Are You Introverted or Extroverted?
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you gravitate towards people, or are you happiest when you are in the quiet of your own company? More importantly, how does this impact your personal and professional success?
That was a trick question.
I will be bold here and say STOP PUTTING YOURSELF INTO ONE OF THESE CATEGORIES! It does absolutely nothing to propel you forward!
Every week, I have about 30 to 40 conversations with coaching clients and prospective clients, and every week, I hear at least three to four of these people describe themselves or someone they care about as either introverted or extroverted. Without fail, they use one of these descriptors to explain the reason why they are struggling so much.
Each time I hear either one of these terms, I have the urge to reach into the phone, grab them by the shirt collar and shout…
YOU ARE NOT INTROVERTED OR EXTROVERTED!
YOU ARE HUMAN!
So why am I so emphatically against the idea that people are introverted or extroverted? Because no one has an exclusively introverted or extroverted personality, yet we cling to these paradigms to explain our existence and to justify our pain, like this:
Kim: You wrote in your journal that you have a really hard time making friends – why do you think that is?
Client: Because I’m introverted.
Kim: Can you tell me why you think you are struggling to get your business off the ground?
Client: Because I’m introverted and I hate sales.
Kim: You say that you are going through a rough patch with your close friends – what’s going on?
Client: Well I’m a very extroverted person, so I thrive around people. I just feel so hurt when I am not included in their plans.
You get the idea…
But here’s what you need to know – you are NOT introverted OR extroverted – you are somewhere on a continuum of extroversion or introversion and the spectrum changes with every circumstance.
The reason you struggle to make friends is not because you are introverted. It’s because you have a set of beliefs that protects you from pain, shame and embarrassment, which in turn prevents you from reaching out to people you might find interesting to get to know.
The reason you hate sales is not because you are introverted. It’s because the idea of rejection eats you up. It’s because you hold a belief that tells you that you have to sell in a specific way, and that way causes far too much anxiety for you.
The reason you want to be included in the plans that your friends make is not because you are extroverted and thrive around people. It’s because the idea of not being included makes you feel insecure and unwanted.
Being introverted or extroverted is not the cause of anything. We are all more introverted at times and more extroverted at other times. We are never entirely one or the other. The reason we struggle is because we have a set of thinking patterns and beliefs that stand in the way of allowing us to live the life we want, achieve our goals, and experience what we desire most.
If you are struggling, it is NOT because you are introverted or extroverted. It’s because your thinking is getting in the way. Period.
Your personality is not to blame for your pain. Your thinking simply needs a little adjustment.