Never before had I seen so many hands shoot up in a room when asked by the speaker, “How many of you consider yourself an introvert?”
It looked like close to 90% of hands were raised…but I might be biased.
After all, I’m one of many introverts doing a juggling act with putting myself “out there” and preserving my energy. My feelings of confidence often fluctuated with this juggling act.
On that glorious night (Nov. 14), I got to meet the speaker, Susan Cain. She’s the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.”
Listening to this quietly confident lady lifted me. Introverts can have our own style of relating to the world and that’s okay. Although generally misunderstood, we’re never alone in feeling alone.
Such a kindred spirit was present in that room- the cells in my body felt like dancing.
I would have loved to hear this talk when I was a little girl feeling somehow undervalued because I was quiet and shy. I had other reasons for feeling devalued (that I found healing for), but the way introversion was misunderstood by much of society added to the challenge of navigating through school and life in general.
The talk helps parents empower their quiet kids to thrive, gives validation to introverts, and helps extroverts to understand their introverted friends’ and co-workers’ energy system. Introversion is not a personality trait to grow out of, like a turtle coming out of its shell. Instead, it’s a way we store and use up energy.
The science and research behind her work further validates what I and my husband (also an introvert) feel deeply in our gut – that solitude and reflection are much needed practices. I LOVE the practical tips for introverts, like preparing ahead of time what you anticipate saying in an impromptu group setting, and speaking up early on to establish a presence. I appreciate those tips as I tend to listen first in a group and if I hadn’t prepared beforehand what I wanted to say, I often ended up saying nothing.
Susan has an exciting project in the works, called the Quiet Revolution. You can find her on http://www.thePowerOfIntroverts.com
I think both extroverts and introverts have value to bring to any table. It’s a matter of “unlearning” and “re-learning” a few things when it comes to group work and classroom participation.
Do you think you’re an introvert or an extrovert?