I feel like the universe has been talking to me lately!
Before I go any further, I just want to say congrats to readers in the United States on the inauguration of a new president. Wish you all, and the country, the very best!
Now back to today’s topic, I’ve been reading a lot of introversion stuff lately and I feel like all these articles have been whispering to me! *haha* You all know that I always preach self-development, but of course, we should share with others and that’s the whole idea of this blog.
I consider myself 40% introvert, 40% extrovert, and 20% of the time I am mainly sitting on the fence. Sometimes, I meet people for the very first time and I am so free-spirited and jovial. Other times, it’s the opposite and I just want to be left alone. Sometimes I do well being with people in small doses.
But even at that, I still think I am more of an introvert because I get so much energy from spending quiet time with myself.
However, with company cultures these days, it may appear that extroversion is more commonly accepted and it’s quite understandable because teamwork and individual work are equally important to the success of any organization. And frankly, extroverts can do both!
All the same, introverts are not unsocial and neither do they lack the ability to help in the success of any company.
So how about you? Extrovert or introvert?
I even had to take personality tests at some time and I got to understand more about myself and things that may interest me more. If you are curious, you could find out your personality here and you should read the previous post on what your handwriting says about your personality. The most common of personality tests is that of Myer Briggs.
It’s not uncommon to hear that working in teams, speaking publicly, and networking is expected of you in the workplace. But how do you go about this if you are an introvert?
You’d have to be in the right job
If you are planning on changing your job (for good reasons), then this is for you. You could go ahead and take a personality test. But if you already love your job and just finding a way to fit into the extrovert work culture, then I am so excited for you. Go on to read these tips.
Introverts majorly prefer jobs that allow them to work alone most times. So jobs that involve editing or IT could work well for them. They want to work autonomously and in a quiet place.
Jobs that involve sales or maybe customer service which could be face-to-face may not necessarily work well for an introvert.
Let’s now talk about how an introvert could try to relate well with other colleagues in the workplace.
- Social commitments
We always hear people talk about how important networking can be, but this could be so hard for an introvert. Networking could take place anywhere and at any time so take advantage of it. The next time you are invited for a tea/ coffee break don’t turn down the offer.
Go out with colleagues for lunch break once in a while and try to mix up. This can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be an everyday affair because you’d still look forward to your alone time.
Maintaining these social activities with co-workers helps with bonding and you’ll get to know them better and feel more relaxed to share your views with them. This could help with that promotion you have been looking forward to!
And let’s not forget that co-workers and even bosses are much more relaxed and happy to have a chat away from the workplace. This could be your networking event for you!
This is what some people term “the social introvert”. Smile. Remember that you don’t need to say much. When there is a topic that interests you, feel free to talk about it. Just focus on your strengths.
2. Share with your team
At your next brainstorming session, don’t be shy to share your ideas. Introverts do a lot of thinking.
Everyone out there is talking, sharing, making so much sense; and you are there, hearing your thoughts, seeing possibilities, but just can’t seem to air it out.
I know because this can be me sometimes. Thoughts running all through my mind!
If you work well on your social commitments, you’d find that sharing with the team will seem less difficult for you. It’s simply because you would feel more relaxed around them.
You really need to understand that you need to blend in. This is life, and you are in the workplace, embrace your strengths; share with others if you want to be valued and noticed. Don’t worry, you’ve had enough time to think and you’d definitely say something useful.
Just like Susan Cain mentioned in her 2012 TED Talk The Power of Introverts,
“Shyness is about fear of social judgment. Introversion is more about how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation?”
If it helps, you can wait for everyone to share their thoughts and come in when you feel everywhere is quiet and you can hear yourself speak. But for the most part of it, I think you should speak when the energy in the room is still really high.
3. Create time for yourself
Introverts derive their energy from being in their own quiet place.
Depending on your job and workplace, if you have space to yourself, you could shut the door for an hour and recharge. Speak to yourself and feel energized. Sometimes, you just need that time to yourself to feel okay.
You could also go to a quiet room at your workplace and have some time alone. Or take a walk! That works magic for me.
I know I mentioned hanging out with colleagues, but once in a while have your lunch alone if you need that space. At my previous workplace, I’d even go to the washroom for a while if I felt really overwhelmed and just wanted time away from the ‘world’.
According to Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D., a certified speaking professional,
“At least half of people who speak for a living are introverted in nature. They succeed on stage – just not in the chit-chat afterward.”
And I totally relate to this. I am always happy to speak to a crowd, in fact, I enjoy it. I was surprised when my parents reminded me of this. I never knew that they had noticed.
Nonetheless, I think introverts should strike a balance. As much as you can, open up! The world will be a better place if everyone aired their views and respected each other’s opinion. I’ve seen introversion take me away from achieving some things in the past and I’m seriously working my way around things. I want you to discover yourself too if you think that you are more of an introvert.
If you are an introvert, how do you try to blend into the workplace? If you are not, what are your thoughts and suggestions on this topic? I would really love to hear from you.