Quit your job as a TV anchor and get a degree in library science.
But if TV anchoring is what you love, then create an extroverted persona
to get yourself through the day.
-Susan Crain, Quiet
It may have taken you awhile to realize you’re an introvert. Perhaps you discovered how much you enjoy solitary “think time.” Perhaps, even though you greatly enjoy the company of friends and family, you find that too much interaction and not enough “alone time” is a recipe for physical and emotional exhaustion. Or perhaps you’re frequently called a “loner,” and you’re starting to think friends might actually be on to something….
In case you’re still not sure whether you lean more to the introvert or extravert side of the spectrum, you might want to check out the questions posed by author Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
If you’ve just recently discovered your inner introvert, you may find that your career has already gone in a direction that calls for serious extrovert chops – you may be leading teams of people, giving group presentations, teaching classrooms of students, and/or engaging in ongoing professional activities. There’s probably no way you’ll want to abandon any of these professional engagements because they’re part of a rich and rewarding career – instead, you’ll want to figure out how to maintain your sanity (as a solitude-loving introvert) while performing effectively (as a people-loving extrovert).
A great place to start is by reading Susan Cain’s Quiet, which will at least get you heading in the right direction. An introvert herself, Crain examines why introverts are the way they are, why this is generally a good thing, and how they can learn to play to their many valuable strengths. Her counsel regarding how introverts and extroverts can learn to communicate effectively and with mutual respect is especially valuable for work settings.
Check out a copy of Susan Cain’s Quiet if you –
think you may be an introvert and would like to understand yourself better;
are an extrovert and would like to understand how to build more effective relationships with introverts;
are managing introverts, and want to understand how to help them contribute their “best stuff”; or
are trying to figure out how to be effective in an extrovert career without losing your introvert sanity.
It will answer your questions, provide the encouragement you need, and let you and the world know that introverts can be, in fact, very cool contributors. Sometimes we can even be the life of the party! (If it’s a very, very small party… and doesn’t last too long….)
Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Crown, 2012. ISBN 9780307352149