“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.
This past Spring, I had the exciting honor of being invited to The Burning Man Network’s Global Leadership Conference. It was colorful, informed, professional, mind expanding and vision inducing. I learned about Risk Mitigation, Art in Civic context, Grantwriting. I enjoyed Ignite speeches and talks from the organization’s leadership. I was with leads from around the world, over 200 people representing their regions. Five of us represented Portland.
I had the following thought during my last workshop, which discussed service leadership and mindful practice. While experiencing a short meditation, this phrasing came to me…
I came away from the conference admitting I am a “Leader”. It is something I have done for years, just, differently. Sometimes I am good at it, sometimes I am awkward. I always associated leadership with seeking power or control. But true leadership does not operate that way. Those who follow or join you have to do so willingly, not because of a hierarchy. The best leaders are reluctant and often see themselves as simply doing what feels right. Leaders do not always know their way, which is acceptable, so long as there is a Vision to aim towards.
During a speech, Marian Goodell, founder and current CEO of the new non profit version of Burning Man, made a startling and accurate assessment. She reminded the entire room that most of them were introverts, that much of the art and sound on playa is made by introverted people, that Burning Man pushes us as we push it. I teared up. Her talk made me brave, I gave her an Introvert Camp sticker after she spoke. She read the tagline and her eyes glossed, her hand went to her smiling mouth-she totally Got It. We hugged. It was awesome!
Another VERY public introvert, a powerful Leader… who feels weird using her new “CEO” title. Aw.
Embracing my new inner title of Leader, I’m starting a new project: Presenting complex concepts of Introversion & Leadership as simple, inspirational memes. I’m making these for all my fellow Intro Leaders out there. I’ll make some intro and attachment related images as well.
I run a camp specifically for introverts. For this reason, some folks believe that my zealot-like desire to note and understand the intro/extro dynamics of a situation is because I want to grow or promote my camp. I am a wise girl and can understand why someone would think that-it’s the most obvious choice I suppose. Babble at every and anyone about introversion to promote a camp of people who meet a few times a year. Purely selfish.
People make this mistake with me all the time. All the time. ALL THE TIME. They assume my big, sweeping analogies and statements are only related to whatever small, local, itty-bitty trigger made me have the bigger vision or helped me see the small puzzle piece in stronger relation to the bigger puzzle.
Anyone who knows me well knows my role with Introvert Camp, quite quickly became one of Consulting and Guidance and copywriting. IC builds itself. After the first few waves of promotion, Introverts just find us. Sometimes their stellar Extroverted partners help them find us J but it’s not difficult for us to reach 20 people with almost no promotions, meetings or recruitment events. We don’t need too much facetime to put this thing together: Surprise, surprise 😉
I provide the synthesis space, the attitude, the philosophy: Participate. Recharge. Repeat. The camp members structure/dismantle their own experience, not me.
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 extroversion 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 extroversion and introversion because I want my society to be successful.