One of the many personality tests I took on my quest to gain a deeper understanding of myself was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
I thought this page from 16personalities.com described me pretty well.
There are many misconceptions about being introverted that I want to clear up.
Typically people think of us as being anti-social, unfriendly, shy, rude or lonely.
People judge what they don’t understand.
So here’s some insight into the inner workings of an introverted person…
What it means to be introverted…
— Our quiet and reserved nature doesn’t mean shy, socially anxious or insecure.
There’s a big difference between shyness, social anxiety and insecurity.
I used to be shy about talking to others because:
- I had a deep fear of self expression and have always felt I couldn’t communicate well because of my struggle with words.
- I didn’t know how to ‘strike up conversations’, so I avoided talking to people I don’t know because I didn’t know what to say.
My shyness was due to fear, lack of confidence and poor communication skills.
Growing up with these qualities didn’t serve me in the workforce and in business. My shyness made me anxious about meeting new people.
Early in my business career, I started a service business helping small business owners with their online marketing.
I quit my job and jumped head first into entrepreneurship. I quickly realised I had to get good at talking to people I don’t know.
I had to learn networking and relationship building skills. My back was against the wall.
In 2013, I decided to attend business networking events for an entire year. I went to every networking event I could find in Sydney and consistently showed up every where.
I went to 5 to 6 events per week in the first few weeks, then tapered off to 1 to 2 per week.
I eventually developed the skill of meeting new people and striking up conversations. My confidence grew as I got better.
Now, I love meeting new people.
Especially kindred spirits around the world online who share my interests.
I am not shy anymore, but I’m still quiet and reserved.
— We prefer to think before we speak.
We tent to take a longer time to process information because we process information internally. This allows us to understand and provide thoughtful insights when we respond.
We’re not inclined to jump into a conversation, or move onto new ideas before understanding what’s present to us.
This means we’re naturally good listeners! We are able to actively listen and ‘be with you’ without turning the conversation around and making it about us.
We only speak when we have something to say. So there’s a higher chance that we’ll have an impact with our words.
— Time alone is how we recharge.
Too much time spent socialising can be overwhelming and draining for us. Our desire for “me time” doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy your company!
It just means we need to recharge our batteries so we can go out into the world and connect with our renewed energy.
— We’re observant.
We notice things others might not notice because they’re talking and processing out loud.
This means we’re more likely to notice people’s body language and facial expressions, which makes us better at interpersonal communication.
— We don’t feel the need to step into the spotlight.
I believe introverted people can make the best leaders when we channel our natural strengths.
We are likely to highlight the strengths of our teams because of our natural tendencies to learn more about them (skills, passions and strengths).
We all know employees tend to be more motivated when they feel recognised and valued.
Inspired to understand yourself a little better?
I bloody hope so.
I found different types of online personality tests interesting and useful. It helped me understand different parts of myself better.
BUT (this is a big but) taking tests alone is not enough. Because tests often lump you into “certain groups” depending on traits they decide to segment you on.
We can have similar traits as other people in the population, but at the end of the day, you are a unique individual with a mix of gifts.
There is no one else on the planet who is exactly like you.
If you want to be happy in life, one of the skills you need is self awareness.
Because in order to create a life you love, it’s critical to understand yourself better than you understand anyone else.
Otherwise, you’ll be blindly lead astray onto paths that don’t serve you, which will ultimately make you miserable.
I wish someone told me to work on my self awareness (and self understanding) growing up.
It’s one of those life skills to master in life.
It would have saved me decades of pain and struggle trying to find my own path and eventually develop the trust in myself to follow it (no matter how crazy it sounds to other people).
Your path can be a hell of a lot easier than mine if you learn to take the time and space to understand yourself better.
The better you understand yourself, the better choices you’ll be able to make.
The better you understand yourself, the better you’ll be at blocking out other people’s opinions of what you “should” do with your life.
It’s that simple.
When you understand and know yourself, you’ll know exactly what to say “hell yeah!” to or “no!” to.
You’ll know how to:
- Choose careers that are aligned with your interests and curiosities that continue to inspire you to grow and hone your craft.
- Choose work environments where you shine, be valued for your unique strengths and the qualities you bring.
- Choose the type of relationships you desire with people (friendships, family, work and love).
- Acquire skills and knowledge easier and faster because you know how you learn best. Then you can use those new skills and knowledge to catapult your career.
This is what I would say to my 12 year old self if I could travel back in time.
I plan on writing more about this in the coming months.
If you have any questions you want to ask me or have any feedback for me, feel free to contact me.
I’d love to hear from you.