Being an introvert is easy 🤨
As long as I have time and space to recharge – No problem!
At home, in my personal space – No problem!
Out and about, minding my business – No problem!
Even at a social gathering, where I can work the room a lil and get ghost when I need to recharge – No problem!
When you work in a consulting role and you’re the lead Engineer on a project – Big Problem!
When you have to be in meetings, and…you’re expected to lead the meeting – Bigger Problem!
This is why it’s bad to be an introvert. When you’re good at something, you’re expected to project that wherever you go…you know…Be EXTROVERTED!
Which can drain your battery faster than a loud sports bar.
Does this sound familiar?
Are you shy?
Why don’t you speak up more?
Be more assertive!
You’re not an introvert! You’re outgoing, always trying new things…
So…how do you ‘Introvert‘ and maintain in a high energy world?
Let’s address this misconception – why it’s bad to be an introvert – and figure out some ways to move around in this extroverted world. We’ll take a look at ways to recharge your social battery and be prepared whenever you have to speak or present.
Social Battery Drain
As an introvert working in a corporate environment, it’s an hourly struggle to maintain my energy level, and keep my social battery charged. Throw in some noise, distractions, interruptions…and I’ve just lost focus, which quickly drains my battery. When I do lose focus, it takes some effort to get back to work, and any number of events can trigger me:
- A co-worker from down the hall jumps on a conference call…on a loud speaker
- Random co-workers walking down the narrow hallway, having a conversation I can clearly make out 10 seconds before they pass by
- The desk phone ringing takes me out of my zone (I might get three calls in a month)
- A co-worker walking up, needing assistance (most problems are communicated through email or messenger, unless it’s fairly urgent)
Fortunately, I have some freedom to move around at work, so I do take advantage, when I need to. Here are some things I do to get back in the work frame of mind:
- Get up, take a stroll (to the bathroom, outside, to another part of the building), get the blood flowing, and gather my thoughts so I can refocus on getting something done
- Put in some earbuds and listen to any given playlist I’ve compiled to re-energize and help tune out noise and distractions
- Brainstorm ideas and do some research, which helps get my mind back in motion and energized to solve problems
Get The Most Out Of Your Breaks
Depending on your work environment, these opportunities might not be available to you. At the least, take advantage of every break you get. Get up and get away for the full time you’re allowed. And, please make sure you take a lunch break…every day. If you work in a stressful environment, your lunch break is an opportunity to get away and recharge your social battery.
By the time I actually take off for lunch, I’ve typically already eaten so my usual activities include:
- Taking an invigorating walk (summertime CLE)
- Relaxing in the car, listening to music, audiobooks or podcasts
- Taking care of personal business and shopping chores
- If I haven’t eaten – exploring new restaurants and things to do
Your lunch break should be a time for you to recharge (mentally, physically), de-stress and break up the work day. Don’t let the stress continue to build by working through your break…even if you just go to the caf(eteria) and zone out…Do It! Or…find a safe, low key, low traffic area to be off on your own. Give yourself the time you need to allow your mind to settle down. You’re allowed to ‘Introvert‘.
Be Over Prepared
What’s that saying about being prepared?
When I’m not prepared, I’m not confident. When I’m not confident, embarrassment is always right there…tapping me on the shoulder 😲
Embarrassment used to be a top 5 fear but as I’ve aged, it’s become a challenge. If I manage to put myself in a position where I can potentially feel embarrassed, I’m actually putting myself in a position for people to listen and pay attention…to my thoughts…ideas…opinions…what I have to say.
As an introvert, that control is energy and power. The type of energy that recharges your battery and lifts your spirit…the type of power that reinforces your ideas and theories, and fuels your passion.
But…what do you do when there’s no time to prepare?
How do you prepare to be put on the spot?
The simple answer = over prepare 😊
In other words, know what you’re talking about 🙄
You can try to fake it…just don’t let your BS hang you.
It’s easier to know what you’re supposed to know and not have to bluff and fake your way through every situation.
Here are some strategies I use to make sure I can at least contribute when I’m put on the spot:
- Pay attention and make sure you understand what you’re being asked to respond to
- Be aware of any communications that affect you
- Stay on top of your skill set
Being prepared includes understanding what you’re being asked. When you’re put on the spot, it’s tempting to listen to the first few words of the question or statement and rush to give a response based on your initial reaction.
Don’t do this!
LISTEN…wait until the question is asked…then pause…
Now, process what you’ve just been asked.
Does it make sense?
Do you need additional info?
Do you have to ask follow up questions to get clarity?
Do you have to go do some research and follow up?
Can you respond with a comprehensive answer with no further input?
Go through this scenario enough times and you’ll start to develop a system to be prepared. Prepping your responses ahead of time helps you avoid the battery drain of being put on the spot…sweating to come up with responses…and, the feeling of anxiety that takes over when forced to perform in front of a group.
When you expect to be put on the spot, you can over prepare and try to anticipate any oddball questions or suggestions. In these situations, it’s easy to see why it’s bad to be an introvert, but we have techniques to be prepared…and, save a complete battery drain.
Be Aware, Be Alert
As introverts, we like to find comfort in our own, self-contained zone. As comfy as that zone makes us feel, we need to make sure we also stay in the loop. You know…the flow of information around you.
Being put on the spot can induce anxiety for many introverts…but, when you’ve been given a heads up, or get alerts that you should be aware, you can only look at yourself when you’re not prepared.
I’ve been guilty of this, and it’s part of the introvert bubble. I get trapped in the introvert bubble when I go into problem solving mode and tune out external communication. I’ve missed announcements of systems being down or unavailable while sitting there wondering why I can’t do the thing I’m trying to do. Then, I feel really foolish when a co-worker mentions the communication that went out about the system in question 😥
Fortunately, I haven’t gotten my ass kicked by missing a major alert, but it’s always good practice to at least skim through alerts and ear hustle (listen in on) your co-workers’ conversations. There’s usually some good intel going around that can benefit you.
On your knowledge and skills…you will be tested!
Many introverts self classify as nerds or geeks, and are voracious readers, savagely eating volumes of literature. So…this is just a subtle reminder to also keep up with what’s going on in your area of expertise and career.
Although you might not be directly called out, you might be put in a position that’s way outside your comfy zone. As an introvert, your focus, self sufficiency and keen observation stand out…A Lot!
Introverts also have drive, commitment and trustworthiness that, combined with focus and self sufficiency, are valuable assets to businesses that value thinkers…who also take action.
Don’t be surprised when people try to put your productive attributes to work (yet another reason why it’s bad to be an introvert).
Being prepared to have your comfy zone involuntarily expanded will save you a lot of anxiety and social battery drain.
Why It’s Bad To Be An Introvert
Is really a reflection on a broken system that values external validation over internal introspection.
Fill in the silence…
Be part of the crowd…
All speak to the extrovert experience…
I’m here to speak for the introvert experience…let’s chat…