Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?…you should just suit yourself!

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Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert?

It’s quite funny how defensive people can get around this issue.  Some people suddenly feel compelled to defend being one or the other.  Others, those who feel like they are being pigeon-holed and want to rebel, start to rant about how it ‘depends’…depends on how they are feeling, who they are with, what they are doing, blah, blah, blah.

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Personally, I think that there is probably one or the other that we feel more akin to when we really sit and look at who we are and how we like to function.  Let me explain.

I would say I’m an introvert.  

I can hear lots of people I know exclaiming at this….’oh no Serena…you’re not an introvert.  You’re a lecturer. You can speak to hundreds of people. You did Improv. You can’t be introverted!’.

Oh but I can.  You see introversion describes something for me that is more about our basic needs and where we get our energy from.  For me, I know that I need a lot of time on my own.  I go towards ‘introspection’ for my strength, for my need to re-energise, as opposed to looking outwards for those things; as per an actual definition of introversion:

introvert

noun

noun: introvert; plural noun: introverts

ˈɪntrəvəːt/

1.

a shy, reticent person.

PSYCHOLOGY

a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things.

adjective

adjective: introvert

ˈɪntrəvəːt/

For me, it’s obvious that we are different things at different times and that we express ourselves differently depending on who we are with and what we are expected to do in any particular role.  I do however think that its crucial for us to have a grip on our ‘default’ setting as I’ve expressed here.

This is especially important when we have businesses.

I work with a lot of people who come for help in setting up their business and when we look at what their vision is for their future business, it’s quite clear that they are not ‘honouring’ this default setting.

I’ve had people telling me for example that they want to be a world leading speaker/coach, but when we look at what they love to do, they actually love to be alone writing in their house most of the time and feel exhausted at the thought of going out for too many social events or feel overwhelmed when their diary is full of meetings and other engagements.

I’ve seen the opposite too, where people think that they want to ‘write’ for a living; but one of the reasons that they don’t want to leave their job is that they don’t want to leave the people behind and they feel that they will miss daily contact with others.  These people are the first on the phone to see who might want to do someone when they see a gap appear on their schedule.

It sounds so simple, and it probably looks so obvious, you might wonder how anyone could overlook it, but it happens all the time.

If you’re thinking of doing something different in your life, I really encourage you to think about how your life might look day to day if you were to have to make those changes that will get you to where you want to be.  This works in any area of your life actually.

Then ask yourself if you think you will really be able to do/want to do what it takes to be able to achieve this in terms of your daily practices. Will it, importantly, allow you to get what you need in terms of time alone or time with others?

Sometimes you have to actually try things to see what works, and so I would really encourage you to try things before making them a permanent state of affairs..  With something like this however, I’m sure that your gut is a good first port of call.

At all times however, the message is clear.  You should suit yourself.  Ultimately you must do what is right for you so that you get the most out of what you are doing and so you don’t feel like you are compromising who you are.

By doing this, you will definitely get the most out of the experience.

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