“Success” has a very personal measure. One person’s measure of success may be monetary, while another’s is doing something they love. However, it is important to know and be aware of your personality type.
There are tools that can aid you in this self-discovery, such as Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Both introverts and extraverts have strengths and opportunities. As a functioning extravert, I enjoy partnering with introverts because it allows me the opportunity to think aloud and receive meaningful feedback. This may be why I ended up marrying an introvert. I’m not sure if introverts enjoy partnering with me, but I definitely leverage their tools to actively listen and articulate succinctly.
For example, when I choose colleagues to brainstorm with I include both introverts and extraverts. This diversity allows for a level of thoughtfulness I’m not always able to give and don’t always receive from extraverts. This perspective is very helpful and valuable for me. It normally takes me longer to get to that thoughtful place than individuals that innately focus from an internal perspective.
It is important for introverts and extraverts to have the ability to switch when necessary and appropriate. If an introvert has the ability to function as an extrovert, this provides them a great tool. They can operate as an extravert and speak at a moment when needed but still pull together thoughtful responses. The same goes for an extravert, if an extravert has the ability to focus on their internal world versus the external environment, it provides them additional flexibility and growth as a person.
I demonstrate this a lot, my first inclination is to put my thoughts and ideas into the room. However, I have learned fairly skillfully to contain this when needed. There are times when it’s important to actively listen and take in your external environment. For instance, I am skilled at modeling after experts and turning their expertise into my own original skill. In a previous role years ago, I facilitated several enterprise-wide strategic sessions for a large corporation, which at the time was a stretch assignment. I ended up becoming an expert because I took the time to listen and model after subject matter experts and then used my verbal communication skills to deploy my learning’s. This was an invaluable tool that I’ve learned to use in all aspects of my life.
Now, I can revert to introversion when I feel like I’m not being heard, which is not a good technique. If I am in a room and I put out a thought and it’s not heard for whatever reason (gender, age, race, etc) I tend to shut down my extraversion and begin to internalize more. This is not a constructive way to leverage using this type to my advantage. Knowing when to move between the two types is key, especially for women. Putting our voice in the room and being heard is important in our personal and professional lives. As a woman, knowing if we are an introvert or extravert and how to leverage it is extremely important for our journey to reach our ultimate destination.
How have you leveraged your introversion or extraversion?