Sophia Dembling (author of the book The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World) caused quite a stir with an article she wrote recently: “Five Ways Introverts Can Be Annoying“.
Apparently some introverts were quite annoyed by her comments. I actually found her article amusing!
I’m 100% with her, when it comes to the whole “introverts are much better than extroverts” mania that seems to have hit the internet lately. We are NOT “better” than extroverts. We’re just different – and we want to be understood and appreciated for who we are, just as much as extroverts do.
But in order to be understood, as Stephen Covey would say, we must “seek first to understand”. And, unless you’re planning to live in a cave (although I admit it is rather tempting at times), that includes understanding how extroverts work differently from us, as well as understanding our own needs.
You might well want to spend the weekend sitting in a darkened room, reading a book – far away from everyone – after a long week of “playing” the extrovert. And I wouldn’t blame you. But if your “other half” is more of an extrovert than you, then s/he might have other ideas. And if you don’t let each other know how you feel and what you need, then it’s a recipe for disaster.
The same goes for your clients. You have to manage their expectations, if you want to build a healthy relationship. And that includes finding out how they want to work with you, explaining to them how you work best – and then finding some middle ground that will keep your client happy and won’t kill you!
I have to admit, this is something I’ve been really bad at in the past. I didn’t have a problem with it when I was an employee – I simply said it like it is! But since I’ve been self-employed, I’ve been more inclined to bend over backwards to satisfy my clients’ requirements – and I’ve ended up resenting it. And sulking. Which is another way in which introverts can be annoying!!
So then I went to the opposite extreme. Rather than being on-call “all the time”, I withdrew personal contact from my clients all together, and would only connect with them on Facebook or other forums, so that I could more easily manage my time and my energy levels.
But, as Nick Williams said in an Inspired Entrepreneurs Community event recently: people want your energy (to which my response was: don’t they just!!). And as introverts, it’s up to us to find a way to share our energy with the people who really matter, rather than squandering it on those who don’t.
That might sound a bit harsh – but the fact is that our energy is the most valuable thing we have, as introverts, and we need to conserve it for the occasions when it will serve the greatest purpose.
When you are on purpose, you can inspire others to do great things – without needing to be loud or bold. That is a good use of your energy, and that’s what you need to focus your energy on.
That’s what I’m doing with The Quiet Entrepreneur.
Who do YOU want to inspire, how and why do you want to inspire them, and what do you want to inspire them to do?
Let me know in the comments below