As many of you may know, I am in the process of writing a book. It’s coming along so far, but I have been aware from the beginning that this project wasn’t going to live without the contributions of others. This will be the first time you’ll have a chance to weigh in.

The book is designed to talk through reflections in three distinct spheres: demystify, mask, and manage.ย I’m starting by writing about the demystifying part.

So let me hear from you! There is a question for introverts AND extroverts, so don’t let your E hold you back! I’ll leave the post open for about a week, and feel free to post comments below. I will be in touch if I end up using your words, and I look forward to hearing everyone’s experiences.

FOR THE INTROVERTS: When you think about all the various traits that are associated with introversion, which one do you find plays the biggest role in your life?

FOR THE EXTROVERTS: What traits or qualities do you associate with introversion?

Responses can be as short or as long as you’d like, and can be made anonymous if you wish. I’ll be approving comments as they come in, but closing submissions for this question on Friday, April 12th. Can’t wait to learn your stories- I literally can’t do this without you ๐Ÿ™‚

15 thoughts on “Collaborative Authorship, Pt I: “Demystify”

  1. I’m an extrovert in love with an introvert so I think about this a lot.
    I think #MyEric’s introversion manifests more in his need for quiet time. He’s an intense dude and needs to get away from time to time. It’s not that he’s not social or doesn’t like crowds, it’s just that he needs to recharge and process in a safe, quiet space.

    This extrovert (being me) has to watch closely so that I’m respecting #MyEric’s introversion needs.
    He understands that I derive a great deal of joy from being out, being loud and being a giant attention whore. It’s a give and take.

  2. I’m not just an Introvert, I’m also shy, which is the (unfortunately negative) trait of Introversion that plays the biggest part in my life. I know that not all Introverts are shy, but I am, to a fault. Confession time to provide an example: before meeting you for lunch, I had a mini-panic attack because you were new and I don’t WANT to meet new people (I do it because it’s good for me and deep down I do have a desire to expand my network, it’s just small and easily overwhelmed). After lunch, I closed my door for a while to prevent anyone from coming in so I could recharge.

    That’s the other aspect that is most prevalent in my life–the need for down-time to recharge. I’m easily drained, and need to be virtually alone and doing almost nothing to accomplish a good recharge. This is obviously dependent upon what I’ve been doing and how familiar I am with the activity (work & commuting used to be draining, but I have it mostly under control now).

  3. Jessi, Iโ€™m right there with you on the need to recharge. Thatโ€™s quickly emerging as the common thread for introverts. I suspected it, but itโ€™s good to know Iโ€™m not the only one who values that time so much.
    I definitely feel you on the tension between knowing that meeting people is โ€œgood for meโ€, and not being a fan of it. I think I am one of those people for whom social media has helped that- it gives me a way to get the exhausting small talk done early, so my interactions can be more rich and, therefore, energizing.
    Glad you didnโ€™t let the shyness โ€œwinโ€ so we could meet- hope I get to see you again soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. This sentence explains exactly what we had to figure out: “Learn how two people can sit on different sides of the room, silently engaging in their own activities, and still achieve a profound sense of closeness.”

  5. Thanks! Social media absolutely helps when it comes to meeting new people, which is why I’m trying to increase my usage, at least a little.

    We should do lunch or post-work coffee sometime soon!

  6. Oh Amma, where do I start?! You know I’m MBTI Certified now right? Let’s talk … for days. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    From the comment above, it might be fairly obvious that I have a strong preference for extroversion. More importantly, using terminology like ‘having a preference for extroversion’ is new and so important for me as I continue to disentangle 4 very intense (and long!) days back in November when I completed my certification course. While we talk about most traits and skills as something we ‘have’ or possess, MBTI theory talks about having a preference for acting, thinking and being, not having those traits themselves. This is a key distinction as terms like ‘extroversion’ and ‘introversion’ are caught up in negative synonyms (‘shy’ and ‘outgoing’ – yes ‘outgoing’ can carry as many negative connotations as ‘shy’ in my world), and these traits are often more limiting than they are empowering. Associating introversion with ‘shyness’ or even, more simply, with ‘quiet’ carries loaded assumptions. Far from the ‘weak’ connotations words like shy offer, I see introverts as powerful masters of the silent space, not rushing to fill emptiness with noise. I’m an external processor, so I talk things out so they can make (more) sense to me, but my perceived strength in being ‘outgoing’ and ‘always having something to say’ can mean what I do have to say is disjointed and contradictory – the messy process of learning is out in the open where others may value only the polished final product. There’s so much going on inside the introvert, and I work to create brave spaces for them to share it.

