There has been many a night in my lifetime where I dream a dream about not being able to speak or my voice is gone. I try to scream and shout but not a word comes out. Paging Dr. Freud: I think this has something to do with me being concerned about whether my voice is being heard or not.
To further explore this reoccurring theme in my dreams I completed the infamous Myers Briggs Assessment not too long ago; I heard this thing measures personality attributes like introversion and extroversion or something. To my surprise I tested as an Extrovert, just a tad over on the extroversive side but still an extrovert.
This was shocking since my entire life I have constantly been told I am shy, reserved, quiet and…an introvert. I also had been told this served as my Achilles Heel in reaching my full potential at work (ironically I’m in Communications). But then why did my assessment results suggest otherwise?
Upon further research, I discovered that the concept of Introversion and Extroversion are deeply misconstrued within today’s society. What society identifies as extroversive and introversive behavior is something entirely different than what the Myers Brigg’s identifies an individual as. I have found this kind of false application rings true with other behavioral science concepts such as calling people “anti-social” or “OCD.” I’m sure Isabel Briggs Myers is rolling in her grave at the thought of this.
According to MyersBriggs.com one should ask themselves the following questions when thinking about extroversion and introversion:
- Where do you put your attention and get your energy?
- Do you like to spend time in the outer world of people and things (extroversion) or in your inner world of ideas and images (introversion)?
They also caution to not confuse introversion with shyness or reclusiveness in addition to noting everyone spends some time extroverting and some time introverting. It all boils down to what kinds of things a person feeds off of in order to coexist and interact with others.
Another fun fact about introverts and extroverts, numerous studies have shown that introverts make up roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of the U.S. population. Who knew some many walk among us everyday!
Upon being enlightened by this information, being identified as an extrovert began to make more sense to me. I do enjoy interacting with teams and thrive on being surrounded by collective creative energy. I am more of a city boy than a farm boy. And would much rather be out and about than cooked up in my house (sorry, can’t stop making my sentences rhyme).
However, when it comes to being a chatty cathy and being the life of the party, I’d rather observe versus have all eyes on me. I also am another statistic when it comes to agreeing with most Americans that public speaking is scarier than my own demise (Chapman University Survey on American Fears).
However, even if someone does test as an introvert there’s still no reason they can’t be successful in business professional settings. There are numerous benefits to being an introvert in the workplace. According to behavioral and psychology scholar, Dr. Brian Little, some of them are the following:
- Caffeine Rush Not Required: Introverts are more receptive to brain stimulation, and too much of it can actually deter from clear and effective thinking.
- Learn to listen and listen to learn: When it comes to listening, introverts perform better at this task than extroverts. This carries over into such tasks like better understanding what clients or management wants.
- Plays Well with Other: According to Little, introverts work well with extroverts often taking on the role of interviewer and in turn forming an effective way to share information and communicate.
- Extrovert Mode On: Introverts have the ability to switch on their extrovert mode for situations that require that social-butterfly behavior. It’s more challenging to reel back than to add-on.
So next time someone wants to label you an introvert (like it’s bad thing), explain to them the true meaning of this behavior indicator and see who the real introvert is. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on this widely misunderstood topic.