conversation.
Just sayin’ 😀
“While I am very proud of Introvert Camp and like when people know it came from my heart, IC is not about me. It is a camp of service, actually closer to a staff camp than a theme camp.
I don’t feel a desire to facilitate the education of our entire society on the wonders, realities and myths of extraversion and introversion because I want my camp to be successful.
I feel the desire to facilitate the education of our entire society on the wonders, realities and myths of extraversion and introversion because I want my society to be successful.”
I wrote that a few months back. Today I am thinking about Success, what that means, to whom.
As I get older, my ideas around success have definitely changed. I will have to work a long time, I think, before I can retire. And I imagine doing work that I find important and invigorating and that is what I am working towards now, in my late 30s. I know I am working towards the life I want. That seems successful to me.
Having and creating strong love in my life and being open to the love flowing all around me, and you; That is success to me.
Success is that magical moment we aim for, when we know we are safe, when we feel we have enough and have done enough. In what ways does Introversion influence success for the individual or the society at large?
1. We don’t want to overthrow Extroverts.
In terms of understanding introversion, success does not necessarily mean overthrowing the extrovert laws of leadership and communication and installing Introversion everywhere, forever! It does not mean all shamans and no warriors, to be extremely stereotypical in my example, one without the other would be boring.
2. Introverts and Extroverts are like Opposite Twins.
Extroverts and Introverts are like Ebony and Ivory, biscuits and gravy, Frog and Toad, Bert and Ernie; We are intrinsically drawn towards one another and can play well together, with the right awareness. But ignoring our differences is folly, our differences are the strengths we bring to the table. Our differences can lead us to our own definitions of success and what it means to share it.
3. Introvert awareness is not a special right.
Success means removing the stigma from needing time to process before speaking, asking questions when others demand fast action, acknowledging that a subtler, less showy or totally weird plan can often accomplish the directive just as well, and sometimes better, than a more direct, aggressive or competitive response. It means societal understanding of a quieter way. Success means no longer taking introverted children to the psychologist to push them to be more extroverted. It means everyone in the classroom getting a chance to speak. It means no more job advertisements that tell Introverts not to bother applying. It means accepting group work and independent thought as equally valid techniques in effectiveness and importance in our workplaces and in our relationships.
4. Introversion is far more than social stamina, disdain for group think or avoiding parties we feel obligated to attend.
When I make observations about what behavior is extroverted or introverted or talk about different ways of seeing things, I often accidentally offend extroverts and the intros who don’t believe in introversion. And the Asperger’s contingent throws all theory for a loop: My friends and acquaintances, when I say something too general about extroverts, say things like, “no, I also think out loud” or “well, I cannot shut up sometimes, it may be about missing social cues more than being about extraversion”.
Acknowledging intro and extraversion doesn’t mean I think it’s all that simple. In the Nature Vs Nurture argument, Introversion is both biology and environment. If you consider ADHD, PTSD, attachment mechanisms, social anxiety, the autism spectrum, sexuality, sensitivity, gender roles, hormone dominance, confidence, context, ethnicity and depressive diseases, you can see how complicated and fascinating the study of introversion and extraversion can be.
5. Understanding Introversion is really a way to understand and include half of our society.
Our success in working with one another relies on understanding why one person may need to brainstorm, out loud and off the cuff to generate ideas while another may need 10 minutes of quiet time, with no distractions. Achievement and innovation come from fostering environments where both are possible. As individuals and as a society, we cannot reach our highest aspirations if we are busy fighting for our basic needs to be met.