Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lists, the ISTP heaven

During the Leadership and Development week I took part of this year, I had the opportunity to take the MBTI test.

Unsurprisingly, my result is ISTP:
  • Introversion: I have a small circle a friends and tend to be quiet and reserved. Social interactions take a good part of my energy.
  • Sensing: I can focus on details over the big picture and tend to prefer concrete facts to abstract ones. Though, I see vision (imagining a new software, a new process, a new layout...) as one of my strenghts. I tend to rely on my intuition, though maybe less at work than in social interactions.
  • Thinking: I tend to be as objective as I can in my decisions. Even if they are not always the most considerate or well-seen ones, I can take them without flinching if I'm convinced it is the right thing to do.
  • Perception: I usually have a hard time taking major decisions. I will delay it, ponder pros and cons until I know what is the best choice available. When I took a decision, I stick to it and do what's necessary to make it happen.
This test only shows that there is more to me than just introversion. Out of these 4 categories, not all fit me well - they just fit me better than their opposites.

What this classification made me realize about myself is that preparation is key to be comfortable with any situation. It applies obviously to any major presentation, meeting or training I can experience at work. It also applies to holidays, as proven by my tendency to make to-do lists or roadbooks weeks in advance. Obviously, it also applies to starting a blog and planning a statistical study (even implying myself only).

So here is a first list of topics I'd like to address:
  • Types of outsides interactions
  • Media of interactions (phone calls being my personal worst)
  • Speaking in public
  • Pushing other introverts out of their comfort zones
  • Being alone
  • Getting ready for big events & surprises (or unknown factors)
  • Shyness or the fear of social judgement
  • Leading projects as an introvert
  • Why regression is my favorite Six Sigma tool
  • How my morning routine reflects my introversion
I'll fill this list up as ideas come - and they usually come at the strangest of time (quite often brushing my teeth...). Also, I'll link the topics to the actual posts when I'll write them. Feel free to send suggestions or themes you'd like to discuss!


Monday, May 26, 2014

An happy introvert

About two months ago, I discovered I am an introvert. For the first time in my life, I've been able to put words, but also to better understand how I felt for 28 years.

I've always been considered as a quiet child. I could play on my own for hours without needing any attention from the grown ups around me. I've always enjoyed the company of books. Even before I could read, I would hide books under my pillow and "read" them after my parents would put me to bed. Needless say I always brought books with me in holidays. (Imagine my happiness when discovering in my mid twenties the magic of unlimited number of ebooks on my iPad!).

At school, I tended to have a small group of friends rather than being the popular one. I've been friends with extroverts for years. I guess they acted as buffer, or shields, between the others in the class / school and myself. I'm not a sport person, and team sports tend to make me really nervous. As do any situation I cannot really imagine, prepare in my head and get ready for.

At the tender age of 9, I decided I was going to become a journalist. My goal was to make sure that everyone knew the truth and to help people communicate. Also, I really loved to write. I've been through middle and high school with this goal in mind. I tried to enter one of the few reknown French journalism schools but failed by far. I managed to get a summer job at the local newspaper, to get some experience in the field and earn some money. I hated every minute of it. I required me to attend crowded events and to talk to people I didn't know. I had to ask them unwanted questions. It was a great source of anxiety and make me realise it was not a job for me.

I directed myself toward communication. Some aspects of the job were fairly close to journalism, but at least relationships were held under the rules of the company. I was an employee as any other, and was due respect and help for this fact only.

After 3 years in communication, I was offered the opportunity to work as a full time continuous improvement project leader and to be Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt trained (and hopefully certified sometime soon). Again, I was facing the unknown everyday and had to go towards people when my guts would ask for some peace and quiet environment.

And after 6 years working for the same company, I was invited to a Leadership and Development. Not knowing what to expect was hard and make me reluctant to really engage. I took the tests I was asked to before the training, but without really understanding what it would bring me.

I have learned that how I feel is normal - just not to the extroverts around me. I have been able to identify stressful situations and react better to them. I have been able to say to my extrovert husband that even though I love him, too much interactions with people during this particular work day make me want to be on my own for a while.

Knowing myself better doesn't change the fact that working on an open space or training people is very much outside of my comfort zone. Though, that knowledge and my (nerdy) love for statistics pushed me to start a blog and my own prediction model. 

Indeed, my goal here is to capture data about my interactions with the outside world, to measure when I have my fair share for the day and thus be able to predict the "how much" and "what kind" of interactions I can take in a day (and also measure the minimal threshold for an extrovert).

I'll take you with me on my journey and would be glad to share thoughts and suggestions.