• Paula English

Introvert? Really?

Loves people. Great speaker. Never afraid to be on stage no matter the size of the crowd. Life time sales & entrepreneurial career. High anxiety about mingling with strangers. Rejuvenated by being alone and in the silence. Prefers intimate relationships to superficial contacts. Not much of a networker. Charismatic and at ease with all types of people.

Yes, this pretty much describes me. Or at least some aspects of my personality. Starting in sales as a young woman, it seemed obvious that I was an extrovert. Right? Anyone who is motivated enough to get up and make 40 cold calls every day in order to make a living could not possibly be an introvert. Introverts are shy people, like librarians and computer programmers.

When I was almost 30 I took the Meyers-Briggs personality profile test. 100% Introvert was one aspect of my score. (ISFP if you know what I mean) My counselor said: "no wonder you feel so misunderstood, everyone thinks you're an extrovert!" Even today, my sister and my good friends will say: "you are no introvert. you have too many friends."

Shakespeare said to "know thyself and to thyself be true". For me, it's not so much the label that counts, it's the information I have gained in learning about myself that makes it more interesting to develop my strengths and stop fighting the push back. If it's NOT comfortable, don't do it. My objective is to find the way to live that is in agreement with my nature. I believe that as we are true to our nature using our gifts and talents as they have been given, our work and life is more effortless, more gentle, more joyful.

So, yes, introverts can be great in sales and love people. And extroverts aren't always comfortable making small talk. I will always be grateful to the Meyers-Briggs for opening a door that had big impact in how I live with myself AND how I work with others. Understanding profiles does not dictate who you are or limit possibilities. Sometimes it just gives us the ok to be ourselves.

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