    I hope this is helpful Amma. You know I’m always interested in chatting about this more. I can’t wait to read more from you!

  7. Lisa, I’m more than happy to talk to you for days about this ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially given your status as an introvert with insight on how both sides work through training…I may need to pick your brain. Stay at the ready, my friend! So thankful for your support!

  8. Amma, you know this speaks to my introverted soul. ๐Ÿ™‚ Growing up, I was always told that I needed to be more outgoing…like everyone else. This thought never sat well with me, and it wasn’t until this past summer that I figured it out. It didn’t sit well because it wasn’t me! Instead of trying to be like everyone else, I need to embrace who I am and all of the qualities {including the introverted ones!} that have molded me into who I am. Being able to take ownership of these qualities instead of forcing something that wasn’t there allowed me for the first time to truly be myself. And the biggest lesson I learned- being able to do that is what makes you stand out.


  9. Amma, for me my introversion manifests itself on how I manage the energy I need to expend in a day. In one of the presentations I give on “Leading with your I”, I found an interesting way to picture the introvert. Dr. Marti Olsen Laney in her book, the Introvert Advantage, shows the introvert as a lantern versus the extrovert who is like a lighthouse. Lighthouses send light outward for all to see. It is bright and can be seen for miles no matter what the weather. Introverts are more like the lantern. They are softer in the light that they shine and it appears to emmanate from within. The light can get brighter as the wick is turned up but at some point the oil runs out and must be replenished.

    When my lantern light must be bright at meetings or when presenting, I need to plan ways to get recharge time. It can come in the form of a quiet lunch in my office or reading a book in the morning or at the close of the day. It can also come in the form of singing with my favorite artist on my drive home, but I always need “me” time.

    Other times, I can come to the office and work hours on projects by myself or with a small group. At those times I am not shining my lantern light as bright so recharge time is not as essential. When I am really into a subject I can get lost for hours.

    I also find that introversion combined with my penchant for thinking deeply makes me less likely to get caught up in fast moving meetings with lots of talking. I like to listen and assimulate information preferring to construct and plan out what I will say before actually saying it. I can brainstorm but much like running meetings or presenting, it requires more of my energy.

  10. Laurie, I’m going to add The Introvert Advantage to my list of research for this project. I love the elegance of that analogy, and would like to credit it properly. What’s more, I completely agree with you about meetings…a section on that has already hit the draft- I’ll have to add this snippet as backup ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for your words!

  11. Emily, the taking ownership has been the biggest part of the process for me. I want to explore that element of the process later in the book (part three is where we’ll get to “manage”, and I want to make sure I get your thoughts on that as well!). I, too, got the calls for a more outgoing nature, and it was something I tried. Never felt right. I got to the point where I felt comfortable just being me, and I’m glad you did too ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Amma, I love this topic. Now to answer your question as someone who identifies with the introversion preference I would say the trait that plays the biggest role in my life is how I reenergize or where I get my energy from, much like Laurie I always need “me time” at some point during the day even if its just for a short amount of time. I like to have my quiet time and space to reflect in order to recharge. The one trait I personally dont identify with as much is being quiet or shy.

  13. Thank you so much for your thoughts, Joanna! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on further questions- please stay tuned ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Amma- First, I LOVE the premise of this. Second, thank you for including me. I bring the perspective of someone who deeply identifies with her type (INFJ) and as someone who has been MBTI certified for almost 9 years. I know and love the MBTI and what it can do for people, groups, teams, families.

    The biggest parts of being an introvert that are manifest in my daily life are: 1. my need to have time & energy to process information, data, requests and 2. my need to be able to change my mind after I have done that processing. As an I and a J, I am always processing. I recently attended an MBTI session where the presenter said, “an IJ has come to decision, until they go off alone again and have more time to process & change their minds.” This is SO true for me personally and professionally.

    Both of these I traits also make it hard for me to handle interruptions. As we all know, interruptions are a daily part of life, especially with motherhood and student affairs! Interruptions make me lose focus, energy, and momentum. While an E might be able to rebound from them quickly and be re-energized by that contact, I am sometime overwhelmed by them because I “lose my train of thought” and it takes longer to get back into what I was doing.

    These are my thoughts…for now! LOL!

    Can’t wait to see how this plays out.


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