Dear Introverts, use your strengths…
You may be an introvert yourself or maybe you need to get to know and understand introverts better. Maybe you work with an introvert; you are a friend of one or a partner. At some point in life the knowledge of various personality types may be useful for every one of us. Those personality profiles can be used to help, not merely to label people. They can support you in effectively connecting with another human being, rather than limiting your view of that person to a number of personality traits.
The reality is that there are certain characteristics that support us in understanding each other. The distinction between the personality of an introvert and an extrovert is one of the most common. Ask anyone to describe either and you’ll be given a detailed enough description, possibly with examples of people they know who are introverts or extroverts.
When it comes to connecting with others, extroverts have it easier. They enjoy being in large groups and in fact this is how they get most energised. They need to belong, be noticed and heard. Building relationships and engaging with people is much easier for them. As opposed to introverts.
Introverts in most cases need time to think. Big gatherings are acceptable as long as they have time to prepare for them. Depending on the seriousness and the value of the meeting they attend, they strategize. They need to know how, what, who and why. They go ready. Engaging with others takes up their energy and can be described as a balancing act between a purposeful (of course!) self – presentation and a need to belong and be a part of the action.
Fellow introverts, the best news is that even though less bubbly and more contemplative, we are able to use our best skills and personality traits to find a well-deserved place in a bigger gathering.
Here are 5 ways to use your strengths, introverts. These will help you connect quicker with others (and with yourselves):
- Listen. It has been proven that we all prefer to communicate with those who listen (80% of us). We enjoy being listened to and we crave attention. One of the best qualities of introverts is their ability to listen and ask questions based on what they heard. By doing this we enable openness and trust and show that we care. Could these be real and attractive features for those who prefer to talk? Absolutely. This way everyone stays authentic without trying to be someone they are not. Win-win.
- Be authentic. Working with some of my coaching clients who describe themselves as introverts I noticed that at time we have this real need to fit in. We observe others who are louder, open and easy going and we simply think “Why can’t I be more like him/her?”. What for? – I ask. Thankfully we are all different. Whatever group you are trying to belong to here is breaking news for you – they don’t need another Stephen, a second Karen or Brian number 2. They need you – real, genuine and authentic. So be just that with pride and joy. Work through some of those limiting beliefs about yourself that you impose on others. The group will welcome you… if you welcome yourself into the group.
- Slow down. A stressed introvert who is trying to fit in, can sometimes overshare, tell people more than they wanted to and regret it afterwards. Have you ever been in this situation? I have and what became apparent to me after a number of failed attempts to increase the speed of trust between me and another human being, was that I was perfectly fine without trying to hold a conversation at whatever cost. No one was pointing at me (it turns out I am not weird ), it’s ok to be quiet and your voice will still be heard when you make a point to express your views after they are thought out enough for you to feel comfortable.
- You are not alone! There are other introverts out there and this is great news. When you’re taking part in big meetings or you find yourself in a large group of people, you can be sure that amongst them are other, fellow introverts, who are possibly in disguise. Behind some of those seemingly happy and smiley faces are people who would rather swap for a quieter and more purposeful event. If you recognise them, start a conversation, they will be delighted to meet you. You’re the same.
- Celebrate being you. Every time you connect with people in an authentic and real way, you have a reason to be very proud of yourself. The main thought behind this post is that it’s not always easy to be an introvert. With practice, you can succeed in living a much more honest and genuine life. Respecting your personal energy and needs, you can make better choices and for that you deserve a reward every time. Understanding those valuable personality traits of introverts and making the most of them can even support you in becoming a leader of this quiet revolution. If you get the message in this post, please pass it on.
These are not exclusive to introverts but they can make a greater impact on introvert’s life. Networking, workplace meetings, family gatherings or even friends get- togethers are often events, during which introverts might experience internal conflict. Being alone is what they enjoy most. Other people in moderation and in an environment that is as controllable as possible. They want to be themselves but often think they have to fit in at whatever cost.
The best news is that we don’t, dear introverts. We don’t have to change a single thing. We are quiet and contemplative; we listen and are sensitive to emotions. All these make us different and unique. Therefore the value we bring is different and unique. For me it sounds like we are enough, the right people in the right place!
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