Since this is the time of year when we spend time in reflection on the things we’re grateful for, I thought I’d turn that idea inward to my own personality.
It may seem silly. After all, wouldn’t I naturally be grateful for who I am, for what makes me, me? Not necessarily… since turning my focus to introverts, I’ve become aware that some people see introversion as something to be changed or fixed, or even as a curse! And there’s no reason to judge or negate that feeling; it’s a natural reaction to a society that places a higher value (at least on the surface) on extroverted behaviors.
That said, there are lots of reasons to celebrate being an introvert. This is my personal list, to get the celebration started…
- Depth of Curiosity: I have an intense need to know. This need ranges from the superficial (I had to literally sit on my hands while watching a movie last week, holding myself back from running to IMDb for info) to the profound (shadow work and leadership). Bonus: being curious makes me better at annoying small talk!
- Ability to be alone: It’s impossible to overstate how important this is for me as a solopreneur. I appreciate being able to work for long stretches with only my cats for company. I hadn’t thought too much about this until an extrovert friend recently said, “You’re lucky you’re an introvert, you don’t mind working home alone. I’m about to go stir crazy!” Lucky, indeed!
- Quiet Energy: My energy tends to be a calming presence, which means I don’t take up too much space in a room or conversation. And I don’t need to take up a lot of space. I have a greater influence when I am intentional and deliberate in my speech and presence.
- Close Listening: This makes me a good coach. I can listen “in between the words” to what my client is saying, as well as hear what he’s saying without thinking about what I’m going to say when he’s done talking.
- Introspection: Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated with my inner world. I’m grateful for the tangible proof of that fascination: stacks of journals in my closet, chronicling my life from first kiss to marriage.
- Close Friendships: Growing up, we had astrological plaques in the hallway that gave quick insights to our sign. I’m a Virgo, and I remember two things from my plaque: it said that my “emotions run deep” and that rather than lots of acquaintances, I have a few, close friends. So true! And how I love that. My strong preference for quality over quantity means I’ve developed a chosen family based on mutual love and respect.
- Self-Contained: I’m pretty easily amused. It doesn’t take much to entertain me; give me a book, a place to nap, my laptop, and I’m generally good to go with very few accessories. This makes me relatively low maintenance and a fairly cheap date :-).
7.5 Look Before Leaping: This is one of the core traits of an introvert. We like to observe before jumping in. This is a huge asset, as it keeps us from seriously unintentional actions and big-time goofs.
However, this point is 7.5 for a reason: part of me really appreciates the caution, and part of me really wants to be able to throw caution to the wind just a little bit more. I’m a Recovering Perfectionist… it’s hard to leap before looking, because the mess I create could be overwhelming. But the operative word there is “could.” Some of the best ideas and breakthroughs come from being willing to make a big stinking mess. My growth edge for 2011 is to trust myself to do more leaping… I’ll simply do it the introvert way, with my eyes wide open.
[You can see one example of 1 Beth a’leaping at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NreteW8blc … it’s my audition video for “Ready for the Stage.” If you like it, please share and comment!!]
Add your gratitude! What about your introverted personality are you most grateful for? And if you’re an extrovert, what aspect of your “inner introvert” do you most appreciate?